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"Starting Over" review


Kirk

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James,

Just for the record, Mike McBride wrote the lyrics for all the verses of "All Though The Night." Mike had never had a songwriting credit, so I helped him "flush out" ( no pun intended ) the chorus, and the music.

Truth be told, the idea of playing that song "live" came up, at some point, during the reunion tour, and I said I couldn't sing it with a straight face. The song was , basically, my attempt at getting Mike some songwriting royalties.

e

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Great thread, and it reminds me that I left my "Hindsight" posts hanging after Side 3. I have a Starting Over and a Raspberries Best half-done, but waiting.... One of these days, I"ll get 'em up here. For now, yeah, Starting Over is a classic and I wish more people knew the record! And "Overnight Sensation" is such a brilliant piece of pop songwriting, production, and playing, with Eric delivering one of his best vocals ever. Hit record, yeah!

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On 10/3/2013 at 3:38 AM, James said:

Eric, you are a good guy...I'm sure Mike McBride appreciated a bunch what you did.  

P.S. One of these days fill us in on what you've been reading over the last couple years!

James,

Great question re what E's been reading and I would love to know too.

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I took the time to read the retro-review in question, and I've gotta say... I love the author's enthusiasm, but sheesh—where's the editor? Between the factual flubs, some strange word choices, and some lapses in grammar, it's not a real smooth read. I got the feeling that he (like a lot of us) read Rolling Stone religiously back in the 1970s and wished he could join the staff so he too could write overblown record reviews. One of many clues: "I was a perpetually tumescent ticking time bomb of testosterone-fueled lust who seemed fated to go to the grave with a hard-on."

Speaking of which, we all have memories of being teens desperate for the girl or guy of our dreams, at least for a night. But he comes out of the gate with his "fond" memory of leering at a vacuum cleaner as a horny teen and secreting sperm from his scalp. (Hmm... maybe he was leaving too much conditioner in his hair...?)

Okay, end of snobby-sounding review of a review. And again, kudos for the author's taste in music. Any attention Starting Over gets at this point is great.... 

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If I'm not mistaken, I believe Mr. Little just joined our clan...

The only thing I have to add to this review is I don't think Mr. Little should call the Rs "shameless" when he changed a word in the "ATTN" lyrics and made it even more obscene.  Perhaps that is just what he wanted the song to say.  :)

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Well, I suppose that if Michael is writing music reviews, he can take any criticisms that come his way. Writers do get thick-skinned, at least after a while. I wrote CD reviews for a magazine for many years in the 1980s and 1990s, and I took my lumps here and there, so I know what it's like. The maddening thing is, people almost never write letters to say, "Great job." I guess it's human nature to offer feedback only when we disagree, find a mistake, or take issue with something. It's one of the "joys" of being a writer. 

That said, I apologize for being nit-picky above, Michael. As I noted, you deserve kudos for your excellent taste and for the exposure you gave to Starting Over. (I could have just said that, and left out my criticisms, right? I did think, however, that my "conditioner" line was kind of funny....) Anyway, you did an overall great thing and I hope you do some posting here. I would say that everyone here is cool (and a lot nicer than me!). 

Best,
LC

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LC,

You are nice and I don't think you had to post the same thing twice - just sayin'.

I so enjoyed that we were all able to dig into Michael's review and that he chose to write about the S.O. album and our pal Kirk made the effort to post it. 

Eric can make comments and corrections as he chooses.

Otherwise, and I can only speak for myself, a loving clan member defends her leader  or his music in this case. 

That being said, it was also too easy for me to be a "B" about the whole "stuff in the hair" problem.  Michael if you are reading this, I still am concerned somebody told you that! 

The "head vs. hand" lyric change speaks for itself 

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Hi everybody: I'm the guy who wrote the Starting Over review for The Vinyl District. I just want to thank all who read it and made comments, both negative and positive. I'm a huge Raspberries fan, have been since the age 13, and "Overnight Sensation" has been on my top 10 list of all-time favorite songs since then. I'm also writing to apologize to Eric Carmen; I try my damndest to make my articles 100 percent accurate, but I face difficulties. Foremost among them being that I don't own (I know, it's inexcusable) the LP and hence am forced to gather much of my info--on lyrics, and who played what when--from the internet. I didn't have a Raspberries-certified lyric sheet, and hence was forced to rely on google, a dangerous move at best. The same went for who played piano. All I knew was that Eric Carmen was listed as playing piano on Wikipedia, so I went with it. In my own defense, I don't see how I can do better, short of actually talking to someone who was at the sessions. Which I have done when time allowed, but it didn't in this case. In any event, I apologize to Mr. Carmen for the inaccuracies, and would like to have the opportunity at some point to interview him for The Vinyl District. The Raspberries were the greatest power pop band of all time, and I have the utmost respect for all the tremendous songs they bequeathed to their fans. Should you read this, Eric, please consider doing an interview with me. I admire your music and think The Vinyl District's readers would get a big kick out of hearing from you. Once again everybody, thanks for reading and commenting. Long Live The Raspberries!

Sincerely,

Michael Little

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Michael Little again: As regards the semen in my hair, it was a joke. I honestly didn't believe anyone would fall for it for a minute. Anyway, my hair was as normal as the next teen's. Except when I made the colossal mistake of getting a perm and spent the next 5 months looking like a complete moron. I hope that clarifies that issue for all concerned.

Thanks,

Michael Little

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Michael,

Thankfully you are in the right place now. 

We can only hope Eric will take you up on your offer at some point.  How cool! 

I'm also glad you set all of us straight on that alleged "issue" of yours.  The boundless possibilities of the situation kept me and LC up at night worrying about you :P.

Welcome!

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Michael, nice posts! You took our criticisms and nitpicks very well. (And to get feedback from the artist himself is a real kick.) Re: the keyboards thing — I just checked my original well-worn vinyl LP package (complete with that great color poster, which hung on my dorm-room walls for four years). It credits Eric with "Rhythm guitar, piano, synthesizer, vocals" and gives "Special thanks to Jeff 'Elbows' Hutton for all additional keyboard work." So yes, it's impossible to figure out which keyboards Jeff handled other than through interviews or maybe speculating at the styles. 

Anyway, good stuff. Go find that Starting Over vinyl. And if you don't have Raspberries Best, get that one too. The sprawling liner notes — including all kinds of reprints of reviews from back in the day — are awesome. I think I remember Eric saying in a post here that he wasn't overly impressed with the Raspberries Best packaging (correct me if I'm wrong, Eric), but the liner notes and reprints went a long way in winning me over as a fan. Where else could you find that much written material about Raspberries back then? 

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PS: I find the vinyl trend pretty intriguing, Michael (and others). I got the opportunity back in the mid-1980s to launch a magazine about the then-brand-new CD technology; our earliest issues were heavily focused on digital audio technology, though we pretty quickly morphed into more of a "software" (music) magazine known for reviewing hundreds of new CDs and CD reissues every month. I still have a copy of our first media kit: It was an LP-shaped box filled with an intro to the magazine, editorial calendar, advertising promises and rates, etc. And on the back, in white letters on black, was the line: "The CD will replace the LP." Believe it or not, that line caused a ruckus among record companies (who were still pushing vinyl) and equipment manufacturers. At the time, the number of households that had CD players was VERY small, maybe 10 percent (though I'd have to check).

Anyway, it didn't take very long for our publisher's bold proclamation to come true. Yet here we are, 30 years later, and the CD has encountered its own replacement while a cult following that has latched onto vinyl seems to be on the rise. I have three writer friends from my early CD magazine days who all the sudden have jumped onto "the vinyl train," as they call it, and are out there scouring record and CD shops for vintage vinyl. Yet I also see younger folks browsing the vinyl sections in the dwindling number of record shops.

It would be interesting to hear your take on the "how" and "why" of vinyl's reemergence. I for one have managed to hold onto all my old vinyl records — I probably have about 400 of them — but I haven't played them since I got my first CD player back in 1984ish. 

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I would also like to hear/read Michael's take on the vinyl concept. 

My collection only includes Rs and ECs' albums and 45s, but I've never played any of them because I consider them to be too valuable.  When I listened to Rs' albums, I made other people play their records.  No idea how they'd sound today.

This topic has certainly evolved, hasn't it?  I'm sure Michael would like to move onto something we can discuss other than his hair... ;)

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Thanks a lot, LC: I have The Raspberries Best, but I'm a late-bloomer when it comes to the vinyl explosion. To wit--I don't own a single album yet. But I plan to start, because I used to own hundreds of albums back in hte day (ex-wife got 'em) and I still miss them. My niece is a total convertee, and she's totally into it--there's a real kick involved in browsing the used record stores, and DC is lucky to have three or four of them. I definitely want to own "Starting Over" on vinyl, along with all the albums that totally turned me on when I was a teen. You know, Ziggy Stardust, All the Young Dudes, Every Picture Tells a Story, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, etc.

As for my take on the "how" and "why" of vinyl's resurgence, I'm afraid I don't have one. Other than what I hear from other people, namely that vinyl has a warmer sound, etc. Me, I imagine it also has something to do with size. It's nice to look at a cover that isn't miniaturized, nice to look at liner notes that aren't microscopic, and great to have a product you can hold in both hands. Plus I think people are getting into the whole record player thing. I have a friend with a $25,000 stereo--complete with weird tubes, a stylus that looks like something NASA designed, etc. Personally I think he's nuts, but to each his own. I say all is well and good until somebody tries to bring back the 8-track. Remember them? It used to drive me nuts when you'd be in the middle of a great song and-KA-CHUNK!-there would be this sudden interruption as the tape changed tracks. A truly insidious medium, the 8-track, although I have one around someone there I look at occasionally just for laughs.

Once again, LC, thanks for your kind words. Let me know what album--it'll have to be something other than a Raspberries LP unfortunately--you'd like to see written about, and I'll try to fit it in.

Oh, and I forgot to ask Eric to pardon me for insulting "All By Myself." I may not care for it much now, but I totally loved it as a kid, and it's a great song. I never should have insulted it. My bad.

Take care, my friend,

Mike

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On 10/8/2013 at 7:38 PM, michael little said:

Oh, and I forgot to ask Eric to pardon me for insulting "All By Myself." I may not care for it much now, but I totally loved it as a kid, and it's a great song. I never should have insulted it. My bad.

No worries, Mike. If Eric had a dollar for every person who criticized "All By Myself," he'd have... wait! he DOES!

:o

Bernie

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