A Brief History Of The Fadeout, Pop Music's Subtle Exit Strategy

Rocker Neil Young once said it's better to burn out than fade away. But pop music begs to differ. Producers have been using the fadeout for decades to end massive hits like The Beatles' 'Hey Jude.' 

But the subtle technique is much, much older than the Fab Four. To find the first fadeout in recorded music, you have to go all the way back to 1918. That's when conductor Gustav Holst recorded an ad hoc fadeout for a piece called 'The Planets.' To capture the vastness of space, he had a choir sing in a separate room and instructed a stagehand to slowly close the door so that their voices would drift off, making listeners feel as though they were drifting far, far away from the known parts of the universe.

For more on the history of fadeouts, check out the above video courtesy of Vox.


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