As a follow-up to yesterday's overly long post, I've often wondered why and when fade-outs to recordings were introduced. It's an odd phenomenon: you'd think that a musical composition would have a defined start and end. Most do, but a lot of popular music just kind of peters out after it's made its 3-minute point. Conversely, in a concert, how do you end a song which in its original recorded version fades out? Do you come up with a new ending, fade it out on the mixing desk or just let it clumsily subside?
A smidgen of research reveals that one of the first pop examples was Bill Haley's Rocket 88 (1951) which fades out to indicate the titular car driving away. There are claims that The Beatles' Eight Days a Week (1964) was the first song to use the reverse effect, a fade-in, and their Hey Jude has one of the longest fade-outs in history.
Of course, artists like Eno have made a career of music which fades in and fades out with very little change inbetween, as if you're listening to something from a much longer continuum which might last hours, days or years.
Anyway, idle musings... (fade out)...