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How'd You Discover E.C/.Raspberries?


James

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Me? First I was familiar with "All By Myself"..didn't love it, thought it was ok (had only heard the 45 version which doesn't do the song justice). Next, I played tennis in high school and had to stay home for matches one spring while my family vacationed in Florida. I stayed with my older cousin and his wife who owned the EC Arista album. He played the album through and told me stories of seeing the Raspberries in concert. My interest was there and then I went to see America in concert (St. John Arena/Cols.,OH) and Eric Carmen coincidentally was backing them up. He was pretty good but the audience wasn't into it to the degree you'd think they would've been given EC was quasi-local.

Before his last song he said: "Allright Columbus, it's your last chance to get off your ass". That stuck with me and I bought EC Arista, some weeks later Rasbperries Best, then all 4 Raspberries albums. I was then officially a FREAK and got into a state of mind where I couldn't wait until the next album (Boats) came out.

Any contributions from my fellow freaks?

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At my age (between 54 and 56), the answer's obvious....thru "Go All The Way" on the radio. For me, it was a signal that great powerful pop/rock music (as per my all-time favorite period, the British Invasion of '64-'66) was perhaps returning.

As much as I've grown to appreciate Eric's solo material (especially since joining this board), frankly, I wouldn't be here if my intro had been "All By Myself".....still not one of my favorite songs of his.....just my 2 cents.

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"Go All the Way" did it for me too. My brother had the LP and played it constantly. Then the ultimate, the 'Berries live !! They played the Valley Forge Music Fair in Devon, Pa. They were the middle act between Danny O'Keefe and The Hollies. Dressed all in black suits they played the most power driven set I'd ever seen. Eric was amazing and the band just plain cooked! They were the only one of the 3 acts to receive a standing ovation.

BT

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A friend I met in second grade said "Here's a group that sounds like a cross between The Dave Clark Five and The Hollies" and proceded to play the single "Go All The Way".Then I bought from the Record Club Of America(remember them?)the Fresh album when it appeared.The rest,as they say,is history.

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Back in the mid 70's I was buying 45's with my paperboy money (The Philadelphia Bulletin, rockerreds!). I was more into buying "songs" one at a time.... but I heard Sunrise and All By Myself on the radio and realized there was a long and a short version of each song and decided I had to buy the whole album to get the full version of each song. So it became the 2nd full album that I had ever purchased. A few months later, my sister asked for the Raspberries Greatest Hits for Christmas and that's when I began to appreciate the Raspberries.

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"At my age (between 54 and 56)..."

Yeah, I have trouble remembering exactly how old I am sometimes too... ;-)

For me it was definitely the '72 singles; Go All The Way and then I Wanna Be With You! It usually took me two hits from a group before I'd try to get an album by them, just in case they were one hit wonders I guess... Ever since then I have not been able to get enough 'berries in my life!

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I'm also a young 52, and from the minute I heard "Go All the Way"...I was in love with the Raspberries. My 2 sisters and I bought the record immediately and have never stopped loving their music. We would play the albums over and over in our bedroom, using headsets so we could turn up our favorite parts of the songs without having our crazy mom bang on our door to turn it down. It was exciting when each new album would come out and we would play the songs over and over and over. It's been a joy to see the guys in concert this past year, and we're hoping this year provides us with more chances to experience the Raspberries over and over again.

Robin

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Unfortunately, I didn’t know of the Raspberries until after discovering Eric singing ABM. I remember tracking down a Raspberries album with a friend in a second-hand record store near our school. I asked the guy to please not sell it to anyone else as I would be back for it “promiseâ€. He promised, and put it to one side. The other three albums I didn’t track down until I started work, in a hidden-away record shop near Oxford Street called ‘Tumbleweed Connection’. I didn’t think for a moment that 25 years later I would be seeing the Raspberries live in concert and be having the time of my life.

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My friend was into The Strawbs at the time. We were in a record shop together and he decided to take a chance and buy an LP by a group he had never heard of. Leafing through the racks we came upon "Starting Over" by Raspberries and soley because of the fruit connection he bought it! "Overnight Sensation" was getting a lot of radio play at the time and so I borrowed the album, but it didn't hit me for six, probably because it sounded so different to what else was around at the time. It didn't make a lasting impression on me, or so I thought! I bought Eric's first album the next year, was blown away, and only then realised the Raspberry connection, thus consigning me to years of slavery trying to tack down all their deleted albums! For years I used to dream about going into record shops and finding unknown Raspberry albums. I found the first album by chance in a second hand shop (in pristine condition but without the scratch and sniff sticker) and the rest years later in, I think, the same shop near Oxford Street as Julia!!

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I was a sophmore in High School when I first heard "All By Myself". A friend of mine had bought the album and I was floored by it! I ran out and bought it the next day. We frequented a small local record store where the owner was very knowledgeble of bands, artists, etc. For months we kept asking the guy when Eric's new album would come out. Those were the days when McCartney and Elton were pumping out 2 albums a year, and we couldn't figure out why some one would take so long between projects. Anyway, the owner informed us of Eric's previous band. Right there and then it was our mission to locate The Raspberries albums...

Jeff

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At 36yrs old I missed the boat the first time around. 7 or 8 years ago I was flipping channels and landed on VH1 where a member of ABBA was hosting a show about Raspberries. It was amazing! spin I missed the first part of the show, but sat there glued to the set for the remainder of it. When it was over I kept hoping they would rerun it but no luck. For some reason I didn't realize that I could still obtain their music. 1 year ago a coworker brought in some used CD's her sister was selling. I saw The Raspberries Collector CD and finally everything connected. Before that show I had no idea Eric was connected to Raspberries. (Yes I am a slow learner sometimes.) As soon as I got that CD I was hooked. I now have almost all of Eric's CD's and am working on a collection of Raspberries.

I also remember seeing a video of Eric doing 'I Wan't To Hear It From Your Lips' on VH1 sometime in the late 80's(?) OH BOY!!! He was sooooo cute!!

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I must have been eleven when i first heard the Raspberries "Go all the way" on the radio...but the first Raspberries song that really touched me was "Let's pretend"...I was with my church youth group waiting outside of a burger joint...we had stopped there for burgers after going bowling...that's when i first heard one of the most beautiful songs ever written...to me it was a song that explained to me what the older kids were doing...telling me what they themselves couldn't say or maybe even understand...the soaring chorus of "Let's pretend" is one of the all time high points of pop music...i was just 12 years old at the time...but i never forgot that moment...and the feeling i felt when i first heard that song.

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In late 1972, I fell in love with "I Wanna Be With You" as a single ("Go All The Way" really didn't grab me for some reason).

Then I re-discovered the earlier "Go All The Way" and fell in wih "Let's Pretend" in the Spring of 1973 --- the local daily newspaper in Louisville ran an article on "I Wanna Be With You" in January of 1973 around my 16th birthday entitled "These Are The Raspberries: They Wanna Be Just Like The Beatles!" They followed that a couple of months later with another article on the band circa "Let's Pretend."

That Spring, the syndicated "Flipside" TV show had the guys on and I saw the lads as cool mods with a great sense of humor (when Jimmy Ienner reads a review by a critic Eric isn't fond of, Eric says at the mention of the reviewer's name, "I love it already...") --- the sense of *fun* on the program was fantastic.

When Raspberries hit Louisville on November 17, 1973, (I still have the promo tapes from radio stations) WAKY-AM promoted the gig with spots like "The Raspberries want your body" (as "I Wanna Be With You" plays in the background) and Capitol even did spots that were heavier (playing "Tonight" and "I'm A Rocker" in the background).

At the time I saw the show, I hadn't bought a Raspberries album yet (I had the singles). The gig blew me away --- they did a piano medley (Dave Smalley introduced the segment as, "We'd like to do some piano tunes from the first two albums to show you another side of the group...") where Eric Carmen's "I Can Remember" floored me (I thought, and still think, it's one of the most beautiful melodies I've ever heard), from Eric's amazing piano playing to the group's harmonies to my amazement that Jim Bonfanti could play so fast.

Wally Bryson's "Last Dance" also floored me --- just watching Wally sing and play it, stomping on a high school stage chewing on a monstrous mouthful of gum (Eric also was chewing on a wad of gum). Wally literally danced with that guitar and the stage shook as he stomped the rhythm --- I'll never forget that.

They also did the "Locomotion"/"Be My Baby" medley (Wally introduced it as "Here's a couple of songs you may have heard, maybe..." with a cockeyed grin), showing me they could make any song their own.

So after the show, I went out and collected the band's first three albums, in reverse order ("Side 3," "Fresh" and then "Raspberries") and fell in love with all of them.

But something I've only recently thought about (I'm getting old) is that I was hearing most of the songs (the non-singles) for the very first time that night. I'd never heard the album tracks, so the band had to "sell me" on the music, and Raspberries "live" conveyed a different dimension to their music --- genuine personality, a sense of true fun, and some awesome pop 'n' roll.

And the show closer, "Go All The Way," I will forever remember Eric taking a John Lennon stance on stage as the band hit that one out of the ballpark.

Raspberries didn't need inflatable objects on stage or fancy sets or tons of dancers behind them --- they let the performances do the talking. Eric, Wally, Dave and Jim were perfect as Raspberries, and I'm glad others have now gotten to experience how brilliant they are live.

Sorry for the length of this folks, but these are very happy memories for me. When I hear these tunes, I'm that 16-year-old, 6-foot-1 kid with a 28-inch waist (wish I still had that) in a used pair of my dad's U. S. Navy bellbottom jeans watching that show.

Don smile

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I think I've told this story before, but this is a great thread, so I'll tell it again:

I was driving to a club to meet my friends on a Friday evening and this gorgeous blend of voices came on the car radio. I had no idea who they were or what they were singing, but I fell in love with the sound--it was absolute magic! I became entranced by listening and almost hit the poor little Volkswagen in front of me when it stopped at a stop sign! I waited for the deejay to announce the group's name (I was sure they were English), but he didn't.

When I got to the club, I just couldn't keep my mind on the local band. I tried to describe the group, but with so little information, my friends had no idea what I was talking about. After a while, the local band took a break and the jukebox came on. Suddenly, I heard "that" sound! I exclaimed, "That's THEM!" and went running across the dance floor to read "selection now playing" on the jukebox. It was "Go All The Way," by Raspberries. I searched every selection on the jukebox to see what else I could find. I found I Wanna Be With You and spent the rest of the night feeding quarters into the jukebox playing it. The song was so "up," I was hooked! Raspberries was absolutely magic for me, and from that night I was forever changed. I went out and bought the albums the next day and began proclaiming the gospel of Raspberries.

I went to as many live performances as I could travel to. I tried to find out where they were playing. I spent the next years alternately agonizing over the first breakup and rejoicing over the second batch of Berries, despairing when they broke up and feeling jubilant about Eric's solo career, but all through it I always nurtured the dream that the original Raspberries would reunite. The more people told me it would never happen, the more I believed it would. I always said, "Raspberries was meant to be..." and I know that's true. I had to wait over 31 years for it to happen, but it did.

And...I'm still hooked!

smile --Darlene

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Kia ora everyone,Like most of you I was also quite young when I first heard Raspberries for the first time,it was Go All The Way.I was hooked.But living in NZ, it was extremely difficult to get much info. I did manage from time to time, to find articles in out of date"Teen" mags.As for video clips etc, all I can ever recall seeing was one of EC sitting at the piano singing ABMS.Now 30 years later my love of his music is still as strong ever, plus I've also got to find all of you wonderful like minded people. IT'S AWESOME!!!!

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Fun to read all the comments about the "discovery" of E.C. and the Raspberries. I'm surprised that no one had a story about the VERY early days. My introduction to the "legends" came in about 1968 at the Chesterland Hallaballoo. I was there with friends. We had no idea who the band was. The opening act was OK. Then came the Cyrus Erie. I really wasn't paying that much attention until they started playing. I was talking to a friend when the band started into "Magic Bus" by the Who. My eyes opened wide and my jaw dropped at the perfect cover of the song. Maybe this was really the Who playing incognito! The next song was "Jumpin Jack Flash" by the Stones.... again , perfect! So it wasn't the Who, it was the Stones playing in secret. This went on all night long. I was AMAZED!!! I was also hooked. And as I went to see them week after week (for $ 1.50 a show), my admiration grew. Many of you have commented about songs you would like to see the Raspberries play. I have many also. But to single out one song that Wally used to do, you have to see him sing "Nights in White Satin" by the Moody Blues. Listen to the song, and imagine Wally belting out those lyrics with his eyes closed. I can't explain the emotion. There are so many memories of those days. And the evolution from the Cyrus Erie, to the Quick, to the Raspberries was super fun to watch. And then after weeks of watching the Raspberries on Sunday night at the Cleveland Agora, they started to play originals. Songs they wrote. WOW ! I just knew they would break out of Cleveland. They did. And then seeing them became harder and harder. (And it cost more than $ 1.50 too !!) Then I had to wait 32 years! But when I heard those first chords for "I Want To Be With You" at the House of Blues in Cleveland on November 26, 2004, it was the Chesterland Hallaballoo all over again..... My eyes were wide open,, my jaw dropped, then to a huge smile, and tears in my eyes... Thanks Guys.... the journey continues.

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Jeff --- it would be great to see Raspberries cover "Nights In White Satin". Jeff Beck (Yardbirds) said Cyrus Erie's version (with Wally singing lead) was "better than the original." I loved your description of Wally singing it with his eyes closed and wrapped in emotion --- you made that moment come alive for me.

Loved your ticket price, too -- those were the days (I paid $3 advance to see Raspberries in 1973; it would have cost $4 if I bought the ticket the day of the show in Louisville).

Don smile

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Yes, Jeff, you can certainly say you were there "when." I've wished my whole life that I had been in Cleveland in those days, but being at the Cleveland HOB the night of the very first reunion show was like experiencing all I had wished for and then some.

I still envy you your Agora nights. I remember lying on the floor, with *my* eyes closed, listening to the record of "Nights in White Satin." I can't even imagine the goosebumps hearing and seeing Wally sing it would raise on my skin! I'd love to experience that someday. Wow, your post sure brought it home to me! Thanks a million! Lucky Clevelanders! Lucky, lucky YOU!

smile --Darlene

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I wish I could take you all back to those early days at the Chesterland Hallaballoo and the Mentor Hullaballoo, and the Agora and Cyrus Erie West. Every night was an explosion of new stuff. You never knew what they would play. They would come out and say, "Here's a song by....". Many times the crowd had never heard of the artist. The guys would play this great song. A few days later the song would be moving up the chart by the original artist and you would recognize it. Wally and Eric had this knack for finding great songs to copy... and do it better than the original. And they were so versitle. They could play Left Banke, Moody Blues, Stones Beatles, Who, Small Faces, Todd Rundgren and Nazz, Led Zeppelin etc. Their 25 minutes medley of Who songs was exhilerating. And then they would say, "Here's one of our own." You would fall in love with their orginals. And then one day you would hear it on the radio. What a thrill. It would leave me speechless. (It's hard to talk with a huge smile on your face !) And then I would spend all day calling radio stations to get them to play the songs over and over.

I wish you all could have been there. But now, many of you have seen what it was like so many years ago!

Rock and Roll Dreams Come True

Jeff Engel

mistere@stratos.net

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