Reminiscing - Little River Band
There are songs that, whenever you hear them, keep popping into your head at random times for the next few days. I'm not talking about an earworm, which is a short musical hook that you just can't shake. I mean bits and pieces from an entire song flit in and out of your consciousness.
In some cases, this sonic stickiness is annoying; in other instances, it's like welcoming an old friend for a weekend visit. The latter is definitely true for me whenever I hear "Reminiscing," a song from Australia's Little River Band that was composed by the group's Graeham Goble (pictured above). Evidently I'm not alone in my fondness for this romantic tune, as it's been played on American radio more than 5,200,000 times since it reached #3 on the pop charts in 1978.
(A word to the wise: the group that currently performs as Little River Band has NONE of the original members, not Graeham or any of the others who recorded "Reminiscing." It's a case of what unfortunately happens too often, where the rights to a group's name ends up with someone other than the musicians who made it a success.)
Graeham kindly agreed to answer my questions about "Reminiscing" and then followed up with a recommendation for a contemporary artist whom he finds very much worth a listen. Who is it? Read on for the answer.
1 - What's the greatest compliment "Reminiscing" ever got? Is it Frank Sinatra saying it was "the best 1970's song in the world"? John Lennon playing it over and over again because he loved it? Or something else?
Graeham Goble: Both comments are very much appreciated, but particularly the Frank Sinatra quote. Frank has always been one of my very favourite artists and I know he was a wonderful judge of songs, arrangers, musicians, etc… In fact, Frank Sinatra was an exemplary musician. Compliments are more about who they come from, than what they say.
2 - The two elements of Little River Band that really hold up are the songwriting and the singing. Your website has a great page with a capella vocals for 10 songs. Any chance we will ever get to hear some of "Reminiscing" sans instruments?
GG: I have been trying (for years) to locate the LRB multi-track recordings, which are supposed to be archived with EMI. Unfortunately, EMI cannot locate the multi-tracks. I would like to hear (& maybe release on CD) all the LRB vocals only. There is some great singing on those tapes.
3 - Do you have a favorite cover version of "Reminiscing"?
GG: My favourite cover version of 'Reminiscing' is by KD Lang. I loved what she did with my song and of course, KD is one of the all time great singers. Quite an honour to have my song sung by such an amazing artist.
4 - What did you think of the use of the song in this clip from "The Other Guys"?
GG: I do love the scene in 'The Other Guys' where 'Reminiscing' is featured… very funny… and it just goes to show how 'Reminiscing' has become such a part of the American culture.
5 - The song was inspired by and mentions Glen Miller and Cole Porter, musicians who meant a lot to you. What are you listening to these days that you find fresh and exciting?
GG: I'm afraid I don't find too much of today's 'new' music that exciting. I think the problem is that there has been so many truly great artists throughout history and now (with the Internet) everything is available and all recorded music is in direct competition for the listener's attention. I still listen to Sinatra and many other favourites; my listening mainly takes place in my car and I change my 'Best Of' selections every couple of months. I always want to listen to great songs and there are hardly any new songs written today that can compare with the best songs ever written.
When I started out as a songwriter, I always set myself against the best songwriters, e.g. Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, etc. I'm sure some of today's artists don't even know who those guys were, let alone have a familiarity with their work. I encourage any new songwriter to really study ALL that's been before. A lot can be learnt and you can get an idea of just what's required to write a truly great and lasting song. Gotye's 'Somebody I Used To Know' is the stand-out song from the last 15 years.
6 - Do you still have the original lyrics on whatever you first wrote them down on?
GG: Unfortunately, years ago, I typed everything out and now it's all in the digital format. I didn't keep my original hand-written lyrics.
7 - April 9th will be the 36th anniversary of the day you wrote your most popular song. Do you ever find yourself walking in a Melbourne park and reminiscing?
GG: Not sure what you're asking with this question. I wasn't aware of the April 9th anniversary, but I'll make a note of it now. Most days, I do go for a walk in the great Australian bush and I do often think of the great experiences that I have had because of my career in music.
Graham also sent me this follow-up email:
"I did forget about Laura Marling. She's my favourite new artist." He included this link.
Do check out Laura, she's excellent. But I can't end this post without a link to "Reminiscing." Take a listen and I'll bet you'll be happily humming it for the next few days...