from toni tennille's blog
PINK FLOYD, THE WALL
, AND ME
In the late 1970s
, BRUCE JOHNSTON and the late CARL WILSON of the Beach Boys
, JOHN JOYCE
, an LA studio singer
, and I occasionally sang together as a background quartet for recording sessions. It didn’t happen often, because all of our schedules were very busy
, but you can hear our work on a few notable recordings.... listen carefully to Elton John’s DON’T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME and you might be able to pick out my voice in the background vocals.
When constructing the harmonies we sang, we usually placed my voice in the center of the chord. My voice is in the male tenor range
, and is very distinctive. The whole point of background harmonies is to have a seamless sound and vocally perfect blend. My voice stood out less, and blended better with the other voices if it were placed in the middle.
One day in late 1979
, Bruce called me and asked if I would be interested in doing a background session for the famous rock group PINK FLOYD. They were in LA, working on a new album
, and needed some background work. To be honest with you
, although I had heard their name
, I wasn’t at all familiar with their music
, but I ALWAYS keep an open mind musically
, and I thought it would be really interesting to see how the “other half” works in a recording session. I told Bruce I’d love to, and a date was set.
The session was set up for a Sunday morning at an unpretentious Hollywood recording studio called Producer’s Workshop. Daryl went with me...he was pretty curious, too. I guess I sort of expected to walk into a studio full of people lying around
, smoking dope...lots of groupies..that sort of thing. What I found when we got there surprised me completely!
We were met, almost as soon as we walked in the front door
, by Dave Gilmore
, along with Roger Waters
, was the face and sound of Pink Floyd at that time (they have since parted ways). Dave greeted me and Daryl heartily with a smile and a handshake, and stated that he had seen us on television that morning. I immediately thought
, “What was a rock star doing
, watching Sunday morning television?” Daryl and I had recently taped a guest appearance on a children’s TV show called KIDS ARE PEOPLE TOO, and Dave told us he watched it that morning with his kids! So much for the “rock star” stereotype!
It turns out I would be working that day on a new concept album they were going to call THE WALL. I had no idea at the time what a musical landmark it would be. When Bruce, Carl and John arrived
, we set to the business at hand. People often ask me “Which songs did you sing on?” Well...at the time, we worked on sections of songs that had no name. They would play a section of a song
, tell us what they wanted in the way of backgrounds
, and we sang them.