A decent vocal harmony just does it for me. When you write a story, and it’s going really well, it all sort of slots into place, as if the component parts were magnetically drawn to each other: well, that’s how I feel when I hear a harmony that works. It ties a song together somehow, and for me makes it whole.
This was brought to mind this evening when, on the way home, I happened across Echoes by Pink Floyd, surely one of the most beautiful vocal arrangements in popular music (although if the singing lasted the entire 20-odd minutes, it may be a little taxing). No surprise then that my music collection contains a number of harmony-heavy combos for when nothing else will do.
A quick survey of my MP3 player throws up The Bee Gees, Sugababes, Andrews Sisters, Simon and Garfunkel, the Mamas and the Papas, Fleet Foxes, Ink Spots, Crosby Stills and Nash, and the Everly Brothers as examples of vocal harmony groups I have on there alone. I’ve not even bothered looking at the CDs and vinyl (yes, I still have vinyl!), but I’m sure I’d unearth more.
All of which has prompted me to set up a Harmonies playlist. You never know: that idea of completeness and tying of loose ends might even make a difference to my writing. Those magnetic pieces might pull together all the more easily if led by example. And believe me, I’d go a long way to have that happen.
PS - couldn't resist including this example of a great vocal performance. Enjoy!