Words, Music, Guitar & Vocals by Lance Frank. Produced and Arranged by Lance Frank and Ed Genovese.
A story of unrequited love set in Palm Desert's El Paseo High Fashion District told from the point of view of a Barista who cannot help but fall in love with the seemingly unattainable women he serves.
The fictitious "Poor Boy Paparazzi" band is a reference to the fact that both Baristas and the Paparazzi mentioned in the song are generally part of a lower socio economic class than the celebrities they encounter and the social boundaries that separate them are not always clear. Nor are they necessarily permanent. That said, I have found that there is bit of an El Paseo Girl in every woman I have ever known regardless of their net worth and even if they do not look like a fashion model. Beauty and class are only skin deep and ultimately subjective.
I never worked as a Barista but I did manage a consumer electronics store just off El Paseo for many years. Casting myself as a Barista just seemed more romantic. And though I never was a Paparazzi, during the early 1980's I did work as a professional TV news photographer in Las Vegas and Los Angeles abd was occasionally assigned to interviews with celebrities.
But I digress. When I wrote the tune I wasn't consciously trying to make socio-economic commentary. In fact, I was trying to avoid it. But because of my oveall life experience and academic background it is sometime hard to surppress. Here are the more visceral origins of the tune:
Though as a retailer I waited on many El Paseo Girls, I only dated a few. One in particular disappeared from my life for many years until one day we reconnected at an open house in South Palm Desert. Several years after that she was coming in to some money and decided to stop throwing it away on rent and become a home owner. After showing her houses all over the valley I told her “We’ve got to find you a place in South Palm Desert. You’re an El Paseo Girl.”
I had just written an ode to an ex-girlfriend which I played for her in my car and remember getting the impression she might somehow be offended if I didn’t write one for her. At the time our relationship was mostly professional but there seemed to be the potential for something more… and what better way to win a girl’s heart than write her a song? So I decided to at least give it a try and over the course of the next few days wrote the song. Though I eventually sold her a house, nothing ever really developed between us. Ironically, we could not find her anything in her price range in South Palm Desert. She eventually wound up buying a house in the La Quinta Cove were my ex-girlfriend lived. If you want to know more about that story, listen to my tune Come Up To The Cove.
The chords to the tune are very loosely derived from Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Wall of Denial" which I was fooling around with at the time, but the two tunes sound nothing at all alike. Something about the bridge reminds me of Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady" but I have listened to it several times and for the life of me can not figure out why. The strings were added by my co-producer Ed Genovese as an homage to Henry Mancini. I hear a bit of David Bowie in my voice during the chorus, but I was'nt intentionally emulating him when I sang it. It just came out sounding that way, probably due to some sort of subliminal association of Bowie with "Glam Rock" fashion and stagecraft.
The tune was originally written as a Bossa Nova with the rock/rave elements added years later in an attempt to enhance the tune’s appeal to younger audiences. There are some thematic similarities in the tune’s narrative to the most famous Bossa Nova of all, The Girl From Ipanema written by Antonio Carlos “Tom” Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes and recorded by saxaphonist Stan Getz and Frank Sinatra who made it an international hit. Both are about a love struck man admiring an oblivious woman from afar, but El Paseo Girl is told from the first person point of view of a Barista who occasionally serves her a drink, whereas The Girl From Ipanema is told from the point of view of a detached third person observer who watches a man pine after her as she walks by him to the beach. Unlike El Paseo Girl, we aren’t told the social status of the two characters, but it can be surmised by the location at the elegant Brazilian Ipanema Beach that the woman at least is probably of the upper class and the man is probably a cabana boy or some other subservient seaside worker.