Last month, I started an article on the Raspberries that morphed into an article about Eric Carmen. Here’s a better article on the Raspberries, and I’ll rewrite the Eric Carmen article later.
A Cleveland-based group called the Choir broke into the charts in 1967 and released a single that reached #68 on the Hot 100 with It’s Cold Outside. The lead guitar player was Wally Bryson, who left the group in 1968 to join Cyrus Erie, another Ohio band that included Eric Carmen. Wally left Cyrus Erie for a few months in 1969, during which Eric formed another band named the Quick, which released a single on Epic Records. Wally rejoined the group, and it returned to using the name Cyrus Erie, but by 1970 the group had fallen apart.
Eric and Wally recruited two other members of the Choir (Jim Bonfanti and Dave Smalley) and created the Raspberries. The group recorded a demo tape that resulted in several music companies bidding against each other to sign the group. They signed with Capitol Record and began recording singles in 1972.
Eric and Wally collaborated and wrote their first single, Don’t Want To Say Goodbye. The single got no higher than #86 on the Hot 100.
Eric wrote the A-side of their second single and Wally wrote the B-side. Eric also sang lead on Go All The Way, and the single made it up to #5 on the chart. The friendly folks at the BBC banned the record, but Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert put them live on television in the US. In 2014, Disney included the song in the soundtrack of the Guardians Of The Galaxy film and the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 CD.
The group released their second album later that year, and it produced another successful single. I Wanna Be With You peaked at #16 on the hot 100 and Mike Douglas let them perform the song live on his television show.
After the group’s third album failed to produce a hit record, Jim and Dave left to form their own group and have more control over the music they played. Eric and Wally recruited drummer Mike McBride (another former member of Cyrus Erie) and bass player Scott McCarl to replace the pair.
The group recorded their fourth album at the Record Plant. Harry Nilsson was also at the studio recording his Pussycats album. John Lennon was helping Harry and asked Eric and Mike to help with some hand-clapping in the background of one song. Supposedly, John then helped the Raspberries with their album by doing a final mix of Overnight Sensation, which became the group’s next single in 1974. Their record reached #18 on the Hot 100 in November. The full five-minute version of the song included a fake fade-out followed by more than another minute of music.
The second single from that album failed to chart, and in April 1975 the group disbanded. Eric went to a very successful solo career.
Three of the original members reformed the group in 1999 without Eric and released another album. A reunion that included Eric took place in 2004 and led to a tour and the release of a live album. The album included a photo of John Lennon wearing a Raspberries t-shirt, lending credence to those rumors of his admiration of the band.
My books are on sale on Amazon (or free with Kindle Unlimited) and contain a lot more Lost or Forgotten Oldies: