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AnniekNY

Eric: If You Had One Question To Ask US...

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Talk about building strong, powerful, long-lasting memories, the day Winter Dreams was delivered in my mail was the same day I got my first pair of bifocals. I needed them to read the ounce markings on the baby bottles for my daughter! Yes, I got a late start, but the question is; why do I remember that? Scott

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My first introduction was the Starting Over album. I was 16. I had never heard of the band before that. Somehow I missed GATW, IWBWY and Let's Pretend. I read a great review making reference to the Who. That was enough for me. I went out and bought it. Then one by one I bought the other 3 albums. I still stay pretty current with new music and there's a lot of new stuff that I like and buy. But Starting Over and Side 3 are always close to the CD changer. They still sound good. When I hear Overnight Sensation, Play On, Partys Over, IDKWIW, Tonight, Ecstacy, etc...., I don't think of 1974, I think, "Damn, that's a great song." And you guys just proved it to me with your shows last year. I was lucky enough to hit two...the first one in Cleveland, and the Sunday BB King's show. The songs sounded more current than anything Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, or any of those other touring "classic rock" bands are playing.

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Eric:

The Raspberries filled a very big void for me left by the breakup of the Beatles. And as you've said so many times, nobody in the early '70's was doing your kind of music. It was all prog-rock, interminable soloing etc.

No one was writing classic 3-minute pop songs until the Raspberries came along. I was hooked immediately and haven't stopped listening since.

The songs still sound as fresh and timeless as they did back in the '70's.

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Argee   

As a life long Cleveland/ Northeast Ohio native, how could I not like the Berries? When I got out of the service in late 1969 and met and started dating my wife (34 years of marriage!) there was this little ole band playing around town that we would drive out to see when we could. I always pulled for you and the guys and always had a bit of home town pride when I saw you on TV after the bands demise and I still remember how much respect I had for you when you moved back to NE Ohio.

Rock On Eric, Jim, Dave and Wally.

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I'm only 41, and I always felt like I was born 10 years too late given my love of The Beatles and the pop that followed (Beach Boys, Badfinger, 'Berries, etc.) I was a freak in high school, 'cause they all wanted Journey, Whitesnake and Judas Priest.

Regardless, here's my take:

1. The masterful songwriting, including the 'naughty' augmented & diminished chords

2. Gift from God harmonies

3. Lyrically - honestly expressing what you four felt, which was the same as we feel/felt (like the first time I ever heard "and i don't give a shit" on vinyl!!)

4. The innovative use of studio techniques (at the time)

5. That jangly 12 string and gutiar solos that worked WITH the songs, as opposed to' standing out'

6. The solid drumming from both 'eras'

7. Taking the influences (Beatles, Who, Beach Boys, Left Banke, classical composers, etc.), and using what you learned to the fullest extent to create your OWN sound...which in the end, defines you in the mind's eye.

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I'm too young to have those 70's Raspberries angst memories...

Though I prefer Eric's solo work to the Raspberries overall, It always comes down to THE SONGS! Melodies, harmonies, instrument riffs that make the special parts of your body tingle! So many good to great songs on each album! Over the years, there were so few albums/CDs that I liked the majority of the tunes...But when EC was involved with the writing and production, you consistantly get 7-8 out of 10 tingles with every release. And the Raspberries band was/is so tight and harmonic, with one of the best lead guitarists ever, you know they can bring out the best in any tune they play.

But it all starts with quality compositions! :)

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sterling   

Hi Eric,

I became a Berries fan in the past couple of years and I am 56 years old. Although I had heard the "hits" back in the early 70's, I did not know anything about the band,etc. Recently I became aware of the reunion and started listening to the albums. The music reminded me so much of the Beatles, Beach Boys, Byrds, Faces, Who, etc! I really like those bands so it was a good fit. 95% of the songs are winners in my book. I was fortunate enough to go to 3 Berries concert in 2005 and in the past 30 years I have been to very few concerts at all. I also got to see Paul McCartney in 2005 and all four concerts were just fantastic!!! Many of the reasons for my being drawn to Berries music have been mentioned above. Tight harmonies, great melodies and hooks, jangling guitars are all reasons for liking their music. It is just "feel good music". The Berries are very similar to the Beatles in that within each group they are all very good musicians but when grouped together and focused they become very successful and critically aclaimed. The sum is greater than the individual parts. That is the really cool part and I look forward to more Berries experiences down the road. Thanks for making my life and many others more enjoyable!

Phil

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dianed   

During my first year of college, I was in a shopping mall wandering around when the overhead speakers blared out GATW. I froze and listened to a sound unlike anything I had ever heard. And that voice…OH MY GOD,.THAT VOICE…..who could it be? I went to the nearby record store and dragged out one of the salespersons to give a listen. He took me back in the store and handed me the 45 record and said “This is the Raspberriesâ€â€¦.â€The Who ???†I was hooked. I waited patiently for new material to be released and loved each and every song. I had never had the chance to see them perform back in the days due to lack of funds because I was paying for my own education. Then when I heard the dreaded news that the band “called it quitsâ€, I knew I had missed opportunities of a lifetime. But when Eric went solo, I still thought I had a chance to see him perform live, but again, I missed the boat. But I listened to each and every song he composed. His ballads moved me beyond words. Sheer genius. I could not imagine anyone having so much talent and so much emotion inside of them to write such lyrics and music. I could easily relate with each and every “love-gone-wrong†ballad…Just put the dagger in and turn it !!!! Eric was truly ahead of his time.

Well, I did not miss the opportunity to see them perform this time around (three times actually). And I pray (I am on my knees praying very hard) that 10-6 is a go.

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To me...It comes back to the melodies...And the subject matter in the lyrics...The early Raspberries hits "Go All The Way" and "Let's Pretend" were the perfect marriage of teen angst...And soon to be lost innocence...But those two songs wouldn't have connected then...Or would not be relevent now without the soaring choruses that set them apart from most records produced in the early 70's..."Go All The Way" and "Let's Pretend" were each carried by the choruses that defy the passage of time...Much like all of us would like to do...Hearing them the first time captured a feeling that was brewing deep inside my young soul...Hearing them now makes me remember with crystal clarity how it felt to be young...Songs like that are much more than "dance music"...They connect on a more personal and emotional level...With the hopes and fears of growing up...And how far I have come since those times...The Raspberries career was kind of a representation of all that...Starting with the innocence of the early hits...The cynicism of "Hit Record"...And that sadder but wiser adult view of "Starting Over"...All of this was accomplished by a band that was only a hitmaking force for a short few years...But the power of what they did with the few hits they had keeps the Raspberries fresh and relevant...Even after the passage of more than 30 years...When many of their contemporaries have faded to obscurity with the passage of time...

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I actually discovered the Raspberries AFTER you're first solo album. When I heard it I had to hear more of this guy with the great voice! The local small record shop owner (remember those?) informed me of this group that you were previously in. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it was you that was behind "Go All the Way" and "I Wanna be with You". Songs that I had heard but had no idea who the group was.

Jeff

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Laura   

I was about 14 years old when "Go All The Way" was a hit. I used to listen to the top 40 on WLS just to hear all the new music. There was something about the music, your voice, the song that made me just take notice. Had to buy the albums after that. There was the "teenage dirty" lyrics, but the musicianship just attracted me.

I grew up with 3 older brothers who listened to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. I started playing them Raspberries. I'm not sure they got it but they still enjoy listening to the songs.

I never get tired of the songs. Still have Raspberries Greatest Hits in my car CD player. I have to, because most of the new music is unlistenable. Continued to listen to your solo music and struggled to find any Raspberries music I could. The web site allows me to get the news that I struggled to find all these years.

There are other groups that I enjoy but I never felt the same about them as I do about Raspberries and EC music.

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mannoman   

I'm traveling at the moment and don't have enough time to read all ther responses but I will do so as soon as I get home and will respond. I don't suspect it will be much different than other's but I will respond, nonetheless.

What a great question Annie, thanks for asking it.

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stringer   

I just crave the emotion and feeling that comes out of an Eric Carmen song. When you really like a band, you feel an inner connection, that's unexplainable, you just want more.

I was overwhelmed when the "I was born to love you" album came out. Again the great vocals and lyrics were again spilling out to me.

The Raspberries concerts were absolutely a piece of heaven for me. I couldn't believe I was there, and I really enjoyed listening and watching all the Raspberries members singing and playing their songs.

I've been listening to Raspberries/Eric Carmen music since the beginning, and it's great to see so many people still enjoying your music.

We just can't get enough!! :)

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Margaret   

Eric, born in '65, I was also too young to fully appreciate your music in the '70's. However, I was introduced to it then by my older sister and for some reason, it resonated with my 7 year old ears! When 'Starting Over' came out, I would lie on the floor in the dark (in my 9 year old version of a meditative state) and just listen to the music. I grew up loving the 'Berries and over time, came to fully appreciate and understand the music and the lyrics. To this day, my personal 'Berries Greatest CD is the only CD in my car... my husband can't understand how I can listen to it so much! (And he does love the band... albeit because he loves me!)

Everybody has already said it so eloquently! The one thing that stands out for me today is the amount of palpable emotion in your voice, Eric, when you sing. (And when you play piano.) I can feel your music like no other! The heartbreak of "If You Change Your Mind", the passion of "I Can Hardly Believe You're Mine", ... Your music is part of me and part of my life and I can only offer my humble thanks in return. Please keep making music - we need you!! Margaret :)

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In 1984 with the music scene dominated by such acts like Culture Club and Duran Duran which I found truly awful. I out of frustration decided to discover music of good days gone by and one of which was The Raspberries. It was like a breath of fresh air for me and I felt like I was the only fan. Special songs for me. John

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AnneG   

Eric,

I remember the trilogy of GATW, Let's Pretend, and I Wanna Be With You. Such songs evoked mental responses such as: "How does he do THAT?", "What sound is that?", and "Wow! That is clever!" They were great songs that got me hooked on the other "lesser known" Raspberries masterpieces. Even after the band disengaged and all was silent on the musical front, the songs remained in my memory.

I had an operation in 1982 which temporarily bruised the nerves to the vocal chords. I discovered I could sing higher than before—and the first song that popped into my head to try my newfound talent was "Let's Pretend". Boy did I have fun with that one! I don't remember thinking about that song in almost a decade and I've often wondered why it was that song that was so easily recalled from memory.

It must be the appeal of the songs. Whether it be the homage to the Beatles, Badfinger, etc. that leads one to discover new music, or the delicate intricate structure of the song that oozes intelligent creators, or the classical influence - the music stays with you, either prominently or in your subconscious. Something so dear that stays with you over so many years becomes a part of you. Perhaps that's why "Let's Pretend" immediately came to my mind—because it was a part of me and as such I had easy access.

Why has the music had such a strong appeal for all these years? How can it not? How can you not like something that is so much a part of you?

Anne

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I think George Martin said it best. "All You Need Is Ears"—Yes, The Beatles had just broken up and I was searching. And all those Teenage Frustration Classic's spoke to a kid my age. And watching Raspberries grow by leaps and bounds with each of the four albums was thrilling. But for me, more than anything else, it was your voice and your songs. Great singers that can also write amazingly powerful songs are few and far between. Billy, Elton, Paul and Brian. I can't think of too many others. I put you right up there with those guys. They've got nothing on you other than sales and I mean it. And then there was the Underdog component. For all your success, you never seemed to get the credit you deserved. So I lived your triumphs AND disappointments with you through the years. The low of having "Hit Record" largely ignored. The high of seeing ABM zoom up the charts. I was crushed when "Boats" didn't sell, but I'm glad you made it. Up when "Hungry Eyes" and "Lose Control" topped the charts, and then puzzled by the silence thereafter. Yes, you've provided the soundtracks for many of our lives, but more than that, the music you've made is just extraordinary. I think one of the greatest gifts Bernie gave us when he built this website, is that you will always have an audience and an outlet for any future music you may want to make.

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This music....this Raspberries music....got us through all the bad times and made the good times even better.

It was what we played when we were sad and what we played when we were pumped up....like when we were on our way for that big date.

They say the Lord hears music above all else. If that is true, then he must certainly like music that makes people happy....and he must certainly be a Raspberries fan.

When that day comes when we have seen our last sunset, I can think of no better epitaph for anyone than they made life a little more pleasant for those around them. This music certainly did that.

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It's obvious we all love the music, but why are we still so passionate about it so many years later? I think Tommy Tunes touched on it the most. The music and what makes it great is why I first fell in love with the Raspberries and Eric's solo material, but I don't think it is the prime reason I visit this website everyday, and remain so loyal. After I discovered the music, I felt like I had discovered some hidden treasure that I had to share with my friends. I didn't understand how the Raspberries music or Eric's had for the most part gone so unappreciated. I became an ambassador. I was on the side of the underdog and it became VERY personal. As some have stated above, they were MY band and I was proud to have them as my band. When my oldest son became a football star at our local high school , I was proud. Each time he ran for a touchdown, I couldn't help but think "That's MY boy"! When I heard "I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips" on the radio after I thought for sure that I might not ever hear from Eric again, I sort of had those same thoughts. "That's MY Eric on the radio" I know it sounds strange, but I bet that's how we all feel. Eric and the Raspberries don’t belong to the masses, they belong to US. We wish the masses would take notice so that we could all say "That's MY band! The Raspebrries.:"

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darlene   

We like to think of them as just OUR band, but in reality, there are a lot of people out there who don't even know about the websites who love the music. They sold a lot of records. The breakup that resulted from the disastrous way the record company treated them and their internal strife might have prevented people from remembering them by name, but when people hear the music they love it.

There is a very special "collective personality" that comes through in all their music, an extraordinary over-the-top joy and energy that I've never heard in any other band. I longed to see them instantly upon hearing the music. It's much more than playfulness, and much more than their individual personalities. That's why I've always said they are nothing short of "magic" together, and that's why those who know the music have never lost one iota of love for it after so many years, and never will.

What they have is more than playfulness, zeal, chemistry. I've always said it's nothing short of electricity, and no other band I've ever seen could match it for me. Not even Beatles. The blend of innocent optimism and complex, sophistocated raw emotion is a perfect enigma, but it draws me to the music like a moth to a flame. There's a mystery, a mysticism and an innate musical and human intelligence that no other band has for me.

:) --Darlene

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Boy - I'm away from the board for a week, and lots of cool threads have started including this one!

As I referenced in past threads, and I think in my "reflections" after the reunion concerts... The first album I owned was the Raspberries first album. Besides the obvious "Go All The Way" and "Don't Want To Say Goodbye", I was immediately drawn to "Waiting" and especially "I Can Remember". As the years passed and I went through my first experiences of dating, and with someone breaking up with me, I found myself going back to these songs. Eric - I think I read somewhere that you were not really happy with the way "Waiting" turned out on the album, but to me it is perfect. The music of the Raspberries and your solo material will always be part of my life.

Tim

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Hmmm...

I just looked back and read your question again Eric, and I don't think I really answered it. I expressed how important the music is to me.

In simple terms, I think the reason people respond strongly to the Raspberries and their music is because the songs were about real issues and emotions. We could feel that you were "one of us" and all of you were going through the same things we were. That's why our emotions ran so high when you guys reunited, and we got to see you perform the songs we grew to love, It was like a close friend had come home after 30 years!

Tim

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pierson   
Eric Carmen said:

If you had to come up with one reason why you think people still respond so strongly to the Raspberries and their music after all these years, what would it be?

It's too complex to come up with one... although i'll try to list just a few, starting w/ the most important...

1. Sui Generis... one of a kind... it's the magic in a bottle theory... the VERY rare occasion where time, place & people make for this amazing thing... the MUSIC that is... the elements which made someone like you, Eric Carmen write the songs you did between 1970-1974 are what truly makes the bond that much more special...

even with bands like Badfinger, Big Star, Dwight Twilley, Artful Dodger doing similar things, it's not the same as the Raspberries... vice versa: nor do the Raspberries take the place of those acts... everyone has their own unique stamp & spin...

the other thing is that (imho) no other artist or band has ever reached the heights scaled on songs like "Go All The Way," "Tonight," "Ecstasy," & "Overnight Sensation"... in the mix of what became modern power pop and pop/rock it's a very high water mark...

to hear that stuff played live was just as impressive as hearing Brian Wilson's band do "SMiLE"...

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