Monday, June 25, 2007

I'm The Guy Who Invented 6-Up

I had the radio on last night and one of my favorite songs popped up: “The Big Hurt,” with Toni Fisher, recorded in 1959. It’s a good song as written (by Toni’s husband), has a good driving sound and was, as far as I know, the first to use phasing effects. That’s when you cancel out certain audio frequencies in a sweep, from top to bottom, from bottom to top. This gave the record a slightly hollow, strange sound. A Buffalo NY disc jockey called it “Toni Fisher’s weird one.”

Let’s go back to 1959, WICC and my production studio. I had a disc of our jingle package and had recorded it onto tape. With nothing better to do, I was playing both the disc and the tape at the same time and noticed that, quite naturally, they were running at slightly different speeds. As they ran, there was a phasing effect, a sweep. I did this a couple more times and thought, “I’ve just found something neat.” At that moment, over the monitor speaker, I heard this new record, “The Big Hurt.” I thought again, “I am the guy who invented 6-Up. Had I thought of this a few months earlier, I’d be the biggest thing in the recording industry. Or at least, not the smallest thing.”

* * *

A few years earlier, my brother and I used to fling the heavy tins that came (with a deposit charge) from the area pie company. They were hard to control, but once you got it down, it was fun. We weren’t the only people doing this, but we were among the many who never thought to get a photo of us flinging the tins from the Frisbie Pie Company of New Haven CT. Did we invent 6-Up? We’ll never know.


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