Emitt Rhodes

Emitt RhodesFrom: Decatur, IL, USA

Emitt Lynn Rhodes (born February 25, 1950, Decatur, Illinois, United States) is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and recording engineer. Rhodes began his career in musical ensembles The Palace Guard and The Merry-Go-Round.

The Merry-Go-Round had a recording contract with A&M Records when they disbanded in 1969. Rhodes recorded songs at A&M to fulfill that contract, but A&M decided to not release it at the time. Rhodes then decided to go out on his own and bought equipment to make a recording studio in his parents’ garage. Rhodes recorded his first album (Emitt Rhodes) in that home studio. He got a recording contract with ABC/Dunhill Records, who released his album, as well as the next two albums he recorded (Mirror and Farewell to Paradise). Rhodes got a $5,000 advance for Emitt Rhodes, which he spent on recording equipment. His first album was a critical success – Billboard called Rhodes “one of the finest artists on the music scene today” and later called his first album one of the “best albums of the decade”. The album reached number 29 on the Billboard charts. The single “Fresh as a Daisy” reached number 54 on the pop chart. Meanwhile, shortly after Emitt Rhodes was released by Dunhill, A&M decided to release their old recordings of The American Dream, which confused record buyers. Mirror was released in 1971 and did reach the top 200 on Billboard’s album chart. In 1973 Dunhill released Rhodes’ final album, Farewell to Paradise.

Rhodes wrote all of the songs on his albums. On Emitt Rhodes, Mirror, and Farewell to Paradise, he played all of the instruments and sang all of the vocals while recording himself in his home recording studio. He used a four-track recorder for the instruments for Emitt Rhodes and transferred those to an eight-track recorder to add the vocals. He used an eight-track recorder for Mirror, and Farewell to Paradise. The mixdown engineer on Farewell to Paradise was Curt Boettcher, the producer and musician who is best remembered for his work on the “soft pop” albums by Sagittarius and The Millennium.

Rhodes’ contract with Dunhill called for an album every six months (six albums over three years) – a schedule that was impossible for Rhodes to meet, due to writing all of the songs and recording each instrument and vocal individually by himself. Dunhill sued Rhodes for $250,000 and withheld royalties because of his failure to deliver albums on the timescale required by the contract. Emitt Rhodes took nearly a year to record, the album Mirror took nine months, and Farewell to Paradise took over a year.

After Farewell to Paradise, Rhodes stopped performing and released no more material, except on compilations. He continued to record his songs in his studio, but they were unreleased except for one song on Listen, Listen. He worked as a recording engineer and record producer for Elektra Records. He runs his own studio for recording other acts.

Rhodes’ song “Lullabye” (from Emitt Rhodes) was featured in the 2001 Wes Anderson film The Royal Tenenbaums.

In January and February 2009, Italian director Cosimo Messeri shot a documentary movie about Emitt Rhodes’s vicissitudes: life, past, present, troubles and hopes. The movie, entitled The One Man Beatles, was selected for the International Rome Film Festival 2009, and received standing ovations. In 2010 “The One Man Beatles” was nominated for David di Donatello Award as Best Documentary of 2010. Its US Premiere screening is scheduled for May 29, 2010 at the Rhino Records Pop Up Store in Westwood, California.

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1970 album Emitt Rhodes
emitt-rhodes

  • Ever Find Yourself Running
  • Fresh As A Daisy
  • Lullabye
  • Somebody Made For Me
  • With My Face On The Floor

From the 1971 album Mirror
mirror

  • Golden Child Of God
  • Mirror