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Birthday (Beatles cover)

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Published on May 4, 2012

Happy Birthday!! Well, if it's not your birthday, at least I had a one-in-365.25 chance that it was.

Here is a video for you featuring my re-creation of the Beatles song "Birthday" from their album "The Beatles" (more commonly known as "The White Album"). On the surface, it's a fairly simple song, however it was not so simple to re-create (more on that below).

This video was created as a gift to my cousin on his 50th birthday. Happy Birthday David! Better late than never... :)

A bit of technical info: The song features a very distinctive piano sound. On the original recording, this was achieved by running the piano track through a Vox Conqueror guitar amplifier. This amp had a special 3-position tone selector effect, known as MRB, or Mid-Range Boost. It was similar in principle to the effect circuit found in the Vox wah-wah pedal, however it only had three discrete positions (whereas the wah-wah pedal is continuously variable). Unlike the wah-wah pedal, the MRB effect was designed to be used as a tone control--select position 1, 2 or 3 and leave it on that setting for the duration of the song. Recording engineer Ken Scott came up with the idea to manually "play" the MRB switch in time with the music (and is the one doing so on the recording).

Even though I could have simulated this effect using various digital audio plug-ins, I sincerely wanted to be able to show how this effect was created using a real Vox Conqueror amplifier. Unfortunately, these amplifiers are hard to find, however, I was fortunate to be able to use a Vox Defiant (from the same product line as the Conqueror, featuring the same MRB effect).

As usual, I'm playing and singing all the parts (except for some of the backing vocals*). What you see in this video are the actual performances as I recorded them. There is no "lip-syncing" or miming. Enjoy!

*Thanks to Ben and Alexander for their cameo appearance on backing vocals!

Special thanks to Rick Purdy for the use of his Gibson Les Paul guitar, John Teto for the use of his Fender Jazz bass, and Royal Music in Merrick, NY for the use of their Epiphone Casino guitar.

VERY SPECIAL THANKS to Pie Studios for the use of their Vox Defiant amplifier. This video wouldn't have been the same without it.

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