Raspberries – Go All The Way

I wrote this for Dave’s Turntable Talk at A Sound Day. Be on the lookout for that series at A Sound Day. He has some interesting topics. This one was on One Hit Wonders.

This song has a mixture of The Who, Beach Boys, and The Beatles… a pretty good mixture! I’m cheating a bit…The Raspberries had 4 top 40 hits but this was the only top ten hit and the song they are most known for. The song starts off with a strong Who-like loud riff then continues on with hooks galore.

When people think of The Raspberries this is the song most think of. Personally, I always thought Overnight Sensation was their best song but this one is great and the masses agreed.

The song peaked at #5 on the Billboard 100 and #5 in Canada in 1972. This song was on their self-titled debut album released in 1972. The American and Australian versions of this LP carried a scratch-and-sniff sticker with a strong raspberry scent.

They were one of the 3 great power pop bands of the early 70s. Badfinger, Big Star, and The Raspberries. Out of those three, Badfinger was the most successful but all were good. Many alternative bands that followed would list all three or at least one of them as an influence. The Raspberries released 4 albums in total between 1972 and 1975. They broke up after their last album Starting Over (#143) and the great single Overnight Sensation only charted at #18. After you listen to Go All The Way…check out Overnight Sensation…it’s an epic song.

I moved to a different town when I was 8 and in a new school (we would move back later that year) we went on a field trip to some college. Thinking back, it was a small college and the students there put on a small show for us kids. After the show, they showed us the grounds and I remember Go All The Way booming out of a room. It’s funny how music can send you back to a place and I can remember the smell also.

Eric Carmen said he was inspired by The Rolling Stone’s performance of “Let’s Spend The Night Together” on the Ed Sullivan Show when Mick Jagger had to sing it as “Let’s spend some time together.”

This was before Eric Carmen went solo and started doing ballads and songs on soundtracks such as Dirty Dancing. Carmen hit it big solo but personally, I think his music with the Raspberries was the best he did.

This song appears in the 2000 film Almost Famous but was not included on the soundtrack. It did make the soundtrack to the 2014 film Guardians Of The Galaxy, which went to #1 in America and revived many ’70s hits. My son got the soundtrack mostly for this song.

Fans of the band included John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen. They did reunite in November of 2004 and toured shortly until 2006.

Eric Carmen: “I knew then that I wanted to write a song with an explicitly sexual lyric that the kids would instantly get but the powers that be couldn’t pin me down for.”

Eric Carmen:  “I remember ‘Go All The Way’ vividly. The year was 1971. I was 21. I had been studying for years. I had spent my youth with my head between two stereo speakers listening to The Byrds and The Beatles and later on The Beach Boys – just trying to figure out what combinations of things – whether it was the fourths harmonies that The Byrds were singing on ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ – I must have worn out 10 copies of that first Byrds album listening to it over and over, and turning off the left side and turning on the right side trying to figure out why these certain combinations of instruments and echo and harmonies made that hair on your arms stand up. I did the same thing with Beatles records, and I tried to learn construction.

Go All The Way

I never knew how complete love could be
‘Til she kissed me and said

Baby, please, go all the way
It feels so right (feels so right)
Being with you here tonight
Please, go all the way
Just hold me close (hold me close)
Don’t ever let me go

I couldn’t say what I wanted to say
‘Til she whispered, I love you

So please, go all the way
It feels so right (feels so right)
Being with you here tonight
Please, go all the way
Just hold me close (hold me close)
Don’t ever let me go

Before her love
I was cruel and mean
I had a hole in the place
Where my heart should have been

But now I’ve changed
And it feels so strange
I come alive when she does
All those things to me

And she says
(Come on) Come on
(Come on) Come on
(Come on) Come on
(Come on)
I need ya (come on)
I love ya (come on)
I need ya (come on)
Oh, oh, baby

Please, go all the way
It feels so right (feels so right)
Being with you here tonight
Please, go all the way
Just hold me close (hold me close)
Don’t ever let me go no

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)

My 10 Favorite Powerpop Songs

As you may have guessed by now I’m an extreme fan of power pop. This list was hard to write…I kept changing most of it… but I knew the top choice and worked from there.

I just gave my self ten choices or I would have gone on and on. A lot of artists and their songs were left off…such as Todd Rundgren, The Cars, Sloan, The Lemon Twigs, The Flamin’ Groovies, The Shivvers, The Jayhawks,  and too many more to mention.

10. The Ride – Twisterella– 1992 – I found this a few months back and have been listening to it ever since.

9. The Records – Starry Eyes– 1979 – Great song. Starry Eyes would end up being The Record’s best-known song. Robert John “Mutt” Lange produced their debut album for The Records.

8. The La’s – There She Goes– 1990 – A very good power pop song that has no verses…It just repeats the chorus four different ways four different times…but that doesn’t matter.

7. Cheap Trick – Voices– 1980 – One of my top Cheap Trick songs. Robin Zanders voice sounds great in this Beatlesque song.

6. The Who –Pictures of Lily– 1967 –  When this song came out Pete Townshend coined the name “power pop” and this song is about the childhood…lusts…of a boy.

5. Raspberries – Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)– 1974 – An epic song by the Raspberries. Not their most popular…that would be “Go All The Way” but this encapsulates everything power pop is about. Bruce Springsteen on Overnight Sensation: It’s one of the best little pop symphonies you’ll ever hear.

4. Big Star – The Ballad of El Goodo – 1972 – The tone of the guitars, harmonies and the perfect constructed chorus keeps me coming back listen after listen.

3. Badfinger –No Matter What– 1971 – The only band to make this list twice. Why? because this song defines the crunchy power pop of bands like Cheap Trick to come.

 2. Tom Petty – American Girl– 1977 – The Rickenbacker, the hook, and a Byrds sounding track.

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  1. Badfinger – Baby Blue – 1972 – The number one song was the easiest decision of the list. The rest were changed a few times…this one for me is a no-brainer. This song is the perfect power pop song…strong vocals, Crunchy Brit  guitar, great hook,  and great melody