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Desperate Fools


elle4ec

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One of Eric's finest moments. Love this ballad. "A town full of desperate fools...."

Of course, as I wrote on another thread, it sure seemed like this was to be the title song, because it appears as an instrumental to start the album, and then it closes the album, and the cover looks like a "Desperate Fools" cover. I think Eric corroborated, but I'll have to look it up.

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Elle, I found it. Here's what Eric wrote. I remember it well because this is where Eric casually mentioned that he originally intended for the Boats album to run in reverse order; I found that to be a revelation, because it always made sense, thematically, the way I've always heard it. But "backwards" makes sense as well. Anyway, Eric's response:

When I turned in the album to Arista, "Desperate Fools" WAS the title. Alas, Clive thought it was "too negative." So the album title became "Change Or Heart."

Here's a little tidbit for you. When I sequenced the "Boats Against The Current" album, it STARTED with "Run Away" and ENDED with "Boats Against The Current." It was sequenced chronologically, like life. Clive didn't like starting with 'Run Away" because traditionally labels like to lead off with the "single". You know, back before "concept albums" when all of us artists started taking ourselves too seriously. I told Clive the sequence had to remain as is and that I really wanted it to start with "Run Away" but, if he insisted, he could start with "Boats" and run the sequence backwards. That, of course, was his choice.

"Boats" was always supposed to be the album "closer". That's the way I planned it, but heck, what do I know, It was just my life story and I only wrote the damn thing. ec

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"Desperate Fools" was the song I intended to be the title track of my third solo album. Clive thought it was "too negative' and insisted on changing the album title to "Change Of Heart."

"Change Of Heart" is a good song, but "Desperate Fools" was the "career" song. I've always believed that if Clive had really promoted "Boats Against The Current," and released "Desperate Fools" as the single, instead of "Change Of Heart", I might have had a different career.

"She Did It" and "Change O Heart" were good, but not career makers.

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' Change Of Heart' is one of those under appreciated songs from the 70s that will never get the respect it deserves. I can't put my finger on it, but from around 1973 to about 1979 it was a magic time for pop music with song such as 'Pretty Lady','Moonlight Feels Right', and yes 'Change Of Heart' making the charts on a regular basis and having a permenent spot deep in the musical conscious of lovers of truly great pop music. It's a time that won't return.

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Clive Davis has certainly done a lot of good things, but with you, Eric, he kind of missed the boat. (No pun intended.) (Well, okay, I did intend it.)

Seriously, it seemed like the PR campaign for Boats began and ended with a few advertisements -- albeit nice ones -- in Billboard and Cashbox, and the obligatory record-store poster and (though I've never seen it) 3-D display. (Correct me if I'm wrong on that, Bernie!)

There would be a zillion killer ways to promote such a creative theme album. Maybe I missed a lot of the effort back then (I was in college), but I don't know that Arista came up with anything that pushed the envelope. Then it happened again with the Desperate Fools, er, Change of Heart album.

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Remember what it was like to see that new Raspberries or Eric Carmen LP on the record store rack? Remember how long the drive home was? I'll never forget placing Change of Heart on the turntable and hearing Desperate Fools Overture as the first song. That was a career melody. The real sin, however, was that so many people missed it.

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Thanks Eric for the above insights. It's just so cool, and such a treat to read them.

And yeah, Raspathens, I remember buying the "Change Of Heart" album. I was a sophomore in college, and the album was available at a record store far away from campus. The local record store wasn't going to have it in for another day.

I didn't have a car, so I actually borrowed another student's car because I couldn't wait another day!

A (proud) Eric Carmen freak I was..

-------------------

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peanut8 said:

Eric, you were so much smarted than Clive. Just like with Gus. "Desperate Fools" and "The Way we used to be" Are beautiful, haunting and romantic. We WILL be bringing them back.

May I enquire who Gus is, peanut? I've see you mention his name twice. Perhaps I missed something in a past thread. Just wondering...

Wendy

PS: Hope your fever is down today. Get Well! :)

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WendyWorld said:

Oh...THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT Gus! Silly me! Ummm, yeah, still have no idea who he is.

Gus Dudgeon has a long list of credits, among them, Elton John. I don't think Eric and Gus were on the same page with "Boats." In the end, Eric's vision won out over Gus'.

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Also...didn't Gus' nose win out over his own recording management, artistic taste and tape labelling/organizing? His mismanagement caused Eric countless hours just to properly label/file tapes. Time is money in most businesses, especially entertainment.

Gus did do great work with Elton in the early 70's though.

John :P;)

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I don't have the book right in front of me, but Bernie and Ken S. have quite a bit about Gus Dudgeon in his Marathon Man book. From what I've read, the man developed a fairly large-sized ego. And whatever he was doing with Elton John, he apparently couldn't grasp what Eric was trying to do as he put Boats together....

Ultimately, Eric showed Gus the door and worked under the tried-and-true premise, "If you want something done right, do it yourself..."

Do I have that right?

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Kirk said:

Gus' final words:

"Eric, the take of 'Temporary Hero' that you are looking for.......is...................... on........................................ reel....................................... :blink: "

:lol:

Good line, Kirk.

(Of course, I don't think "passed away" reflects what happened. Per an old Bernie post I found, Gus died in a car wreck in London, so it was an unexpected death as opposed to one where he had a chance to get something off his chest. But... still a good line!)

(How'd we get on this topic anyway?)

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LC said:

(Of course, I don't think "passed away" reflects what happened. Per an old Bernie post I found, Gus died in a car wreck in London, so it was an unexpected death as opposed to one where he had a chance to get something off his chest. But... still a good line!)

(How'd we get on this topic anyway?)

Sorry for not being accurate as to how exactly Gus "passed away." Either way, he and Eric and didn't get along, but that doesn't take away from the many great records he made.

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Gus was an engineer. His recording philosophy was that each instrument "fit" within certain frequencies on his parametric equalizer.

When he originally recorded the guitar solo on "Run Away", Richie Zito played it on his Gibson Les Paul through a Marshall stack. I thought it sounded like a big distorted kazoo. When I attempted to explain to Gus that the sound I was looking for was probably a triple tracked Fender Strat, recorded direct (without an amp) compressed to death, like Andrew Gold's guitar on "You're No Good", he became enraged and said " I wouldn't know the difference between a Gibson and a Fender if it bit me."

At first, I thought he was joking, but then he started explaining where the guitar "fit," frequency-wise, on his equalizer, and how it didn't matter what guitar it was or what it sounded like. I tried to explain to him that it mattered A LOT to me, and he jumped up from his chair in a little hissy fit and stormed out of the studio. His parting words as he left were "Well alright, then, YOU f*#%ing do it!" He told me Elton just came in and played piano on the basic track and then left the rest to him. I found that rather hard to believe.

That's just one of MANY pretty horrific stories.

After he blew 60 thousand dollars in London (and didn't get a single track) I put my band on a plane and we flew home. He called me a few days later, apologized, said it was all my band's fault, and that they just weren't up to the task (the same band that played on "All By Myself") and that he couldn't work with them. He wanted me to come back to London and work with session musicians. I told him I'd be more comfortable recording in New York, but he absolutely refused. We eventually settled on L.A. as a compromise. I offered him a room at the Beverly Hills Hotel and a Lincoln Continental for the duration of the recording but he insisted on a suite at the Bel Air Hotel and a Mercedes Benz.

By the time he "left" the project, we'd been in the studio for five months, he'd spent $300,000 dollars (recoupable against my future royalties) and recorded nine piano, bass and drum tracks, of which five actually made the album. I re-recorded "Boats" from scratch, and had to re-do the drums on "Love Is All That Matters" and "She Did It."

When I took over as producer, my first job was having to listen to forty six reels of 2 inch tape, each with perhaps three to five takes of a given song, recorded over a period of five months probably at least three different times each. All the takes were jumbled together on different reels of tape, and none of them were in any chronological order, so the only way to find the actual "good" take was to listen to them all, repeatedly. Gus had taken all the track sheets and notations, leaving me to find the needle in the haystack (well, actually he left one track sheet in the top box). It was a nightmare.

In the studio, he just sat there, day after day, while David Wintour (who was SPECTACULAR) Nigel Olsson and I would play the same song for twelve hours, just piano, bass and drums, over and over and over. One night, he actually fell asleep at the console, and was woken up by the sound of the tape running off the reel behind his head during a great take of "Nowhere To Hide." The take was worthless, because the tape ran out before the take ended. Needless to say, we were not amused.

I didn't really care for the guy.

e

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