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The Geffen Album


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I remember hearing "I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips" several times on the radio in 1985 before learning/realizing it was an Eric Carmen song, and that there was a new album coming out. It had been 5 years since the last release, I wasn't getting into the 80s sound and was kind of becoming divorced from music as a fan.

So I wasn't anticipating a new record as I had been the previous 4. And the song was such a different sounding type song from the previous stuff that it never occurred to me it was Eric Carmen.

It's a catchy as heck song though, I like it a bunch. And the album has some really strong songs ("I'm Through With Love", "She Remembered", "The Way We Used To Be", I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips").

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Great inside stuff EC! Addiction to ec.com reinforced... cool

Ditto. Thanks for those behind-the-scenes stories, Eric. I'm glad John Kalodner was open-minded enough to hear you out about "She Remembered." You gave him the "GATW" "update" he wanted, and you got the "She Remembered" take you wanted. Good stuff!
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Eric..thanks ever so much for your "inside look" to the creative/muscle flexing process. I bet Mike Wagner, or any guy for that matter over age 28 can appreciate the subtle nuances to "She Remembered." I've also been in enough cheesey bars, cruise ship lounges and beachfront hotels to know that a Fender Rhodes for "She Remembered" would be like serving a big mac with a fine red wine. It's just not proper pairing.

Damn that's a wonderful song. Friggin' perfect!


BTW, that was a funny image you conjured up, John:

"I'd like a Big Mac and a small order of fries, and a bottle of your best Cabernet Sauvignon. Do you have something oaky, but not too bold...?"

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but... a lot of fans (IMHO) might say it was worth a little diplomacy on your part to get the record out. It had been four years since Tonight Your Mine, and for fans to get a new album with those three strong ballads ("I'm Through With Love," "She Remembered," "The Way We Used to Be"), plus "American as Apple Pie" and "I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips," was a good trade-off. The whole "sound" of the record may reflect the production values of the time, but, like Darlene said, a good song is a good song.

Well said, Larry. I remember when I thought four years was a long time between EC albums...little did I know... frown
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As albums go, "Boats" is the one that does it for me as far as being "the masterpiece," but when I come back to the Geffen album, which I always do, I get totally immersed in the songs.

smile --Darlene

Ditto, Dar...those three ballads and IWHIFYL never get old to me...
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I wonder if things would have been different if this had been another Arista album instead of Geffen...even if the album didn't sell any better for Arista than it did for Geffen. After the unexpected success of Hungry Eyes, Make Me Lose Control and the Dirty Dancing tour...I wonder if Clive would have released (and promoted) some of these songs in an attempt to strike while the EC iron was hot...if this material had been at his disposal. Heck, he could have re-released the album with the addition of HE and MMLC instead of trying to rush together a greatest hits album (he could always do the greatest hits album later). I always thought I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips would have been a great follow up to HE and MMLC...it seems like the sound the public was wanting from EC at that time...and I don't think too many people heard it the first time it was released.

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Originally posted by Raspbernie:

In a nutshell, the past three pages of posts and comments from Eric are what EC.com is all about! [big Grin]

You took the words right out of my mouth, Bernie! While I enjoy humor (maybe too much sometimes); I was just thinking...What would this site be like without threads like this? How great is it to be able to read all those "tasty tidbits" from Eric himself regarding the production of his music?

While we all may not agree on the particulars of what makes the Geffen album great (or not), this thread has been mature and respectful of everyone's opinion. After all, we are all adults here, right? I personally think it's very insightful to read about how the individual nuances of the music has touched our lives in its own unique ways.

As for my personal tastes, each of Eric's albums has it's own unique flavor. I like them all for different reasons, and depending on my mood, I make my listening selections accordingly.

Much like Darlene and Duane, Boats will always be my favorite, but the 3 ballads and IWHIFYL will always keep the Geffen album something I NEVER tire of listening to.

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Originally posted by angelina:

In fact...to a man on the board...I bet we can "remember" who the girl was in our life that we see in our mind when "She Remembered" plays.


You know, I try...but lately, the vision of Barney Frank in a G-string keeps popping up and blocking my view. What does that mean, John?
Just means the fed "gubment" has morphed fantasy into nightmare! eek
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After the success of "Hungry Eyes" and "Make Me Lose Control", I DID make one more (failed) attempt at cutting some more tracks for a possible new Arista album.

I met Diane Warren at a party sometime in the late 80's and we really hit it off. We found we had a lot in common and I really liked her quirky personality. She and I would talk on the phone and she'd play me songs she was working on, and ask me if I thought they "sucked." Most of them were very, very good. Sometimes I'd tell her I wasn't crazy about the verse but I liked the chorus. She'd say "Yeah, I thought so, too" and then she'd go write another verse.

One evening she played "My Heart Stops" over the phone. When she asked me what I thought of the song, I asked her if I could have it, and she said "Why don't you come out here and demo it with me?" So, I did.

I flew to L.A. and we went into the studio with Guy Roche who, at that time, was Diane's full time demo engineer/producer. We spent one afternoon on it. Guy and I arranged it, programmed the drums and bass, played the piano and keyboards, I sang it and Diane sang background vocals. By the time we left the studio it sounded like a hit record. Diane and I were excited and she suggested we send it off to Clive for a listen. It was "rough" but it had "the magic."

Clive called the next day and said he loved it, and had played it over the phone for friends and for people at the label. He thought it was a "hit." BUT.....now we had to turn that rough demo into a RECORD. When Guy and I had mixed it, Guy was just running the drums directly from the computer, he hadn't actually RECORDED them. So, we had SOME of the demo on tape, but some of it was not. And Clive felt that the vocal was too rough and needed to be "more polished." When we discussed who would produce it, I told him I wanted to work with Guy , and that we could co-produce. He was OK with that, so we booked some studio time and picked another song of Diane's that Clive liked and I liked called "Boardwalk Baby." Diane told me she had been inspired to write it after hearing "Make Me Lose Control."

We booked my buddy Steve Lukather to play guitar, and Mark Williams ( son of John Williams, the great film composer ) to play drums, and Diane and I re-sang our vocals and we added another girl on background vocals. Guy and I mixed both tunes, and I've got to tell you, they were REALLY good. We sent them off to Clive and waited to hear what he thought.

Clive didn't like them. I think they were too "rock" for him. He called me and said "I'd love to hear what these would sound like with a REAL producer." We were shocked. And bummed out.

Clive wanted me to work with a young guy named Ric Wake, who had just had some success producing Taylor Dayne and Mariah Carey. I listened to Taylor's record and I really didn't "get it." I wasn't crazy about the guitar sounds or the drum sounds, and besides, it was a dance record. I didn't think Ric Wake was the right guy for me. But Clive insisted, so I went off to Long Island to work with Ric.

Well, actually that's not quite true. First Clive picked a number of other songs he thought would be good for me ( having listened to, and passed on, my stuff, like "Top Down Summer" and a bunch of other songs that ended up on the "Winter Dreams" album).

A couple of the songs were decent songs, but not right for me. There was another one that Diane had written with Bryan Adams called "Feels Like Forever" that was a pretty good song. In any case, Clive sent them over to Ric, and Ric went about cutting the tracks in his studio. When he had the basic tracks done, I flew to Long Island to do the vocals.

When I got there, Ric played me the tracks and I did not like them. I thought the drums on "My Heart Stops" sounded "ponderous." I didn't care for the guitar sounds or solos. I thought "Feels Like Forever" was too fast ( Clive thought the demo Bryan had done was too slow ).

It was cold, grey, rainy and bleak outside. My hotel was like some weird convention center. I felt like I was in an asylum. I believe Johnny Walker and I became good friends when I returned from the studio each night. I was not miserable.

I sang my vocals and went home. Ric mixed the tracks and sent them to Clive. I think we recorded four tracks altogether. Clive didn't like any of them. Ric tweaked them some more. Clive still didn't like them. Neither did I.

Ric was a swell guy, but the match-up just didn't work.

Clive and I discussed what should be done. I suggested finding a producer who was old enough to remember The Beatles. I explained that Ric was so young we didn't have any reference points. He had become aware of music somewhere toward the end of Led Zeppelin. He really hadn't listened to the Beatles at all. Clive then suggested a producer who had just finished Roger McGuinn's new album for Arista, David Cole. I asked him how old David Cole was and if he knew who The Beatles were. Clive siad "Oh, don't be such a 'veteran'!" I flew back to L.A. and met David Cole. I listened to the McGuinn album and I said OK.

David and I then began re-cutting "My Heart Stops' again, from scratch. I suggested we approach it like a Tom Petty record, which David agreed with. We also cut "I Wanna Take Forever Tonight", which Andy Goldmark and I had finished and Clive liked the demo.

We spent a month in the studio working on "My Heart Stops IV".

When we finished, we had made a more polished sounding record. David submitted it to Clive.

Clive called me and said " I think I actually prefer the sort of 'Springsteen version' of the demo, to this new sort of 'Archies' version you've done with David. David was horrified. He went back into the studio and desperately tried to resurrect the demo. He really was a trooper. He worked very, very hard, and was almost frantic to come up with something Clive would like. We were using a computerized board, so David did something like 40 different mixes. One would have a little more snare, one would have a little more tambourine, one would more reverb on the vocal, one would have less. By the time he was done, I think David had been driven to the brink of insanity. He didn't even know what he was listening to anymore.

In the end, I think we went back to the demo and tried to find the original drum program that Guy hadn't put on tape. That became the single.

We had spent 100,000 dollars (recoupable against my future royalties) six months in various studios, with three different producers, on two coasts chasing the demo, and come back to the original demo.

Clive decided to release it without an album. That's basically a vote of "no-confidence." There's no reason to do that if you don't have an album to back it up. Radio programmers understand these things. There was very little promotion, the record was released and died in a couple of weeks. And that was that.

I had pretty much lost interest in making another record for Arista, and Clive had now lost any interest in making a record with me. We both just walked away.

I then made a little deal with the Japanese label, Pioneer LDC, to make the album, on a shoestring budget, on the condition that they would just leave me alone until it was finished. They said OK, and I went to work at Beachwood Studios making "Winter Dreams." That's why it was recorded with all the drums programmed, and me playing almost everything. There was no budget to pay real musicians and do real recording sessions. I brought in the occasional musician, like Wally Bryson, Dale Peters and Bruce Gaitsch for "special" touches.

Many of the songs on "Winter Dreams" were written and available to Arista. When Andy Goldmark and I were writing, we would actually discuss not going "too far out there" for fear Clive wouldn't "get it." You know you're in trouble when you have to write to please Clive, or Kalodner, instead of writing for yourself.

In the end, the only person who REALLY knows what you should be doing is you. If I had the chance to start my career all over again, I would tell everyone who attempted to tell me what to do to simply "f#@k off."

Nobody tells Madonna or Sting or The Rolling Stones what to do. It's THEIR vision, for better or for worse. That's the way it should be.

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Too bad that guy in Redondo Beach wasn't available.

It must have seemed all too reminiscent of the 'Boats' sessions when you started going 'round and 'round with Clive. Shame.

With "Winter Dreams", you finally achieved total artistic control, albeit on a budget. It just begs the question, if someone gave you a blank check and total artistic freedom, do you have another album in you? You never know, I could hit the lottery... smile

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Beth, "Winter Dreams" was released in the U.S. as "I Was Born To Love You" by Pyramid Records. "Caroline No" was dropped from the album. The first single, IWBTLY, was released for Valentines Day in 2000 and had a unique heart-shaped package. You can still find both on ebay occasionally.

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These personal insights are worth their "weight" in gold Eric... I remember back when I would scour any entertainment or music magazine; before the "WWW"... hoping for any tid-bit of news or a story about you and/or Raspberries...

This particular thread has so far exceeded what I found in many years! (Though those were "sad" lean times, it makes me savor this bounty all the more... laugh )

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