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Emitt Rhodes's music failure- what happened?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Twelvepitch, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. Twelvepitch

    Twelvepitch Singer Songwriter and Independent Record Producer Thread Starter

    Dadeville, Alabama
    Hi all.
    I recently discovered a fellow named Emitt Rhodes who made DIY home recordings from 1969-1973. I was surprised at his great musicianship and very McCartney-esque voice. What happened to his potential as a great rockstar? I read that his label did not promote him correctly, thus leaving him spinning his wheels doing nothing. Here's one of his songs if you have never heard of him.
    MilMascaras, angelo73, RickH and 4 others like this.
  2. fr in sc

    fr in sc Forum Resident

    Hanahan, SC
    I always remembered his single "Fresh As A Daisy;" never knew why he was a one-hit wonder.
    CliffL, Joti Cover, Mr.Sean and 2 others like this.
  3. Twelvepitch

    Twelvepitch Singer Songwriter and Independent Record Producer Thread Starter

    Dadeville, Alabama
    I didn't even know that was a hit. I just feel sorry that he didn't have much more hits.
    Saint Johnny and O Don Piano like this.
  4. DVEric

    DVEric Satirical Intellectual

    His first album is phenomenal. However, the music that came after is not all that remarkable.
  5. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    Pressure from the record company to release new music too quickly when he wasn’t ready was the first big problem .
    Eventually, and someone else will have to step in and say when, debilitating mental issues took over.
  6. Twelvepitch

    Twelvepitch Singer Songwriter and Independent Record Producer Thread Starter

    Dadeville, Alabama
    I thought his self titled LP from 1970 was his best work.
  7. Twelvepitch

    Twelvepitch Singer Songwriter and Independent Record Producer Thread Starter

    Dadeville, Alabama
    That's sad. I hate that he had to go through all of that.
  8. DVEric

    DVEric Satirical Intellectual

    It’s easily his best work. Great album.
  9. rene smalldridge

    rene smalldridge Senior Member

    I like his first solo album but much prefer the group he led - The Merry Go Round. I love their one album.
  10. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    Yes, and he never fully recovered.
    Saint Johnny and Twelvepitch like this.
  11. MHP

    MHP Lover of Rock ‘n Roll

    Disagree by a long shot.
    While his first album is ‘the classic’, he wrote even better songs on his follow-up ‘Mirror’. That’s a more uneven listen, but songs like the title-track and ‘Love Will Stone You’ is IMO way better than anything on his debut.

    ‘Farewell To Paradise’ is a different album as well. A depressing album, but not without it’s rewards.

    And last but not least, ‘Rainbow Ends’ from 2016 is a near masterpiece. It’s a different and matured singer, but it’s honest as hell.
    Gone are the ‘sunshine-pop’. What’s now here, is a dissapointed, bittersweet and experienced man in his later years, speaking from his heart.

    Emitt followed his own muse as he stated on the debut: “I have to say the things I feel / I have to feel the things I say”.
    He did exactly that, right up till the end.

    The debut is the opening-gate, but his later work is the reward.
    Muddy, emmodad, timnor and 17 others like this.
  12. O Don Piano

    O Don Piano Forum Resident

    I found out I have 2 copies of this album! One was signed by three MGR members, including Rhodes!
    Very strong debut - including 2 minor hit singles - and should have been a bigger hit.
  13. WhatDoIKnow

    WhatDoIKnow I never got over it, I got used to it

    Agree completely. Absolutely wonderful!
    MHP, RickH, jricc and 3 others like this.
  14. PsychGuy

    PsychGuy Forum Resident

    He was an odd man with a big mouth and alienated a lot of people in the industry. That's part of what happened, anyway.

    "Rainbow Ends" is a terrific late-life album, be sure to check it out.
  15. JoeRockhead

    JoeRockhead Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    while I am a huge fan, he did not have great potential as a rock star. Super talented but also uncompromising and a niche artist. In fact, I'm impressed he got as big as he did with Merry Go Round and as solo artist.
    MHP and Saint Johnny like this.
  16. Bhobb

    Bhobb Crate Digger

    Am I right in saying that American Dream was a contractual obligation album, recorded after Merry Go Round had actually split up? I enjoy that album.
    RickH, phillyal1 and Saint Johnny like this.
  17. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Levittown. NY
    Upon very first listen, this became one of my all time favorite albums. Rhodes had been involved in musical projects prior to this (the 60's band, Merry Go Round) and made a number of albums after. I have some of his other music and hard as I've tried, I cannot get into it easily as I did this one. Among albums which represent an artist's or band's "perfect moment", this is that moment, IMO, for Emmit Rhodes (even though some of his later music was technically better in terms of songwriting. ). One gorgeous melody followed by the next, on both sides of the album, with a vocal tone-while not technically fabulous-defines "appeal" (McCartney similarity or not). Now that he's gone, I'd love to know who, if anyone, has ownership of his studio tapes, most of all, this album which painfully deserves a lovingly done remaster.
    RickH likes this.
  18. I333I

    I333I Forum Resident

    You should check out the doc One Man Beatles. It’s very interesting and covers his history pretty well despite its shortness.
    Twelvepitch and DK Pete like this.
  19. OmIsWhereTheHeartIs

    OmIsWhereTheHeartIs Forum Resident

    He tried to do it all himself in a shed. Writing, signing lead and backing vocals, playing all of the instruments, etc. The label put an absolutely ridiculous amount of pressure on him to produce quicker and when he couldn't meet the demand, they sued him for like 10 times more money than he had ever made. Eventually he just burnt out of the whole experience and threw in the towel.

    It's unfortunate. I have all his albums and Merry-Go-Round's and I like them all. His self titled is next level... every song is good. He had an absolute gift and was done in his mid twenties. Too bad.

    Rainbow Ends is all right, totally different work, but still quite a good listen.
    Muddy, RickH, DK Pete and 1 other person like this.
  20. OmIsWhereTheHeartIs

    OmIsWhereTheHeartIs Forum Resident

    Perhaps, but man did he have talent and a natural gift for melody. Plus a drive uncommon in most "rock stars". He could have carved out a nice career.
    DJ LX and DK Pete like this.
  21. carlwm

    carlwm Forum Resident

    Sounds like I need to check him (and The Merry Go Round) out.

    The only thing by him I've heard is Fairport's cover of Time Will Show The Wiser, which was excellent. It's an extraordinary song for a teenager to write if his wikipedia dates are correct.
    CliffL and OmIsWhereTheHeartIs like this.
  22. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
    agree. And I REALLY like his stuff. Merry Go Round was decent, they certainly did not suck, but he hit his stride with his first 2 solo lps.
    Hey, Harry Nilsson got hits and he never toured. I think he could have had more fame if he had been promoted right. But, yea, I can't see him being a huge household name back then.
    DK Pete likes this.
  23. OmIsWhereTheHeartIs

    OmIsWhereTheHeartIs Forum Resident

    I am working from memory here, but I believe, including Merry Go Round, he was only active from age 17 to 23. He made his own studio in a shed in his parent's backyard. He was a drummer with MGR and self taught himself every instrument on his records (I think even including the violin). He then recorded every lead, backing vocal, every instrument (there was a few albums he had help with instruments, but not the majority) and produced it in the shed. He had a contract of 2 albums a year for 3 years and because he had no help in vocals, mixing, instruments, writing, etc. he couldn't make the deadline. I think he got sued for not making his deadlines for a quarter of a million dollars, which is stupid considering he never even made that much or close to it. This led to him throwing in the towel.

    I believe he worked in the recording industry the rest of his life, and ran a studio. But wouldn't record his own works except the odd compilation?

    Remarkable young man, really.
    CliffL, DK Pete, beccabear67 and 2 others like this.
  24. OmIsWhereTheHeartIs

    OmIsWhereTheHeartIs Forum Resident

    Not a huge name, but the critics loved him and he received a ton of praise originally. A lot of people thought it was Paul McCartney in disguise.
    Saint Johnny likes this.
  25. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    A) Though his first solo album is excellent, and the second one is pretty good, he never had that one undeniable hit single to actually make anyone some money
    B) Mental illness which appears from anecdotes not to have been well addressed as he grew older
    C) (And this is related to (B), certainly): Not that easy to get along with and ultimately alienated some people who could have helped him with his career

    For me, the Merry Go Round and American Dream are the best, followed by the first solo album on ABC, followed by Mirror. I don't think Fairwell to Paradise is that strong. And, breaking with what seems to be the consensus here, I think that the late-career Rainbow Ends is decent, but not a return to prime form (even allowing for the changes in voice).

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