Jan 292007

Contributed by Townsman Rick Massimo.

Rug harmonies are usually wordless, usually complex, and usually thickly overdubbed to produce more vocal parts than there are band members, but always, they’re background vocals that exist for their own sake rather than the emotional illumination of a lyrics or cuing the listener to a visceral sing-along chant.

Prime classic examples come from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, with The Byrds close behind. A more recent, particularly awful example would be REM‘s “Orange Crush,” which lacks even the selling point of complexity and consists of a coupla guys moaning dolefully in the service of “we need some other part here.”


  2 Responses to “Rug Harmonies”

  1. I thought part of the deal with “rug harmonies” was that you could barely pick out who’s singing what part, since the harmonies are so dense, and there’s no real lead part. I fail to see how “Orange Crush” applies.

  2. I second your first sentence as a worthy addition to the glossary entry. “Orange Crush” is a degraded example, a Xerox of a Xerox if you will. The musical characteristics might not be there, but the intent is there in spades.

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