Accounts vary on the first use of artificial reverb, but the most widely acknowledged origin story just turned 65. That was the harmonica instrumental “Peg O’ My Heart,” and it was a No. 1 hit in the summer of 1947. It owes its hypnotic tone to a crafty production trick.
“The engineer, Bill Putnam, did it by putting a loudspeaker and a microphone in the studio’s bathroom. And it created this great, deep, rich echo,” explains Atlantic contributor William Weir, whose recent article “How Humans Conquered Echo” chronicles what he calls the “oldest and most universal sound effect” in music.
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