Staying with our Backing Track theme for the week, here's one from a rock radio standard - Van Halen's "Panama," off of their album entitled 1984. In this case we'll be listening to the everything but the guitar, although you can still hear a little of it in there as leakage. Here's a few interesting things to listen for.
1) The drums are compressed really hard to make them as punchy as they are. You don't notice it in the track, but you do during the intro to this video.
2) Michael Anthony is a very underrated bass player. Listen to how solid he is here. He's playing 8th notes through much of the song but he's right on the whole time. Remember this was in the days before cut and paste and Beat Detective so it's real playing.
3) Likewise, Alex Van Halen is very disciplined in the his drumming. The fact that he stays with a pattern during most of the song keeps the section solid.
4) David Lee Roth's vocal sound is signature Van Halen - delayed verb with a long decay along with a long delay for depth.
5) The background vocals, which you don't hear much of in the final track, are interesting in that they have a very short reverb which makes it pretty indistinct. It does it's job well though, by bolstering and changing the sound of the pre-chorus and chorus.
6) This song is an excellent example of dynamics on a record. Listen to how the band lowers its intensity at 2:20 while keeping the tempo and feel the same.
Here's the guitar track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWjyj9gUElM