Songs Of The Day 7/13/2015: Emitt Rhodes – “Somebody Made For Me” + "With My Face on the Floor"

Playing With Myself: One-Person Recordings – I first heard Emitt Rhodes at the same time and place where I first heard half of the music that was going to get me through the first decade of the 2000’s: on the afternoon shift on WFMU. “Somebody Meant For Me” sounded like it’d escaped from the McCartney album: unpretentious, genteel emotion that sounded optimistic and just the weeist bit sad-hearted. But just a wee bit. It didn’t matter; this kind of amalgamation of pop, piano and humming melody was the kind of thing that would tattoo itself across my chest for life, marking me as either a savant, an aesthete, a flimsy Pan-like joy broker or an absolute putz, depending on who’s giving the evaluation. “With My Face on the Floor” covered similar ground, but it was a little bit faster. I might have even heard this on the same day I’d heard Scott Walker’s “Montague Terrace (In Blue),” another track that spun me off into a tangent that I wouldn’t get out of until I realized I had to be a responsible parent.

The career of Rhodes is one of those frustrating, woulda-coulda scenarios that leave retroactive pop fans like myself in disgusted bafflement. If Edison Lighthouse and Looking Glass had brief but certifiable big hits, then we should have had Rhodes’ music splayed all over the early half of the ’70s. In fact his eponymous solo album, on which he played and sang every damn thing, did manage to squeak onto the Billboard album charts, peaking at #29 with little more than wild critical acclaim and a single, “Fresh as a Daisy,” that only missed the Top 40 by a couple of parking spaces. Why didn’t Rhodes didn’t ascend to that next platform? Promotion, probably. Being on ABC/Dunhill, one of the most orange-yellow labels ever, which nonetheless had many more good artists than bad ones, but didn’t always have the pliable wallets and had to make some difficult, if no less stupid, decisions.

There was even a rumor, one that quietly and quickly died, that Rhodes was actually Paul McCartney using an assumed name and persona. However, constructing conspiracy theories about Paul McCartney was a curiously popular pastime back then. Did you know he was in Edison Lighthouse and Looking Glass?
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