What makes a recording iconic is not always what was planned. With musical creativity containing elements of improvisation and spontaneity it’s inevitable that there will be variations. This can result in unexpected performances or unexpected sounds ending up in a recording and becoming a defining feature.
For instance, Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ released in 1979 used glass bottles as percussion throughout most of the track. If you listen, it is quite easy to spot, but you may have not realised it was glass bottles. Allegedly, his siblings played this on the original demo and it made it into the studio cut.
The infographic below (kindly supplied by Technical Foam Services (TFS)) highlights more of these interesting studio situations that appeared in popular music through the decades. I only wish I could have a printed version of this for my studio wall!