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LC

In Hindsight: 1984's Eric Carmen album (Geffen)

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marvin   

Excellent point, Marvin.

Also, on another note, if you look on the Forum page for these threads, this particular album (Geffen 1984) is getting way more views than the other Hindsight threads. Take a look:

That's Rock'n'Roll Forum

I wonder why that is? Maybe a lot of people never got it on CD (hence the high price of an original sealed CD pressing, per p. 1 of this thread) and are curious about it?

Or maybe it'll emerge as the favorite of Eric's solo albums? (I just put up a "Hindsight" thread where we can rank Eric's solo efforts....)

--LC

I know many have fault with the "Change of Heart" album, but it's the Geffen album that I've alway thought is the most mish-mash / confusing of all the solo albums. It just doesn't gel for me, and consists of too many (imo) throw-away tracks.

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LC   

I read your thoughts on the Geffen album, Marvin. No question that it's not a thematic record that hangs together (like Boats), or an inspired collection of fresh pop that works as a whole (like his first Arista album). But I do think the best five or six songs here are very strong, even if the lesser songs give the whole thing that "mishmash" effect you're hearing.

You got me thinking back to the era when the album was released. Remember that Arista had actually dropped Eric after Tonight You're Mine (mean!). After a couple of years of laying low, he signed with Geffen. Now, John Lennon had done his final recordings for Geffen just a few years earlier, but the label had more of a hard rock reputation despite the presence of the late, great Beatles legend.

Eric's point man at Geffen was John David Kalodner, who liked him and signed him even if he didn't fit the Geffen mold. From my understanding (and Eric can certainly correct me), Eric had a core of songs that would be the foundation of his Geffen album. But, as always (sigh), there was record label pressure that affected the final product. For example:

• Kalodner wanted Eric to rewrite "Go All the Way," which he wasn't crazy about doing (per quotes he gave me and comments he's made here).

• Kalodner brought him "Come Back to My Love," a song by Bob Gaudio, Jerry Corbetta, and John Bettis that Eric wouldn't have recorded on his own.

• Kalodner paired him up with a producer that Eric may or may not have chosen, Don Gehman. I honestly can't remember how Eric felt about working with Don; I don't think it was a Gus Dudgeon experience by any stretch, but he may not have been Eric's choice (or — who knows? — the best choice).

That pressure alone ended up affecting, what?, almost a third of the album. I'm not a recording artist, but I would think that you'd prefer that your record label give you carte blanche to do what you want, as opposed to making "suggestions." I would imagine that Eric didn't hear anything like this from Geffen: "Eric, nice to have you on our label. Get to it, call us if you hit any snags, and check in with us in six months to tell us how it's going and to let us know if you'll meet the deadline. Good luck."

Alas, there had to be give and take between artist and label, right?

Anyway, here's a passage from a 1988 feature story I did about Eric. Anyone who's not familiar with Eric's Geffen trial might enjoy....

"What happened with Geffen," said Eric Carmen, "was that I was signed to the label by John David Kalodner, who's still one of my favorite people in the music business. It had taken him about two years to get up the guts to sign me, because every artist he had ever signed to the label prior to me sounded, in his own words, like Sammy Hagar—power rock kinds of acts, a little harder than what I normally am, or at least what he perceived me to be."

But what attracted Kalodner to Carmen's music were two ballads, "She Remembered" and "I'm Through with Love."

"I remember sitting in Kalodner's office one day listening to a Sammy Hagar track, and it was the filthiest record I'd ever heard in my life. It was absolutely obscene—I liked it," Carmen laughs. "John looked over casually and said, 'It's amazing. Everyone I ever signed to the label sounds like this. And then, there's you.' He meant it as a great compliment. He had originally signed Journey and Hagar and Whitesnake and groups like that, so he couldn't quite figure out how I fit in.

"We spent $100,000 doing a video for "I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips," and it was disastrous and fortunately never saw the light of day. We also had shot a video for the second single, plus we'd spent a quarter of a million dollars just making the album. So before the record ever hit music stores, Geffen was already in for a half-million dollars.

"The first single shot up the charts—just shy of the Top 40—but Geffen suddenly stopped promoting the record. That was it—they weren't going to spend any more money on it. "

It wasn't long before the album dropped out of sight, Geffen dropped Carmen, and Carmen dropped out of music, retiring back to Cleveland.

Ironically, Carmen was nominated for a Grammy Award a year later. "Almost Paradise," a song he wrote with lyricist Dean Pitchford for the movie Footloose, cracked the Top 10 and was one of four singles up for Best Song of the Year in 1985.

The success of Almost Paradise" encouraged Carmen to continue writing while avoiding the rock scene. (One exception: a song he wrote and recorded, "The Rock Stops Here," to promote his native Cleveland as the home of the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame). But sometime in 1987, Carmen's former producer, Jimmy lenner, called and asked whether Eric would be interested in recording a song for a new movie.

None of that is to say that you should "love" the Geffen album, Marv — it's just to revisit the climate surrounding the making of the record and how it likely caused the mishmash you hear.

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marvin   

For me the bar had been raised with "Tonight You're Mine", which I thought was a great album. The Geffen album, as a result, was a disappointment to me.

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LC   

Certainly if Tonight You're Mine had found success in the form of a couple or three Top 10 hits and caught on with the music-buying public, Arista might have re-upped Eric. There's no accounting for tastes, though. confused But, it is what it --- and sometimes, it hurts too much.

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marvin   

Certainly if Tonight You're Mine had found success in the form of a couple or three Top 10 hits and caught on with the music-buying public, Arista might have re-upped Eric. There's no accounting for tastes, though. confused But, it is what it --- and sometimes, it hurts too much.

Yes and I clearly remember when our local FM 'rock' station previewed "Tonight You're Mine", playing (in order) "You Need Some Loving", "Inside Story" and "It Hurts Too Much." I felt rejuvenated that Eric was back singing as strong as I'd ever heard him, and bring back his 'rock' voice.

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Contains one of my favorite songs, but half just doesn't measure up to what I have come to expect from Eric. "She Remembered" has grown on me a bit, but I mostly share Marvin's opinion of it. It will never get higher than B-. Sorry Eric & Bernie!

1. The Way We Used To Be A+

2. American As Apple Pie A

3. I'm Through With Love A-

4. I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips B+

5. She Remembered B-

6. Maybe My Baby C

7. Spotlight C

8. You Took Me All The Way C-

9. Living Without Your Love C-

10. Come Back To My Love C-

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LC   

Contains one of my favorite songs, but half just doesn't measure up to what I have come to expect from Eric. "She Remembered" has grown on me a bit, but I mostly share Marvin's opinion of it. It will never get higher than B-. Sorry Eric & Bernie!

1. The Way We Used To Be A+

2. American As Apple Pie A

3. I'm Through With Love A-

4. I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips B+

5. She Remembered B-

6. Maybe My Baby C

7. Spotlight C

8. You Took Me All The Way C-

9. Living Without Your Love C-

10. Come Back To My Love C-

I like the A to F grading system, Craig. (Actually, I should say A+ to C- grading system. :-)

Of course, now I have to amend mine.... Hmm, will I be a tougher grader?

1. She Remembered A

2. I'm Through With Love A

3. I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips A

4. The Way We Used to Be A

5. Living Without Your Love B

6. American As Apple Pie B

7. Spotlight B

8. You Took Me All the Way B-

9. Come Back to My Love C

10. Maybe My Baby C

I hope no one noticed that I flipped Nos. 2 and 3 from my original list....

Seriously, shouldn't Streisand take a stab at the following? I'm no Streisand fan, but I think she'd "slay it," as they say, even today.

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Great job with these topics LC...

This album contains the ultimate relationship breakup suicide inducers in: "I'M Through With Love" and "The Way We Used To Be"...If you have or are in a breakup inevitable situation, dont close the lights and listen to these two...Tough ones to take

They are one ane two on my list...

3. I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips...The 1st time I put this LP on, I started to cringe...As soon as this song started, I thought, "Oh my God, I spent years bashing Springsteen and one of my favorites is covering one of his songs...It took me a few seconds to realize it wasnt a Bruce cover...

4. She Remembered

5. You Took Me All The Way

6. American As Apple Pie

7. Living Without Your Love

8. Maybe My Baby

9. Come Back To My Love

10.Spotlight-(This, Marathon Man, and You Need Some Lovin') make up the unholiest of trinities for me...

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It DRIVES ME CRAZY wondering if Babs or Celine have ever actually heard those top 3 Carmen-written ballads on the Geffen album? BAM! They are such perfect covers to put on their next CDs. We should be pro-active and link the youtubes to emails to their managers and/or website forums...

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James   

I can hear Whitney Houston belting those out. She´s got a stronger voice and would have likely respected and kept to the melody.

When you have a perfect melody, you stay within that melody, IMHO. Too many of the Divas want to put their own 2 cents into songs that don´t need their 2 cents.

Anyway..

1. The Way We Used To Be - A+

2. I´m Through With Love - A+

3. I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips - A+

4. She Remembered - A-

5. The rest - Cs

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My turn... and first, I want to point out that, according to this site's own multimedia section "Living Without Your Love" was written by Michael Bolton/Doug James, not Eric... not a bad song, but not part of any of Eric's ballad-writing-spree's. laugh

Yeah LC, I love American As Apple Pie. It should have been released as a single... what a great summer-time hit it would have been. I was in the Navy when EC/GEFFEN came out and played it incessantly in the office where I worked... I'd often get told to "turn down" my tape deck, but when AAAP came on, I'd get shouts to "turn that one up!" Even buddies who'd ride with me off-base would ask me to put that on... it was that catchy and cool, a very pro-America feel; something that military members really appreciated at the time... Maybe it's just "bad luck" that we weren't at war then, or it could have become an anthem...

I enjoy a few other songs from that album too... I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips is an on again/off again pleasure, I'm Through With Love is a promise I should have made many, many times I'm afraid... Maybe My Baby was different and cool, and of course another "crossover" chance for Eric to find a new audience... Spotlight I really enjoy, has sort of a "Play On" feel to it...

Guess I should "rank" since as I peruse these lists I notice everybody else is... laugh

1. American As Apple Pie

2. Spotlight

3. Maybe My Baby

4. come Back To My Love

5. She Remembered

6. Livin' Without Your Love

7. I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips

8. I'm Through With Love

9. You Took Me All The Way

10. The Way We Used To Be

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I didn't know Paulie wasn't a ballad-lover...till today crying

I'm not saying that I don't enjoy Eric's ballad's Tony... On some of these albums the distance between first and last place can be a pittance... But more often than not, when I'm listening to these CD's, I'm driving... and I prefer more uptempo fare when I'm behind the wheel... Not to mentions I seriously believe that, despite the success of ABM and the popularity of several other ballads, Eric's career would have been prolonged on the charts had he focused more on more songs like American As Apple Pie and fewer like I'm Through With Love... Certainly just my opinion, obviously Eric and those who had his ear at the time felt otherwise... plus of course I work with hindsight as an asset... laugh

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Eric is a genius because he can write and perform in "rock" and "swoon" mode, at an equal high-talent level. With Eric,...we didn't have to choose. But it will always be his ballads that are deeper and move me a bit more...since I am such a sensitive, delicate Nancy Boy like Kirk...and Steve.

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Kirk   

I am a lot like both of you...sensitive, caring, just as soon kick your butt as talk to you- yeah, that's me wink

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For me, it would be:

1. Spotlight (That high G that Eric hit in the finale did it for me!) wink

2. She Remembered

3. I Wanna Hear It from Your Lips

4. I'm Through with Love

5. American As Apple Pie

6. You Took Me All the Way

7. Maybe My Baby

8. The Way We Used to Be

9. Come Back to My Love

10. Living without Your Love

I had to put the covers on the bottom of the list, although all ten are enjoyable (at worst) in some way, shape, or form. I heard #3 watching "Solid Gold" at age 20 and was like, "Cool! The return of Eric Carmen!" Heard #4 shortly after. Finally got the album!

BMP

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Don H   

It's funny about albums (CD's). Eric Carmen has been spoiling his fans for 40 years with so many great songs on every album. Most albums from bands have 2 maybe three really good songs on their albums and that's considered successful. Eric and The Raspberries could have made five albums out of just their initial album, that contained so many quality songs on one album. I really like the Geffen album and think it has great writing and melody, and "I'm through With Love" by Eric would be worth the whole thing for me anyway.

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I would rank "The Way We Used To Be" in my top five songs that I've ever written.

The actual recording was my one-take, piano-voice demo. We overdubbed the strings.

Rounding out my top five would be "Boats Against The Current", "Nowhere To Hide", "She Remembered" (another one-take, piano-voice demo used as the master ) and, maybe, "Run Away" ( the first vocal I ever recorded with Val Garay ). It was one take. We were testing the mic, and Val pushed the 'record' button. Seven minutes later, he said "You just sang the vocal of your life!" It was the first time I'd ever had the right mic put in front of me, an old Neumann tube

U47. It sounded so great in my headphones that I was inspired to sing as well as I have ever sung. One take. Couldn't have sung it better. Val was pretty impressed. I never knew how much of a difference a microphone could make, until then.

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Kirk   

Eric, could you please clarify something...the 5 songs you just listed- are those your 5 favorite compositions or your 5 favorite one-take vocal recordings? Thanks!

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marlene   

SO happy to see "Nowhere to Hide" in your top five list, Eric! It's been one of my favorites for a long, long time !! smile

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