The clams have a reputation for being unusally prolific that doesn't really stand up to scrutiny. Many people close to them, and people who have followed their career (there are a few of them) will tell you that Richie and Gary and Dave have written four or five hundred songs between them. I myself believed the number to be around four hundred until we began researching this site. The actual number is probably closer to two hundred, or about eight a year on average. That's not an overwhelming amount of composition. However, most of those two hundred songs were written over the course of a half dozen or so growth spurts the band went through, where they would write a dozen songs in a week or two. As they grew older and played together less, years could go by with nothing new being done. If you happened to be around them during one of those spurts, you would get the impression that this was a very prolific band.
Although each of the original clams is something of a packrat, it is inevitable that, over this many years, and with this much material, some of their songs have been lost. While collecting material for me last year the band actually found versions of several songs that they assumed had been lost. The best example of this is "meanwhile back on Highway 61." (That story is told elsewhere on the site) There do remain a few true missing songs, and I will try to document what is remembered of them.
First, let me define my terms, a missing song is one in which no recording survives, and none of the band can recall a complete version of the music or lyric. A classic example of this would be " back in New York" which Gary is sure was was recorded live at tower with the Mandell incarnation of the band. He evens describes the events of the session. He does remember the basic chord structure of the verse, but nothing of the bridge. Gelb has a lyric fragment which proves the song was written.
" A women jumped on the hood of my car in the steet between the bowery and second avenue... what am I doing back in New York? Talking about my life on the radio..."
It's very similiar to the first verse of "this is not my life" from MTS
This is a rehearsal recording of "back in New York" sans drums.
Back in New York
The prototype for lost clam songs may be "in Las Vegas". A very early composition that was a concert favorite in the pre-album days. They happened to play it very well live. And although there were once several live recordings of it, they disappeared early on. Since it was so readily accessable, it was never included on the demos that were done of the more obscure songs that were never played live.
One day in the early 1980s the band noticed that they could not find a version of the song. Since it was still fresh in their memories, they had every intention of recording a version to save. But they never did. Gary, who wrote the lyric, can only remember the first few lines,(Gelb claims he has a hand wriiten copy of it). Gelb thinks he could re-create it if he had too. But as of today, it remains the first song lost by the clams.
"leaving New York"
meant as a sister piece to the above mentioned song, It contained the Dylan turned phrase "so long New York, hello West Orange"
"all I want"
The original band never recorded this pop tune, although Dick and Paul from England heard it live and liked it. It starts out with the line " a pretty girl's smile always got you everything you wanted"
An unnamed song about a ferocious lightning storm over the Bowery in 1980. Gary remembers the opening figures of the song, and that it was the first thing he worked on with Phil Attardo after Spero left.
"I ain't done yet"
about losing the Handshake deal.."I told ya about the road to Jerusalem, about Johnny Panic and the bible of dreams... but I ain't done yet.."
"The end of the world didn't come"
This is a sad one. I mention this song elsewhere on the site. Gelb actually played me his version of it last year. However, when Gary wanted to add it OLPB, no version of the recording could be found among the hundreds of casettes and cds compiled for this project. It may turn up, but it's probably too late for OLPB.
"It's not you"
Written and recorded just before the first album, only a few second long fragment ( from an out-take? ) exists. Done in a quasi blue-eyed soul arrangement, all that is left is Gelb's delicately fingered descending piano line, ( from the chorus ) and his lament "no, no it's not you." Gary remembers some of the very personal lyric he wrote for the song. /deep inside of me/ deep inside where I feel/ there's a bleeding open wound/ one that won't heal/ you weren't the cause/ it was there when you came/ but since you left me/ I call it by your name/ no, no, it's not you...
"the war between two lovers"
A version of this does exist, Gelb on acoustic piano. But It has a really rudimentary lyric. Entitled "the last thing you would know", it has potential. Gary says that he and Gelb did work on the tune, improving it and renaming it. It contains the memorable line " the heart becomes a Stalingrad when two lovers go to war..."
Most of OLPB would fit the decription if it were not for the boys finally putting it down.
So there it is, what is remembered of songs that have been forgotten.