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Emitt Rhodes

An iconic cult figure in American pop music, Emitt Rhodes had a short career as a recording artist, but his solo debut was a brilliant exercise in Beatles-styled pop/rock that would influence generations of artists on the pop underground. Born in Decatur, Illinois on February 25, 1950, Rhodes spent most of his childhood in Hawthorne, California, and began his music career when he was 14, playing drums with a local rock band called the Emerals. A dispute with his bandmates lead to Rhodes leaving the Emerals, but he soon returned and the group adopted a new name, the Palace Guard. Decked out in matching red guardsman's uniforms, the Palace Guard briefly served as a backing band for Don Grady (who played Robbie Douglas on the TV series My Three Sons and later played with the group the Yellow Balloon) and scored a local hit with the tune "Falling Sugar," but when Rhodes learned to play guitar, he left the Palace Guard in 1966 to form a new band.

Teaming with three high-school friends, including guitarist Gary Kato, Rhodes became the guitarist and singer with the Merry-Go-Round, and once Rhodes began showing off his talent as a songwriter, the group recruited drummer Joel Larson (ex-Grass Roots) and bassist Bill Rinehart (formerly with the Leaves) and recorded a demo tape that attracted the attention of A&M Records, who signed the group to a record deal. In 1967, an overdubbed version of one tune from the demo tape, "Live," became a major chart success in Los Angeles, and a second regional hit, "You're a Very Lovely Woman," soon followed, and Rhodes' precocious songcraft and McCartney-esque vocals made him the talk of the L.A. music scene. An album, simply titled The Merry-Go-Round, was released in late 1967, but further singles didn't match the success of their early releases, and Rhodes, still a teenager, felt stifled and wanted complete control over his music. The Merry-Go-Round ground to a halt in 1969, and Rhodes set up a makeshift recording studio in a shed in the backyard of his family's home.

Recording and producing his own songs and handling all the instruments himself, Rhodes recorded four songs that landed him a deal with ABC/Dunhill Records, and his self-titled solo debut was released in 1970. While sales of the album were modest, reviewers were impressed and the single "Fresh as a Daisy" became a minor hit. The album received enough positive notice that A&M dusted off a batch of Merry-Go-Round tracks and released them as an Emitt Rhodes album, The American Dream. Despite this, ABC/Dunhill were eager for a second album; however, their contract with Rhodes called for a new album every six months, and Rhodes' one-man-band approach made it all but impossible for him to write and record a full album while maintaining his quality standards in that space of time. Rhodes was late in turning in his second album for ABC/Dunhill, 1971's Mirror, and while it was a fine album, it wasn't quite the instant classic of the debut.

The dispute between Rhodes and his label became bitter, and Rhodes' disappointment was audible on this third ABC/Dunhill album, Farewell to Paradise, which didn't appear until 1973. Rhodes bowed out as a recording artist, and became a staff engineer for Elektra Records, and though he kept recording music, none of it was released. In 1980, Rhodes began putting together a new album, but when the A&R man working with him on the project was fired, Rhodes abandoned the release, and though Rhodes completed an album in 2000 for Rocktopia Records, the company went out of business before it could be released and the recordings sank into legal limbo. In late 2015, Omnivore Recordings announced the release of a new Emitt Rhodes album, and for the first since his recordings with the Merry-Go-Round, he recorded with a full band; featuring guest appearances from Aimee Mann, Susanna Hoffs, Jon Brion, Nels Cline from Wilco, and Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. and Jason Falkner of Jellyfish, Rainbow Ends was released in February 2016. ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Recordings (1969-1973)

Disc 1

1. Mother Earth

2. Pardon Me

3. Textile Factory

4. Someone Died

5. Come Ride, Come Ride

6. Let's All Sing

7. Holly Park

8. Saturday Night

9. You're A Very Lovely Woman

10. Mary Will You Take My Hand

11. The Man He Was

12. In The Days Of The Old

13. 'til The Day After

14. With My Face On The Floor

15. Somebody Made For Me

16. She's Such A Beauty

17. Long Time No See

18. Lullabye

19. Fresh As A Daisy

20. Live Till You Die

21. Promises I've Made

22. You Take The Dark Out Of The Night

23. You Should Be Ashamed

24. Ever Find Yourself Running

25. You Must Have

Disc 2

1. Birthday Lady

2. Better Side Of Life

3. My Love Is Strong

4. Side We Seldom Show

5. Mirror

6. Really Wanted You

7. I'm A Cruiser / Medley: Bubble Gum The Blues

8. Love Will Stone You

9. Golden Child Of God

10. Take You Far Away

11. Warm Self Sacrifice

12. See No Evil

13. Drawn To You

14. Blue Horizon

15. Shoot The Moon

16. Only Lovers Decide

17. Trust One More

18. Nights Are Lonely

19. Bad Man

20. In Desperate Need

21. Those That Die (From "Tame The Lion")

22. Farewell To Paradise

23. Tame The Lion

x

Track List: Listen, Listen: The Best Of Emitt Rhodes

3. You're A Very Lovely Woman

6. 'Til The Day After

7. Fresh As A Daisy

8. You Take The Dark Out Of The Night

9. She's Such A Beauty

10. Live Till You Die

11. Long Time No See

12. You Should Be Ashamed

13. With My Face On The Floor

14. Love Will Stone You

15. Really Wanted You

16. Birthday Lady

17. Golden Child Of God

18. Warm Self Sacrifice

19. Shoot The Moon

20. Tame The Lion

21. Isn't It So

x

Track List: Emitt Rhodes

1. With My Face On The Floor

2. Somebody Made For Me

3. She's Such A Beauty

4. Long Time, No See

5. Lullabye

6. Fresh As A Daisy

8. Promises I've Made

9. You Take The Dark Out Of The Night

11. Ever Find Yourself Running?

12. You Must Have

x

Track List: Just Me And You (Single)

1. Just Me And You (Feat. Richard Thompson)

x

Track List: Rainbow Ends

1. Dog On A Chain

2. If I Knew Then

3. Isn't It So

4. This Wall Between Us

5. Someone Else

6. I Can't Tell My Heart

7. Put Some Rhythm To It

8. It's All Behind Us Now

9. What's A Man To Do

10. Friday's Love

11. Rainbow Ends

x

Track List: This Wall Between Us (Single)

1. This Wall Between Us (Feat. Richard Thompson & The Bangles)

x

Track List: What's A Man To Do (Single)

1. What's A Man To Do (Feat. The Bangles & Richard Thompson)

Comments

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New album released this week! Hope Pandora will play some of the new titles. Can hardly wait to get my copy. I've been in love with him since I was 13!
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He's his own band , and changed my view on my music choices and for the Love of Music.Go Emitt.
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Great melodies and arrangements . . . . w h i l e it's somewhat McCartney, Beatles-era- e s q u e , the lyrics feel more honest to me. Fans of Elliot Smith, Sparklehorse , or even Spoon should dig this.
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Very Beatle-esque : - )
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I had always thought Rhodes and The Merry-Go-Rou n d were a British band. They certainly had that sound in the 1967 period. I liked the band, they got a lot of AM radio airplay in SouCal.
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Badfinger
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Always thought this was the Beatles in the 70's listening to KHJ in LA. Same with the song If You Want It, Come and Get It from the movie with Ringo Starr, what was it? The Magic Christian?
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t.gainer0
yep, i played his album thin in 1971...she's such a beauty...def i n i t e l y beatlesque!
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tonyp12
Good stuff. Thought this was contemporary listening to it for the first time. The kind of things that should be on the radio a lot more often than they are.
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This album was HUGE in the early '70's: constantly on the A/M - especially Fresh as a Daisy.
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Very Raspberries sounding - to the credit of both.
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tallulah3
I met Emitt when we were both 17; many moons ago! His drummer was Joel Larson, and Joel & I were a couple for years, still friends. Joel is currently recording with Emitt. Emitt had so many great songs, and listening to the old stuff brings back many good memories. Look forward to hearing his new tracks. Hopefully, the documentary on Emitt will soon be released. Tallulah
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(Still think the same as below!)
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OMG! I love Emitt. Freakin' amazed that Pandora pulled him up. I haven't been able to find much about him. I have "Mirror" on LP. I'll definitely check out these other records. YEAH!!!!
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mtgbuyer1
Emitt is the absolute master-
... in different ways, sometimes even better than his source of inspiration :--)
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Truly a great voice and lots of awesome melodies..
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t_heath
I forgot all bout this great voice...used to listen to him back in early 70's
Report as inappropriate
Probably one of the greatest and most underrated songwriters of his day. His best songs are of the same caliber as most of McCartney's - very lovely stuff!
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Emitt Rhodes is back in the studio in 2009. Go to MySpace and type in Emitt Rhodes. You'll find Emitt Rhodes and the Emitt Rhodes Band ... a combination of Matt, founding member of counting crow, Emitt Rhodes and Dan Mayer and another from a group called "Cody Road." ed benson .
Report as inappropriate
Ed Benson from Mississippi?
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Have met Emitt Rhodes personally - very nice guy.

Ed Benson
MySpace
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I agree with you, artistic.1. Very nice.
Report as inappropriate
He's got a nice sound. Very McCartney-li k e . That's the highest compliment.

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