Celebrated archival reissue label Light in the Attic (LITA) is proud to announce Earl’s Closet: The Lost Archive of Earl McGrath, 1970-1980, a special collection of rare and unheard music from the private collection of a legendary figure of 20th century art and music.
Earl McGrath was the ultimate ’70s jet setter, an art collector and comic bon vivant, who stumbled into the record business and discovered Daryl Hall and John Oates, and later Jim Carroll, while holding court at his legendary salons in Los Angeles and New York. Atlantic founder Ahmet Ertegun gave Earl his own label, Clean Records, in 1970; Mick Jagger hired him to run Rolling Stones Records in 1977. “Earl was a wonderful man,” says Jagger, “and such an amusing companion, too.”
Friend to Joan Didion, Andy Warhol, Annie Leibovitz, and a galaxy of luminaries, Earl was an inveterate tastemaker. Actor Harrison Ford, who before Star Wars fame was Earl’s handyman and pot dealer, called him “the last of a breed, one of the last great gentlemen and bohemians.”
After Earl passed in 2016, journalist Joe Hagan, author of the critically-acclaimed Sticky Fingers, the biography of Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, discovered a trove of reel-to-reel tapes in Earl’s apartment in New York—literally inside his closet. “I asked for a step ladder and the first box I pulled off the shelf was a master tape of Some Girls, the Stones album,” says Hagan.
Hagan spent more than a year sifting through the hundreds of tapes to curate an album filled with treasures he unearthed, 22 songs in all, including tracks by Daryl Hall and John Oates, David Johansen of the New York Dolls, Terry Allen, Delbert McClinton, Warhol’s “Superstar” Ultra Violet, GRAMMY®-nominated songwriter Tom Snow’s country-rock group Country, Detroit sax legend Norma Jean Bell, Jim Carroll, and an eclectic cast of undiscovered artists who once vied for fame and glory—folk, rock, country, funk, and R&B gems that virtually no one has heard in decades. Whether it’s the almost-famous power pop of Shadow from Detroit, or the Delfonics-style soul of the Blood Brothers Six, Earl’s Closet retraces the dreams of artists who once sent demos to Earl McGrath.
At once an archival mixtape, a secret history, and a journey into the heart of an era, Earl’s Closet features a comprehensive booklet (LP: 20-pages/CD: 40-pages) featuring unseen documents, images, and ephemera from Earl’s archive, expansive liner notes by Hagan, who tracked down and interviewed the artists, and astonishing photographs by Earl’s late wife, the Italian countess Camilla Pecci-Blunt McGrath. The double LP edition is pressed on 180-gram vinyl, housed in a gatefold jacket, and available on red opaque wax (limited “LITA Anniversary” edition, available exclusively on label’s site), clear wax (“Cocktail Party” edition available at select retailers), and classic black wax (standard edition).
Available for pre-order today (5/26) and due out July 15th in 2xLP, CD, and digital formats, Earl’s Closet was co-produced by Hagan and Pat Thomas, features newly-remastered audio by GRAMMY®-nominated engineer John Baldwin, with design by Darryl Norsen. Plus, LITA is releasing three singles including: “Dry In The Sun” by Daryl Hall and John Oates (out today on all digital platforms), "Just Look-ah What You'll Be Missing" by Norma Jean Bell (due out June 9th), and "Tension" by Jim Carroll Band (due out July 7th). Click here to pre-order the album and stream/download the first single.
In celebration of the release, LITA premiered a short film today (5/26), directed by critically-acclaimed filmmaker Brendan Toller (Danny Says), documenting the album’s incredible origin story. Click here to watch.