Monday, April 19, 2010

Faces: Maybe I'm Amazed

Lately I’ve been ruminating over rock musicians that I’ve lost track of over the years and one of these was Ronnie Lane. Ronnie Lane, hmm, now there’s a name I hadn’t thought about for years and in the last several weeks I reacquainted myself with this rock ‘n roll legend from the ‘60s and 70s. I had lost all track of him in the 80s and did not realize that he had contracted multiple sclerosis and had eventually succumbed to pneumonia in 1997.

For those who remember his name, he needs no introduction; for those who don’t, Ronnie was the bassist in both Small Faces and Faces. In 1973, he left Faces and began touring and recording on his own and in collaboration with others. With my recent rediscovery of his music, I have decided to feature three days of music by Ronnie Lane. To fulfill Monday’s cover feature, I bring you Faces cover of Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed.”

The song, which features lead vocals by Ronnie Lane and Rod Stewart, is found as a live recording on 1971’s “Long Player” album.  I believe I received "Long Player" as a birthday present in 1973 or 74.  Warners issued a studio version of “Maybe I’m Amazed” in advance of the LP; however, it never charted. The album peaked at #29 in the US and #31 in the UK. "Long Player" was released with two different covers – an art-deco cover for the UK release and a nostalgic style cover for the American release.

UK Release

US Release

The song also features keyboardist Ian McLagan playing a Wurlitzer Electric Piano and organ (it sounds like a Hammond, but I can't be sure). Having owned a Wurlitzer, it was a great little instrument that I bought in 1977 and kept until 1987 – selling it for the same amount that I paid for it -$250. In ten years, I beat it to death and the upper pickups were about gone – but you still couldn’t beat its sound. While the Rhodes Electric Piano was the mainstay instrument for most bands, I found the action – well, a little mushy. Although its bell like sounds and the optional Leslie stereo speaker system gave the Rhodes its own distinctive sound, I still liked my Wurlizter. There were others who chose the Wurlitzer sound over the Rhodes - most notably the Atlanta Rhythm Section.

Paul McCartney’s Original

From the solo LP “McCartney,” “Maybe I’m Amazed” received considerable airplay as an album cut in 1970. Paul played all of the instruments on the album and it was a commercial success staying at #1 for three weeks in the US and debuting at #2 in the UK where it stayed for three weeks. It was unable to knock Simon and Garfunkle’s “Bridge over Troubled Water” album out the top spot that it held for 41 non-consecutive weeks.

Paul McCartney & Wing’s Cover

Although Paul McCartney never released a studio version of the single, a live version by Wings was issued as a 45 in 1977. Coming from the “Wings over America” album, the single peaked in the US at #10 and at #28 in the UK.

Tomorrow, I'll feature another Ronnie Lane tune that has a traditional flavor and that comes from the "Rough Mix" collaboration with Pete Townshend.

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