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Favorite Bridges: Eric's & Others


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The Beatles has great bridges in their songs. Like Eric said, "Baby's In Black" , "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party" are great. You can hear the "Everly's" influence there! 'This Boy", 'Yes It Is" are a couple more favorite bridges of mine. "From Me To You" is also a great bridge that I loved. Going to the G Minor chord "I've got arms that long to hold you and keep you by my side" I love that section! "Here, There and Everywhere" is probably my favorite Paul Beatle track. The chord changes that go into that bridge is pure genius.

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When I'm Cool: The "bridge" is the part of the song (music AND lyrics) that is different from all the other parts that sound the same as each other. It's usually in the "middle" of the song and often lasts eight measures (or approximately 24-32 beats) but may be longer or shorter. Because it is often 8 measures (or bars) long and is usually in the middle of the song, it is sometimes called the "middle 8."

Just look for music that's totally different from the rest of the song near the middle of it and it's probably the "bridge." I hope this makes sense for you.

:) --Darlene

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Speaking about bridges, verses and chorus, I happened to hear McCartney's "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" on the radio just the other day in Los Angeles and it got me thinking…how in the heck do you identify all of the diverse pieces of melody and music in that tune?!? I mean, what do you even call that bit that starts the song off? It's not the verse, because that comes later. Can you start a song with a bridge? I think I counted eight totally different bits of music pasted together into that one song!

Bernie

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You hit the nail right on the head, Bernie. The operative word is "pasted." I used to think Brian Wilson wrote all those wonderful bridges as part of the song. Then one day a couple of years ago, I read an interview with ....might have been Van Dyke Parks, and a couple other people as well, where they talked about Brian just writing "pieces" of songs, and going into the studio and recording these "pieces". And then one day he's got all these little bits and pieces recorded, complete with overdubs and multi-layered vocals and he starts figuring out which pieces could be "strung" together, kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. After some trial and error, you get things like "Heroes And Villains." I think that's what George Martin did on "Abbey Road". He found ways to piece together incomplete snippets of songs that John and Paul had. I'm just guessing, but I'd bet that's what Paul did with "Uncle Albert/ Admiral Halsey." Paul tends to write lyrics that "sound" good when you sing the words. Back in the sixties, we imparted all sorts of deep meaning to that stuff. Now we know a lot of it really didn't mean anything. I suspect "Uncle Albert" fits into that category. ec

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Paul took that "piecing-together" process to a lofty level in 1975 with "Band on the Run," which we've heard on the radio around a zillion times. It's also a great live song, and still a showstopper at Paul's concerts to this day. (Of course, Paul's shows are loaded with showstoppers....)

Bernie, I remember hearing "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" on the radio for the first time in the early 1970s (I was a 10- or 11-year-old), and I swore it was the Beatles. It still sounds (to me) like it could have come right out of the Magical Mystery Tour/Yellow Submarine era, and there are little tidbits in the song that sound so Lennon-esque.... Anyway, it's not my all-time favorite McC song, but I still love listening to it. And it was a great introduction to the underrated Ram album. "Too Many People," "Dear Boy," "Ram On," "Smile Away".... that record is loaded.

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Um, speaking of bridges...Eric, don't you owe two of your nicest to Rachmaninoff?

1. "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again"--bridge based on the clarinet solo of the symphony movement on which it's based

2. "My Girl"--bridge based (and you can tell from the intro) on the French horn solo in the first movement of the Rach 2? (Yeah, yeah, I know, everyone says "No, that's pure Brian Wilson. Sounds like 'God Only Knows' or something." Well, yeah, a lot of what Eric does sounds like that. But damn, the first time I ever heard the whole Rach 2 from beginning to end, and heard that French horn in the second movement, my head screamed, "DAMN! That's the intro to 'My Girl!'"

Anyway, this is what years of paying attention to classical music has gotten me into...Eric, I await your confirmation!!

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Oh, and speaking of "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," what I will never forget about it is my ninth-grade music teacher using it to teach us about song structure...you know, the ABACA kind of thing...that song was perfect to use because it has so many different repetitive elements.

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Odd choice to teach song structure, but you're right on the 'My Girl" intro (I kept it on the french horn purposely) and on the "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" solo. The trick with that one was trying to find just the right few bars to use, as the actual part of the Concerto its taken from is quite long. ec

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I remember classical collages of songs like that referred to as "Quod Libets." Where they got the name from, I don't know. Musical snippets is what they were, and sometimes they were quite humorous when they didn't fit well. Peter Schickele wrote some as P.D.Q. Bach. His were randy and hysterical.

:) --Darlene

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LC said:

And it was a great introduction to the underrated Ram album. "Too Many People," "Dear Boy," "Ram On," "Smile Away"...that record is loaded.

RAM isn't underrated in my book! It's unquestionably one of my Top 10 albums of all time. There are so many things to fall in love with on that record! One of them would be the Coda to "Back Seat Of My Car." You know, that part where Paul starts off singing, "Ohh, we believe that we can't be wrong" very sweetly. Then turns it into a rip-roaring scream-fest. Man, that's electrifying!

Bernie

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For sure. RAM is stunning. I dont think theres a bad cut on it, they are all interesting and unique. I think McCartney(70) through "Band on The Run" have a wonderful "un slick" feeling to them which really accomodates all the great material. "Red Rose Speedway" is incredibly underated and a gem. Alot of songs that are "patched" together work because they are become very interesting to the listener from a surprise standpoint. Many Beatles songs have that feel; "Happiness is a Warm Gun" is a good example.

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Eric Carmen said:

"Back Seat Of My Car" is one of the best things Paul has done, post-Beatles. I can't recall ever hearing him do it live. Anybody? ec

this (along with a lot of RAM) has been a very tough thing to find live versions of... (or even rehearsals of)... as far as i know, i don't think there's a live version of it anywhere...

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"Back Seat" is indeed a classic. I love the way Paul loses the "L" in lass in the phrase "...sweet little lass of mine..."

I've seen Mac live three times, and there was no hint of "Back Seat" at those shows. Nor have I seen it on any Mac set lists over the years. But I bet he gets around to putting it in his set at some point soon. He seems to like to toss in little surprises... like when he added "She's Leaving Home" and "Getting Better" to his 2002-03 tour.

In the meantime, Eric, that would be an ideal song to get the Carmen Treatment.... Actually, check that. The lyric is one of those that makes more sense for a teenager.... How many of us are sneaking into the back seats of our cars with our significant others these days? :D (That was a softball pitch for a one-liner from all of you clever folks....)

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About those classical bridges...thanks for the confirmation, Eric...always nice to know I'm not just "hearing things."

OK, now I have a question for you that's not about classical inspiration and not about a bridge, but about a riff.

I was listening to my XM radio one day and on what I believe was the "Deep Tracks" channel (the one that plays cuts from classic LPs that were not released as singles), I heard a Stones song I had never heard before from the "It's Only Rock 'N Roll" album, "Time Waits for No One." I'm listening to this little riff playing in the background through the whole song, and thinking, "Damn, that riff sounds so familiar from someplace else, but I can't put my finger on it."

And then it hits me--"'Change of Heart'! Yeah! That's it!"

So come on, Eric, spill. Coincidence or connection? Inquiring minds want to know!

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Two great bridges that come to mind include those in Aerosmith's "Jaded" and Clay Aikin's "Invisible". Ahh those splendid detours! When I heard the bridge in "On the Beach" driving around my '68 Tird on cassette back in '73, I nearly detoured into a tree! Damn that song made me drive fast.

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Two great bridges that come to mind include those in Aerosmith's "Jaded" and Clay Aikin's "Invisible". Ahh those splendid detours! When I heard the bridge in "On the Beach" driving around my '68 TBird on cassette back in '73, I nearly detoured into a tree! Damn that song made me drive fast.

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Darlene : You mentioned modulation (changing keys) in Eric's compositions. My all time favorite example of this is when Tchaikovsky introduces the main theme in Romeo and Juliet. He drops a key resulting in a haunting effect for that incredible melody. However, I had to be told this by a music teacher in college as I don't have an "ear" to notice it. I just knew it grabbed me. My question for you - when have you spotted it in Eric's songs? Finally, wouldn't we all agree that that is one killer coda at the end of Ecstasy?

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