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Not only was "I'm Not in Love", a classic pop record, but 10cc did something unique:

There's a section where a woman says "be quiet, big boys don't cry, big boys don't cry, big boys don't cry..." She was not a member of the band! She was a secretary in the music studio and 10cc needed someone to do a short female voice part. They couldn't find anyone. So they saw her and asked her; she said are you serious, I can't sing! The guys said that doesn't matter and she said OK.

That is amazing! She was interviewed about 2 years ago about it. Props for the guys for doing that! That was some serious guts. They could have taken the easy way out and got a sample from their label. But they just grabbed her and said you can do it!! Oh man that is cool.

So my question is was this unique? Has any other band [not just pop] ever grabbed someone who was there who was not musical and said "we need you to do a few lyrics!" I can't think of another example offhand.

  • I don't have a specific answer, but I've heard some backing vocals from 70's albums and all I can think is either, a) She slept her way to that recording session, or b) There just weren't very high standards in terms of vocal quality back then. And I'm more apt to believe it was a). – Johnny Bones Jun 26 at 15:00
  • Makes me wonder who the worst backing vocalists were lol - someone should ask that! – Snack_Food_Termite Jun 26 at 15:04
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This has happened plenty of times before.
One classic example is Astrud Gilberto who was João Gilberto's wife. She had never sung before professionally, but when João Gilberto was recording an album with Stan Getz in 1963 they needed someone to sing a couple of vocal tracks. Astrud happened to be in the studio with her husband and they asked her to sing. The result "The Girl from Ipanema" became a hit worldwide.

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At least one other big hit record featured impromptu vocals from someone who just happened to be in the room: The female response vocals from Outkast's "Hey Ya!" sound like a crowd, but were all overdubbed by the recording engineer's assistant.

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