By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio
On this sunny Friday, we go way, way back to 1997. The weekly Pure Pop Radio show was two years old and the number one name on my interview want list was heritage pop artist Emitt Rhodes.
Way back when, WCBS-FM in New York, New York, the city so nice they named it twice, was the place to be for new rock music. Before it became “New York’s Oldies Station,” it was a whole other station. It was the station that broadcast George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass in its entirety, back in the days when radio could do that sort of thing, and it was the station that introduced me to Emitt Rhodes.
The deejay, Bobby “Wizard” Wayne, waxed poetically, with just the right dose of enthusiasm, about this wunderkind who played all of the instruments on his debut, self-titled record, who sounded like Paul McCartney; hearing the first 60 seconds of “With My Face on the Floor,” it was obvious that Wayne had hit upon something very special. And the McCartney reference was right on.
Ever since then, Rhodes’ amazing albums have been rotating in and out of my daily playlists, including his most recent release, Rainbow Ends, from last year. I’d always wanted to meet him, but never got the chance… until the very first International Pop Overthrow in Los Angeles. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
As I said, when I started doing my Pure Pop radio show in 1995, Rhodes was at the top of my list of artists to interview. But getting to him was another matter. Ray Paul, then head honcho at the great, much-missed Permanent Press record label, came to my rescue, and set up the interview.
Imagine my surprise and delight when I came home one day from doing errands and checked my answering machine and found that Emitt had called me and left his number. Long story short, we spoke later that day and scheduled a day and time for him to be on Pure Pop.
That day was March 20, 1997. Talking to Emitt was like a dream come true. We spoke about his three albums that had been released, his songwriting, and much else. At one point, when Emitt took a bit of a break from the interview, I spoke on the air to Emitt’s mother, who related some wonderful, warm anecdotes about her son growing up, and the influence of music on the Rhodes family. I also asked Emitt questions submitted by listeners.
I finally met Emitt, at the first International Pop Overthrow (IPO) festival in 1998. He remarked that he had enjoyed our talk, and that his mother, who had recently died, had enjoyed it, too. He even bought me a soda!
For me, having any contact whatsoever with one of my musical heroes instantly qualifies as a high point of my life. I hope you feel the same way after listening to this interview from 20 years ago.
I hope you enjoy the show.
Listen to my interview with Emitt Rhodes from March 20, 1997 by clicking the play button on the following player, or click on the Pure Pop Radio button to the left to download (then right click and choose “Save audio as” to save the file to your computer). (This interview is presented in scoped format; the songs have been removed due to copyright concerns.)
Listen to the songs played during this interview by clicking on the following Spotify links:
“Farewell to Paradise” | https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/0EbcnHIeCryuJ2sqdPVvVQ
“Somebody Made for Me” | https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/5N6UGAAjtWe6NyQ9pMxo45
“Only Lovers Decide” | https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/6OQa2wBtfw1YvajQMsPdUS
“Bubblegum the Blues/I’m a Cruiser” | https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/5sxJazadYQIhhzvamt86vH
“Ever Find Yourself Running” | https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/0f2o0yWXzHGhgD3p6EvjqV
“Nights are Lonely/Bad Man” | https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/3ia1kM7EI2CJLfP5lANPqs
“Tame the Lion” | https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/5LUHwnRiRfE10bz8pLUrBj
“You Must Have” | https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/5GdAhgRQfFwaQilX8x2tHU
Look out for more current and archived Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation interviews.
Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show, playing the latest and greatest melodic pop songs from today and across the decades, and Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, the premiere Internet melodic pop talk show, air weekly on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.
Listen to the Pop Tunes Deejay Show on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 pm ET (two different shows every week); In Conversation airs every Wednesday night at 9 pm ET. Don’t miss a minute!