Detail of the cover illustration of William Mole's Hammersmith Maggot by Romek Marber, 1963
Is it weird that Wires and Waves, a blog that has a feature about loving the Beatles, hasn't had a single Beatles-focused article since the recent deluge of next-gen Beatles merchandise? Maybe I've been avoiding it because I, to date, have had no interaction with the new Beatles stuff beyond reading reviews and (nerd alert!) comparing graphical waveforms of the old Beatles CDs and the remastered ones online. I'll probably write more about the remastered Beatles CDs once I get a chance to hear them - by that time, the fervor will have died down and my opinions will be untimely, superfluous, and begging the question, "Where was this guy when the rest of us were talking about this stuff?"
But on to the Raspberries. One of the quintessential '70s power-pop groups, the Raspberries really loved the Beatles. They also really loved the Beach Boys, but their Brian-Wilson pastiches are awful and were, incidentally, the cause of much contention between singer Eric Carmen and guitarist Wally Bryson. Carmen sounds a little like McCartney, so many Raspberries songs have more than a whiff of Beatleness, but the band goes one step too far on the otherwise excellent "I Reach for the Light". One of the cardinal rules of loving the Beatles is not making a song that causes Beatles fans to groan and roll their eyes. "I Reach for the Light" starts out really well, with a somber piano figure and Carmen in full Paul mode. Nice elements are added to the mix one by one - choral backing vocals come in on the chorus, and the second verse starts with the addition of a cello. And then, at the 1:07 mark, they cross the line WITH A "PENNY LANE" PICCOLO TRUMPET FANFARE! Eric Carmen has said that he and the Beatles were both influenced by Bach in their use of the piccolo trumpet, but that little fanfare is a little too wink-wink-nudge-nudge.
Loving the Beatles is great, guys, but let's not cross that line. Exercise some self-control, please.
"I Reach for the Light" by the Raspberries