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Pop Art Live review


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4 August 2017

by Big Takeover Exclusives

Raspberries; Photo Credit: Gene Taylor

On November 26, 2004, the stage was set for a reunion most thought could never happen — the Raspberries live in concert! More than 30 years after the original four members of Raspberries last played together, Omnivore Recordings’ 2-CD/Digital set Pop Art Live, due out August 18th, captures that opening night at Cleveland’s House of Blues. Listeners will experience the power and magic that led the group to a successful reunion tour in 2005.

Founding members Eric Carmen, Wally Bryson, David Smalley, and Jim Bonfanti powerfully muscle through 28 songs — the hits, deep tracks, and even some cool covers — reviving the legacy of power pop’s founding fathers.

Pop Art Live contains live versions of songs from all four of the band’s classic original studio albums, including the hits “Go All the Way,” “I Wanna Be With You,” “Let’s Pretend,” and “Overnight Sensation [Hit Record]”, as well as perfect renditions of timeless favorites by the Beatles and the Who. Longtime Raspberries associate Tommy Allen mixed the recording.

Also included in this 2-CD package are reflections and testimonials from Academy Award-winning filmmaker and rock scribe Cameron Crowe, pop music author James Rosen, and longtime Raspberries aficionados Bernie Hogya and Ken Sharp.

Crowe explains his passion for the Raspberries self-titled debut album, confiding, ““It was the early ’70s, and the editor of the local underground newspaper where I worked was confused and fascinated by the Raspberries’ debut album. I watched as a room full of post-hippie political journalists passed around the album cover, solemnly smelling the scratch ’n’ sniff cover.” After giving the album a spin, he realized, “…it was one of the strongest introductions to a record I’d heard. The assurance, the kick in the band’s attack, and the pop majesty of Eric Carmen’s vocals made me a life-long fan.”

Raspberries are one of rock’s most treasured bands, influencing everyone from John Lennon to Bruce Springsteen to Paul Westerberg. Pop Art Live is an essential document of that band, providing another chapter to their lasting impact.

The Big Takeover has the distinct honor of premiering the live version of the classic “I Wanna Be With You.”

Exclusive to The Big Takeover, the renowned Eric Carmen reveals the song’s backstory: “The band had just finished recording our first album, in New York, and returned to the suburbs of Cleveland, where we all lived. I knew we were scheduled to be back in the studio in six months to begin recording our second album, so I thought I better get right to work writing songs. I saw a Time magazine, with a picture of a teenage boy and girl on the cover, who looked like they had just had sex, and the feature story was something like “Teenage Sex!” I’d been listening to Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys a lot, and had become aware of the longing lyric content on songs like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, and I wanted to write something that conveyed that same kind of emotion, so I put the magazine cover on my piano, and sat down to write. Over the course of that weekend, I wrote “I Wanna Be With You” and “Let’s Pretend.” That photo on the cover of Time was pivotal.”

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