Top Ten Singers Who Frequently Use or Used Double TrackingIn audio recording, double tracking is basically the process of recording a musical part (typically a guitar part or the lead vocals) and then recording it again, thereby doubling it and giving it a stronger sound. It is way more prominent than you would think, although some vocalists prefer to either use delay or stitch together multiple takes to get the right sound. There is also a second method called "Automatic Double Tracking", where the part is split off through a tape delay by a few milliseconds, giving the illusion of double tracking without requiring multiple takes. Double tracking is not necessarily a sin; if done correctly, the listener won't notice and it will make a stronger-sounding production. But if done wrong, the lead vocals will have some sync issues. A good example of this is the Beatles version of Matchbox. Feel free to add more examples; if so, give me more background on how much they used double tracking.
The Top Ten
The Beatles are considered to be the most famous users of double tracking, with John Lennon using it the most of all. In fact, he motivated Ken Townsend, one of the engineers at Abbey Road Studios, to invent the first automatic double tracking system after he got tired of having to do multiple vocal takes.
Roger Daltrey frequently used double-tracking throughout the Sixties. It wasn't until Who's Next that he didn't use it as much.
Listen to the early Mark II records, particularly In Rock, and you will hear that a lot of the vocals are double tracked. Even on Child in Time, which means that he probably had to sing those high parts multiple times.
I don't think there's a T. Rex record where Marc Bolan isn't double-tracked. I even saw a performance on the German show Beat-Club (if I remember correctly) where he recorded the basic track live with the band and they filmed him doing the secondary vocals and guitar solo. They integrated the footage of the two Bolans together (horribly, though; Beat-Club had awful graphics).
Not just Paul but Gene too- pretty much all of the 70s Kiss records had double-tracked vocals.
Brad is an interesting case, as he didn't just double track his lead vocals, he also double tracked each harmony line- no wonder those Boston records sound massive!
Freddie used it in certain songs during the mid 70s. I remember watching a video where Brian May listened to the multi-track tapes of Bohemian Rhapsody, and noted that the lead vocals on the "so you think you can stone me" section are not 100% in sync. Brian said that he kept some minor flubs on purpose to give the lead vocals a more natural sound.
I once read that Butch Vig said that when they recorded Nevermind, Butch motivated Kurt (who was reluctant) to double-track his vocals, telling him, "John Lennon did it". Apparently, he also had to trick Kurt into doing extra takes by telling him that something went wrong.
In general, Brian Wilson insisted on double-tracking all lead vocals on Beach Boys albums from the Surfin U.S.A. album onwards, irregardless of who was singing.
Double tracking is a staple of Metallica's music, even though you may not realize it. Just listen to any of the isolated vocal tracks from the 80s.
Alice In Chains used to do this a lot during their short period of time in their career back in the 90s. You can listen to a perfect example of Layne doing this in the song ''Brush Away'' from their Self-Titled record (commonly known as 'Tripod'). Other examples are ''Them Bones'' from their second album ''Dirt'', and the chorus of ''We Die Young'' from their debut album ''Facelift''. Needless to say, he always made it sound badass.
You're totally right. It's definitely noticeable on a lot of their stuff, especially the chorus of "Rooster'.