Raspberries – Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)

This is my second song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. The Raspberries  Overnight Sensation (Hit Record).

 Bruce Springsteen: “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) should go down as one of the great mini-rock-opera masterpieces of all time”

In the nineties I bought the Raspberries greatest hits. I listened with headphones to each song until I heard this one. I stopped and listened to it repeatedly. It’s one of those songs that goes beyond other songs…It is truly a pop-rock symphony. I was amazed that I never heard this before.

Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) is an epic, ambitious, grand, lofty, extravagant, and brilliant song from the Raspberries. They were swinging for the fences when they made this song and they hit it out of the park. It’s on the album Starting Over released in 1974.

Put some headphones on and listen to this completely to the very end… When I hear it, I think this is what it would sound like if The Who, Beach Boys, and Beatles made a song together…this would be it. Musically you have a little of everything. Sliding bass lines, tasteful guitar licks, great vocals, a sax solo that gives way to more lyrics as the song morphs into an AM radio sound… and then comes a solo piano.

Stay until the very end because they dupe you into a fake ending and the drums will come in as if the world is going to end. Then… a Beach Boys final huge crescendo wave will wash over you like a warm summer moonlit night. It’s a wall of sound of ecstasy that you wish would go on forever.

The song is about trying to make it in the music business. It’s Eric Carmen singing with desperation wanting a hit record on the radio. After this album, the Raspberries were no more. This was Eric Carmen at his absolute best before he went solo and became an ordinary pop singer. He would never try anything this ambitious again.

Certain songs we all know are timeless. In a perfect world this one deserves to be on that list. I don’t use the word masterpiece a lot but I would consider this song one. The musical arrangement is second to none in terms of arrangement, production, and harmonies.

Although “Go All The Way” was their big hit of their career…this one is in a different league and they never equaled it. Most people don’t know this song and it’s a musical injustice. I only hope more people discover it.

The three best power pop bands of the early to mid-seventies were Big Star, Badfinger, and The Raspberries. Badfinger were the most successful (and they paid dearly for it), Big Star wasn’t even known, and The Raspberries had one top ten hit with few very good minor ones. All three of these bands were too rock for pop radio and too pop for rock radio…in varying degrees they fell into the cracks of history… none of them had long careers.

John Lennon was said to be a fan of the group. He was producing Nilsson’s Pussycats at the same time The Raspberries were making this album at the Record Plant. John supposedly was blown away by Overnight Sensation.

The song peaked at #18 in the Billboard 100 and #22 in Canada in 1974.

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
So long
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)

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

32 thoughts on “Raspberries – Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)”

  1. like I just wrote on other page, a fine song I should come back to to listen, as you suggest, with headphones! Does anyone remember hearing this on radio back then? It wasn’t a big hit but should have at least made its way onto the air hitting the top 30…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It should have played but I know they split after the failure of this…Lennon loved it and thought it would be a big hit. I don’t know if it was the label or people just didn’t like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully written post, Max. Really nice. I know the song because I, too, have The Raspberries greatest hits. What a great album! I love it. To me, Overnight Sensation made a big impact on Freddie Mercury and Queen. I ca really hear its influence on the albums Sheer Heart Attack and A Night at the Opera.
    Not as big of a fan of this particular song as you are, but, then again, I’m not a musician. Love the writing though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Pam. I do think he was influenced by it because Bohemian Rhapsody was the next year and both songs come in parts and are strung together like A Day In The Life somewhat.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cool stuff Max. It’s amazing how many artists rave about these guys. Paul Stanley is another fan of the band. Funny how an act can be huge in regards to peers but to the mainstream folk not so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea the masses…you never know what they will like…hey they liked Brittney Spears…so what do you do? lol…That is right….I read where Stanley really liked them and Big Star…and you can tell in some of their early songs…thanks for listening Deke.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great pick, Max, what an epic tune! I had never heard it before. It’s really hard to believe this didn’t become a major hit.

    On the other hand, I’m well familiar with Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself”. While I’m glad he scored a major hit, this tune is far inferior to “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record).”

    It’s really funny and frankly frustrating how these things can go sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know Christian…it seems like when they take no chances they get a hit…
      This song and yes Go All The Way is Carmen sounding great and he has an edge to him…lose the edge and gain a hit I guess.

      I’m glad you liked this song Christian…it’s a pretty epic song. A great way to go out I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved The Raspberries back in the day, then liked Eric Carmen’s music from his “All By Myself” and “Never Gonna Fall In Love Again” days through to the early 90s. He was trained as a classical pianist, and those two songs’ melodies were inspired by classical pieces by Rachmaninoff (“All By Myself” borrows from his “Piano Concerto No. 2”, and “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again” samples “Symphony No. 2 in E Minor”, my all-time favorite classical piece).

    Eric followed me on Twitter about four years ago, which shocked the hell out of me (so did the late Eddie Money). Unfortunately, Eric turned out to be a major Trump supporter, and used to tweet all kinds of MAGA crap I simply could not abide, as I despise Trump and MAGAs. It was terribly disappointing to me, and I unfollowed him. After searching a while ago before reading this post, it appears he has suspended his Twitter account. But there are still a lot of tweets about his music, which shows his enduring popularity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really liked him with the Raspberries. He had an edge to him but I have to admit he got popular after them. All of their singles are likable…I think personally…just bad timing. If they could have come out during the late seventies with Petty, The Cars, and the others…they may have had a better chance.
      Carmen made it big again with the Dirty Dancing movie…. I just saw an interview with him not long ago talking about being trained as a classical pianist.

      I try to separate the art from the artist (it’s hard at times)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I never cared about any artist or band’s political leanings in the past, but it’s different with Trump. I’ve broken with long-time friends and even a few family members because of it, I feel that strongly.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have friends on both sides…I stay clear of politics completely around them…I change the subject and get the hell out.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I’m glad you played it!

      They released this before Queen did Boeheim Rhapsody…so maybe they are Raspberry like…lol

      Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s