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marvin

The First Four Albums...Prove Me Wrong

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marvin   

In my opinion, the first four albums by Raspberries stand up as well as any first four albums by most major groups from the 1960's / 1970's. Check out the first four albums by the groups I've selected below, and tell me if you think differently about "Raspberries", "Fresh", "Side 3", and "Starting Over".

Of course every one of the groups mentioned below went on to compose incredibly memorable songs, and secure their respective places in rock and roll history, but based on their first four albums, I’d say that Eric deserves equal recognition as a songwriter to the hallowed names below. I've included some of the more popular tunes from each of the albums.

THE ROLLING STONES

1. The Rolling Stones ("Tell Me")
2. 12 x 5
3. The Rolling Stones No.2
4. The Rolling Stones, Now ("Heart Of Stone")

• Like many U.K. groups in the 1960's, the Stones' first four albums were littered with cover songs.

THE BEATLES

1. Please Please Me ("I Saw Her Standing There"; "Please Please Me"; "Love Me Do"; "Twist And Shout")
2. With The Beatles ("It Won't Be Long"; "All I've Go To Do"; "All My Loving")
3. A Hard Day's Night ("A Hard Day's Night"; "If I Fell"; "Tell Me Why"; "Can't Buy Me Love")
4. Beatles For Sale ("No Reply"; "I'm A Loser"; "Baby's In Black"; "Eight Days A Week")

• By their third U.S. release, the Beatles really kicked it into gear, cutting back on the covers and focusing on original tunes.

THE EAGLES

1. Eagles ("Take It Easy"; "Witchy Woman"; "Peaceful Easy Feeling")
2. Desperado ("Desperado"; "Tequila Sunrise")
3. On The Border ("Already Gone"; "The Best Of My Love")
4. One Of These Nights ("One Of these Nights"; "Lyin' Eyes"; "Take It To The Limit")

• The Eagles wrote or co-wrote just about every track on their first four albums.

THE WHO

1. My Geneneration ("My Generation"; "The Kids Are Alright")
2. Happy Jack ("Happy Jack"; "Boris The Spider")
3. The Who Sell Out ("I Can See For Miles")
4. Tommy ("Pinball Wizard"; "I'm Free")

• A mishmash of songs, some hits and some misses.

THE BEACH BOYS

1. Surfin' Safari ("Surfin' Safari"; "409"; "Surfin'")
2. Surfin' USA ("Surfin' USA"; "Shut Down";
3. Surfer Girl ("Surfer Girl"; "Catch A Wave"; "Little Deuce Coupe"; "In My Room";
4. Little Deuce Coupe ("Little Deuce Coupe"; "Be True To Your School"; "409" "Shut Down")

• A couple of these releases were compilations or combinations of other releases.

THE KINKS

1. The Kinks ("You Really Got Me"; "Stop Your Sobbing")
2. Kinda Kinks ("Tired Of Waiting For You")
3. The Kink Kontroversy (no major hits)
4. Face To Face ("Sunny Afternoon")

• Much like the Who's first few releases, some hits and some misses.

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Kirk   

Marv, you obviously put some time and thought on this.

That's some pretty stiff competition!

Funny, though. If you remember the early days of this message board, I was expounding on the 'genius' that is Eric's songwriting. Who used to give me grief? YOU! Every time I used the 'g' word and Eric in the same sentence, the debate was on! I miss those days :)

Can't disagree with your assessment, however. Eric puts more quality tunes on an album than just about any other artist. No filler, no 'b' sides.

Glad to see you finally saw the light ;) Great post!

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angelina   

marvin......thanks for a VERY interesting subject indeed.(as usual).

I'll have a cup of coffee and think about this. Two concerns regarding this comparison would be.....cover songs (as you mentioned) and the overall timeframe for the four albums. Back in the day...artists would churn out an album every few months whereas Raspberries had four albums over the course of three years.

Still....a very interesting subject.

John

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marvin   
Kirk said:

...If you remember the early days of this message board, I was expounding on the 'genius' that is Eric's songwriting. Who used to give me grief? YOU! Every time I used the 'g' word and Eric in the same sentence, the debate was on! I miss those days :)

Hi Kirk. I guess if you took a look at the total body of work of these artists, it would be tough to put anyone close to Lennon, McCartney, Wilson, Jagger-Richards, etc., or for that matter, even songwriters like Paul Simon and Neil Diamond.

For the purposes of this discussion I chose (arguably) the most popular UK bands and US bands, using the first four albums as a measuring stick, because four albums were all that the 'berries produced. The UK groups (Beatles, Stones, Who & Kinks) filled their first four albums with covers. Once they found their groove and did their own writing, there was no holding them back.

The Eagles first four albums were more balanced than the Beach Boys' first four albums, which had a combination of everything.

I think Raspberries first four albums stand up against these artists' first four albums. Obviously you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone beyond the members of this board who'd agree with this statement, but I think if you played all of these albums for the listener, they'd have a hard time disagreeing.

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marvin   
hollies65 said:

I'll go with the first four Beatle albums. I don't think those are the first four Stones records.

The first couple of Beatles albums had many covers, albeit very well done. Same with the Stones' first few albums. As far as the Stones album releases, the albums listed were the UK releases. Here are the US releases:

1. England's Newest Hitmakers ("Not Fade Away")
2. 12 x 5
3. The Rolling Stones #2
4. The Rolling Stones, Now

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James   

I'm going to break out of the 4 album restriction (sorry).

If you consider Eric's 10 studio albums (4 Raspberries, 6 solo), I'll rate him as a songwriter over any of the individuals in those bands. That's my opinion.

The Eagles are my favorite of the bands mentioned, and it would be hard to find a better catalog than their 7 albums. The Eagles songwriting was out of this world good. But taken as individuals, not one of the Eagles can hold a candle to Eric as a songwriter.

For my taste, the only rivals to Eric as a songwriter would be Neil Diamond, Barry Gibb, Jeff Lynne, David Gates and Elton John. And I'd put Eric ahead of these guys.

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marvin   
hollies65 said:

The Beatles first four records are chock full of GREAT original songs. Beatles take this competition...IMO.

I guess it depends which albums qualify as their 'official' first four albums. I know that the first couple had many covers.

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MJ   

James "you're outta your head" ala the Stones album name :P

I'd put the Stones and Lennon/McCartney way above Neil Diamond, Jeff Lynne and Elton John - the reason - they all wrote within their certain box - never quite expanding beyond their hit formulas; at least not in the early days, whereas the Stones and The Beatles ventured forward out of their "box" - doing pretty much ground-breaking lyrics and new ideas into the formula of writing and music.

Just my little old opinion.. Sorry Marv for the lack of punctuation lol.

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GMan   

By 1972...it was ALL ABOUT original material...and I think The 4 Raspberries albums hold up extremely well against the others mentioned.

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Thanks for your votes of confidence, guys, but Don Henley is a brilliant writer (although, he DOES get some pretty serious help from J.D. Souther, Glenn Frey, Jackson Browne, etc).

John Lennon was mighty good in his heyday as well. Of course, having Paul McCartney sitting next to you when you run into a little problem doesn't hurt either.

And you guys know how I feel about Brian Wilson. I just wonder where Tony Asher came from. He seemed to just magically appear one day.

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marvin   

Ok let's leave the Eagles out for a second since for the most part Henley-Frey wrote all the material on their first four albums, with assistance here and there from Souther and Browne. The only cover songs (off the top of my head) were "Ol 55" and "Outlaw Man" from "One The Border" and "Desperado", respectively.

The Raspberries first four albums had only original tunes, whereas the albums by Beatles, Stones, Beach Boys, the Who and Kinks had many covers. It would be foolhardy to dismiss or diminish the work of Lennon, McCartney, etc, but I guess the point I am trying to make here is judge the Raspberries four albums as a whole against the first four albums as a whole, of the others.

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'It Won't Be Long...'All I've Got To Do'...'Please Please Me'...'I Saw her Standing There'...Things We Said Today'...'If I Fell'...'Hard Days Night' 'This Boy'...I Don't Want To Spoil The Party'...'I should Have Known Better'...'Baby's In Black' ...'No Reply'...I'm Happy Just To Dance With You'...'And I Love Her'...I'll stop there. Unbelievable.

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marvin   
hollies65 said:

'It Won't Be Long...'All I've Got To Do'...'Please Please Me'...'I Saw her Standing There'...Things We Said Today'...'If I Fell'...'Hard Days Night' 'This Boy'...I Don't Want To Spoil The Party'...'I should Have Known Better'...'Baby's In Black' ...'No Reply'...I'm Happy Just To Dance With You'...'And I Love Her'...I'll stop there. Unbelievable.

Steve it depends on what you classify as the Beatles first four albums. There's no denying that by their third album and with the "A Hard Day's Night" album the Beatles were way ahead of the pack, but the first couple albums had many covers. No covers on any Raspberries albums.

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A fascinating topic I feel The Raspberries first four albums had the PERFECT BALANCE of MUSICIANSHIP where there is a maxium effort of quailty songs There is no dropoff from album to album Just a sensational flow of great songs

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marvin   

James and I are probably the biggest Eagles fans here. I also would put Henley-Frey among the upper echelon of song writers. I think pretty much everyone on this board are fans of the Beatles. The songwriting of L&M is in a class by itself - once it got going. Same applies to Jagger-Richard, Daltrey-Townsend, Davies, Wilson, etc., but for the most part these songwriting pairs didn't kick into gear and the covers didn't stop until the 3rd or 4th albums.

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James   

And the Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner songs that made it onto the albums were as good as the Frey-Henley stuff. That first Eagles line-up was a song-writing dynamo..

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marvin   
James said:

And the Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner songs that made it onto the albums were as good as the Frey-Henley stuff. That first Eagles line-up was a song-writing dynamo..

I would agree that the original Eagles band (Henley, Frey, Meisner and Leadon) were the best, but the addition of Felder took them over the top. It also made them an un-workable unit.

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angelina   

Okay..I had my coffee earlier...my chores are done..in fact I'm having a cold Corona right now and I believe I'm thinking clearly....for now. I'm leaning toward the Beatles here. Gee it must suck to come in second to the Beatles! LOL

I will tell you though....many of ec's lyrics with Raspberries and solo are incredibly underrated for their maturity whilst he was still a young pup.

John

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marvin   

I can't deny the Beatles output, even though they included many covers among their albums. Second place, if it must be, to the Beatles is quite an accomplishment. I have another topic up for discussion, coming soon.

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the raspberries emerged on the scene when metal was emerging..that's tough..but they did it there own way,and that's gutsy,yet alone did their own songs and no covers..i think overall,the beatles rule,hard to argue that one,the berries should have been much bigger than they were..as many other bands should have been,but the raspberries have made somewhat of a comeback to peoples ears since the reunion and have gained new respect..and that's all good as far as i see it..let's pray for a new studio release for them..if it happens,they will get their due respect,i have no doubts about this..lol,chris

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Mitch   

Marv...what a great post. I've really given alot of thought to this & have to say while it would be very easy to say The Beatles, I can't. Simply going by the first four albums, There is no doubt in my mind...It's Raspberries !!

In my own very humble opinion...All four of The Raspberries Albums were simply brilliant. And with each one, they got better.

Like everyone else here, I would have loved to have seen where they would have gone had they stayed together.

Peace...

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