By 1965, the teenage Mr. Rhodes was enjoying drums in a storage band, the Palace Guard, which, like many teams of that period, took musical cues from the Byrds and the Beatles and cultivated a sartorial gimmick; theirs was the crimson uniform of royal British guardsmen. In his subsequent band, the Merry-Go-Round, which was signed to A&M Records, he was the chief and first songwriter.
Mr. Rhodes was signed to ABC/Dunhill as a solo artist, which in 1970 launched his debut, “Emitt Rhodes.” On songs like “Fresh as a Daisy”— stuffed with baroque piano strains, wealthy harmonies and catchy guitar components — he got here throughout as a totally fashioned singer-songwriter with a clear debt to Mr. McCartney.
The album reached No. 29 on Billboard’s chart. To capitalize on its success, A&M launched “The American Dream,” a compilation of tracks that Mr. Rhodes had recorded with studio musicians throughout his Merry-Go-Round days. It confused shoppers and stunted Mr. Rhodes’s momentum.
He additionally struggled to satisfy his contractual obligations, which had known as for six albums in three years. A perfectionist, it took him practically a yr to finish his first document alone. He made two extra LPs — “Mirror” and “Farewell to Paradise” — however ABC sued him for falling delayed, and he ceased recording. Friends described him as feeling betrayed by the enterprise.
“From the first moment he signed his deal, he was already behind the eight ball,” mentioned Mr. Price, a fan who sought out Mr. Rhodes within the mid-2000s and, after years constructing his belief, produced “Rainbow Ends,” a 2016 album and his first main launch in 43 years.
For a lot of the intervening years, Mr. Rhodes had been a phantom within the Los Angeles music world. He had labored as a workers producer for the Elektra label, producing an album for the Canadian performer Bim and a 1976 novelty single by the actor and comic Gabe Kaplan, “Up Your Nose” — a catchphrase from Mr. Kaplan’s hit TV present, “Welcome Back, Kotter.” He additionally recorded bands at his dwelling studio and made not less than one abortive try and restart his recording profession.