Tracing the History of the Triple Album, One of Rock’s Most Elusive Formats

Triplicate, Bob Dylan’s latest ramble into the wilds of American popular song, continues in the stylistic vein of its predecessors, Shadows in the Night and Fallen Angels. But in the literal sense, it also extends an even weightier tradition.

Comprised of three CDs, Triplicate is that rarity in pop, the triple-record set. Once dismissed as one of rock’s most bloated, needlessly over-the-top formats, Triplicate is the latest example of the way in which the three-disc package simply refuses to die. Despite all attempts to snuff it out, it’s become a perversely durable format, taking on a new context every time it’s revived.

Seemingly, the first three-LP sets plopped onto the scene in 1970 with the release of the first Woodstock soundtrack and George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. Both were period-piece gems, and both were only extended to that length thanks to a surplus of material. The Woodstock set had to condense three days of music into one package, and Harrison has been stashing away so many songs during the waning days of the Beatles that he probably had no choice. (He and producer Phil Spector were also smart enough to tack jam sessions onto that third LP, thereby not damaging the cohesiveness of the first two LPs of proper songs.)

Fairly soon after, the triple LP came to symbolize the way rock was expanding – or reeling out of control – in the Seventies. The Grateful Dead’s Europe ’72, Yes’ Yessongs, Leon Russell’s Leon Live, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s perfectly titled Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends – Ladies & Gentlemen … proudly let their triple-freak-flags fly. Each needed those extra LPs to make room for overlong jams, and guitar, synth and drum solos. Yessongs, for instance, averages two songs a side.

In the Dead’s case, the bulky set also helped pay the bills for that overseas tour. The song-oriented exception to the rule at the time was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will the Circle Be Unbroken, the group’s mammoth and educational tribute to the roots of country. (Let’s omit compilations like Neil Young’s Decade and the classic series of three-LP artist collections released by Motown during that time.)

Given its association with prog, jam bands and the Seventies, it was only natural that the triple LP would peter out along with flared jeans and Jimmy Carter campaign buttons. But just when the format seemed irrelevant and laughably out of style, punk, of all formats, revived it. At the very end of 1979, Public Image Ltd.’s Metal Box – three 12-inch records crammed into a round tin – put a perverse spin on the format, as did the Clash’s 1981 Sandinista! Since punk was intended to kill off things like, say, prog and triple LPs, those bands’ revivals of the format felt cheeky – the first postmodern take on record packaging.

For a good decade and a half, the three-disc set went into hibernation. The occasional release, like Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995), contained about the same amount of music as three LPs would have, but hid their triple-LP aspirations on two discs. Freed from his Warner Brothers contract and able to release anything he wanted from his studio and vault, Prince unleashed two three-disc sets in the late Nineties, Emancipation and Crystal Ball, but they only served as reminders that even the strongest such releases were sorely in need of pruning. (Same, alas, with his later triple set, Lotusflow3r.)

But starting during that same period, indie rock took up the triple revival with sharper results. The Magnetic Fields’ 1999 opus, 69 Love Songs, freshened up the format by way of Stephin Merritt’s wonderfully droll and touching songs, one after another. Roughly a decade later, Joanna Newsom’s sonically dreamy, harp-driven Have One on Me felt like the best continuation of the original Seventies concept of the triple record, down to its three-LP format. Five years ago, Green Day somewhat took the plunge, releasing ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tré! as separate releases one month apart. Alas, their punk-cred inclination apparently nixed the idea of packaging all three together for the full trio package.

With each of its three discs only a half hour long each, Triplicate, Dylan’s first venture into the land of the non-compilation three-disc set, could have easily been packaged as two discs. For thematic reasons, he went the separate-disc route. But in keeping with the pre-rock song choices, wouldn’t it be nice to think Dylan also chose to pay homage to another vanishing aspect of the culture? 

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Chance the Rapper Launches New Chance Arts and Literature Fund

After a disappointing meeting with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner earlier this month, Chance the Rapper promised he would come back with a plan on how to better support Chicago’s public school system. Today, he announced the New Chance Arts and Literature Fund.

This afternoon, the Grammy Award winner held a press conference at Robeson High School that was streamed across social media platforms. “We all know the Illinois education system is one of the most underfunded in the nation,” he said before noting the importance of the arts to young students. “I’m excited to announce the creation, in collaboration with the Children’s First Fund, of the New Chance Arts & Literature Fund.”

Working with the Ingenuity fund, Chance’s non-profit Social Works will work to identify CPS schools in most dire need of a better arts program. “We are committed to giving the kids as much as we can,” he said while also noting that the Chicago Bulls have since donated $1 million to the CPS foundation.

Recently, Chance announced his own plans to donate $1 million to CPS, an amount made possible through ticket sales for his spring tour and partnerships with Live Nation, AEG and Ticketmaster. Additionally, Social Works will match every $100,000 raised for the CPS with an additional $10,000 to be allocated to specific Chicago public schools.

Chance and Governor Rauner had a private meeting in early March to discuss funding for Chicago Public Schools, and Chance left notably flustered after the 30-minute discussion ended. “I felt it went a little bit different than it should have,” he told the press. “I’m here because I just want people to do their jobs.”

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Lost in space: Astronauts lose grip on key shield component – Christian Science Monitor


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Remy Ma, Karen Civil & More Break Boundaries With ‘Women On The Move’

Last night [Thursday, March 31] was a celebration of women, as Karen Civil hosted her annual Women On The Move conference at New York University in order to unify, uplift, encourage, and inspire other women. It was a packed house as the seats overflowed with young ears and open minds as panel began. This years panelist had some of the most successful business savvy ladies in the game right now including: Claire Sulmers, the CEO of Fashion Bomb Daily, Crissle West an amazing writer and podcaster for ‘The Read’, Karen Civil the media maven, and PR guru, and the one and only Remy Ma, the Queen of New York.

During the panel each of the ladies discussed their passion and drive for their craft and spoke of some of the highs and lows that they have encountered on their journey. With each woman coming from different background one thing that they all shared was passion and determination. A quote from Crissle West stuck out particularly:

You can ask for a seat at the table but if they don’t give it to you, make your own table.

Each lady on the panel was, at some point in time, denied the proverbial seat and created her own lane – allowing to so graciously share success tips at events like this.

Before the night ended, Remy Ma was presented with the ‘Woman On The Move’ Award in honor of her representing women with strength, courage, and continuously being an inspiration for Black love with her husband Papoose, who was sitting in a front row showing his support.

Watch interviews with these trailblazing women here.

Calculate Your Spotify Payments With This FREE Per US Stream Mechanical Calculator

image from images-na.ssl-images-amazon.comMusic collection agency Audiam has created a free payment calculator based on per streaming mechanical royalty rates supplied to them by Spotify. The rates are for the United States and only for mechanical royalties.

Mechanical royalty rates also vary month to month, based on how many total streams occur in Spotify in the US and how much money Spotify in the US has made each month. These royalties are paid to music publishers directly by Spotify and are not paid to TuneCore, CD Baby, DistroKid or any record label.

image from performermag.com

“If there are recordings of your music in Spotify in the US that have streamed, and you have not been paid these second separate mechanical royalties,” says Audiam’s Jeff Price, “Spotify has either not paid you in or Spotify did not get a license to your composition in the first place.”

The rates for sound recordings and the rates in other countries also differ.

Calculate your earnings here.

How To Find Music Supervisors Using Tunefind [Hypebot’s Music Biz Weekly Podcast]

image from www.hypebot.comAmanda Byers, the Managing Director of Tunefind, joins host Michael Brandvold this week for Hypebot’s Music Biz Weekly Podcast. TuneFind helps fans find music from their favorite TV shows and Movies, and artists can use Tunefind to locate music supervisors and get a better understanding of the type of music they work with.

Amanda explains how artists can use Tunefind, engaging with their fans and claiming their artist page.