The Raspberries

Formed in 1970, this popular '70s US group evolved from several aspiring Ohio-based bands. The original line-up included two former members of Cyrus Erie, Eric Carmen (b. 11 August 1949, Cleveland, Ohio, USA; vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Marty Murphy (guitar), as well as ex-Choir drummer Jim Bonfanti (b. 17 December 1948, Windber, Pennsylvania, USA). Murphy was quickly replaced by Wally Bryson (b. 18 July 1949, Gastonia, North Carolina, USA), a veteran of both groups, who in turn introduced John Alleksic. However the latter was removed in favour of Dave Smalley (b. 10 July 1949, Oil City, Pennsylvania, USA; guitar, bass), another ex-Choir acolyte. The Raspberries' love of the Beatles was apparent on their debut Don't Wanna Say Goodbye. Its melodic flair set the tone of Go All The Way, a gorgeous slice of Anglophilia which rose to number 5 in the US chart. RASPBERRIES confirmed the quartet's undoubted promise, but it was on FRESH, released a mere four months later, that their talent fully blossomed. Here the group's crafted harmonies recalled those of the Beach Boys and Hollies, while a buoyant joie de vivre was apparent on such memorable songs as Let's Pretend and I Wanna Be With You. This cohesion, sadly, was not to last and while SIDE 3 included wider influences drawn from the Who and Small Faces, it also reflected a growing split between Carmen and the Bonfanti/Smalley team who were summarily fired in 1973. Scott McCarl (guitar) and Michael McBride (drums, ex-Cyrus Erie) completed the new Raspberries' line-up which debuted the following year with the gloriously ambitious Overnight Sensation. The attendant album, cheekily entitled STARTING OVER, contained several equally memorable songs, but it was clear that Carmen now required a broader canvas for his work. He disbanded the group in 1975 and embarked on an intermittently successful solo career, while Bryson resurfaced in two disappointing pop/rock bands, Tattoo and Fotomaker.

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