Got The Fever

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Raspberries

There are a great many tracks that cause me to smile and exclaim out loud something along the lines of “Yea, great song!” There are fewer that make me jerk up my head in recognition, and with a broad smile have me say something silly like “F***in’ awesome tune” with extream emphasis.

However, for me, most rare of all, are the very few tracks that physiologically altogether somehow bypass knee-jerk physical gestulations, keenly short circuit any plausible articulation and tunnel unconsciously straight into to my primitive/primordial gut level. This is where any outbursts, any familiar movement, any repeated expressions, any phrase, any meaningful description in a vain attempt to describe the tangle of thoughts that are thrust above all others have been netted submissively before the musical assault has even fully bloomed. Such is the way I feel when “Go All The Way” by The Raspberries overwhelms the airways around me.

The exquisite assault of guitar, the guttural shouting of Eric Carmen before the first verse, the aortic crush of bass, the permeating rainfall of fuzz guitar and the kamikaze approach of pop precision that lay waste from the very first seconds are, to me, among the most elusive prizes in recorded music. They are also thought of by me to be amongst the most rewarding of prizes in recorded music.

Bit of trivia: Wally Bryson wrote the beginning riff – never credited – which was based on “The Kids Are Alright” by The Who. Hmmmm.

I’ve always been a sucker, had a soft spot, a weakness for power pop (ever hear of The Atlantics?). The explosions in my head from these types of songs sometimes seem to affect me in a way that defies description. Filling me with bursts of light, sending deep-rooted resurgences of invincibility and connection with the song and artist itself.

I present you with more of The Raspberries in all their pop glory. Being the somewhat of the music whore that I am, I had a hard time "thinning the herd" as it were. So, there are four tracks today. Revel in the glory!

Beginning with an almost McCartney-ish 1-2-3-4 circa “I Saw Her Standing There”, Eric and Co. bash us upside of the head with unbridled Rickenbackers, tight but thick harmonies, melody to drool over and drums that must have been stolen from the gods themselves.

There's no denying what he's hinting at here.

You looked too young to know about romance (Oh, yes you did)
But when you smiled I had to take a chance
I had to take a chance and be with you tonight

Won't cha let me sleep with you, baby

I just wanna make you feel good inside, baby
Let me feel the love that's in you Come on, come on Come on and let me
Come on, baby

Drivin’ Around
This smacks of the beginning of summer and always will. The teenage experience that starts with the end of school paired with the advent of long hot days with the circle of friends cruising day after day, night after night in someone’s old car with music always above conversation level is unparallel with anything you experience afterward. Nothing in the adult world compares with that feeling, and I think Eric has deftly laid it out on vinyl. Pop music, breeze through your hair, and significant other by your side, perhaps booze held between your legs so the cops can’t see … what else is there at 16?

When school lets out
And the summer's here
We'll have some time for the sun
Throw my notebooks out
And put my car in gear'
Cause we'll be havin' some fun

Drivin' around(Long hot days we'll be catchin' the rays)
Drivin' around(Long hot days we'll be catchin' the rays)
You know my tape deck is blastin'
My car's fast!

I’m A Rocker
After “Go All The Way”, this is where I put my money. The opening riff is prevalent throughout, but the guitars, once more, are irresistible not to sometimes catch yourself faking air guitar. This is an all out confession that rock and roll owns his musical soul and he will never be able to afford the price for getting it back.


Back beat boogie got a hold on me
Make me wanna jump and shout!
Twistin' like a top, I never wanna stop tonight
You surely look like a magazine
And you can move like I never seen
Reelin' and a rockin' babe

Come on and dance with me!

I'm a rocker, I'm a roller
I've been a boogie since I ditched the stroller
So come on hold me tight
We can rock the night away

I get this feelin' when I hear that beat
I gotta jump and get up on the table'
Cause when that rhythm and blues electrifies my shoes
I get the message like it came by cable!

Overnight Sensation
How many great bands have you seen in your lifetime that were a phenomenon either at a city-wide level, or region-wide? A handful? A dozen? More? Out of those, how many have you wished and wondered, “They should have been HUGE!”

Sometimes it doesn’t make sense who does and who doesn’t. How do you think the band members themselves felt when putting out their best just didn’t get the recognition they felt they deserved? All they want, all they thirst for, all their sacrifices are for one aim – hearing their song on the radio.

Thus, we have come to the premise of this track. Even Eric wasn’t above the base emotion of wanting, no - needing – to hear what he wrote on the radio. There’s some great engineering here also. Listen in at 2’59 and hear the music as if it’s coming out of an old transistor radio – he gets his wish! Listen to the fade at 4’00 and then the drums “from the gods themselves” that bring back the chorus. Not a bad single Eric. Not bad at all.

Interesting side note is that they at first introduced the song to the honcos at Capitol as “Hit Record”, but they were nixed, being told that the title was “a little too presumptuous”.

I've been tryin' to write the lyric,
Not offensive but satiric, too.
If you can get it in the "A" slot.
It's just gotta make a mint for you!

And I want a hit record!
Want to hear it on the radio!
Want a big hit record!

One that everybody's got to own!

Gonna be an overnight sensation!

Quote from Springsteen: “They haven’t gotten the respect they deserve… The Raspberries had great stuff. They had a great record called “Overnight Sensation” one of the greatest little pop operas that anybody ever did.”

Raspberries: Tonight (39)
Raspberries: Drivin’ Around (21)
Raspberries: I’m A Rocker (26)
Raspberries: Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) (26)
From: The Raspberries, Capitol Collector’s Series [1991]

Visit The Raspberries online at their website.


  • If you can't blow out your speakers with these tracks, you ain't trying. Great tunes, interesting info, fine observations--thanks a lot.

    By Anonymous jb, at 3:30 PM  

  • I haven't been a big Raspberries fan, but these are excellent choices. Thanks, man!

    By Anonymous Jeff, at 1:48 AM  

  • jb - that's a fantastic sentiment shared by many while listening to Eric & co. I know that I've worn down many a car speaker (and in all seriousness probably lost a bit of hearing in the long term) because I never thought the volume was loud enough at the moment.

    By Blogger wzjn, at 8:11 AM  

  • jeff - can't thank you enough for the kind words! You make a great point about what I like to do here at Got The Fever. You don't have to love ANY band OR time period - but there there is an incontrovertable truth that a lot of bands have at least a few tracks that can move someone in one way or another.

    Your statement justifies that, and I thank you!

    Let me know what else you might like to hear, my friend.

    By Blogger wzjn, at 8:15 AM  

  • The Atlantics - "One Last Night", right? A fine tune that stands with the best power pop of the era...

    By Blogger Hazy Dave, at 3:33 PM  

  • Good good stuff -- and jb is right: blow out the speakers!

    Thanks and keep the stuff coming!

    By Blogger whiteray, at 11:57 PM  

  • I can't agree about 'Go All the Way' or most of the other selections here.

    I've just put together my personal 'best of the Raspberries' and I've included there some of the awesome tracks that are almost completely overlooked, e.g., 'I Don't Know What I Want' and 'I Can Hardly Believe You're Mine.'

    By Blogger wishfulthinking, at 10:59 AM  

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