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LC

Great Moments in EC.com History #3

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For those of us who admired the compositions, performances, and creativity of music's all-time underrated band, Raspberries, and leader Eric Carmen, the mere appearance of this site was a kick. And when Eric himself joined in the fun on the bulletin board, it was even more of a thrill. The "personal touch" of an artist we've spent hundreds or thousands of hours listening to made the board a must-visit place for quite a while.

Among the most memorable threads started by Eric was one that turned up on March 10, 2006: "A Short History of the Popular Song, or, Why Today's Music Sucks (Mostly)."

Pure gold! Why? Because Eric dug in on his inspirations and recited influences that were more broad that some of us may have known. Yes, the Beatles, Beach Boys, Small Faces, and the Who are well-known as Raspberries influences. But it was enlightening to read about the inspiration Eric drew from Hoagy Carmichael, the Gershwins, and Cole Porter, and how those luminaries influenced others who inspired Lennon & McCartney, Brian Wilson, and other '60s songwriters.

From Eric: "The golden age of the song gave way to the golden age of the technical virtuoso. First it was guitar solos (Hendrix, Clapton, Beck and Page) then it was any instrument (Ian Anderson, Jim Capaldi etc.). Music was now based on a "riff" rather than a song. A great song is much harder to write than a great riff, so this development encouraged a million lesser talents who couldn't write a great song, but could play a guitar lick ala Jimmy Page, to start bands. The last decade of really good songwriting was the 70's as the musical offspring of the Beatles, Dylan, Who, Beach Boys, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, etc. who were also THE LAST GENERATION TO BE BORN AT THE END OF THE 40's AND TO HAVE ACTUALLY GROWN UP HEARING ALL THOSE GREAT SONGS ON THE RADIO IN THEIR PARENTS HOMES stepped up to the plate. "

And that's just in the thread-opening comment. Eight pages of musical discussion followed. It's fun to see some of the old regulars chime in with comments: Mellie, Ira, Skip from St. Paul, Pierson, Bob, Mymooladi, Seattlesteve, Paul Davie, MAM, PaulMaul, Trindy (remember Trindy?—really intelligent), and many others. 

Ultimately, this type of thread became the essence of the bulletin board's glory years—just good music discussion. And at the core: quality music. As Eric wrote:

"Here's my test for determining if a song is good or not. Sit down with an acoustic guitar or at the piano and play the song. If it doesn't work with one voice and one instrument, then it's not a good song. Period. Everything that happens after that is just icing on the cake. It has to work without the icing."

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