This song is a powerpop masterpiece and to me…The Raspberries crowning achievement. It wasn’t their biggest hit by any means because that would be “Go All The Way.” You can hear influences from The Who, Beatles, and Beach Boys that are woven through Overnight Sensation. The song is about being in a rock band and trying everything you can to get your record played on the radio.
It’s a ballad but a LOUD and desperate ballad at times. It has multi-part harmonies layered on each other, some Keith Moon-inspired drumming and for good measure…a false ending.
John Lennon was said to be a fan of the group. He was producing Nillson’s Pussycats at the same time The Raspberries were making their last album “Starting Over” at the Record Plant. John supposedly was blown away by ‘Overnight Sensation.’”
Bruce Springsteen talked about Overnight Sensation: It’s one of the best little pop symphonies you’ll ever hear.
The song peaked at #18 in the Billboard 100 and #22 in Canada in 1974.
Lennon with a Raspberries Shirt.
Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)”
Well I know it sounds funny
But I’m not in it for the money, no
I don’t need no reputation
And I’m not in it for the show
I just want a hit record, yeah
Wanna hear it on the radio
Want a big hit record, yeah
One that everybody’s got to know
Well if the program director don’t pull it
It’s time to get back the bullet
So bring the group down to the station
You’re gonna be an overnight sensation
I’ve been tryin’ to write the lyric
Non-offensive but satiric too
And if you put it in the A-slot
It’s just got to make a mint for you
I fit those words to a good melody
Amazing how success has been ignoring me
I use my bread making demos all day
Writing in the night while in my head I hear
The record play
Hear it play
Hit record, yeah
Wanna hit record, yeah
Wanna hit record, yeah (number one)