By Alan L. Chrisman
In the Mid-70’s, a British pop sound emerged from of all places, the American Midwest. The Beatles had split in 1970, but a somewhat-similar sound and look came out of Cleveland, Ohio with a band called The Raspberries. They were influenced by the British 60’s bands, The Beatles, The Who, The Hollies and the mod look of The Small Faces.
They dressed in matching suits with shorter early Beatles-like hair, and had three-part harmonies. But they were not just some Beatles-imitation band, for their two main songwriters Eric Carmen and Wally Bryson, also wrote some very original catchy, energy-filled songs, which some would later label Power Pop.
The first single, “Go All The Way” sold a million copies. The song perfectly captured both the joy and angst of teen-age dating. Their first album with it on it, The Raspberries, was released in 1972 and was actually recorded at The Beatles’ own Abbey Road Studio and The Record Plant in New York, where John Lennon would later record his final solo album, Double Fantasy, 1980.
Their 2nd album, Fresh, was also released that same year, 1972 and their 3rd, album, Side 3, a rockier album contained the hit, “Tonight” in 1973. But creative tensions within the band over song writing led to the band’s breaking up by 1975. But before that, they managed to release in 1994, what many critics think, is their best album, Starting Over.
Eric Carmen, the main songwriter would go on to have success with his own massive romantic hits, “All by Myself” and follow-up ballad, “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again”, in 1976 and he also wrote several songs for Hollywood movies like Dirty Dancing and Footloose. The Raspberries, although they were only together for a short time, also had influence on other, as I said, Power Pop bands to follow and had the respect of such diverse musicians as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, and Courtney Love.
And Cleveland, Ohio, would become the Home of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, (partly because it had been the original starting place of legendary D. J., Alan Freed, who first exposed the music and words” rock ‘n’ roll” to white teen-agers through his radio programes and rock shows in the ‘50’s). So as with the Raspberries in the 70’s, and their catchy pop sound and songs, you never knew where Rock might show up. Probably the best way to get most of their songs is on one of the Raspberries greatest hits packages, but as I say, many critics say their best album is their later, Starting Over. (This is dedicated to the two "C"'s from Ohio).
See below Raspberries doing their first big hit, 1972, “Go All Their Way”: