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Kirk   

Top 10 Raspberries Songs
By Dave Swanson

The Top 10 Raspberries Songs demonstrate why they remain the definitive power pop band. Early examples of this equally loved and misunderstood sub-genre can be found on records by the Who, Hollies and others, but from the moment the Raspberrries burst out of radios in 1972, it was clear they had perfected the art of wedding power chords to pure pop melodies. Though dismissed by the rock elite at the time as being unhip, pre-teen fodder, songs like ‘Go All The Way’ and ‘Ecstasy’ have stood the test of time some 40 years on. If we go a bit overboard in our enthusiasm, too bad. It is with great pride that we salute the Raspberries!

10. ‘Last Dance’
From: ‘Side 3′ (1973)
Lead singer Eric Carmen was not the only force to be reckoned with in the Raspberries. Written and sung by lead guitarist Wally Bryson, ‘Last Dance’ is a fine slab of Byrds meets Searchers pop. It’s stocked full of jangling guitars and sweet as pie harmonies. Heck, the guys even manage to fit in a little country fueled romp mid song that really works!

09. ‘Don’t Want to Say Goodbye’
From: ‘Raspberries’ (1972)
If you want to talk about great McCartney-esque ballads, look no further. Released as the band’s debut single in early 1972, ‘Don’t Want To Say Goodbye’ is a lush, beautiful and still rocking song. Lead vocals are shared by Eric Carmen and Bryson. Though a hit in their native Cleveland, the song stalled out nationally at No. 86.

08. ‘Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)’
From: ‘Starting Over’ (1974)
In a word… epic! ‘Overnight Sensation’ is probably the Raspberries’ most adventurous record. Taking a somewhat Phil Spector, kitchen sink approach, it’s a mini-symphony packed into a five minute song. Overflowing with vocals, percussion, guitars, drums, saxophones, pianos, you name it, the song is an majestic slice of pop music. Somewhat living up to its sub title, the record made the US Top 20 in the fall of 1974. Sadly, it would be among the band’s last statements, as they disbanded shortly thereafter.

07. ‘On The Beach’
From: ‘Side 3′ (1973)
The ‘Side 3′ album ranks as possibly the best all-around Raspberries LP, and ‘On The Beach’ is a somewhat of a lost classic. It has elements of teen drama ala the Shanrgi-Las ‘Remember (Walkin’ In The Sand),’ but set against the context of thundering drums and jangling guitars. It’s yet another showcase for the incredible vocal talents of Eric Carmen. We should also note the priceless contribution of producer Jimmy Ienner to all of the band’s records. He truly helped shape the vision of the band into a sonic force of nature.

06. ‘I Don’t Know What I Want’
From ‘Starting Over’ (1974)
With the band’s fourth, and final LP, ‘Starting Over,’ their lineup had changed with the departure of founding members Jim Bonfanti and Dave Smalley, leaving Carmen and Bryson to lead the charge with new members Scott McCarl and Michael McBride. While the members changed, their modus operandi was still intact: delivering loud, yet melodic rock and roll. This somewhat forgotten gem is probably the band’s heaviest moment. The teen angst lyrics — which perfectly capture youthful frustration — are belted out atop slash and burn power chords (on loan from Pete Townshend), and thunderous drums, to make this a first class slice of total rock action!

05. ‘Let’s Pretend’
From: ‘Fresh’ (1972)
Showcasing the Raspberries in one of their most Beach Boys-inspired moments, ‘Let’s Pretend’ is about as perfect a pop song as you will likely ever stumble upon. Somehow, the track failed to make it as a genuine hit single, only reaching No. 35 in the spring of 1973. Carmen’s yearning and plaintive vocal here has few equals. He is able to summon up the depth and warmth of teenage drama and deliver like no one since Brian, and or Carl Wilson in their heyday. As if that weren’t enough, he is also able to belt out Daltrey style where needed. ‘Let’s Pretend’ remains one of the band’s shining moments.

04. ‘Tonight’
From: ‘Side 3′ (1973)
Pop perfection in three and a half minutes of glory. Take one part Small Faces, one part Who, one part Beatles, mix, cook to a boil and let rock! The very concept of soulful, loud melodic rock and roll could easily be defined by the lead off track to the Raspberries 1973 ‘Side 3′ LP, ‘Tonight.’ It also features one of the best drum exclamation point endings ever. Despite the incredible writing the band were doing, and the continuously great output of material, their fortunes were waning on the charts, as the song only made it to No. 69.

03. ‘Ecstasy’
From: ‘Side 3′ (1973)
Get in between two Raspberries diehards, and the debate will rage over the band’s best song as being either ‘Tonight’ or ‘Ecstasy.’ Both songs are undeniable in their power and their pop, but we’re giving the slight edge to ‘Ecstasy.’ It has the heavier riff and the reckless abandon bridge that gives the Who a run for their money. No one could do the Keith Moon drum thing like the underrated Jim Bonfanti, who is in full glory here. Just when you think all their tricks have been dished out, they throw in a good old hand clappin’-n-foot stompin’ coda before the blistering Bryson solo to end the song. Yeah, it doesn’t get much better than this. One of several life affirming moments in the Raspberries catalog.

02. ‘I Wanna Be With You’
From: ‘Fresh’ (1972)
That urgent machine gun like snare drum opening grabs the listener’s ears as the jangling guitars chime in to let us know the Raspberries are at it again. The band’s third single, and first taste of their second album, ‘Fresh,’ is a powerhouse rock and roller that uncorks like a mound of caffeine. Hitting No. 16 on the charts, it is as urgent a slice of pop music as you are likely to ever find. It blasts out of the speakers like prime Dave Clark Five, and never lets go for all of its three minute ride. Without question, one of their best!

01. ‘Go All The Way’
From: ‘Raspberries’ (1972)
No surprise at the top of our Raspberries list! From the opening Bryson power chord riff, ‘Go All The Way’ is one of the most vibrant and triumphant records ever! The opening Who-llke blast leads into a very Beatles-esque verse, before landing in some forgotten Beach Boys chorus. Thus was the magic of the Raspberries song craft. They were able to take the best parts and ideas from the previous decade, and morph them into something new, yet familiar. No one was ever able to combine the rasp of Steve Marriott with the sweetness of Brian Wilson like Eric Carmen. In many ways, this is the definitive power pop song of all time.

Ultimate Classic Rock, April 7, 2017

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An enthusiastic listing of Raspberries top tunes.

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Kirk   

I'd have some different selections and a different order, but, I liked their enthusiasm for Raspberries!

 

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James   

You can pick 10 songs out of a hat and you´d have a great list.  But the glaring "mistakes" for me are "Overnight Sensation" rated too low,.....and the omission of "I Can Remember" and "If You Change Your Mind".  I like that "On the beach" is in there,....it´s a great little melodic rocker that represents well the flavor of Side 3, and is underrated IMHO.  I´d also (like Billy)would have to fit "Crusin Music" in there somewhere.  It´s so good that for most bands "Crusin Music" would be their classic.

Good thread Kirk !

James

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Kirk   

From reading the opinions here and on FB, you need a 'Top 20' for any kind of consensus on Raspberries- quite a testament to a band that only had 4 albums- great songwriting!

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LC   

The wonderfully endless debate. Here in 2019, I’m going like this: 

10. “Starting Over”

9. “If You Change Your Mind”

8. “Tonight”

7. “Ecstacy”

6. “I Can Hardly Believe You’re Mine”

5. “On the Beach”

4. “Let’s Pretend”

3. “I Can Remember”

2. “Overnight Sensation”

1. “Go All the Way”

I know this won’t match other lists I’ve done here, but it changes frequently. I hate leaving out “Should I Wait,” “I Wanna Be with You,” “Party’s Over,” “Waiting,” and “I Don’t Know What I Want,” but 10 piles up fast.

And Bernie, “On the Beach” is non-negotiable!

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James   

Mine, today:

10. I Saw The Light

9.   Party´s Over

8.  Cruisin Music

7.  On The Beach

6.  Ecstacy

5.  Let´s Pretend

4.  I´m a Rocker (live version only)

3.  If You Change Your Mind

2.  Overnight Sensation

1.  I Can Remember

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Kirk   

I guess I never did a list:

10. Ecstacy

9. Don't Want To Say Goodbye

8. If You Change Your Mind

7.  I Can Remember

6. Let's Pretend

5. Tonight

4. I Wanna Be With You

3. Go All The Way

2. Overnight Sensation

1. Starting Over

Had to edit the list- can't believe I left off Let's Pretend...

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10.   Nobody Knows

9.     On The Beach

8.      If You Change Your Mind

7.      I’m A Rocker

6.      Go All The Way

5.      I Don’t Know What I Want

4.      I Wanna Be With You

3.      Play On

2.      Ecstasy

1       Tonight

Years ago, Let’s Pretend would have made the list....I notice that there is no love for Play On or I’m A Rocker....Never took a hankering to Starting Over...Can’t believe I’m leaving off I Can Remember...

 

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Mine today

10.   “Waiting" 

  9.   "I Saw The Light"

  8.   "Nobody Knows"

  7.   "Tonight"

  6    "Let's Pretend"

  5.   "If Change Your Mind"

  4.   "Overnight Sensation"

  3.   "Don't Want To Say Goodbye"

  2.   "I Can Remember"

  1.   "Starting Over"



 

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Kirk   

Naeko- you are the only other person I know to list "Starting Over" as their #1 choice- congratulations for having such great taste in music!

I know I'm a little biased as this song is somewhat autobiographical for me, but it's still a perfect song in my book:)

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An almost impossible task:

 

10. If You Change Your Mind

9. Ecstasy

8. Don't Wanna Say Goodbye

7. Go All The Way

6. Starting Over

5. Tonight

4. I Wanna Be With You

3. Overnight Sensation

2. I Can Hardly Believe You're Mine

1. Let's Pretend

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GirlFan   

10.Nobody knows,9.Ecstasy 8.I saw the light 7.Drivin around 6.Go all the way 5.Starting over 4.All through the night 3.Cruisin music 2.I'm a rocker 1.Let's pretend

 

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I'm pretty sure that even if I listed my next 10 favorite, I'm A Rocker wouldn't make the list BUT I must say that when I left the live show (can't remember if it was Cleveland or NYC) that I did think it was my favorite performance of the night.

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Kirk   

I'm A Rocker was bluesy and rockin' live- kind of had a 'Stones' vibe that I didn't get from the record...

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James   

Prior to the live albums, "I'm a Rocker" was in the bottom 50% of my ranking of the Raspberries catalog. But as you can see in my above list, I rank the live version close to the top.

The live version is them at their rockin very best. So great.

James 

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