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Old 22nd May 2020
Lives for gear

Talent and the weeding out process like Jim said. The singers worked all week with live gigs as there were very few lipsync scams being pulled then and no computer correction. The band members main source of middle class income was playing live most of the week so they knew how to play as an ensemble as opposed to an Im the star / doing their own thing (few of the new class is playing with other musicians on a daily basis). Fewer mics in a larger better sounding room. Singers knew how to work the mic and were not swollowing it. Engineers moved players around instead of the mic and thus achieved a better point source balance (mixing desks didn't have that many channels nor did the tape decks so they got it right in the room as much as possible). Better reverb, real reverb chambers. Mono but stereo was pretty damn good too. Tube gear.

Now the low end, bass and kick were lower level and rounded sounding compared to today. If trying to recreate with a modern sound just balance those parts in OUTSIDE of the vocal space.

A main part is also the song itself. Songs of the time now known as "Standards" have a recognizable melody line and chord changes and as such could be done just instrumentally for people to enjoy it. Thats why 50 different bands could record the same song and through their interpetation of the song, sound unique. The vocals added interesting lyrics and brought you in further. So the song itself was typically very memorable. Contrast that to todays pop which is often the same chord changes as a zillion others with mind numbing stupid very limited lyrics which as a hook are over repeated and you have song fragments posing as a song (basically a polished extended jingle). As for EDM you have a large center section of the 3D mix space taken up by the kick which competes with and cancels out part the vocal as opposed to complimenting it.

Lastly its economics. It's more profitable to have a teen or young 20 something with little to no experience sign a one sided contract whose only talent is that they look good and can do a few dance steps as most of the heavy lifting of the singing part can be done by others using a computer.