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Brian Mac

I Can Remember

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I've alway wondered what the inspiration was for this song. Was it about a particular girl or relationship? Did you sit down and write it as a complete piece or did you put it together in sections over time? How did your bandmates and The Tooth react when you first played it for them?

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Hi Brian, It's nice to talk to you again, and, by the way, I did catch your question about "Try." Did you say you had a recording of it? That's incredible! I sort of remember it, but not that clearly as it must be 36 years since I last played that song. My recollection is that it was a pretty cool little tune in a sort of "Pictures Of Lily" way.

I think "I Can Remember" was always intended as an "epic" so I believe it was written piece by piece but always with the idea of putting it together ala "Bohemian Rhapsody." Wally, Dave and Jim liked it when I brought it in, although Jim didn't like the drum rave-up during the last choruses at the time. I've always enjoyed experimenting, pairing disparate elements like Keith Moon's drumming at the end of "My Generation" with an orchestral piano ballad and Beach Boys backing vocals just to see what happens. I remember watching the Choir play "My Generation" and thinking what a great job Jim did on it. I think I always had that it the back of my mind when I conceived the arrangement. It was supposed to be me on piano, with The Who playing, the Beach Boys singing, and a symphony. Pretty ambitious stuff for a bunch of twenty-year-olds! It actually ended up being kind of uncomfortably close to "prog rock" for me. It wasn't about anyone in particular. Like most of my songs, it was a composite. ec

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Brian   

Hi Eric...I'M the Brian that asked the "Try" question...I'm also the Brian that use to meet up with you & Marty at JB's and called you from Minneapolis,MN...anyways,no, I presently do not have "Try", although I'm still seeking it out,but I remember it as a "Communication Breakdown" clone...EEEEEEEEE,D,A..it was rockin!!

Maybe I'll see ya around the east side someday!!

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Your probably right about" Communication Breakdown." I went through my Led Zep period around 1969, I think. Danny Klawon's influence, I suspect. "Try" would have been a logical outgrowth of that period. Sorry about the 'Brian mix-up." ec

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It was epic and sweeping and beautiful on every level. It will aways be one of my favorites along with Let's Pretend.

Eric, I'm going to take a crack at the mix CD as well (along with the famous Mr P). It seems I spend half my life searching for just the kind of music you are looking to "sink your teeth into." I think I can provide a 9 course meal on a single CD. Will forward to Bernie. If you want a CD of Mccartney's best unreleased stuff included, let me know. There are some unbelievable Gems like "Return To Pepperland" most people have never heard. I think you would enjoy immensely!

MAC

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I said this elsewhere but I think Fresh and Side 3 needed the more experimental epic Carmen number like I Can Remember and Overnight Sensation. Fresh was especially well suited to having a longer experimental number. With all its shorter duration numbers, it would have been a curveball that was unexpected and would have balanced the shorter numbers. Like Brian Mac, wondering about the inspirations? Theres some Jim Webb in there somewhere? That unusual bizaare bridge of transitional notes , so well captured in reunion performances, was an absolute dynamite moment in that song IMHO.

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Seems to me that "Try" and "Instant Replay" were both Cyrus Erie songs in the WHO mode from around 1968 -69 era. I wish someone had recorded those performances at the Hullaballoos. Those were some great shows.

"And when you realy nedd it the most... that's when Rock-N-Roll dreams come through."

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Robin23   

I love "I Can Remember"...it is so detailed and intricate. It takes me so many places. I have so many feelings as I listen to that song. It's so awesome. I never get tired of hearing it.

Question: Where do this song rate on all your accomplishments? On a scale of 1-10 (ten being the top) I give it a 10.5.

Have a nice weekend.

Robin

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LC   

I concur. Those "surprising musical changes" (as the liner notes to Raspberries Best put it) have always been a thrill, and right on.

I still find it hard to believe a 20- or 21-year-old could write such an engaging piece of music with so much build-up and tension and wistful lyrics.... After reading this thread, I have no choice but to put it on....

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ira   

I gotta take a minute to state the obvious."I Can Remember",live,on the "Magical Mystery Reunion Tour"-HOB, Chicago , Jan.,2005, my first live "Raspberries" or "Eric Carmen show". Waddya kiddin' me?-UNBELIEVABLE!!!-Ira.

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I think if we'd recorded it on our third studio album instead of our first, the results might have been better. It really was an extremely ambitious undertaking for a young band. I think it sounds better now because it's being played with confidence. That first album was pretty nerve-racking and I think everyone was a little bit worried that we wouldn't be able to pull it off. Jimmy and Shelly were just finding their way as well. I don't know the exact dates, but it seems to me we probably started the recording of Side 3 only a year or so after the first album. We were a bit more seasoned by then. ec

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LC   

Eric, I've just never heard any nerves on that song, and I've listened to it I-don't-know-how-many-times since around 1975, when I "discovered" it on my sister's pungent-smelling copy of that first album. It would have been cool to hear it recorded during the Side 3 era, too, but... the original has an appeal that makes it a classic, at least to me!

Of course, you were there, so you hear things that no one else does.... But if that were the only recording you'd ever did, I'd say you "made it."

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That song is how I discovered Raspberries in the first place. Not "Go All The Way." They played it one day on WNEW here in New York, but of course they never tell you who it is. I couldn't get through to the radio station, so I headed down to the Town and Country Music Store on my bike. Nobody there knew anything but they had this humongous yellow book called a PhonoLog. I looked it up and of course there were a whole bunch of "I Can Remembers listed. I took a shot at Raspberries because it was the most recently released. I went home and must have played that song 20 times. Just couldn't get over it. To me, it sounded like something that might have been on side two of Abbey Road if Mozart had been one of the Fab Four.

Years later I would get a similar feeling when a more mature Eric blew me away with Runaway. But that's a story for another thread...

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darlene   
I always listened to WNEW and your saying "of course they didn't say who it was" really struck a chord. I could never remember what song I was hearing the first time I heard Raspberries, but I knew it was a ballad. It must have been ICR. I didn't have a PhoneLog, but fortunately I heard that magic blend of voices on the jukebox at the club I went to that night, and raced over and found out who they were.

:) --Darlene

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susana   

OK, you guys...everyone (and I mean everyone) who is a member here either knows or should know how I feel about this song....!!

While I understand what Eric is saying about how ambitious a song "I can Remember" was for a first album, I also think that is part of what makes it so memorable. It left room for a simplicity that in many aspects would have been eliminated in a version recorded later in the life of the band. That is the component that made it accessible to everyone: professional musicians, student musicians, pop music aficionados, and even the casual listeners who had a few extra minutes to pay attention.

To this day, it is one of those songs that commands my attention every time I hear it. I kid you not, I am transfixed each time it begins, and my reaction - while strikingly similar each time - is different each time. (I still blush a tad when I think of Stevie's comment about the look on my face when the band started playing it at the Chicago show - he got what it means to me. And, btw, where is Stevie? I miss seeing him here!)) Musicians will know what I mean about the internal feeling...the place it takes you to when you really immerse yourself in it...

It totally embodies and reinforces what Eric said in another thread about (and I am SO paraphrasing here!) the melody being key...that a song has to stand on its melody or it doesn't stand at all...

I never tire of hearing it...in fact, I have been known to make "dates" to listen to it...I'm stopping now, I really am...but you get the picture...: )

S*

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Susana,

It's been awhile since I've read you on this board. You keep everyone waiting and deliver a gem. Hope all is well. This song has always been special to me.

Don't be a stranger.

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