Santa Monica, CA (September 22, 2008)–Margarita Mix’s Jimmy Hite recently faced a series of challenges when ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day requested a remix of “Join Together” by The Who in order to separate and rebalance the vocal and instrumental elements for a 2009 Nissan Maxima TV spot.
Hite had to first arrange for the analog 16-track tape, produced by Glyn Johns with the band in 1972, to be baked in order to avoid sticky shed syndrome before making the digital transfers. As for recreating the original mix, attempting to reproduce the idiosyncrasies of the original studio as well as the many echoes and delays built into the track by Johns would be terribly time-consuming, even for the 30-second section used in the spot. Hite instead decided to remix only the vocal segments and to marry those with the original mix.
Hite then faced a final challenge: “Tape machines are not like digital recorders; the playback speed varies ever so slightly from one use to the next. To make the remix blend seamlessly with the original mix, I had to adjust the pitch by 1/200ths of a semitone.”
Working so closely with the tracks, Hite, a longtime fan of the Who, gained insight into how the original recording was made. “I got to hear things that they ultimately didn’t use, like a penny whistle Pete Townsend played in the middle of the track, and parts of the chorus that were edited out to shorten the song, likely done for AM radio play,” he recalls. “It also turned out that the synthesizer was recorded first, probably by Pete in his home studio, and the band played to it. It was really great to have a chance to hear that–it’s stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day for 30 years.”