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marvin

The First Four Albums...Prove Me Wrong

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James   

I'm sure most thought some of Stephen Foster's songs (written in the 1800s) were silly, and wouldn't last past a generation. But we're still singing "Way Down Upon The Swawnee River....." 150 years later. The same could be said for Woody Guthrie.

But good is good, and great is great. I say they'll be listening to "Sail On Sailor", "God Only Knows", "Wouldn't It Be Nice", "Heroes & Villains", "Sloop John B" and "In My Room" in the year 2060.

And I (James) will still look marelous..

:D

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marvin   
Lew Bundles said:

Who else covers "God Only Knows?"...Its not a standard...Good songs arent great...

While certainly not in the huge numbers of "Something" or "Yesterday", there are a few hundred cover versions of "God Only Knows." "GOK" is also a much tougher song to tackle than the other two songs.

For what it's worth, Mojo Magazine ranked the song as the "13th greatest song of all time." Pitchfork Media named it "the best song of the 1960s", and it is ranked 25th on Rolling Stone's list of the "500 greatest songs of all time."

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marvin   
TOMMY TUNES said:

I would rank the first four albums by Queen very high myself.

Yes those are amazing as well, as are Springsteen's and the Byrds and ____________, but for the purposes of this discussion, I chose what I thought were the biggest UK (Stones, Beatles, Who, Kinks) and US (Eagles & Beach Boys) bands.

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As much as I love the Raspberries first 4 albums, I would also throw in the following groups: Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Heart, KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, and Van Halen. The first 4 albums by all of these artists were excellent and influenced countless bands in their particular genre. I'm sure there are lots of others.

Tim

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marvin   
Tim From Wisconsin said:

Sorry to go off on a tangent there Marvin, but I think the floodgates are open on this thread. ;)

Tim

We needed to set some boundaries / parameters but, yeah I know what you mean.

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JohnO   

Marv - If your point is simply stating that, had every band on the planet split up or dissolved after 4 albums, Raspberries would have been perhaps the very best band ever...then I think you're preaching to the choir here at ec.com!

On countless other music boards over the past decade, though, I've seen similar statements made for a band's/artist's debut album (Moby Grape, Guns'n'Roses, Boston), first 2 albums (The Stooges, Dwight Twilley, 13th Floor Elevators), first 3 albums (Buffalo Springfield, The Clash, The Ramones), first 4 albums (Artful Dodger, Raspberries, The Byrds, The Saints), and so on and so on.....

In your first post here, you're doing an apples vs. oranges thing, though, comparing a band like Raspberries against a bunch of acts who, for the most part, peaked later in their recording careers. (The Who & Eagles both, IMO, peaked early...the rest a little bit later). A closer comparison might be The Dave Clark Five, who recorded their first 6 albums in less than 3 years, had a bunch of great hit singles (and they were better known for their singles than for their albums), and were gone in about 4 years.

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marvin   

John I did mention that most of the bands that I listed went on to greater heights, but just for the sake of argument, I wanted to get peoples' opinions of the first four albums of those bands compared to the 'berries first (and only) four.

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See what happens when I leave the board?

Bottomline, cover versions have nothing to do with musical genius or a song's greatness.

Beach Boy songs are just a tougher nut to crack for most singers.

I could go on about Brian's chord progression...they are FAR outside the realm of pop music at the time of their release. Once again 'Warmth Of The Sun for instance...musicians on the board will back me up that the chord progression that starts the song, A C major to a A minor supporting the phrase "What good is the dawn" followed by a E flat major and a C minor underlying the words, "That grows into" could be an extenstion of the first phrase...but in another key, the exact tone center is not obvious. The linkage to the pairs, the A minor to the E flat major, is an extrodinary move that wouldn't be out of place in jazz harmony, or a Four Freshmen arrangement, but is virtually unheard of in popular music. This is 1963 folks.

The sequence of descending fifths in the bassline leading from the refrain to the beginning of the next verse [A-D-G-C] resembles the bassline of a doo wop progessionin the key of C, although in a pure doo wop progression the A and D chords would be minor, not major. What Brian has done, in other words is unfold a kind of long range doo wop varient over the entire verse and refrain, starting with the unusual interplay of C major and C minor at the beginning, and eventually continuing to the A,D,G and C chords in the refrain and the beginning of the next verse. The progression back to and arrival at C provides the comfort and stability that at first, in the song seemed so elusive. Genius.

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JohnO   

"John I did mention that most of the bands that I listed went on to greater heights, but just for the sake of argument, I wanted to get peoples' opinions of the first four albums of those bands compared to the 'berries first (and only) four."

Understood, but it's still apples versus oranges, considering most of the acts you decided to choose for comparison (Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks, Beach Boys) were all young kids in their very first bands, as far as recording anything....unlike being in, let's say, Cyrus Eire or The Choir prior to recording their first 4 albums. Raspberries were much further along the learning curve, and their albums were consequently more advanced at the time than the earliest LPs of the other bands (Eagles, who had Leadon & Meisner, excluded).....

Now, comparing them to The Byrds, who used the best LA studio aces for their debut LP, and had Dylan's blessing to use his songs, isn't exactly fair, either......IMO, each of these acts stands on their own, and I'm still wondering what the point of any comparisons is....(other than the board gets boring as Hell when it's been over a year since the band's played anywhere, and we're reduced to playing games with idiotic lists published in various mags, or arguing about The Beatles versus The Beach Boys, etc.........)

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marvin   
JohnO said:

IMO, each of these acts stands on their own, and I'm still wondering what the point of any comparisons is....(other than the board gets boring as Hell when it's been over a year since the band's played anywhere, and we're reduced to playing games with idiotic lists published in various mags, or arguing about The Beatles versus The Beach Boys, etc.........)

Bingo! I'd rather talk about music anyday, thanks.

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JohnO said:

( IMO, each of these acts stands on their own, and I'm still wondering what the point of any comparisons is....(other than the board gets boring as Hell when it's been over a year since the band's played anywhere, and we're reduced to playing games with idiotic lists published in various mags, or arguing about The Beatles versus The Beach Boys, etc.........)

...or Playing TOMMY TUNES' New Sesame Street

Game ...or talking politics...or fighting with fellow board members ...or calling Dianed or writing her to complain about TOMMY'S constant posting of After The Prelude video by The Ad Hoc Band because the complainer has nothing better to do than to cause trouble and aggravate Dianed like she's getting paid to do this job. Yes we'd all (myself included) prefer to be talking about an upcoming concert or new CD by Eric or Raspberries.

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