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"Starting Over" / "Tiny Dancer"

Billy K.

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Since Elton's song came out first. Eric has to take the heat on that obvious similarity.

But isn't that part of what Eric Carmen is all about? He freely admits his songwriting is sometimes inspired and influenced by the styles and artists he admires most. The Beach Boys and Left Bank harmony arrangements are all over the place. Mellencamp and Springsteen were hot in 1983, so we get "American As Apple Pie" and "I Wanna Hear It From Your Lipps" from Eric in 1984.

But what we love about Eric Carmen is that his songwriting talent usually makes his influenced compositions as good as, or better than the original guy's song.

After 500 years of published and recorded popular music, It is difficult to find a melody line or chord progression that hasn't been written before. The key to good songwriting is to let the best riffs, chords, mixes and melodies scramble up in the brain, and come out with something fresh, a little different than before, and something you like and can be proud to call your own. Easy...Right?

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Just thought it was worth a mention...but usually when someone emulates/borrows from the style of another, it usually falls flat...but there are exceptions..."Back in the USSR", and "Uptown Girl" -- two of my favorites, incidentally -- to name some examples...

But Eric seems to do it better, arguably, than anyone else(Billy Joel is probably the only other), and still have it stand up to the original...

"Starting Over" is every bit of good as a song as "Tiny Dancer"...and "I Don't Know What I Want" and "Cruisin' Music" can both stand up on its own with the Who/Beach Boys, respectively.

I would like to hear Eric's input on this, especially...and how some of other songs came about to being. Songwriting is one of my hobbies, and it's always great to see the inspiration and songwriter's perspective...

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It's just the very beginning, a few notes of "Tiny Dancer," that even sounds like "Starting Over." There are only so many notes in the scale, and so many ways one can arrange them. It's amazing that more songs don't sound like each other. Other than those notes, the styles and sounds of the two songs are totally different. I'm sure it's nothing more than an accident, but it would be interesting to know if Eric was even thinking about "Tiny Dancer" when he wrote "Starting Over." --Darlene

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Speaking of "American As Apple Pie" and Mellencamp, I could be wrong but I believe that the song was produced by Don Gehman (Mellencamp's producer at the time), and the guitarist on the song was Mellencamp's guitar player -- name escapes me right now, possibly Larry Crane.


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