Aaron’s Radio Show

Episode 49

My Three Songs with Rhan Small Ernst

 

Notes

Episode Notes

EPISODE 49 – My Three Songs with Rhan Small Ernst  Welcome, everyone, to Episode 49. This is the 39th in our series of episodes called My Three Songs where my guest chooses three memorable songs and we listen to the songs and talk about why they are meaningful to my guest. Rhan Small Ernst is a great business colleague of mine and is a fantastic visual and sound artist. We listen to and discuss three meaningful romantic songs for Rhan, including “When You Walked Through the Door” by the “5” Royales.

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Three Songs

  1. When You Walked Through the Door – The “5” Royales (1956)
  2. It’s the Talk of the Town – Jackie Gleason (1956)
  3. When I Saw You – The Ronettes (1963)

Aaron’s Radio Show has been licensed by ASCAP and BMI to include songs from their repertories in performances on this website.

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Transcript

This transcript was originally generated using artificial intelligence ("AI") software. It has been edited by a human being, but it may still contain some misspellings, lack necessary punctuation, or include other anomalies. We are regularly working to improve our transcripts!


Jake:

Coming to you almost live from Berkeley, California, it's Aaron's Radio Show, with your host, Aaron Gobler.

Aaron Gobler:

Thanks, Jake. And welcome, everybody to Episode 49. Welcome to My Three Songs, where I play three special songs chosen by my guest, and we talk about why they chose each song. Today, my guest is Rhan Small Ernst. Rhan is a business colleague and is also a very talented visual and sound artist. Welcome to the show. Rhan, how are you today?

Rhan Small Ernst:

I'm doing great. Thank you so much for having me on this show. I'm a big fan. I like I really love the topic. And I love I love talking about music. So this is a great thrill.

Aaron Gobler:

I'm so glad you offered to be on the show. And that we were able to schedule some time to interview I'm really looking forward to our conversation.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah, I kind of thought it was gonna be a long time in the future. And then it

Aaron Gobler:

Awesome. Awesome. So Rhan, can you talk for a few minutes about the different types of art that you create?

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah, I've been a visual artist and the sound artists for 30 years. Right now. It seems to be the last few years, my my art has been revolving around radio, I've got a couple of radio shows that I've been doing for the last few years of being in the Bay Area. So I've been up here Francisco. And they give me a middle-of-the night slot. So I just sort of do what I want. And the new show that I'm working on, "Tape Case Radio" is really about a tabula rasa every week, I don't know if I'm pronouncing that right. But I just I create a new show every week. And it's different from the last week and I leave last week behind. And I view this as an art practice with a deadline every week. So it keeps me on point. And I think I've probably never been stronger as a musician than I am now. My artwork right now seems to be radio, I'm making ones for radio. What I'm calling a radio show is really just like an on-demand, stream of sound, you know, interview and such. But what you're describing is closer to the actual old-school or standard radio show where you are doing something live, you know, at the moment, and then people would like go on a website and just like stream that show right that time ... ... and they can subscribe to it as a podcast. So there's a whole podcast network with BFF, too. And so that's really been, you know, a great thing for me, because I love the convenience of it. And you know, my show comes on at 2am in the morning. And if you wanted to listen to it live, you're a special kind of person. But the downloads, you never know how it's gonna go. Because you have to go to the website and download it, you know, this stuff. And then but a podcast app, you know, it just automatically updates. So I kind of prefer that thing. And so I

Aaron Gobler:

So you're thinking about it all the time.

Rhan Small Ernst:

I'm all the time I started the show, I put really wanted to be a part of the podcast network. But as you know, it's very hard to do with licensing. So that kind of also the show up on a Friday, Friday night or Friday evening. And pragmatically gave me the theme of this new show, because I then sometimes I immediately go into the next show and just couldn't use any licensed music, so I had to make it all up start working. So I leave the last week behind and, in fact, myself. And so that's been just an extraordinary, you know, art people have asked me about certain shows, and I cannot possibly remember what I did last week. Because it's always practice for me in a way that I've never devoted to my life, actually, you know, because every waking minute is about moving forward. So I don't know how quality it is. Because I that show. don't really stop and reflect that much. But I've been a musician and an artist for so long. I have faith in the process and it's about meeting deadlines and a mountain meeting you know being finished with things.

Aaron Gobler:

So on the show you you're performing as opposed to including pre-recorded music.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah, the show is highly edited. I don't do like you ... I'm not as fearless as you are and just getting on the thing and talk ... in fact, I never really get on camera or on microphone, this is kind of an unusual thing that I'm just so willing to put my voice out there because I don't put my voice on the radio show, in past radio shows I've used voice-to-speech to be my DJ.

Aaron Gobler:

And then also you said, like each show is different. So having to be, I guess, creative in that sense, and not just rest on... I've done like almost 40 interviews for this format. I guess you could say, I've been resting on the laurels of this particular format.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah, no, it's great when it becomes a format to that you can really trust and then start changing from the inside of that to I, yeah, every show I've done, I said, don't listen to the first four episodes. They're not, not anything resembling what the show ends up being after four or five episodes.

Aaron Gobler:

I was once told there is an old Russian proverb, which translates to "you always throw out the first pancake".

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah.

Aaron Gobler:

And yeah, so we don't want people to taste the first pancake?

Rhan Small Ernst:

Absolutely. I totally believe that.

Aaron Gobler:

In my case, you know, start with like, the fifth pancake.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Your shows were pretty well-formed right out the gate, I think.

Aaron Gobler:

Thank you.

Rhan Small Ernst:

I think I started with one and it was very, the format is loose, and it's really, it works really well.

Aaron Gobler:

I found that because you can find music so easily, just by asking your phone play a song, that just me playing, you know, a dozen songs and talking between a few of them doesn't have the same appeal as hearing, you know, somebody talk about their music, passion. And, you know, having a conversation I found that was much more interesting to people.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah, suddenly everyone has a lot of depth. I mean, we you and I know each other as business people who we, we work together, on, on, you know, specific projects and stuff. And so we don't let our love of music come into that every one. I mean, maybe in an off-hand comment or something. But we ... so when I found out you had this whole thing going on, you know, it creates this even more depth and I already knew you had ... business didn't allow us to talk about and the same with me. I mean, I think you and I both said "I have a radio show!" and I went "I have a radio show, too!"

Aaron Gobler:

That's right. Yeah. You from Jersey? I'm from Jersey!

Rhan Small Ernst:

I had no idea that either one of us were doing that. So I, I love that you give people an opportunity to show them show more depth in their life and then just going to work. You know, the normal stuff of life.

Aaron Gobler:

I've had a number of people say that the show and talking about their love of music, and also particular songs. But more, in general, just being able to talk for a while just about music was really refreshing for them. Because the people around them, like I mentioned a moment ago, sometimes if you're really passionate about any particular thing, and you're talking with people around you, they may not have that same passion. And you might feel like you're boring them. But in the interview, some people will just talk and talk about a particular thing. And you can hear all this excitement and passion. And they feel it's kind of therapeutic or cathartic or something that they're able to like, just talk about this and like, oh, people are listening to this. Well, you know, or we imagine they are but at least this person who's saying it is enjoying enjoying talking about it.

Rhan Small Ernst:

That brings up something I wanted to say to you too, and I have to mention this earlier that my partner Juliet said this about this show and this idea that it was incredibly generous of you to give people this opportunity. That's it shows a real generous spirit. And so I really, I personally appreciate it. Generosity is always a good marker, I think.

Aaron Gobler:

Well, thank you. Thank you. I think if you asked me for words, to describe why I went into this particular format, I wouldn't necessarily say generous.

Rhan Small Ernst:

No.

Aaron Gobler:

I feel like ... but so I appreciate that. I think that's that's a very flattering way for me to think about it. When I tried the format, and just for the very first time I tried it back in August of last year, it just seemed natural to me. And then I also discovered that like there plenty of things in life, you're like, do I have to do that? Or, Oh, I'm anxious about doing that. Or is it going to be okay? And even with guests who I've never ... there are a couple of guests I didn't even know before I started emailing with them about the show and then and then I actually never talked to them until I actually right before we started recording but with for all of them I felt very at ease. I looked forward to it. i There are certain guests where I'm really excited about talking to them about this. So it seems very natural to me and not forced. And then I've gotten feedback that that it's people feel very at ease. So in that way I feel like it just worked really well and I'm really enjoying it and I would love to continue this and so now it's just finding people. It's just kind of nudging some people to do this because they like, I think in your case you wanted to do it. There are other people who said, Thank you for nudging me because I've been wanting to do this, and I keep putting it off.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Now that's really true. I didn't even have

Aaron Gobler:

Great. So before we get into the list, Ron, like what inspired you to be on the show?

Rhan Small Ernst:

I think it's there's, it's a probably a multi answer thing. Because I am a conceptual artist in general, I mean, even the radio shows I do, I think are some sort of conceptual art piece, basically. And so everything I do has some sort of, in terms of art, or this kind of conversation, it to think about this too much, because I just knew I wanted to. has something to do with me putting together sort of a theme And I think we, I think you knew me also, you know, when I'm down in my head, even if it's not that apparent. I think the themes for the songs I chose here is pretty apparent. And for something. And so, to me, it was never a question. I was what I was thinking about what these songs were, the how really hoping I would do it one day. So that was great. So there's the generosity, that's the generosity that it opens up romance is, as a romance and cinematic romance, whatever that the door to welcoming some other side of people, which is really kind of stuff is really a motivator for a lot of music. great. It's a great opportunity. And vice versa, I think movies or take from music, obviously. So these songs really go to a point of romance for me that was started very young in my life, an example of what romance is, and I've kind of held on to this forever. So these songs kind of gave me a sense of, in some cases, I heard them when I was really young. And in some cases, I filled in the gaps with it and gone back and thought well, that fits into that era of of romance and what romance was supposed to be to pop music. Yeah, so I just feel like there's a real shorthand between, you know, people's feelings of love or feelings of romance and the music that's in the air in the world right then. So these songs really represent that and in some cases, very specifically.

Aaron Gobler:

And with that intro, let's look at your list of songs. Like you said, these are kind of your romance related songs. The first is "When You Walked Through the Door" by the "5" Royales, and that was from 1956. Then also from 1956, "It's the Talk of the Town" by the Jackie Gleason Orchestra. And then we'll finish up with "When I Saw You" by the Ronettes from 1964. It's clear that those are like mid 50s, through mid 60s songs. They all share a kind of mellow sensibility. And you mentioned that a romantic theme through it, so listeners can consider that as they're hearing each of the songs. I'm eager for us both to listen to the songs. And I'm interested in knowing why each of them is meaningful to you individually, besides the general theme. So let's get started with the first song which is "When You Walked Through the Door" by the "5" Royales.

Aaron Gobler.:

Rhan, I didn't know this song or the performers before this week, and I really want to thank you for sharing the song. It's a wonderful song. And through the magic of the internet, I learned that James Brown modeled his first vocal group after the "5" Royales. And if you listen to the song with that knowledge, you can certainly imagine James Brown singing this song. So I'm eager to know like what inspired you to include the song on your list?

Rhan Small Ernst:

Well, this is not a typical "5" Royales. They had a lot of hepped-up tunes there. I think that one hit they had was "Dedicated to the One I Love" [Rhan sings a little from the song] so I think that's their the one song that they got a hit with. But it turns out that a lot of people that heard "5" Royales ... the music was kind of famous on singles and stuff. And a lot of it ... it was in a particular time, right before you know right at that there's this crucial point of Rock 'n Roll music becoming accepted by the masses and it wasn't just certain kinds of music and the Royales were a real rock band. They really played upbeat music, this particular song, I just find it so magical that you know I take lyrics very seriously in these in these early songs because it's fun to do. Because people talk with such a weird way. Like there's one line in there, "I could scream! I I could scream!" Yeah. I just like to I like to think about somebody's looking up seeing somebody that is so beautiful and so perfect for their world and everything. changes for and so a lot of these things are about the transformative elements of falling in love and the music, supporting that and going with it. My favorite line in that song is "I felt so wonderful and strange when you walked through the door." I think that is poetic. I mean, even in the in this sort of Rock 'n Roll teenage thing that was going on at that particular point, there was still this magic poetry in there, "I felt so wonderful and strange" is ... I felt this before, when you look up and you see someone and just, they affect you everything. I mean, even if it's not just love or not, you know, not falling in love with somebody, you've, we've all been there, we've seen somebody just kind of enter your life in some way. And so I feel like the songs really capture that for me. I can picture the person walking through the door, I can picture this person sitting there and looking up and seeing them. It's a very palatable, very easy, easy scenario to attach some sort of cinematic notion to, you know, and romantic. Also, I will say the Royales are from my hometown in North Carolina, there's actually a statue that just got put up. So there has become a new embrace. I think they got entered into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame recently, too. So it's been nice hearing that, that they they're getting some attention after all these years.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, I don't even recall the the name of the group. But I'm sure if I went back, like you're saying some of the songs that you described, there, there was some hits that I would recognize.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah. Yeah. So you had some dirty songs, some real suggestive lyrics about, you know, way girls walk and stuff. It's, it's really, they got a great catalog. Really

Aaron Gobler:

I really appreciate you focusing on the great catalog. lyrics here. Because, like you said, focusing on the lyrics of like "wonderful and strange", because wonderful, wonderful is a very common poetic word, it stirs wonder and stuff. And it's very soft and poetic. And then you have the word strange. We're brought up to believe that strange, you know, the stranger, or that's strange, or you're strange or whatever. But it actually is a real, like, vulnerable kind of thing that you could actually feel you could feel strange, right? Yeah. And so anybody who has, like you're saying experienced seeing somebody or, you know, hearing them for the first time or seeing them? Or you know, what some people might say, Love at first sight, or whatever it is ... it's a strange feeling. That's it, it's something that you identify that this is not normal or regular. It's kind of strange. So it is a It's oddly a poetic?

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah. And I feel like his voice in that way, it just starts right up to and it's like, there's no, there's no beginning to that song. Except "when you". Yeah, I mean, it's just exactly very succinct and concise with what it is describing. And I think it does a really good job of paring down and let you fill in the blanks. You know, it's I love things where you don't have to be told everything and you your own brain can bring the story two things. I just, that's another element of pop music that is not talked about much, but they give you something that allows you to apply it to your life and apply it to feelings in your life. And that's what makes a good song work is when people recognize themselves in it, you know? Yeah, and I definitely feel that with this kind of song.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. And like, and you also mentioned, like he says, he felt like he was gonna shout or whatever, but he's, it's still pretty controlled in his singing, but like, you're like you identified, he sounds excited. Like his voice raises. You know, "when you walk THROUGH" he kind of jumps as like, that's when she's walking through the door. That's when that person is walking out the door.

Rhan Small Ernst:

So how many times is that an actress walked into a scene? I mean, I think about the first time I kind of noticed that was with Grace Kelly in "Rear Window" when it was re-released in the 70s. And I had never seen Grace Kelly. Honestly, I was young, and I didn't. I didn't know her. But the way that she comes in on that on the in the movie is she ... Jimmy Stewart opens his eyes and there she is. And so I mean, that's an example right there of what they're talking about in this song. It's like suddenly you see ...

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, yeah, Rhan, thanks for pointing out this group. Because I guess again, I'd like to go back and listen to the catalog, especially after you describe what some of the other songs are centered around.

Rhan Small Ernst:

I think you'll really like having that music playing I mean, cuz it's, it's really they keeps things upbeat. This is one of the rare ballads, they have ballads ...

Aaron Gobler:

... and do other songs of theirs in their catalogue also kind of make you think about James Brown?

Rhan Small Ernst:

You know, that's the interesting thing. I didn't I hadn't really heard that. But it makes sense to me. But no, they're not a groove-theory band. Like, I think when I think of James Brown, he really did do some of those kinds of songs, obviously. But when he started realizing the minimalism of what he was doing, I think that's when he kicked in and became much more powerful. Yeah. James Brown is a whole other show. I would love to talk about him because his influence on the world is so incredible. And a lot of modern music is so influenced by James. So to hear where he may have gotten some feedback, some stuff that's really wonderful.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, yeah, I can imagine the song, "Please, Please, Please" which is in which seems like very similar to this particular song.

Rhan Small Ernst:

It is exact ... and that's a really good pointer. And I never thought about that. But it is very similar. "Please, Please, Please". Really close. Really

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, yeah, this is what's great about like a cool. Wikipedia, I like to assume that everything on there is true. But I think it's something like this, people are not going to necessarily lie. But it seems very likely like this was you know, that he was inspired by this. And so it's kind of exciting to say, oh, that person was inspired by this.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah. I mean, it growing up in Winston Salem in my life, I'd never heard about The "5" Royales until I

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. Thank you again, for for including that grew up and came to California. And then I discovered ... I song. And so let's jump into your next song, which is an actually discovered them in a music library. In Glendale, instrumental by the Jackie Gleason orchestra. And it's California. I they had several records. And I was like, What in called, "It's the Talk of the Town". So let's give that a the world? And then I did research and found that they listen. And we'll talk about it on the other side. were from my hometown, what a weird thing that you were drawn

Aaron Gobler.:

I'm so relaxed now. That that song ... the to them and said, Yeah, it's really interesting. And well, also the all the catalog being there in this library was quite album its from is "Music to Change Her Mind." amazing.

Rhan Small Ernst:

[Chuckles] Yes.

Aaron Gobler:

And, you know, Rhan, I, I bet most people around our generation think of Jackie Gleason, only as Ralph Kramden from the Honeymooners. And he was in a couple of Hollywood, Hollywood films as well. But they likely don't know that he composed the show's theme music as well as creating the show. And I just think in general, people don't know much about Gleason's musical endeavors. What inspired you to include this song on your list?

Rhan Small Ernst:

Well, this type of sound was big for me when I was a kid, my, my grandparents had a big Lincoln Town Car, and I would drive with him after church to whatever restaurant we were going to after church, and they I was, it was a, you know, kind of a thrill to be in the backseat of this giant Lincoln Town Car. And they played music like this, they drove around listening to antovani and, you know, easy listening, and it was called easy listening at that time. And it was these big orchestral musics that, you know, the, the main melody of the song if it was a lyrical song, you know, there would be a one instrument that handled all of the lyrics basically, you know, and, you know, so these are kind of like the, the equivalency of of a novel that's been written after a movie in some cases, but they create their own environment. And well, Jackie Gleason, you know, it's hard to imagine what a powerhouse of an entertainer he was at the time. If you only know, Honeymooners, but Honeymooners was only once one season that was it. And yet it is still people still know it

Aaron Gobler:

Right.

Rhan Small Ernst:

And he had a really remarkable fluidity about today. production and like, Honeymooners was very low-fi and very punk rock even because the, I can remember seeing shows of the Honeymooners in the walls move because they were just paper, you know, so it's like, they really had a low-fi kind of feeling about it. Conversely, the music the guy made was high production. Like you could probably tell with that song. There's probably sounds like 50 violins on there. And back then, of course, they didn't do a lot of overdubs. It was you know, pretty much recording things that as it was. He joked once on Johnny Carson that he got every mandolin player in a certain area, you know ... he wanted a song with as many mandolin and so on them as he could get, and, and he made the very curious joke, you couldn't get a haircut anywhere in the vicinity. And I don't know what the relationship to mandolins in haircuts were, but that's pretty funny. But he had a really strange relationship with music. And he was not he could you did not know how to write music, the trumpet player and I'm really, really sorry for not knowing his name, because his collaboration with this trumpet player who features very much in that last song, you know, did all of the arrangements for Jackie Gleason. And Gleason, I think, had an remarkable way of expressing mood and what he was going for, I think he probably was an extraordinary producer. But as far as the music, he could not play a note, you know, he just could just not describe it. His main reason for doing this was, he saw, famously saw a Clark Gable movie and, you know, Clark Gable reached over to kiss the girl, these strings appeared. And he was like, Oh, I really believe that. What's this poor guy in Brooklyn, what's the bus driver in Brooklyn, gonna do? He needs help. So he really made these things in a conceptual way. And so that the bus driver in Brooklyn, the working class could have beautiful strings behind their romance. So the music had a purpose to it for him. And he was literally creating background music for the romance of the proletariat. This is my own say, saying, I think he was remarkable in that, that he was a very fancy, you know, successful artist. But he still remembered where he came from, which was in Brooklyn, and being poor and you know, trying to create the magical and, and romance of life in any any aspect in a class of people. And I just always admired that side of him. And he made a lot of records got a lot of them. So this was a big deal as far as him as an artist, but he kept it separate from, you know, the comedy, comedy world and movie world, he was, like a totally different person.

Aaron Gobler:

And so you use the word producer. So oftentimes, we think of a producer, as someone who just kind of helps create something from lots of parts and keeps things in a certain order and, and moves them through from beginning to end. But it sounds like in his case, he was actually very creative, and that he would conceptualize things like you're describing.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Oh, yeah.

Aaron Gobler:

You know, like, the Honeymooners, the concept of the show and, and then just like you're saying, like, what kind of music would you put in a certain scene? So he, he produced, he took that concept and then produce something from that.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah, I think he must have been extremely romantic and his bringing ... you know, in his life. I mean, he must have been very influenced by love because even the Honeymooners, which was just a farce, I mean, just a crazy show, had this beautiful theme, that and then the moon, you know, his face that appear in the moonlight above Brooklyn. So you had a definite, I mean, every show the Honeymoon ends with him dipping over his wife, you know, to giving her a kiss after they've had a terrible argument or something. So I think he really always returned to the how big his heart must have been, and how overflowing his heart must have been about romance, because he really turned it into an art form, in a way is that I think Mantovani and those other guys, Nelson Riddle, they did. They were more musicians. And I think he was more of a listener, to be honest with you. I think he understood the effect of music more than the notes. He understood if you piled a bunch of strings on top of each other, it was only going to give you more romance. And the fact that he had great people and artists around him and technicians that can pull that off is a real feat. I just ... such a big fan. I love his albums, I love that they're called "Music To Change Her Mind" or, you know, he got very conceptual and he did a whole thing about it was one called Aphrodite. And I mean he, he really he did tailor these albums for specific purposes, you know, to change from a music for lovers music to dance. You know, it's it was the album's meant more than just the music. I have an odd relationship with music. I'm not I'm not as old as my music tastes here is revealing .. i was born in 64. So I think a lot of this came through my family and through my experience, like you know, riding in the backseat of my grandparents car and stuff. But you know, it spoke to me as a kid. It spoke to me in a real way. You know, later it was the Beatles and The Stones and you know, that natural progression but as a young kid, I think I got instilled with the idea of what what this meant to the world. and what it meant to me.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, now we're both born in the same year, I did an episode where I was, I didn't have a guest. And I talked about three songs from from the year 1969. Because I, during that show, I mentioned that that was like when I first really started recognizing music as, yeah, not just something I was hearing as a little kid, but something like on the radio or something you could buy or whatever. So, so give that give that a listen.

Rhan Small Ernst:

And yeah, well, I actually saw that you did do that show. And I haven't heard that one.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, so. So yeah, it touches you at a very early age. And, and if you really, if it's triggering something in your mind, if it's setting off little fireworks in your mind, then you're just going to be more fascinated with it and focus on it. So it's not surprising that stuff from this era, that was before and around the time you were born, is resonating with you, because you were hearing it.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah, I think that's really true. And, you know, likewise, if I can get a little social about this, I think it did instill some stuff in me that maybe not so relevant to real world. I mean, I, for the longest time, grew up hearing that romance was kind of from the woman's point-of-view, and men just had to meet it. You know, as I've grown up, and with different relationships. And especially in my current relationship, I realized that all of that romance is really coming from me, it's coming from my mind, in my heart, and my partner that might she, she doesn't really, she doesn't have the same, you know, relevancy for some of those romance, her idea of romance is different than mine. But, I kind of have this classic sort of ... Valentine's Day is so important to me, but she could care less about it. And so it just made me think, wow, you know, a lot of this stuff came from an early, you know, notion of what romance is, but it's kind of dangerous to stay by that ... you have to let romance grow and evolve to the person you're with. And so I did a lot of realizing that these romantic notions that I had were instilled in me young, and they may be really personal, that have nothing to do with somebody else entirely. You know, it may be all within my own mind. And I think that carries over with a lot of people's point of view about romance is that's how we have the Hallmark industry, you know, is we're all supposed to feel the same thing on certain levels, you know? So that's been that's been a big influence on me in recent years examining like, where did these things come from in the, you know, where did all these feelings come from? And a lot of times, it's pop music. Definitely, you know ...

Aaron Gobler:

... everybody has different sensitivities to different kinds of ideas or sounds. And so it does sound like if a song is romantic, or poetic, in that kind of way that it resonates with you. You know that the vibration with you is different than what it might be for somebody else.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah, definitely. There was a really cruel retort to someone writing a letter to somebody, and I read this in the book, and I can't remember what it was, but the person wrote a letter just laying their heart out on the line. And the response of the person who really saw this saw through what this person was doing was "next time, write to ME." And I think of all of the gifts I've given over the years to women usually had something to do with the fact that I was getting buy the gift for myself, and I think this is common. I don't I'm not not judging myself about it, but it did bring did you bring in awareness that, you know, a lot of times we're doing things for ourselves that we don't realize, we think we're doing somebody else, but really, it's, it's us, you know, our own biases, our own tendencies towards things, you know, my relationship to these romantic songs have evolved and have changed. But there's still a core in it that is really still present to me today. You know, I just listening to that song just now I was. It's funny, I can still feel that what it's doing to my body, I can still feel doing to my, my mind, in some ways.

Aaron Gobler:

Well, I would say personally, I would, I think that our world, we would be better if more people were of the romantic mind, as opposed to hearing a song and then wanting to go smash things.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah, that's true. That is the other side of thing. But indeed, I think that's as equally a romantic notion. I mean, someone who really gets fired up about, you know, punk rock or something. There's a romance there. I mean, you just have to examine what the romance is actually about.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. That's true. It's a passion, like can be a passion for smashing things. Yeah, that's right. Or, or the patriarchy ...

Rhan Small Ernst:

... or they feel the act of them being rebellious is a romantic notion. It's yeah, there is a certain level of romance with that.

Aaron Gobler:

Yes. And there's you can see beauty in lots of different things and not just in the, the stereotypical things.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah, exactly.

Aaron Gobler:

So the beauty of Pete Townsend smashing his amplifier with his guitar ...

Rhan Small Ernst:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. And we know, you know, if you're into that, and you're really a fan, you feel that visceral feeling and his guitar, you're there with him. That's how it works.

Aaron Gobler:

Really! Yeah, yeah. And, and so, in that same theme of romance. The last song on your list is by the Ronettes, and it is "When I Saw You", let's give that a listen.

Aaron Gobler.:

Rhan, as you know, the Ronettes lead singer, Ronnie Spector died just this past January, and a part of her fame is certainly due to her first husband, Phil Spector, whose "Wall of Sound" production and his record label really helped propel her career. So the biggest hit for them was likely "Be My Baby" A lot of people probably recognize that song. And today, I learned that the name of Ronettes is actually a combination of the trio's name's Ronnie, Nedra and Estelle. I didn't, I didn't realize it was actually like a portmanteau of those. So why did you choose to include the song?

Rhan Small Ernst:

Well, I really, you know, Phil Spector has got such a, he's real tricky to talk about. But yeah, you know, his Wall of Sound is really on display here. Because it's more so than say, like the more upbeat songs which the sound display there, too. But you know, he's another one like Jackie Gleason, who thought more was better. So he would pile like three grand pianos on a song, they're all playing the same notes. Yeah, just amplifying the sound basically, is what his thing was. But more to the point, he had the same thing that Jackie Gleason did, he understood what romance was to a song and I had heard that his idea was to make symphonies for young people. That was really what he wanted to do with his records. And that's why they were big. And that's why they're big and romantic and sweeping songs. And this goes back to the first, you know, the first song that I put on, I guess, the transformation of being of looking up and seeing someone and having that completely change your, your world is, wow, what can be more romantic than that? You know, I mean, imagine seeing someone, that something, you look up and see something in someone that, you know, makes you feel like, you've got to lose your mind over this person. That's the line that kills me in this, "I'd lose my mind over you." I look up and see you and I know I'm gonna, I'm not I'm not going to be able to hold it together. I just think that is beautiful. You know, I there's a wolf whistle thing from Warner Brothers cartoons where they go "ah-ooo-gah" when they see a pretty girl. But then there's also this thing that really becomes an internal thing, and I shouldn't gender it. But you know, it's It is that kind of thing. You just sort of bury it deep, and it affects you deeply. That's what I hear in the song I hear the craziness of their relationship I hear. I mean, I think that's a pretty vulnerable thing for Phil Spector to write his wife to say, you know, when I saw you, I knew I lose my mind over you. And I think it really does say something about their torrid relationship and what was going on with them in real life. But boy, doesn't it apply to just anyone, you know, you just you're having a cup of coffee, and you look up and there it is, you know, your whole life is completely different. I just think that is beautiful. What can be more romantic than a change of perspective?

Aaron Gobler:

We reduce it to this, like love at first sight thing again, right? But that might just be again, a reduction. And it may be that really you just you're you're feeling some some kind of vibration or power in relation to that person. And that it's hard to describe.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah, I mean, one of the things personally for me growing up is I saw the effects of people who couldn't help themselves falling in love with people. I mean, there were several people my family like, why are you two together? It's because something happened. You know, and something overcame their differences or, you know, who they were our or even what society is supposed to tell. My uncle was gay ... and IS gay and was gay in my life early on. So I was very aware that he was very open about it. And he wasn't, you know, wasn't very unusual for that particular time in life. And my father fell in love with someone else when I was young. And so I really saw firsthand how love doesn't play by any rules. And I think the song kind of talk about that a little a little bit, there's, you know, you're sitting here, one with one minute, and the next minute, something just overtakes you, and you didn't realize it was going to happen. And this is overly romantic way of looking at things. But I had so many examples of in my life when I was young, and what that really meant, and it meant more to me than being a tough guy, or being in sports or anything, I was drawn to this sensibility, more than anything else, because I guess I just could feel it. And there were so many examples of people, you know, breaking the rules to be in love. And I just love that notion. In some ways. It's very, it's very romantic, you know, against all odds.

Aaron Gobler:

I think there's also a certain amount of maturity needed to realize when you're just enamored with somebody, versus actually, you know, really fully connected with that person.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah. Well, that's why we love teenage movies so much a certain point because, yeah, you're watching someone who can't control themselves. And it's a great notion, you know, I also would always love the idea of doing a modern-day teenage drama, and then not having any modern-day music in it, but only like, Jackie Gleason, I think that would be I think that would also speak to the to the notion of what we're talking about. I loved Mad Men, because of that, you know, Mad Men was so great, because it had such a great mood with its music.

Aaron Gobler:

I agree. I agree. So Ron, is there anything else you'd like to share about your selections, like, things that maybe popped into your head while we were listening to them? Or, or answers to questions that I didn't ask?

Rhan Small Ernst:

Again, thank you for having me on and to talk about this stuff. Because it is like, for me just realizing I'm kind of giving you a portrait of myself a little bit, too. And I think that's the case with this show. In general. We're learning about people through their feelings about music, and it's something I like to think about myself constantly I in music I'm doing is how did this where did this come from? Where's this notion? What does this remind me of? That is a key thing that keeps me on track aesthetically. And so I think that I've revealed something about my own relationship to romance with my conversation here. I think it's pretty easy to say, say that I'm a very romantic person to a fault. So that's, I guess that's the final statement about these three songs, because they really speak to me in terms of my idea of what romance is.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. And thank you for letting us see that side. And, and sharing that very personal thread today.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah.

Aaron Gobler:

It was a lot of fun. It was, it was definitely educational for me for you know, learning more about your music tastes and music history. But um, I really enjoyed our conversation.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Aw man, I did too. Again, thank you for this generosity, it's, it's a real thrill to be able to just talk about music. I mean, we don't allow ourselves to do it that much. I mean, in the real world. So thank you, again, for creating the show. It's a real thrill.

Aaron Gobler:

You're very welcome. And you are welcome to come back again with another set of songs. And they could be romance-based, but maybe we can explore another avenue of your music taste, too.

Rhan Small Ernst:

Yeah, I think that's I liked the idea of coming up with an idea about the songs, three songs. And then sort of tie them together. Of course, that was what I tried to do here is really talking about romance. So yeah, it would be great to explore another topic and and see what songs come up for me on that or come up with another guest on that, too. I love that idea.

Aaron Gobler.:

So thank you again for taking time today, Rhan, and I do want to say to my listeners. If you want to be part of the show, start by going to our website, Aaron's Radio dot Show, and clicking on the My Three Songs button on the homepage. You can also sign up for our mailing list, so you'll know immediately when a new episode is available. You can also find Aaron's Radio Show on your favorite podcast service, but the podcast episodes only include interviews and no licensed music. Before we wrap up this episode, I wanted to let you know of an experimental format we have for the Radio Show called Dedications. If you're familiar with Casey Kasem's Top 40 show he would read a dedication written by one listener with hopes that it would reach the ears of another listener. And then he would play the song. I'm hoping to recapture some of that magic. So I'm asking you, if you have a dedication you'd like to make to somebody, please go to Aaron's Radio dot Show slash dedications to submit yours. Once I receive a few, I'll begin making episodes based on those dedications.

Aaron Gobler:

So until next time, keep your ears and mind open and let more music into your world.

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