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"Let's Pretend" at PopDose.com


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Lost in the ’70s: Raspberries, “Let’s Pretend”
by John C. Hughes

Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, in the Seventies, it was next to impossible to escape hearing  Raspberries almost daily on the radio – not that that was a bad thing.  Emerging from the Mistake on the Lake in 1972, with the smash “Go All The Way,” still one of the best power pop singles ever, the boys were hometown heroes even after their split in 1975. With lead singer Eric Carmen yet to enter his Adult Contemporary phase, Raspberries took the Beatles and Beach Boys, roughed them up a bit and dragged them in the new decade.

Raspberries spent the rest of their career trying to follow up that first classic blast.  They nearly matched it with the lead single from their sophomore album, Fresh Raspberries.  “I Wanna Be With You” was another AM radio pop rocker and followed “Go All The Way” to the Top 20.  But while the group was unable to score a second hit from their debut album, they were able to squeeze another Top 40 hit from Fresh Raspberries.

“Let’s Pretend” laid the groundwork for many a Carmen ballad in the years to come, the song wasn’t nearly as treacly as future Camen hits “All By Myself” or “Hungry Eyes.”  In fact, Carmen sounds borderline desperate and frantic during the bridge, demanding the object of his affection to hold him.  While such a delivery would make almost anyone else besides John Lennon sound downright creepy, Carmen pulls it off.

While it sounded great on AM radio, “Let’s Pretend” barely squeaked in the Top 40 and would be the group’s biggest hit until “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” from their fourth and final record a year later. “Let’s Pretend” makes the cut for almost every Raspberries compilation, but you never hear it on the radio anymore, which is a shame.

Luckily, Raspberries have reformed with its original line-up, including a post-embarrassing DUI Carmen, and have a few concert dates lined up this year, starting as the warm-up act for this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum induction ceremony and a show this Saturday, April 4, at the Hard Rock Cafe in, where else, Cleveland.

“Let’s Pretend” peaked at #35 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart in 1973.

Pop Dose, April 2, 2009

__________

Nice "tribute" to "Let's Pretend" at the website PopDose.com, where a couple of my friends contribute reviews. He hits Eric's solo work with a "treacly" but overall is very complimentary. (Note the ending, where he mentions multiple concerts planned for 2009.... Maybe he knows something...?)

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Hey Larry,

Maybe you could let him know we're not a "warm-up band for the induction ceremony" We're the headline act, playing a private party for 1000 VIP's at the Rock Hall on friday night.

The invitation only event is for the Rock Hall brass, nominating committee, inductees and the folks who spent $50,000 for tables at the induction ceremony.

As usual, the snarky little jerk is pretty misinformed.

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I don't know him personally, but will be glad to send him a note correcting him.... (Lord knows I've had a few corrections sent my way over the years! Why not him?) Writers sure can get "loose" with words, can't they? Tsk, tsk, tsk....

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Nice work, guys.

He didn't mention the private party because "it's ...well, private."

What a load of crap.

He didn't mention it because he would have had to commit to writing something that was clearly positive, when everything else was carefully worded to sound snarky. I love the bit about " anyone else, except John Lennon, would have sounded downright creepy, but Carmen somehow pulls it off."

Gee, thanks, John.

These Cleveland writers just can't ever commit to writing something completely positive about the band because they're so worried someone from New York will think they're "un-hip." Sniveling wimps.

Meanwhile, the New York writers have no problem writing great things about the band.

Thanks for nothin', punk.

e

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Don't do this much: "Hi John

Raspberries....folks like you should give them a break...highly under-rated but seminal in their own way! You should print that. I've played guitar (and multiple other instruments) since 1964...guess who my inspiration was?? I believe an important and oft overlooked point is the caliber of their harmonies and musicianship (Raspberries); both in the 70's (I was a Cleveland area musician) and recently when they re-united, is that they were (are) able to replicate all aspects of their music as well live as on the records...not unlike groups like the Eagles, Bruce, and McCartney (except for the recent Grammy's show...for some reason). Saw him live in Liverpool last June....tremendous and "Raspberri-esque!!!"

Response: "but I love Raspberries! where did you get the impression I didn't? I guess I'm confused - why would I write about a song if I didn't like it? smile ...I love the Sunset Strip DVD - wish I could see them live myself, but they haven't been to Cali since..."

I feel better already!

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Wow, the gravity of the event keeps getting more impressive.. rock the "f****g" house down Eric, and find some extra room in a song for a little of Wally's attitude via his guitar (I know he shares your love of the industry and press.) Don't take shots at the establishment (some vote) put everything into the music .. speaks for itself.

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Just actually read the article by John C.Hughes, nice cheap shot at the end that really added to the essence of the story, the breaking news, what a journalist wannabe.. you grew up in the 70's in Cleveland and never saw Eric or the Raspberries and now you see fit to write about him? And I'm sitting out here in practically Antartica (Seattle) and I know far more about the actual music than you do? Don't see you writing about some killer Agora performance no one saw, or the incredible bridge he wrote somewhere, but an article that my high school daughter could have picked off of Wikepedia, and googling the AP or Plains Dealer. Cheap shot.. sleep well tonight. Eric: I've said it before.. do us all a favor and blow the f****g roof off the place.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tony, if you read the whole article and past it to the comments posted below and read Eric's and everyone else's comments, you'll get it.

By the way Eric, I don't know John C Hughes, so I don't know his history with you & Raspberries or his motivation, BUT I totally get what he's saying about the bridge in "Let's Pretend". It always made me feel a little squirmy because the emotional pitch of you repeating "Hold me! Hold me! Hoooold MEEE!!" sounds like a literally orgasmic moment—almost too intimate for pop/rock music. (I've never been totally comfortable with overt sexuality in music... I was raised in a Victorian household.) To your credit, you manage to achieve that intimacy, that emotional fervor, that few could. I don't see that as a negative. It's a testament to the courage of your writing and how willing you are to be vulnerable.

In Hughes's estimation maybe Lennon could go that far. Think of "Mother," "Give Me Some Truth," "Working Class Hero," "God" even "All You Need Is Love" — Lennon was willing to go to revealingly intimate emotional places in his songs. Take it as the compliment that I think may have been intended.

All that being said, Hughes ain't such a great writer. I don't think he's able to say what he means—and therefore he can never mean what he says!

Drupey

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Austinberries - you are so right about the bridge to LP. If one has lived any portion one's life with passion (and are female) you know, understand and appreciate what is said in that bridge. To this day, I still come unglued when I hear it...

I sincerely hope that every female that posts here has had that said to them at least once in her life and that every male has said it at least once. Yes, it must be full of passion when it is said...

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missm said:

Austinberries - you are so right about the bridge to LP. If one has lived any portion one's life with passion (and are female) you know, understand and appreciate what is said in that bridge. To this day, I still come unglued when I hear it...

I sincerely hope that every female that posts here has had that said to them at least once in her life and that every male has said it at least once. Yes, it must be full of passion when it is said...

Well I can honestly say, I don't believe one man in my life has ever said "TAKE ME NOW" or "HOLD ME" with or without a ton of passion.

Then again, sometimes there are no need for words...just grab me, pull me close and let me see the passion in one's eyes! I'd get the hint! wink

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Eric....And He's never seen the Raspberries or you live...yet he knows "treacly"...when he hears "treacly"...U-N-B-E-F-*&-I-N-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E!

Guess John Hughes got an attitude after directing "Sixteen Candles"..."All Those Years Ago"! :lol: -Ira.

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WendyWorld - As long as you are still drawing breath in this life and are passionate, there is time that this will be said to you.

Of course, I understand that somethings don't need to be said, but I have always been fairly obtuse and need definition and clarification thus...

Also, a side note...one can hear this too much to which one responds with a very droll and Beatlesque statement of..."Yeah, Yeah, Yeah".

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Sadly, Eric is right about Cleveland music critics...they are terrified to say they like anything or anyone from Cleveland, for fear that New York critics (the arbiters of All Things Hip in Rock) will think them hickish and unsophisticated...it's part of our citywide inferiority complex. We can't possibly be homers for our own people...bands are considered good here ONLY if they are from out of town. *sigh*

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I don't agree with the last part...Cleveland's fans are very provincial...Albert Belle...a great baseball player who dissed Cleveland was treated WAY better here than he deserved. Cleveland's worship of Michael Stanley...a nice guy with average songs is worshiped here...and inexplicably[to me] can still sell out a decent sized venue.[but ONLY in Cleveland.]

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hollies65 said:

Cleveland's worship of Michael Stanley...a nice guy with average songs is worshiped here...and inexplicably[to me] can still sell out a decent sized venue.

But Steve that's just your opinion that Stanley has "average songs." He obviously has many fans who think his songs are better than "average."

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