Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: Why do some songs fade out, part 2

Last time, we talked about why some songs don’t have an ending and just fade out into silence.  Who’s idea was that? 

The answer is “we don’t know for sure.”  We do know why it caught on, though.  Some arrangers didn’t have an ending for a song, so it was just easier to fade it out. 

Sometimes songs were too long in an era when radio stations demanded that nothing exceed three minutes.  Sometimes it was because the producer wanted to emphasize the hook of the song over and over again to leave the listener with something memorable.  Some people liked the fade because it left the impression that the song never ended.  Or maybe it caught on just because it sounded good. 

Whatever the case, the fade-out ending to a recording has been with us since at least the 1950s.

Part one of Ongoing History Daily fade out is here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38296 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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