Skip to comments.Got that synching feeling? Read my lips...(Union may force pop stars to admit they're lip-synching)
Posted on 02/04/2006 1:06:28 PM PST by sully777
LONDON (Reuters) - After an infamous tiff between Elton John and Madonna over lip-synching, Britain's Musicians' Union has called on performers to come clean -- audiences should be told if they are miming rather than singing.
The union is urging promoters, producers and artists to back its campaign for lip-synching to be clearly labeled during TV shows, in pop arenas and on stage.
"Stand up and be honest about it. We won't knock you for using recordings," said union spokesman Keith Ames, wearied by the sight of bands with miming singers backed by guitarists going through the motions to a recorded track.
"If we are going to sell British music around the world, we cannot go out without a genuine product. You cannot sell artificiality to the Europeans and the Americans. They will see through it immediately."
The union suggested that a lip-synching logo could be flashed up on television or on posters and tickets for shows.
"This campaign is to reward performers who have the talent to perform live and give it a human edge," Ames said. "In a funny sort of way, people like the odd bum note. It gives them a sense of the moment."
He stressed that the union was in no way opposed to the use of technology, especially in smaller theatres where the producers could not afford to pay for a full orchestra.
"This is about consumers knowing what they are buying into," he said.
The issue hit the headlines when British pop veteran Elton John took a swipe at Madonna, saying she cheated her fans by miming on stage.
Collecting a song-writing award in 2004, he suddenly launched into a tirade against Madonna when he discovered she had been nominated for Best Live Act.
"Anyone who lip-synchs in public on stage when you pay 75 pounds to see them should be shot," John said. Madonna swiftly denied lip-synching and pointedly said she did not spend her time trashing other artists.
The union campaign was launched on BBC Television's "The Culture Show" with a poll showing that 71 percent of those questioned backed its stance.
The campaign has also won backing from singer Beverley Knight who told the program: "What I can't bear more than anything are those who are more than capable of delivering a show live with musicians and the whole thing and who don't."
Malcolm McClaren, former manager of the Sex Pistols, agreed, complaining "There isn't enough authenticity in the pop industry. It is karaoke culture."
But Faye Tozer, a singer with the now disbanded pop group Steps, defended lip-synching that helped them cope with a punishing schedule. "We did it to get our product out," she said.
What was the Elton John/Madonna tiff?
Maybe they were arguing over who was more feminine.
If you're going to do that, they should also admit to using pitch-correction devices live and in the recording studio. It's laughable how many "singers" out there can actually sing.
So much for Ashlee Simpson's career.
Elton Feels Love for Madge
10/28/2004 7:35 PM, E! Online
Can you feel the love tonight?
It looks like Elton John is finally ready to apologize to Madonna after recently calling out the Material Girl for lip-synching.
"I don't want to escalate it because I like Madonna," the 57-year-old singer-songwriter tells the Nov. 6 issue of Entertainment Weekly. "She's been to my house for dinner. It was something that was said in the heat of the moment, and probably should not have been said."
John's barbed comments, made Oct. 4 at a London music awards show, sparked headlines around the world--causing many to wonder if John had a feud with Madonna.
However, John feels that uproar over his comments were overblown by the media.
"The reaction to it was so hysterical," he says. "It was like I said, 'I think all gays should be killed or I think Hitler was right.' I just said someone was lip-synching. I'm not afraid to speak my mind. I'm not going to mellow with age. I get more enraged about things as I get older because you see that these injustices go on."
Elton further explained the incident recently on a New Zealand television show. On the show, the Brit confessed he made his remarks because "I have a bee in my bonnet about live shows."
"It was in the context of a very drunken lunch. Sometimes when you say something and then it's written down on paper, it looks totally different," he offered up in his defense.
Still, the "Candle in the Wind" singer apparently wishes to set the record straight with his pal, sometimes known as Esther.
"Would I apologize to her if I saw her?" says John in EW. "Yeah, because I don't want to hurt any artist's feelings. It was my fault. I instigated the whole thing. But it applies to all those bloody teenage singers."
Only John could manage to offend more singers with an apology to one. By "bloody teenage singers," we can only assume John's is referring to recent lip-synching champion Ashlee Simpson --who was just busted big time on Saturday Night Live for using vocal tracks. (The latest development: a 60 Minutes camera crew happened to be backstage during the SNL meltdown and captured the reaction; the segment will air on this week's installment.) Or perhaps he means Britney Spears . Regardless, John's new statements prove the "Bitch Is Back" singer can still bitch with the best of 'em.
For her part, Madonna is apparently not losing much sleep over the comments, or the forthcoming mea culpa.
Shortly after John's dissing, Madonna's spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, released a statement saying the pop queen "does not lip-synch nor does she spend her time trashing other artists."
However, Rosenberg revealed that Madonna doesn't hold a grudge against comments made by a loose-lipped John.
"Elton John remains on her Christmas card list whether he is nice...or naughty," Rosenberg said.
John certainly didn't feel the need to hold back on his opinions of the Taiwanese media last month. He caused an arguably much bigger uproar Sept. 23 when he called Taiwanese paparazzi "rude, vile pigs."
John apologized to the Taiwanese people for his comments at his concert the next night in Taipei--but the singer did not withdraw the comments directed towards the shutterbugs.
John's new release, Peachtree Road, drops Nov. 9.
There is nothing, IMHO, like hearing music at the moment it is being made, warts and all.
Of course, the fact that I'm in a band playing out a few times a month (and making our fair share of mistakes) may have something to do with my outlook.
Some would first have to admit it to themselves.
The only time I want lip-synching and air guitar is when the sods are totally drunk/drugged like the Ozzie concert I saw at the Nassau Coliseum. Ozzie truly sucked that night. Thankfully, Queensryche made up the difference as the opening act.
%100 agree with the proposal. Who wants to see anyone sing to a pre recorded tape ? Saw CREAM in NYC ..No gimmicks ..3 guys with talent playing and singing..Thats music ..
I've walked out on a few headliners for just that reason. Steven Stills in the late 70's comes to mind. If I had wanted to see a coked out guy play bad notes on guitar all night, I could have stayed in the dorm.
How many bands mix the bass & drums waaay up to carry them because they can't cut it on guitar anymore? How's that any different?
I'm talking legendary guys too. But, I don't wanna start a fight by naming names.
Wow! That's EXACTLY the first guy I was thinking of!
Within a week of her SNL fiasco, Simpson performed "live" at another televised event --this time without the aid of pre-recorded tracks or pitch correcting devices. Oh, it was terrible! That girl has no talent whatsoever.
Oh, c'mon! Spit it out! This guitar-slinging FReeper wants to know who you think can't cut it anymore.
Who looks better in a teddy.
LOL. I'm with Drew on this, name names so we can make it a really contentious thread (read: fun and exciting).
Let me start, Drew, anybody using humbuckers rather than single coils is just an overdriven, distorted wannabe.
Just kidding. I'm more a Tele guy myself.
Back in the late 70s, I saw Stills about 10 times and it was the same every time, "I can barely hear him! Why does he only do those BB King riffs? Why does the rest of the band drown him out?" But, I saw him with CSNY a few times 2000-2002 and he played great!
I saw the Stones in Chile about 10 years ago. They'd play the opening riffs then go chat while the rhythm section and Mick performed. I suppose they were playing along, but you couldn't hear them. Nice gig if you can get it!
Just kidding. I'm more a Tele guy myself.
I have a Tele. Fun guitar. Strats too. And Les Pauls. I love them all. They all have their place and their own unique sound. Billy Corgan coaxed some hellacious distortion from his single coiled Stratocaster. As did Kurt Cobain.
When Cream reunited I was a little disheartened to see Clapton take the stage with his Stratocaster. I was hoping that for the sake of authenticity he'd pull an old 335 or SG out of retirement. Later I read in an interview that Clapton and bassist Jack Bruce rehearsed with their old Gibsons and 100 watt Marshall stacks but were simply unable to get the nuanced sound they were looking for from their old instruments. They knew many in their audience would notice the absence of Marshall stacks and be a bit let down but they figured that a well-rehearsed and tight sound would make up for the loss.