Jump to content

Request for A Raspberries Encore!

Les R.

Recommended Posts

Good ol' rock 'n roll ... Raspberries style

The biggest misnomer about the Raspberries is they were a one-hit wonder.

Far from the truth. True fans of the band and 1970s music radio junkies know this for sure. Forget the fact that Sirius XM '70s on 7 plays the crap out of "Go All The Way." Though it is a classic rock staple and everyone knows every last air-guitar lick of that song and enjoys Eric Carmen's amazing vocals, the biggest injustice about this band was they were more than that one song.

As a matter of fact, another injustice of the band is why they are not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in their backyard in Cleveland, Ohio. They were just as influential a '70s rock band as some of the acts that are in there now or like Chicago and KISS, who still wait that call from the Hall.

Though most everyone knows of Carmen's work both with the band and solo (his biggest hit ever was the 1976 No. 2 smash of self-loathing "All By Myself"), the band also includes guitarist Wally Bryson, drummer Jim Bonfanti and bassist David Smalley.

Their 1972 self-titled debut album was infamous because the geniuses at their record company, Capitol Records, thought it'd be a cute promotion to have the album scented in raspberries. Nice thought, but when people were literally passing out after taking a whiff of the overwhelming scratch-and-sniff, the record company thought twice and re-released the album without the sweet-smelling cover. But it was on that album America was introduced to "Go All The Way," a No. 5 hit for the band and their lone Top 10 hit together.

On the heels of that album came the second release, "Fresh Raspberries," which featured two more Top 40 hits -- "I Wanna Be With You" and "Let's Pretend." The third album was far from a success in '73, "Side 3," but the fourth and final album featuring Carmen's vocals, "Starting Over," featured new bassist Scott McCarl and drummer Michael McBride, whose drumming on this album was an inspiration to E Street Band's Max Weinberg to find his style behind Bruce Springsteen, especially on "Darkness On The Edge Of Town," according to the liner notes of "Let There Be Drums, Vol. 3, The '70s."

That album, which featured more of a hard-rock edge to it, is highlighted by the five-and-a-half-minute opus "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)," the band's last Top 40 hit that features a fadeout near the end of the song that is brought back in with McBride's thunderous drums.

Carmen left the group soon after the band released this album for his solo career and the group broke up in 1975. But the original quartet of Carmen, Bryson, Bonfanti and Smalley came back together in 2004 and did a well-received national tour in 2005 (Carmen and Bryson shown jamming in the picture above), which resulted in the 2007 live CD "Live On The Sunset Strip." The last concert the band performed was in December 2007 in their hometown of Cleveland. They have not done anything since and who knows what their status is at the moment. Reportedly, the 63-year-old Carmen, who is living back in the Cleveland area, only works now whenever he feels like doing so.

The Raspberries were more than just one song. They were a great band. And their following is still large to this day. Here's hoping they one day go back out on tour before it's too late.

—Musically Speaking, January, 2013

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find this comment interesting -

'Though most everyone knows of Carmen's work both with the band and solo (his biggest hit ever was the 1976 No. 2 smash "All By Myself," which he loses money for every time it's played on radio because of his piano piece that involves Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2)'

I this true? I mean, it is implying that he does not receive (or has to share) royalties because he 'sampled' the Rachmaninov melody. Any truth to this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eric wishes he had those good lawyers at the beginning of his career, because it took many many many "billable hours" in the 80s and 90s to get control of most of his brilliant 70s intellectual property.

Makes me wonder if Eric's brother, Fred was inspired to pick his profession because of his brother's massive legal battles with the music industry parasites.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tell my clients all the time: good, professionally handled transactional services, legal or otherwise are expensive due to their complexity, the potential liability of the professional for making a mistake and the fact that the other side has a similar professional. It's supply and demand - if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

My post above was specifically referencing a bullet proof pre-nup that frankly, was a masterpiece.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...

As fate would have it, the attorney who represented the Rachmaninoff Estate, back in 1975, coincidentally ALSO represented CAM/USA, the company that handled my publishing at that time. I had originally thought the Rachmaninoff 2nd Piano Concerto was in the "public domain", but when it turned out not to be, we negotiated with Sergei's family, and they get a relatively small (but not insignificant) percent of the income from "All By Myself" and "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again." I was more than happy to have Rachmaninoff as a "co-writer", considering my love for his music. 

The part that the "uninformed" get wrong is that the piano interlude in the middle of the song was totally original. It's the melody of the verse I adapted from the 2nd Piano Concerto.

  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/16/2014 at 5:20 PM, paperdoll82 said:

Eric, what are the chances of a Raspberries reunion performance for the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

This forum has featured multiple posts from Eric regarding the internecine conflicts which have never been put to bed. If you have read even one of them, I can't imagine that you would ask that question.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All of us were new here at one time. Many questions are repeated when one is new and perhaps hasn't read every question in this or any other forum where said question may have been asked before. That's OK. The earth won’t be knocked off of its axis by a repeated question.

Cheryl, I think it's fair to ask any question that isn't rude, crude or socially unacceptable. Leave that for Lew Bundles.

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...