October 4 – Turntable Talk, Round 7 : When Carmen Wanted More Than Just Dirty Dancing

Welcome back to Turntable Talk! As by now, regular readers know, that’s when I have several interesting guest writers sound off on one topic related to the music that we look at here daily. This is our seventh round of it, and if you’re new here, I recommend taking a look back at some of the earlier topics we’ve covered like why the Beatles are still relevant, or “did video kill the radio star?” or the one dealing with guilty pleasures we ran at the start of this month.

Elvis Presley had 114 top 40 hits in the U.S., a couple of them making the charts posthumously. The Beatles, 52 on the Billboard charts… and that doesn’t include songs like “Dear Prudence”, “A Day in The Life” or “Here Comes the Sun”, which were beloved pop-rock classics but weren’t released as singles and thus not hitting the sales charts. This time around, it’s pretty safe to say we won’t be dealing with those greats, nor Bruce Springsteen, or U2 or Madonna… because this time we’re looking at Wonderful One Hit Wonders.

Sure, we all love those great, reliable artists who churned out hit after hit for years, or decades. But our musical landscape is made a whole lot more interesting and enjoyable by those acts who have the brief moment in the sun, when their song is heard everywhere and when their name is known…and then disappear from the public’s radar.

One Hit Wonder” is often seen as a derogatory term but it shouldn’t be. It’s one more lasting piece of music history than I’ve had, or I would guess you either, and in many cases, that one hit will live on after the band is broken up or the artist long retired.

Today we have Tennessee’s Max, from Power Pop Blog, where he writes about all sorts of music…but especially power pop! Today he recalls one of the greats from that genre:

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 four top 40 hits but this was the only top ten hit and the song they are known for. The song starts off with a strong Who-like loud riff then continues on with hooks galore.

When people think of them 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 three 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 four 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 Stones 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


14 thoughts on “October 4 – Turntable Talk, Round 7 : When Carmen Wanted More Than Just Dirty Dancing

  1. Thanks Max! What a great song, always liked it as a kid and still do. Strange that they actually did have other hits, to me they truly fit the definition of One Hit Wonder since it’s the only song I remember hearing back in the day…which is a bit of a shame since you’ve pointed out they produced a number of good tunes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Badfinger (Max)

      It’s that curse of Power Pop…the only ones to really beat it were The Cars, Petty, and Cheap Trick…I never could figure it out.
      Thanks, Dave for another great topic. I hope this one fits well enough.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. 70smusicblog

    Cheers Max! Another one I’ve never heard before (or at least remember.) Great tune. If you’d asked me, I’d have said ‘Overnight Sensation’ was their ‘one hit wonder’ as it’s the only one of theirs I know. I loved that at the time of release.
    I need to go find more Raspberries music now. 😉

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Badfinger (Max)

      WOW… I didn’t think anyone knew about that one. That is the one I like best but over here…Go All The Way is the one that gets the airplay. I’ve never heard Overnight Sensation on even classic radio here.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Such a great song, Max. And thanks for previously introducing me to The Raspberries.

    I actually got a scheduled post featuring another of their tunes for next week. And, nope, it’s not “Overnight Sensation” though it’s from the same album.😀

    BTW, I agree with you “Overnight Sensation” is pretty epic!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Now this makes sense I remember Carmen from the DD Soundtrack as that one was a massive hit as I was wondering where he came from.
    Cheap Trick must have nabbed some licks from these guys…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think so, and Max sometimes says Cheap Trick , Cars and Tom Petty were pretty much the whole list of ones who managed to do so and have a long, successful career.


  5. Pingback: Raspberries – Go All The Way – PowerPop… An Eclectic Collection of Pop Culture

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