Alongside British rock group Badfinger, Cleveland, Ohio’s Raspberries has often been referred to as one of the groups that laid down the musical foundation of what would be later referred to as power pop. The quartet – Eric Carmen (vocals / guitar), Wally Bryson (lead guitar), Jim Bonfanti (drums), and Dave Smalley (bass / guitar) – came together in 1970 and had all been involved with the Cleveland rock scene since the late 1960s. Inspired by The Beatles and The Who, Raspberries blended pop hooks, harmonies, and rock crunch together and became a popular live band in Cleveland. Signed to Capitol Records, they released their self-titled debut album in April 1972, which featured the hit single “Go All the Way” (number 5). Although critically and commercially successful, the band was criticized for their matching suits and teased hair, which brought them attention from teen magazines. Raspberries quickly followed up their debut with their sophomore album, Fresh, in November 1972, which rose to number 36 on the Billboard 200. The album included the hit singles “I Wanna Be with You” (number 16) and “Let’s Pretend” (number 35). Tensions in the group arose when Eric Carmen became the most commercially successful member of the band. Raspberries then released their third album, Side 3 (1973), which was an edgier album than their first two full lengths. The album included the single “Tonight,” which only reached number 69. Side 3 was a commercial failure, which caused even more tensions and Dave Smally and Jim Bonfanti left the group. With new members Scott McCarl (bass) and Michael McBride (drums), they released their fourth album, Starting Over, in 1974. Although “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” reached number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100, the album was another commercial failure, and Raspberries broke up in 1975. Eric Carmen went on to a successful solo career while Wally Bryson joined the group Fotomaker alongside former Rascals members Dino Danelli and Gene Cornish. The original four members of Raspberries reunited in 2004 for a series of live dates into 2005, issuing two live albums from that short reunion tour: Live on the Sunset Strip (2007) and Pop Art Live (2017). They broke up after that reunion tour and went back to pursuing other interests. Eric Carmen died in his sleep on March 9, 2024, at the age of 74 of unknown causes.

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Stations Featuring Raspberries

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