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Posts posted by PaulMaul

  1. I don't remember if this was covered in the book but here's my take. Back in the 40's and 50's we had guys like Hoagy Carmichael, George and Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter and a they inspired Henry Mancini and Burt Bacharach and Hal David and Rodgers and Hammerstein, and then they inspired Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and they ALL inspired Lennon and McCartney, Holland, Dozier and Holland, Brian Wilson and all the great songwriters of the 60's. The song was king. And then FM radio happened. And instead of playing great songs, they were getting high and playing great solos. 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. I don't think it's an accident that Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and I were all born in 1949. Elton is a couple of years older, I think. I'm not trying to equate myself with those guys on the success meter (they win) but to point out that the guys I consider to be the last of the really inspired songwriters are now all in their mid fifties. Why? Because when solos and riffs became more important than songs the whole game changed. It paved the way for Metallica and Poison and Warrant to became they guys that the next generation wanted to emulate. And they didn't need to be great songwriters. As each new generation gets farther away from great songwriting, the music continues to deteriorate. There's a whole generation of musicians out there now that never heard the Beatles. Their parents were playing Jethro Tull records and listening to Guns and Roses on FM radio. There's one more thing. Each generation has to find music their parents hate. That's the rule. How many of your parents saw the Stones on Ed Sullivan and said "Oh, I really LIKE THESE GUYS!" The problem is, if you parents grew up on Alice Cooper, how do top that? MARILYN MANSON! If your parents grew up and the Temptations and Earth, Wind and Fire, how do you rebel? FITTY CENT! Now we're talkin'! My old man HATES this stuff! BRING IT ON!!! And the next step down from hits based on great songs, to hits based on great riffs is....HITS BASED ON A GOOD BEAT. No music necessary! Just a computer generated drum and percussion groove or better yet, A SAMPLE OF A GOOD GROOVE RECORDED BY SOMEONE ELSE WHO COULD ACTUALLY PLAY. WHY LEARN TO PLAY OR WRITE WHEN YOU CAN SAMPLE SOMEONE ELSE? WHY WASTE YOUR TIME? WHY STUDY GERSHWIN OR LEARN HOW TO SING("This sh*t is hard!") when I can just mumble a bunch of four letter words over a groove I just sampled and radio will play it and people will buy it! Now all this doesn't mean that there aren't any more good songwriters or that the occasional great song doesn't sneak onto the charts, but there's a lot less impetus these days to do the hard work. Daine Warren wrote some great songs in the 80's and 90's and there are others doing it today, but we just don't seem to be getting any new Brian Wilsons and Paul McCartneys do we? I sure do hope things turn around at some point, 'cause I shudder to think of what the NEXT step down might be. That's my rant for tonight. Glad I got that off my chest. e

    Man oh man, I missed a lot of good posts over the last four years.....

  2. Don't be so gullible! I've heard that Eric actually passed away after the "Side 3" album. The Raspberries knew this would spell curtains for the band, so they used a replacement. Notice on the cover of "Starting Over," Eric's picture is lower than those of the other members, symbolizing his burial.

    Also, the title of the album "Change of Heart" refers to the failed heart transplant that spelled the end.

    Come on, the clues are all there....

  3. Love this song, another perfect pop creation. In the middle part, where it says:

    "I've been tryin' every trick I know..."

    it sounds to me like the next line is:

    "..but she still wants him...." as opposed to she still "walks in," which is the way it appears both on this site and on the new 3-album collection.

    "Wants him" seems to make more sense and also rhymes better. What's the verdict?

  4. He writes the songs...which are uniformally great...and supplies beautiful and imaginitive basslines for them.Stuff that your boy from Rush could never...and has never come up with...

    I know you don't have the ability to separate your biases and preferences from an objective assessment, but I never give up hope. So, while Rush is nothing like the Beatles, I like to think this track contains some creative and imaginative (not to mention technically amazing) basslines:

  5. Reading some of these responses, you'd think I'd said the Beatles suck and McCartney is a hack. The Beatles are my favorite band. The only youtube videos I've posted on facebook in the last several months are by the Beatles and the Raspberries. I have immense love and respect for the Beatles and their music.

    The irony is, in some circles I travel in, I'm the one constantly defending and promoting the Beatles.

    The only reason this whole controversy began was because I thought a few things were interesting to consider and discuss:

    a.) what were different strengths musicians/performers/songwriters might or might not possess

    b.) which musicians had them all

    While it might seem like a meaningless distinction to some, there is a big difference between writing a part for an instrument and performing it. In classical music, there are extremely accomplished musicians who have never composed anything in their lives. Their strengths lie in aspects of performing: phrasing, technical mastery, whatever else.

    Granted, in rock music, the distinction is less obvious because so many are filling both roles. Writing an awesome bass part (say) for a song is arguably more important than performing it, as it requires more creativity. AS EC so eloquently pointed out recently, Paul McCartney writing an awesome bass part for "Day Tripper" would not in itself merit a writing credit, so we'd have to include this in arranging, or give it a separate category altogether. However you slice it, it has nothing to do with performing/playing.

    Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Pete Townshend may in fact, even strictly as performer/players, be top notch. If that's the way the majority feels, so be it. I'm really not interested in turning this into a negative/argument thread, I'm just interested in who people feel meet this lofty criterion.

  6. Scouring the internet for discussions of the "best bass players" solidifies my point. All of the praise Paul McCartney gets has to do with being "innovative," "melodic," etc. These are all attributes of his compositional skills. They have nothing to do with playing. Let's be precise in separating playing from composing.

  7. That's silly, a good guitar player can learn practically anything. BTW,you're the only person I've ever heard of with that description technically excellent.Your definition of technically excellent is silly. The world is full of excellent technical players.The beatles had 4 in their band. You may want to look up virtuoso in the dictionary.

    Sorry, I've lost you. "A good guitar player can learn practically anything." OK, then if you think Lennon is a good guitar player, do you think he could have learned complex classical pieces? I don't. I don't think he had the technical training.

    I don't understand why it's an insult to suggest that the Beatles weren't great technical players. They were flawless on almost every other level. Why can't Neil Peart be a better drummer than Ringo without it rocking everyone's world? The Beatles didn't need to be the best technical musicians to be arguably the best band ever.

    I just listened to "Rain." As expected it's a fantastic song. I don't hear anything from Paul that couldn't be duplicated by hundreds of bass players. Sorry, I don't see anything here that qualifies as virtuosity.

  8. Do you play anything?

    Let's see:



    Great Highland Bagpipe

    Look, it's all in how you define things. To me, if someone is a technically excellent player, then it would be difficult for other players to imitate their performance effectively. That's all I mean by technical excellence. Please, take composing and writing out of it, if you haven't.

  9. John was mainly a guitar player, and an excellent one at that...Paul is one of the best bass players ever.

    Listen, I love the Beatles, and I'm not trying to start an argument. But I hear all the time that Paul is one of the best bass players ever. And I just wonder how that's being concluded? I'm limiting this "tool" to sheer technical excellence on an instrument. Please cite a Beatles song that illustrates excellent technical bass playing by Paul (not writing a bass part, or writing a song).

    I disagree with you completely, learning a classical piece is exactly the kind of thing that illustrates technical excellence. Forget about songwriting, that's a completely different category.

    The one wildcard I guess is what you consider "technical excellence." It's obvious to me that Geddy Lee is a better "technical" bass player than Paul McCartney, but I'm sure you will laugh at that, so I'm not sure how to argue.

  10. Uh Paul is one of the greatest bass player ever...and all were excellent players.

    I figured many would say that. Of course, it all comes down to opinion, and what you classify as an "excellent player." Obviously, John Lennon would not have been able to play Rachmaninoff. I'm not saying that makes him a bad player, but how exactly are we to judge?

  11. As every baseball fan knows, a "five tool player" is one who has it all: hits for average, hits for power, plays defense, throws runners out, and has speed.

    Let's call a "five tool player" in music someone who simultaneously excels at:

    1. singing

    2. writing lyrics

    3. writing melodies

    4. playing an instrument

    5. arranging songs

    Five tool players in music are pretty rare. We're all a bit biased, but Eric Carmen seems to be one. 1,3 and 4 (piano) are pretty much slam dunks. I would argue that he's at least a very good to great lyricist. And, while not going it alone, I'm pretty sure the buck stops with Eric when it comes to arrangements of his songs (correct me if wrong).

    Who else is a five tool player? I honestly am having trouble thinking of any. It's debatable, but I don't believe any of the Beatles are technically great players, though they're very good at what they're going for. Pete Townshend, to me, neither a great singer nor a great guitarist. Elton John, not a lyricist.

    Anybody have someone?

  12. I saw Eric Carmen open for Hall & Oates in the Fall of 1977 in Dallas. If I recall, he opened with "Marathon Man".

    You would have loved it!..


    Funny you mention Hall and Oates. I've been reading reviews of "Boats" from when it came out. Every reviewer seems to cite a "Beach Boys influence" on "She Did It."

    I realize Bruce Johnston was involved with the track, and I'm no Beach Boys expert, but it sounds nothing like the Beach Boys to me. Reminds me much more of the Hall and Oates soul-influenced sound. Do critics all just get together and figure out what they should all say?

  13. The disco-ish tracks don't really appeal to my "sweet spot," either. But, hey! I'm sure Arista was just trying to push Eric into something more commercial after the disappointing sales of the Boats LP. Still, as you say, "Desperate Fools" is an amazing tune. As are "Heaven Can Wait," "Hey Deanie" and "Someday."

    I listened to the album again this morning. Someday is definitely fantastic. I actually really liked "Change of Heart" the first time I heard it, which was the solo piano version from the Mike Douglas show. The song is very nice, but the arrangement on the album doesn't do it for me.

    Does anyone else hear the Celtic feel of the Desperate Fools overture? I used to be a big fan of Celtic Rock (Battlefield Band, Tannahill Weavers, etc.) There's something about the instrumentation on this track that gives me that same feel.

    EDIT: I just watched the Mike Douglas "Change of Heart" again and I see it's NOT a solo piano version. Is this really just the album track lip-synched, or is it different? Somehow it seems more stripped down than what I remember from the album.

  14. Here's a passage from the Rush song "Marathon." Similar lyrical theme...

    "You can do a lot in a lifetime

    If you don't burn out too fast

    You can make the most of the distance

    First you need endurance

    First you've got to last..."

    I can bring Rush into any thread smile

  15. I just listened to this song about 15 times on my way to work today. Amazing. Stupendous. Possibly my favorite EC song ever (today at least).

    In the grand tradition of Eric borrowing from himself, the opening of the song picks up right where the end of "I Can Remember" left off.

    The vocals kick ass. This is the most like post-Quadrophenia Daltrey I have ever heard Eric sound. All of Daltrey's power and punch with more discipline and precision.

    This is also one of my favorite of Eric's lyrics. Lyrics are always open to (possibly incorrect) interpretation by the listener, but here's what they say to me. You can spend your life thinking about the meaning of life. What should I be doing, why am I here, why am I unhappy, what should I do about it, etc. We can try our best as introspective beings to answer these questions, but in the end, we have to soldier on. In a sprint, the goal is to finish first. In a marathon, one goal is simply to finish. Fighting through the highs and lows of life, standing bloodied but unbowed, is a victory in itself.

    If the Who listened to this in 1977, they would have wished they'd done it.

  16. I listened to the "Change of Heart" album for the first time this afternoon. As an album, it's really not my cup of tea. However, I was surprised by how moved I was by the "Desperate Fools" bookends.

    The opening reminds me simultaneously of a spiritual (note the similarity of the opening lines' melody to "Amazing Grace") and of a Celtic Air. If the violin line was replaced by an Uillean pipe, the melody would be right at home on "Thistle and Shamrock."

    The song itself is utterly sad, way beyond the schmaltzy sadness of so many other songs. It is laden with regret, disillusionment, and disappointment. I've heard it said that this is Eric's least favorite album. These two tracks seem to underscore that.

    I think these belong amongst the cream of the EC catalog. Very moving.

    PS: My favorite version of "Hey Deanie" is still bahoodore's. The tempo he used just seems right to me....

  17. Mine should be arriving tomorrow. The eagle has landed! If nothing else, this will get me to stop talking about Rush.

    Damn, spent the last hour watching the Rush documentary for the 2nd time instead of listening to EC. Old habits die hard!

  18. Well Paul, did it come in? We want to read one of your erudite reviews!..


    I got it this afternoon, and just got through reading the cool liner notes. An excellent and thorough summary of Eric's career, both solo and Raspberries, replete with details I had not ever heard (though many others here have, I'm sure). It's an excellent package, and I can't wait until I can listen to the first album thoroughly and post my impressions.

    My timing is amazingly lucky. I got into the Partridge family right after all the albums (except the last) had been released on CD after 25 years. And this package comes along right as I'm looking for these records. You can't make it up!

  19. My 3 1/2 year old son (named Eric!) loves the Raspberries. He thinks they are better than the Fresh Beats Band (high praise!). When I told him today is Eric's birthday he insisted I send along his greetings. So from Eric and Eric's Dad, all the best to Eric, whose work has given me immense pleasure during the short time I've known it.

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