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.”


  5 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.

  3. […] their set with some mellow songs along the lines of the first YouTube clip here, loaded with rug harmonies, I was both impressed by the band members’ ability to harmonize on nonsense syllables and a […]

  4. […] role in the music of Fleet Foxes, adding to the depth of the band members’ tightly woven Rug Harmonies. The challenge will be finding an appropriately bearded drummer, one whose beard compliments the […]

  5. […] acoustic guitars; lyrics about 13-year-old lovebirds walking home from school, holding hands; Rug harmonies. It’s so close to soundling like an Eagles song, or Poco. And what’s worse, Eagles or […]

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