I just learned that Emitt Rhodes died on July 19th. I’ve always enjoyed his music and featured him in SotW posts on March 26, 2016, and July 16, 2011. The 2011 essay is posted below.
Ignored Obscured Restored
Back in 1970, two fine artists were recording pop masterpieces in their home studios. In both cases the musician played all of the instruments himself, beginning a trend that others would soon attempt (e.g. Something/Anything by Todd Rundgren). One was the solo debut by the famous ex-Beatle Paul McCartney that all of you have heard. The other, by Emitt Rhodes, (sadly) languished in relative obscurity.
Rhodes had his first shot at fame when his band The Merry-Go-Round had a modest hit in 1967 with the song “Live.” It only reached #63 nationally but made a bigger impression in So Cal. That probably explains why most of us are more familiar with the song as covered by the LA based band, The Bangles, on their first album.
When The Merry-Go-Round failed to capitalize on their first break, Rhodes decided to retreat to his parents’ garage and pull the one man band trick. The result is a fully realized production, not just a set of well recorded demos. Here’s how the album is described in the book The MOJO Collection (The Greatest Albums of All Time):
“Rhodes took classic Beatles motifs and made them his own: Abbey Road guitar, McCartney upper register bass lines, and the familiar call and response harmonies of “Hello Goodbye”.”
So in addition to the previously mentioned “Live”, the other SotW is “Somebody Made for Me”, from Emitt Rhodes – the album MOJO calls “The best LP Paul McCartney never made.”
Enjoy… until next week.