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R.I.P. Eric Carmen: Raspberries Frontman and 'All by Myself' Singer Dead at 74

The power pop pioneer also scored a hit with 'Hungry Eyes' from 'Dirty Dancing.'

eric carmen
Source: MEGA

Carmen, seen here performing at a Raspberries reunion in 2004, passed away over the weekend.

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Singer-songwriter Eric Carmen, best known as the frontman for power pop band the Raspberries, as well as the singer of the 1975 hit "All by Myself," died over the past weekend, his family revealed on March 11. He was 74 years old.

Carmen's family shared the news on the singer's website, posting: "It is with tremendous sadness that we share the heartbreaking news of the passing of Eric Carmen. Our sweet, loving and talented Eric passed away in his sleep, over the weekend. It brought him great joy to know that, for decades, his music touched so many and will be his lasting legacy. Please respect our family's privacy as we mourn this enormous loss. 'Love Is All That Matters... Faithful and Forever.'"

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Formed in 1970 in Cleveland, the Raspberries offered a striking alternative to the predominant rock sounds and style of the late-1960s, dressing in matching suits and playing punchy songs that were clearly inspired by the Who and the Hollies' early '60s singles. The band notched a major hit off their self-titled 1972 debut, with single "Go All the Way" reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. (It was banned by the BBC for a period due to what the station deemed sexually suggestive lyrics.)

The Raspberries released three more albums, generating several moderate follow-up hits like "I Wanna Be With You" and "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)," and winning fans such as a young Bruce Springsteen, who would later describe them as "great underrated power pop masters" in his liner notes to a Raspberries live release in 2007.

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eric carmen
Source: MEGA

Carmen forged a successful solo career after the breakup of the Raspberries.

The Raspberries broke up in 1975, and Carmen promptly launched a solo career, adopting a more soft-rock oriented sound which would see him climb to the upper reaches of the pop charts several times. His biggest hit came early on, with "All by Myself" rocketing to No. 2 on the Billboard singles chart in 1975. Utilizing a bit of a melody from Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Carmen would later agree to credit Rachmaninoff as a co-writer on the song. He would again incorporate Rachmaninoff's music on his 1976 single "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again," which reached No. 11 on the singles chart.

Carmen later explained his philosophy for using bits of existing melodies, especially classical ones, in an interview, saying: "Sometimes I like the idea of incorporating something that people have heard and using it almost subliminally within the context of a song. It evokes the feeling of familiarity, even though you may be hearing something for the first time."

Carmen's career was only moderately successful for the rest of the 1970s and early '80s, though he returned to Top 40 in a big way with the release of the smash 1987 film Dirty Dancing: his contribution to the soundtrack, "Hungry Eyes," made it to No. 4 on the charts. Carmen's last major hit, "Make Me Lose Control," came a year later.

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As news of his death spread on Monday, KISS' Paul Stanley was one of the first major rock figures to pay tribute to Carmen, writing:

"Awful news... Although known to many for writing radio hits like 'All By Myself' and others, Eric was a true rocker at heart. His voice had elements of McCartney and Steve Marriott. The Raspberries did shows with us. A killer band live & I loved their records."

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The Raspberries finally reunited for a number of gigs in the early 2000s, releasing a live album from a 2005 concert in Los Angeles. The group would later be introduced to many younger listeners when "Go All the Way" was included on the soundtrack to the Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 2014.


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