Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hey Good Lookin

Wow, here's one I didn't expect to see. From the Hollywood Palace in 1967, it's the Merry-Go-Round doing a medley of "Live" (famously covered by the Bangles), "You're a Very Lovely Woman" and "Listen, Listen." The cute singer is none other than power pop god Emitt Rhodes, seen here not long after his testicles descended.

I bring all this up because a few weeks ago I went to YouTube hoping to find some footage of these guys and crapped out. In despair, I prevailed upon my co-blogger Kid Charlemagne to burn me a copy of Listen, Listen: The Definitive Collection, an anthology of literally every note these guys recorded before imploding in 1969. I've been spinning it obsessively since it arrived, and then today on a whim I went back to YouTube and there it was. Lesson: YouTube may be greatest thing in the history of Western Civilization, but it needs to be attended to constantly.

Incidentally, Rhodes is somebody who deserves to be a lot better known. Back in 1970, he put out a winsomely melodic McCartneyesque solo album -- on which he wrote, sang and played every note -- that appeared at roughly the same time as the first solo album by the actual Paul McCartney. Critics of the time (myself included) were pretty much in agreement that Emitt's was by far the better of the two, and all these years later it's still hard to disagree.

He's been fitfully active in the business since then, but "Lullaby," one of the nicest songs from the album, was featured in the 2001 Wes Anderson film The Royal Tenenbaums.


Anonymous said...

Great clip. You know, I vaguely remember Emmit's first solo LP getting airplay, but only after I picked up a copy twenty years later! Great stuff indeed. I also like the later MGR stuff where he goes into Left Banke territory.

Didn't the Bangles cover "Live" too? I recall that did a pretty nice version. Of course, Susanna Hoffs could sing the phone book and I'd be down with it.

steve simels said...

The Bangles cover of "Live" is one of the strongest cuts on their brilliant first album. They do it note for note, actually. I didn't hear the Merry Go Round version until the 90s, and I was astounded by how slick it was.

steve simels said...

Rhodes played my old school, touring the first solo album.

Nice guy. I got to go to dinner with him and watch his sound check.

Anonymous said...

In all honesty, I think Rhodes has been far more of an influence on a certain segment of the singer-songwriter set than anyone is willing to admit.

And, although I don't remember if there was a single off his eponymous solo album (did ABC/Dunbar even "do" singles?), I seem to recall "She's Such a Beauty" getting a fair amount of airplay at the time--mainly because everyone thought it was what the McCartney solo single should have sounded like.

But the real surprise here was Don Knots introducing the band! He had a variety show? Who knew?

Cleveland Bob said...

I saw the Bangles over Labor Day weekend and they played Live during the set. They were terrific.

The warm-up was great too. An nearly all girl band, save the drummer, called The Bridges.

Anonymous said...

I remember "Fresh As A Daily" from his first proper solo album getting a fair amount airplay on KOIL in Omaha, Nebraska. :)