The Raspberries

The Raspberries cut through the epic pretensions and pomposity of '70s-era rock to proudly reclaim the spirit and simplicity of classic pop, recalling the heyday of the British Invasion with their exquisitely crafted melodies and achingly gorgeous harmonies. The group was formed in Mentor, OH, in early 1970 by singer/songwriter Eric Carmen and drummer Jim Bonfanti, local pop heroes thanks to the respective tenures in the hugely popular bands Cyrus Erie and the Choir; guitarist Wally Bryson and bassist John Aleksic (both Choir veterans as well) completed the original lineup, which made its live debut in mid-October.

With their short hair, matching suits, and Beatlesque sound, the Raspberries ran in direct opposition to the prevailing hard rock mentality of the Cleveland scene, but after just a handful of gigs, the band was among the city's most popular live acts.

However, after cutting their first demo session, Aleksic left the lineup in March of 1971, and with the addition of rhythm guitarist Dave Smalley, Carmen assumed bass duties. The Raspberries' demo tape ultimately found its way to producer Jimmy Ienner, and in the wake of a major-label bidding war, the band signed to Capitol, issuing their self-titled debut LP (complete with a raspberry-scented scratch-and-sniff cover sticker) in the spring of 1972. The debut single "Don't Want to Say Goodbye," stalled, but the follow-up, "Go All the Way," a magnificent fusion of Who-inspired guitar snarl and Beach Boys-styled vocal harmonies, went on to sell over a million copies on its way to cracking the Top Five.

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