1970, and with little fanfare, ABC/Dunhill Records released a self-titled
album by a young man named Emitt Rhodes. With more than a slight nod to
the Beatles (particularly Paul McCartney), each of its twelve tracks is a lesson in pop perfection. More amazingly, the entire
album - every song - was written, sung, performed, engineered and produced
by Emitt himself, a feat he accomplished nearly simultaneously with McCartney.
The album and Emitt had what seemed to be a promising future ahead, breaking
into the Top 40 (peaking at a respectable #29) and spawning a single that
nearly cracked the Top 40 as well. But, through a number of marketing and
contractual flubs, Emitt Rhodes - the man and the album - faded
into the shadows of rock-and-roll obscurity, along with his subsequent
magazine called him "one of the finest artists on the music scene today"
(4/3/71) and later referred to his debut as one of the "best albums of
the decade" (11/23/96.) Alternative Press described it as "essential listening...a
true pop gem..." (2/96) It's a shame that to your average person-on-the-street
today, the name Emitt Rhodes doesn't mean much. But to many who bought
that first album, it occupies a special place in their record collection;
a pure pop masterpiece that endures countless listens.
would be too easy upon first listen to dismiss Emitt as just another of
the Beatle mimicking hordes. The music does bear a striking resemblance
to "the lads." And this was certainly no mistake. But whereas anyone can
affect a British accent and wear the right clothes, Emitt had the musicianship
and sheer talent the other wannabes lacked. Few artists sport an album
as thoroughly solid as his debut in their discography. And as his follow-up
albums (and earlier Merry-Go-Round albums) demonstrate, this was no fluke.
Here was a truly gifted songwriter and musician, capable of creating
music equal in quality to that of his musical idols, at times surpassing
them. But Emitt was destined to stand in the shadows of McCartney et
al. As the early seventies saw the demise of the Beatles and the start
of their initially less-than-stellar solo careers, Emitt was making what
one fan called "the music Paul should have been recording."
unabashed pop. All but forgotten by the masses. That's just not right.
Hopefully this site will be a welcome place to longtime fans as well as
an introduction of some great music to the uninitiated. I'm sure there
are pieces of Emitt/Merry-Go-Round memorabilia floating around out there
somewhere (newspaper/magazine articles, photos, autographs, alternate album
covers, etc...) If you have any information to contribute or if something
on the site is just plain wrong, please contact me. I'd love some feedback.