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1998: 25 Years of EricCarmen.com - Year 2


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 “I think ‘I Was Born To Love You’ is one of my loveliest melodies." —Eric Carmen, Eric Carmen: Marathon Man

In January 1998, Eric Carmen gave a gift to his fans by issuing his first album of new songs since 1984. Initially released only in Japan, the news was first revealed to visitors of EricCarmen.com by Eric himself.

"I am planning to go to Japan around the 16th for about 8 or 9 days to do promotion for the record. When I get back at the end of the month I will turn my attention to finding a label for the rest of the world." —Eric Carmen, EricCarmen.com



Liner Notes

Translated from the Japanese liner notes by Noriko Hiratani.

Sweeter and more bitter than any love story — his ballads can make time stand still.

After a 13 year interval, this new album by Eric Carmen, who created the classic ballad "All By Myself," is his best work — focusing all of his talents as a melody maker. It was long. It was really long. Hearing that Eric Carmen finished recording his latest album after a 13 year interval, all I could feel was it was long. I'm not saying those 13 years were long. It passed incredibly fast since hearing the news that Eric was working on his album, and the rumor that he finished recording... but I can't help feeling he kept me waiting for so long. I was really happy to hear Eric himself saying strongly, "This is the album I really wanted to make." In June of 1997, I had the chance to visit Beachwood Studios in his hometown of Cleveland, and interview him for the first time. Eric said with a smile, "I've been working on this album for two years." All I could do was smile back, though inside I wanted to say, "Please finish it soon."

Why did it take so long? The answer is simple. Eric Carmen is an uncompromising perfectionist who never approves his work as an album until he is satisfied in every way. Lastly, I'd like to talk about the musicians playing on this album. Most of parts were played by the perfectionist Eric himself, so not many guests are credited. Bruce Gaitsch played guitar on some songs. Alexandria Brown and Sue Anne Carwell, who are popular female studio singers in the L.A. music scene, sang backing vocals. However, the most interesting thing is that ex-Raspberries member Wally Bryson played guitar on two songs, "I Could Really Love You" and "Every Time I Make Love To You."

The Raspberries have been highly reevaluated recently, so his participation is all the more notable. Above all, the most wonderful thing is that Eric played again with his former Raspberries band mate in Cleveland, where they had both grown up together. In 1997's major league baseball scene, the Cleveland Indians achieved good results on the road to the World Series. Being a baseball fan, Eric teased us, saying, "I was so anxious that the Indians would win that I couldn't concentrate on recording." So, now that new album is finally here, it's O.K. for him to say anything he likes!

"1998 will be a wonderful year, 'cause it started with your new album" — I suppose I'm not the only one who thinks so. I'm so grateful that I could write this liner notes.

- Toshiki Nakada, Cool Sound Inc.

From Japanese Musicians

"His new album really moved me. Though it was just the little heart of a man like me, his songs surely moved it. I believe it is the most important thing in making music, and it is so wonderful."
— Barbe-Q Wasada

"The first album I heard of Eric Carmen was his early album "Boats Against the Current," before I debuted. Since then, I listened to all his albums at their releases, traced back to not only his solo works but also the Raspberries, and finally I became an Eric Carmen freak. His album released this time is full of pop elements, and strength of melody has increased. I'm happy that he released the album from the same label with me, and, above all, I'm so happy that here is the album which shows my favorite artist is alive and still kicking.
— Keizo Nakanishi

by Hisayuki Azuma

1. I Was Born To Love You

A beautiful ballad characteristic of Eric and the first single released ahead of the album in October '97. Co-written by Eric and Andy Goldmark. This team also co-wrote Peter Cetera and Crystal Bernard's "I Wanna Take Forever Tonight" (No.86/'95). Andy himself is known for Jeffrey Osborne's "You Should Be Mine" (No.13/'86) and Michael Bolton's "Love Is a Wonderful Thing" (No.4/'91). Playing guitar on this song is Bruce Gaitsch, who is known for co-writing Richard Marx's "Don't Mean Nothing" (No.3/'87), while supporting Glenn Frey, Peter Cetera, Timothy B. Schmitt, and Madonna.

2. Someone That You Loved Before

Contrary to "I Was Born To Love You," which describes love's sweet beginning, this one, the 2nd single from this album, is a sad song describing the realization of fading love. Both are equally excellent ballads. Diane Warren should be called the most successful songwriter in this decade, who has offered Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" (No.1/'87), Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me" (No.1/'96), and Toni Braxton's "Un-break My Heart" (No.1/'96), to mention a few of her numerous hits. Diane also offered "My Heart Stops" to Eric in '92. Bruce Gaitsch on guitar, Alexandria Brown, who supported Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin, Bridgette Bryant, who supported Phil Collins, and Sue Ann Carwell on backing vocals. This song has been already rerecorded under the title "L'Amour T'Aidera" by French singer Jane Fostin on her self-titled album.

3. Everytime I Make Love To You

The talking point of this song is that ex-Raspberries member Wally Bryson played guitar. After the break up of Raspberries, Wally played in some bands such as Tattoo and Fotomaker, which he formed with ex-Rascals members. It must please their fans to see that even though they had once broken up, a long time has passed and they have been united to play together again. Eric, Andy Goldmark and Steve Kipner co-wrote this song. Steve is the ex-member of Steve and the Board, and Tin Tin from Australia, and is known as the songwriter of Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" (no.1/'81) and Chicago's "Hard Habit to Break" (No.3/'84).

4. Cartoon World

Being an excellent melody maker, his listeners, in general, are most attracted by his ballads. Personally, however, I feel much more attracted by his pop numbers like this one, which displays the feeling of 60's rock and soul, or twinkling melody lines in his rock'n roll numbers. What is interesting about this song is that Eric co-wrote with British singer-songwriter John Wesley Harding, whose contribution brought sparkling vivacity to the song.

5. Almost Paradise

This gem of a love ballad that Eric wrote for the movie "Footloose" reached No.1 in '84 sung by Mike Reno from the Loverboy and Ann Wilson from the Heart. Eric himself had cut the single from "Dirty Dancing-Live in Concert", which was a duet with Merry Clayton, but this is the first time he recorded this song in the studio. His partner is Janey Clewer, a singer-songwriter from Pennsylvania and the wife of the guitarist Bruce Gaitsch. This collaboration led to Eric's participation in her album "Call Me Romantic" in '96, which proves how long a time it took to record the songs on "Winter Dreams." Eric co-wrote this song for the first time with Dean Pitchford, who is known as the lyricist of Kenny Loggin's "Footloose" (No.1/'84), and Whitney Houston's "All the Man I Need" (No.1/'91).

6. Top Down Summer

Is this Eric's answer for the Beach Boys? A splendid pop number of summer. Co-written with Dean Pitchford, so if you listen to this song as the sequel to "Make Me Loose Control" (No.3/'88), you could see the connection and extension of the story in these two songs. Sorry for my short knowledge, but no information on guitarist Darris Atkins and backing vocalist Jennifer Lee.

7. Isn't It Romantic

Like "I Was Born to Love You," this elegant ballad is co-written with Andy Goldmark. Listening to the songs prepared for "Winter Dreams," I get the impression that Eric has been mentally gratified recently. Bruce Gaitsch and Janey Clewer took part in this song, just as with "Almost Paradise".

8. I Could Really Love You

This song reminds me somehow of the Beatles in the mid 60's, or the Raspberries on the album "Fresh" (No.36/'72). Another song co-written by Eric and Dean Pitchford. Along with Wally Bryson, ex-James Gang bass player Dale Peters took place on this song, which brings me this image of Eric, Wally, and Dale are chattering about the old and recent music scene in Cleveland, Ohio.

9. Caroline, No

"Where did your long hair go?" — this impressive phrase starts off the masterpiece on the Beach Boy's highly discussed album "Pet Sounds" (No.10/'66), which is a favorite of Eric's. Cut from the album as a single in the name of the main force of the band, Brian Wilson (No.32, '66). With support from Bruce Gaitsch, Eric reproduced this song with loyalty to the original version, and I can detect his delicacy of treating the song not to spoil its preciousness.

10. I Wanna Take Forever Tonight

Another self cover song like "Almost Paradise". As mentioned previously, this mellow ballad was originally written for Peter Cetera and Crystal Bernard. It seems Eric can write excellent songs of this sort quite easily. Again Bruce Gaitsch played guitar here.

11. Walk Away Renee

A remake of the good representative of baroque/classical rock. Previously remade by Four Tops (No.14/'68), and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes (No.98/'86), but originally the debut single of New York based quintet the Left Banke (No.5/'66). Left Banke is one of great influences on the Raspberries, and are known for their relation with Steven Taralico, who later became Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. Eric's version conveys well the charms of the original version, though this one is finished in sharper production.

A Profile

Lastly, for the fans who recently got interested in Eric Carmen through the albums of Celine Dion or Janey Clewer, here is his brief profile: Eric Howard Carmen was born in Cleveland, Ohio on August 11, 1949. He's 48 years old now. He took the lessons of classical music (piano and violin) in his childhood, but when he found the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Who, his interest switched to rock'n roll. Since then, he played in local bands like the Fugitives and the Harlequins. In '69, he professionally debuted as the member of Cyrus Erie with the single "Sparrow/Get the Message". He also released in same year "Ain't Nothing Gonna Stop Me/Southern Comfort" as the Quick.

In '72 he started over as the main force of the Raspberries, which he formed with ex-Cyrus Erie Wally Bryson, and with the release of their million seller single "Go All the Way" they attained successful nation-wide popularity. However, troubles among the members brought the band to an end (their last concert was in '75). After the breakup, Eric started his solo career, and his first step was "All By Myself," released from Arista in '75, which became his representative song. For some years he released his works constantly, but since the 80's, has been missing from the music scene. However, he's been enjoying a high reputation as a songwriter, and is greatly respected by his fans, including musicians like Axl Rose of Guns 'N' Roses, and REM.

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