Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Raspberries--Overnight Sensation (1974)

     It happens to the majority of artists. The time in one's career when it is obvious that it's time to go into another direction. For some it's leaving the music business totally and go into another vocation. For others, it's giving up a musical dream that you had. For The Raspberries and Eric Carman the frustration had to be compounded by the fact that the public and critics didn't "get" them. The Who/Beatles/Beach Boys sound was immediately catchy, but many labeled them "bubblegum rock", which was as far from the case as one could get. Even listening to just the singles, one could hear a band who knew how to rock. They took their influences and formed them into a band that could not only garner airplay, but has influenced a couple of generations of rockers. However, at the time they were wanting to be taken seriously by the rock press, but were marketed to the teenaged girls. The creative tensions that arose between Carman and Dave Smalley led to the latter leaving the band before their fourth album, "Starting Over"

     In what could be seen as a list ditch effort, Scott McCarl, and Michael McBride were enlisted to replace Smalley and drummer Jim Bonfanti. "Starting Over" included this song and was a great album, but never dented the top 100 album charts. Overnight Sensation was a song that brought the hopes and dreams of every artist who straps on a guitar, or sits behind a drum kit into four minutes of rock and roll bliss.  All of the things that make The Raspberries one of the defining influences are here...crunchy guitars, harmonies, and great vocals. Carman soon left for a successful solo career, but time has shown that the influence of The Raspberries has been wide and deep. Along with Big Star, they are seen as one of the fathers of power pop music and have influenced hundreds of artists (especially in the power pop sub genre).
     All four original members came together for a tour in 2005 and a CD/DVD of the event at the Sunset Strip was recorded and released in 2007. The band sounded great, and frankly from a production standpoint actually sounded better than the originals. A satisfying album for those fans who wanted to take a trip back...


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