Our Top 10 Raspberries songs list takes a look at an early 1970s band that released their first album in 1972 and over the course of two years released four studio albums and then broke up. That’s rock and roll! However during that course of two years from 1972 to 1974, the Raspberries became a very influential band on future rockstars. The Raspberries were an interesting group. They crossed the genres of rock and pop music blending a British Invasion influence stirred up with sweet melodies fueled by power cords and brilliant addicting songs. Their top five hit “Go All the Way,” released in 1972 still sounds as fresh and as fun in 2021 as it did 48 years ago.
While The Raspberries sound certainly was influenced by The British Invasion the group was actually from Cleveland Ohio. The group’s original lineup consisted of Eric Carmen on bass and lead vocals, Wally Bryson on lead guitar and vocals, Dave Smalley on rhythm guitar and vocals and Jim Bonfanti on drums. That lineup would be responsible for their first three albums. Their first album was released in 1972 entitled Raspberries. The band followed up their debut album that same year in 1972 with an album entitled Fresh. The Raspberries third album was released in 1973 and titled interestingly Side 3.
In 1974, The Raspberries had a major lineup change. There was a 50% turnover in the group. Eric Carmen and Wally Bryson continued on as the Raspberries but both Dave Smalley and Jim Bonfanti were replaced by Scott McCarl and Michael McBride. The Raspberries fourth and final album entitled Starting Over was released in 1974. It was a spectacular album filled with a much heavier sound that fans and critics loved. One year later in 1975, The Raspberries broke up.
The Raspberries lead singer Eric Carmen quickly celebrated a very successful solo career almost immediately. In fact, he had more hits as a solo artist than he had with The Raspberries. His huge 1975 ballad “All By Myself,” went all the way to number two on the Billboard Hot 100. He followed that one up with another top 10 hit entitled “Never Going to Fall in Love Again.” Eric Carmen would continue on with his solo career releasing multiple albums and enjoying moderate success on the pop charts.
Our top 10 Raspberries songs list takes a look at the band four albums that they released in the early 1970s and chooses 10 spectacular songs to serve as a starting point for people looking into the band’s great catalog. The band’s catalog is really good and we highly recommend checking out the entire albums.
# 10 – Tonight
We wanted to open up our top 10 Raspberries songs list with a real good one. The band’s great song “Tonight,” featured so much of what we loved about The Raspberries. These guys could really rock when they wanted too. This band was great. Listen to Jim Bonfanti kill it on drums on this track. The man was so good. The harmonies are spectacular. “Tonight,” was the opening track to the band’s great third album entitled Side 3. The song was covered by Mötley Crüe in 1981
# 9 – Come Around And See Me
The Raspberries song “Come Around And See Me,” is a deep album track that defines why you should check out their albums and not just their greatest hits packages. The bands four albums were brilliant pop rock records filled with great songs like this one. “Come Around And See Me,” was released on the band’s first album. The song was written by Wally Bryson who also performed the lead vocals on the track. The song was released on the band’s debut album entitled Raspberries.
# 8 – Let’s Pretend
The Raspberries song “Let’s Pretend,” defines the sweet side of Eric Carmen’s melodies and hooks. At times, songs like this are what made many critics and fans define the Raspberries as more of a bubble gum band than a serious rock act. Still, the song proved to be popular on the charts as it reached the U.S. Billboard Top 40 in 1973. It was the third single released from the band’s second album entitled Fresh. And just to note, we always thought of and always will define The Raspberries as a serious musical act that released songs that crossed the genres of sweet pop and slick rock and roll. In other words, a band that released freaking great songs.
# 7 – I Don’t Know What I Want
Yes, I know what your thinking, if you actually listened to the video. This is The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” The band admitted that the album was heavily influenced by The Who. Well they didn’t have to tell us that. Nonetheless, despite the complete intentional rip off of the Who in the song’s introduction, this song smokes. Its pure Raspberries 2.0. The band’s final album entitled Starting Over was fueled by the addition of two new members that took the band in a completely different direction that worked fabulously. At least on record, because it wound up being their last.
# 6 – I Saw the Light
When I first heard this song, I thought I was listening to an unreleased track from an early Paul McCartney solo album. Eric Carmen had an incredible talent for writing gorgeous melodies. If he only had a John Lennon by his side to keep him from drifting off too far into the bubble gum world, who knows what he would have done. “I Saw The Light,” was issued on their first album entitled Raspberries.
# 5 – Don’t Want to Say Goodbye
Continuing with our top 10 Raspberries songs list we turn to the band’s first single entitled “Don’t Want to Say Goodbye,” This was always one of our favorite Raspberries songs. The melody and arrangement was a bit more progressive in nature than some of their more sweet sounding pop songs. This one was really special. Listen to that great chord change in the chorus.
At times, there’s almost a Queen like atmosphere in the arrangement and vocal harmonies. And this is before Queen, so you know who Freddie Mercury was listening too. And that’s an important element in the history of the band. The Raspberries really were a group that influenced many 1970’s artists. From Springsteen to Kiss, so many legendary classic rockers have given praise to the Raspberries in interviews over time.
# 4 – Starting Over
Eric Carmen’s beautiful ballad “Starting Over,” stood as a preview as where he was heading in his solo career. This was the final song on the band’s final album titled Starting Over. The song seems to owe much credit to Elton John in many ways. The song’s piano riff in the verses is very similar to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” However, the songs melody is an original Eric Carmen composition that does also echo a Paul Buckmaster arrangement.
# 3 – I’m A Rocker
When Eric Carmen wanted to let loose, he had the pipes to stand with any great rock lead vocalists. Like many of Raspberries songs “I’m A Rocker,” starts out heavy but finds its way leaning towards more of the pop side of the band when the verse meets the chorus. The Raspberries song “I’m A Rocker,” was released on the band’s third album entitled Side 3. The song was written by Eric Carmen . The lead vocals on the song were also performed by Eric Carmen.
# 2 – Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)
This spectacular song was probably the band’s most mature work and easily their best production. If it weren’t for the legacy of the song “Go All The Way,” we would have listed this one as number one. It’s just so great. There’s sort of a Beach Boys “Good Vibrations,” vibe also happening here in terms of arrangement, production and harmonies.
The song “Overnight Sensation,” was released on the band’s final album entitled Starting Over. It was released in 1974. The song would be the band’s last top 20 Billboard Hit. This was a brilliant album and it’s a shame the band broke up, because who knows what they would have done if they had continued together. Obviously, Eric Carmen had great success on his own, but there was something really special about how the band sounded on this album.
# 1 – Go All the Way
By far, The Raspberries most popular song was their big time 1972 hit “Go All The Way.” The song was not only the Raspberries biggest hit, but it stands as one of the most cherished songs of the 1970s. It’s an iconic pop gem. The way the verse transcends into the song’s chorus riding on the wings of Eric Carmen’s legendary lead vocal is one for the ages. The melody and arrangement on this one was out of this world breathtaking. “Go All The Way,” was released on the 1972 Raspberries album.
Top 10 Raspberries Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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