C is for “Coda”

Musicians (especially those who read music) know instantly what a coda is… it’s sort of a “final ending” that usually differs a bit from the rest of the piece. The “bullseye/crosshairs” coda sign is easy to find when you’re sight-reading your way through an unfamiliar chart on a gig (good thing!).coda symbol In playing popular music, I’ve heard it more often called an “outro” (as opposed to an intro)… a section of the tune that has a slightly different feel than the rest of the song, or one that “puts a bow on it.”

A lot of time pop music codas take the form of an extended jam, or a lengthy fadeout — and more often than not, they’re omitted completely from radio edits, so unless you own the album version of a song, you’re SOL (COL?). Pop has a few famous codas — do you have any favorites?

One that popped into mind for me is Chicago’s “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” (Chicago VI – 1973). It’s a great horn-driven tune with a loping, half-time feel. Until 2:40 that is… when it kicks into a swinging rock feel (with constant hits on the bell of the ride cymbal) with a repeated brass riff under the title vocals.

Here’s a live version from 1979 (not great audio quality), and MAN, what a voice Peter Cetera has.

Blogmate Chris suggested the 1968 Dionne Warwick classic “Promises Promises” written (natch) by Burt Bacharach and Hal David

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