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Digging for Gold: The Time-Life ”AM Gold” Series, Part 59



August 22, 2012  


There’s only one way to truly appreciate this week’s AM Gold: 1976 entries, and that’s to listen once again to the famous Casey Kasem rant inspired by Henry Gross. RIP Snuggles.

Spotify users, you can subscribe to our Best of AM Gold playlist, which is updated regularly.)

#11: Eric Carmen, “All By Myself” – #2 U.S., #12 U.K.

Dw. Dunphy – The first of two Eric Carmen hits based on Rachmaninoff compositions, this is a mopey kind of song that still manages to be pretty good. It also bears a striking resemblance to label-mate Melissa Manchester’s “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” so there was an awful lot of balladeering and philandering happening out at Arista Records.

Jon Cummings – Dw, don’t forget that the biggest artist on Arista during the mid-to-late ’70s was Barry Manilow — who, shockingly enough, has never seen fit to cover this song, not on his Greatest Songs of the ’70s album or his Greatest Love Songs of All Time album or his (actually not terrible) Summer of ’78 album (which didn’t limit itself to songs from that year). PLEASE don’t ask me how I know about all those albums. Anyway, this is another song that was diva-ized during the ’90s, this time by Celine Dion. And as Mariah Carey did with Nilsson’s “Without You,” which we covered several weeks ago, Celine used the song to show off her range and get an easy hit, but drained it of the idiosyncrasies the original vocalist had brought to it. In Carmen’s case it’s that ineffable WHINE — that whine that, for me, was like catnip through about a minute and a half of each of his hits, but which eventually sent me diving for the radio dial to change the station.

Jack Feerick – Remember back in 72, talking about Harry Nilsson, where I was a little dubious about ”Without You,” because it was so gorgeously miserable that it felt like Harry was brushing, ever so gingerly, up against the edge of parody? Carmen crashes through the guardrail and over the cliff, on fire.

Chris Holmes – I put off exploring the music of The Raspberries for years because of this maudlin, steaming pile.

Dunphy – It may be maudlin but I’d take it over “Feelings” (whoa, whoa, whoa) any day.

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