Apr 082011

I love the musical device of an artist overdubbing cheering crowd noises in the middle of a clearly studio track. I love the device so much that I’d like to see how many we can cite—one entry at a time, of course.

Tracks from fake-live records, like Steppenwolf Live or that Rare Earth fake-live version of “Get Ready,” do not count. Ambient “party” noises do not count. The crowd noise has to be a blatant device, not an attempt to fool people into thinking they’re actually hearing Johnny Rivers live. (He did a lot of that stuff, didn’t he?) I’ll kick things off with probably the first example of this device that dazzled me as a kid:

Elton John‘s “Bennie and the Jets.”

Game on!


  88 Responses to “Last Man Standing: Studio Recordings With Overdubbed Crowd Noises for Effect”

  1. A Townsman from the Facebook page just kicked off entries with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

  2. 2000 Man

    Aerosmith’s Train Kept a Rollin’.

  3. ladymisskirroyale

    Queen – “We Will Rock You”

  4. ladymisskirroyale

    I know we’re supposed to do one entry at a time but I need a ruling on a couple:
    “Nite Club” by the Specials – clearly studio fakery;
    “Tusk” by Fleetwood Mac

  5. Teenage Rampage – The Sweet

  6. Diamond Dogs – David Bowie

  7. Love Shack – B52’s

  8. tonyola

    Perhaps the cheesiest and most blatant – Little Richard’s “King of Rock’n’Roll” from 1971.

  9. tonyola

    Bonzo Dog Band – “Trouser Press”

  10. tonyola

    Another Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band special – “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”.

  11. Gram Parsons – Medley from Northern Quebec: Cash on the Barrelhead/Hickory Wind.

    It’s a medley all right, but it’s not live from “Northern Quebec.” But you wouldn’t know it from the way the fake crowd cheers for James Burton’s guitar playing…

  12. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “Dig Lazarus Dig.” In the last verse, there is crowd noise at the end of the line “He ended up, like so many of them do, back in the streets of New York City!”

  13. The Mothers: America Drinks Up & Goes Home

  14. The Temptations: Psychedelic Shack

  15. Pink Floyd – Fearless from Meddle

  16. tonyola

    Pink Floyd and the fourth side of The Wall – “In the Flesh”, “Run Like Hell”, and “Waiting For the Worms”.

  17. Here’s one I’m sure Mr. Mod really loves. XTC’s “Dear Madam Barnum” from Nonsuch. A little bit of crowd noise at the line “Let the show begin.”

  18. “Nite Club” does not qualify – it’s got that “ambient party sound” thing more than a cheering crowd. (There is another song on that album, however, that may qualify – I have to think about it and I haven’t looked ahead yet to see if it’s been mentioned…) “Tusk,” on the other hand, qualifies. At the time you posted this, you were Last Woman Standing!

  19. The beginning of this song is one of my favorite funny moments on record.

  20. Here’s one I actually DO love, that my man Oats, sadly, probably doesn’t: Pere Ubu’s “Chinese Radiation.”


    What makes this one so good, in my opinion – and the possible winner of a Battle Royale, if that’s what we were conducting – is the loser-fantasy aspect of such a song/performance garnering such Enormodome crowd response.

  21. The Byrds – So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star (original 1967 version).

  22. Good one, tonyola, but I must stand upon your shoulders: “Riot Industry,” by Cobra Verde.


  23. trigmogigmo

    Stan Ridgway — “The Last Honest Man”. Tinkling glasses, chatter, and the opening line, “the crowd came in and sat down, and a man began to yell”.

  24. Ringo Starr – “I’m the Greatest”

  25. The entire Alice Donut album, “Dry Humping the Cash Cow: Live At CBGB” has the stadium-sized audience noise from “Kiss Alive” dubbed on in place of the club audience.

    Here’s a track from it: http://youtu.be/w39-ChUl1G4

  26. BigSteve

    I can top that. James Brown’s Sex Machine album is a double album that has added audience noise throughout. Half of it was actually recorded live, but they dubbed additional crowd noise on top of those tracks too.

  27. The Monkees “Circle Sky” is actually a studio track dubbed over the live audience.

  28. ladymisskirroyale

    Are you thinking “Gangsters”?

  29. ladymisskirroyale

    One of my favorite songs, “one you’ve been waiting for”:
    St. Etienne – “Nothing Can Stop Us”

  30. Doesn’t “Monkey Man” start off with the crowd chanting? That’s what I had in mind. Now that I’ve said it, though, I must pull it off the board. Maybe “Gangsters” would have qualified too, or is that one of those ambient noise examples?

  31. Please remember that fake-live albums DO NOT QUALIFY. The crowd noise (and not ambient party chatter) needs to be overdubbed on what’s obviously meant to otherwise sound like a studio recording. It should be a device that’s pulled out to suggest something other than, “Hey, dummy, this is a live album!”

  32. I think my entry still counts, as it was a real live album with a different audience dubbed on in place the one they were playing to, for comedic effect. Right?

  33. trigmogigmo

    Good one! Written by John Lennon.

  34. I got you, yes, you’re right – at that point let the record show you were LAST MAN STANDING!

  35. That was a cool song. I’d never heard that band; in fact, I’ve always assumed I’d hate them! I must object, however, to the shot of the bassist with a pointy bass at the 2:11 mark and the guy holding a Casio, or whatever, in the front seat of that vintage car. (Uh oh, I have heard this band before, as I realize while listening to their version of “Only Love Can Break Your Heart.” I heard this version in a clothing store recently. This is more like what I expected the band to sound like. I’ll have to check out a third song to “break the tie.”)

    You are currently LMS!

  36. Oh, I know this song from Volver, too, an Almadovar movie I loved. St. Etienne’s not so bad!

  37. Bill Hicks’ Dangerous has embarrassingly obvious applause and crowd noise added in because the same reactions are heard at various times…sort of like the same laugh track that was used in all those old sitcoms and cartoons in the ’60s and ’70s. At one point Hicks remarks to the crowd that their responses will be dubbed in later. Hilarious album, but sad that they actually had to do such a thing.

  38. And I know that the Hicks album is not a studio release…but I just wanted to bring that up …because it’s sad/funny how now one was laughing at the jokes and clearly just didn’t get it and someone felt the need to throw the noises in. It may has well been a studio take.

    But as for one that counts here….I’ll go with The Replacements and the blast of crowd noise between “I Bought a Headache” and “Rattlesnake” on the Sorry, Ma album is memory serves correct.

  39. BigSteve

    Coming soon, Mod discovers he likes house music!

    Nothing Can Stop Us is tres Style Council, no?

  40. BigSteve

    I no longer have a copy, but that late 80s Kinks live album called The Road begins with the title song, which is a studio cut. If I’m not mistaken, it ends with a swell of crowd noise as an effect, which turns out to be the beginning of the live album proper.

  41. Yes, it is, and that tells me at least two things: 1) part of the reason I hate Style Council so much is that I consider it a tremendous drop off from an occasionally brilliant artist and 2) “that kind of music” isn’t as bad as I sometimes make it out to be.

  42. tonyola

    Disco-Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes – “Get Dancin””. Yeah, knowing this song reflects badly on me, but I wasn’t a disco boy. Honest! Scout’s honor!

  43. ladymisskirroyale


  44. ladymisskirroyale

    Sorry to bring up a “favorite” band around here, but Oasis uses crowd noise in “Fucking in the Bushes.”
    Mmmmm – Glastonbury Festival!

  45. mockcarr

    If It Feels Good Do It – Sloan

  46. That was a pretty cool song, if you ask me.

  47. So Sloan’s used this trick at least twice. I was saving this one, “The Good in Everyone.”


    Funny thing is, in the incredibly long intro to their full-length video for this song I’m not hearing the crowd noises. Now, I’m in work and don’t have the sound turned up. Let me know if you can hear the crowd.


  48. tonyola

    It’s a guilty pleasure, all right, but any ’70s rocker coolkid wearing a “Disco Sucks” t-shirt would rather have their fingernails pulled out than admitting to his friends that he liked this song.

  49. Bigger Lovers – Catch and Release

  50. ladymisskirroyale

    Small Faces – “Lazy Sunday”

  51. Guided By Voices – Over the Neptune/Mesh Gear Fox

  52. bostonhistorian

    Orchestral Manouvres in the Dark “This Is Helena” from Dazzle Ships, although this may be pushing the bounds of crowd noise:


  53. I don’t believe anyone mentioned Quadrophenia at the end of I’ve Had Enough.

  54. Correct – you are currently Last Man Standing!

  55. Have to point out this is my favorite Floyd song.

  56. Not so fast! Pulp’s “Sorted for E’s and Wizz” opens with crowd noise.

  57. BigSteve

    Weird. I just bought the Bigger Lovers album on emusic yesterday. I had just fired it up in Itunes, and Catch and Release had started playing when I clicked over to RTH and saw your post. Psych!

  58. Monkees – “Listen to the Band”

  59. Crack the Sky – “Rangers at Midnight”

  60. BigSteve

    Damn that was the one I kept hearing in the back of my mind and couldn’t place. Thank you.

  61. cdm and his RTH spyware!

  62. I’m going through your files as we speak…

  63. revolution #9

  64. tonyola

    Rush – “Spirit of the Radio”

  65. Does Soulfinger count? Or is that more of a party and less of a crowd?

  66. That’s more of a party/singalong vibe, like “Barbara Ann,” if memory serves, right? Thanks for asking.

  67. Boston – Rock & Roll Band

  68. alexmagic

    Same here.

  69. tonyola

    Procol Harum – “Power Failure” (end of the drum solo).

  70. Just checked the CD “One Chord to Another”. Crowd noise is right up front.

  71. bostonhistorian

    Ray Stevens “Gitarzan”. I am currently Last Man Swinging through the jungle!

  72. The Smiths “Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loves Me” starts with what sounds like an angry mob gathering.

    Astoundingly, my 1st thought was Fogerty’s “Centerfield”, right after the crack of the bat. Just listened and the crowd noise must have been imagined!

  73. tonyola

    Gentle Giant – “Proclamation”

  74. ladymisskirroyale

    Lamb – Transfatty Acid, Kruder and Dorfmeister mix

  75. bostonhistorian

    Paradise By the Dashboard Light?

  76. Please, anyone, top this so I can eventually get that song out of my mind.

  77. YES, talk about one of those songs that was taking a long time to emerge from the haze of my mind: Buffalo Springfield’s “Broken Arrow.”

    LAST MAN STANDING…on the shoulders of Meatloaf!

  78. tonyola

    I’m not dead yet…
    Mel & Tim – “Backfield in Motion”

  79. bostonhistorian

    The Mr T Experience’s “Strum und Bang Live!?” EP is worthy of mention as a fake live album but it uses crowd sounds from JFK’s inaugral address, a Kiss live album, and a BOC live album to simulate that “live” experience. In other words, it’s not trying to fool anyone….

  80. tonyola

    The Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus was a fanciful supergroup created by several bubblegum acts in the K-K stable:

    1910 Fruitgum Company
    Ohio Express
    Music Explosion
    Lt. Garcia’s Magic Music Box
    Teri Nelson Group
    1989 Musical Marching Zoo
    J.C.W. Rat Finks
    St. Louis Invisible Marching Band

    Most of these weren’t real, and the 1968 album was a fictional concert featuring the groups as well as audience noises and stage announcements. A truly terrible record that manages to be worse than those by Ohio Express and 1910 Fruitgum Company – quite a feat in itself.

  81. 2000 Man

    Monte Rock III is hilarious. There’s an interview with him on Michael Douglas or Merv Griffin and Jayne Mansfield is on it with her two year old daughter, Mariska Hargitay. I have no idea why I know that, but I was surfing the net for Disco Tex songs and stumbled across the interview. I think Monte was considered some sort of homo freak way back then, and it’s kind of weird, but his rant in Get Dancin’ is awesome, if you ask me.

  82. “She Loves the Way They Love Her” by the Zombies

  83. cherguevara

    Good ones so far – The Pretenders, “My Baby.”

  84. BigSteve

    Just got the new Twilight Singers album, and on first listen discover that they add arena applause at the end of the track Get Lucky, thereby making me the Last Man Standing.

  85. cherguevara

    Harry Nilsson’s version of “Simon Smith and his amazing dancing bear” has a crowd cheering during the outro.

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