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Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, in the Seventies, it was next to impossible to escape hearingÂ Raspberries almost daily on the radio – not that that was a bad thing.Â Emerging from the Mistake on the Lake in 1972, with the smash “Go All The Way,” still one of the best power pop singles ever, the boys were hometown heroes even after their split in 1975. With lead singer Eric Carmen yet to enter his Adult Contemporary phase, Raspberries took the Beatles and Beach Boys, roughed them up a bit and dragged them in the new decade.
Raspberries spent the rest of their career trying to follow up that first classic blast.Â They nearly matched it with the lead single from their sophomore album, Fresh Raspberries.Â “I Wanna Be With You” was another AM radio pop rocker and followed “Go All The Way” to the Top 20.Â But while the group was unable to score a second hit from their debut album, they were able to squeeze another Top 40 hit from Fresh Raspberries.
“Let’s Pretend” (download) laid the groundwork for many a Carmen ballad in the years to come, the song wasn’t nearly as treacly as future Camen hits “All By Myself” or “Hungry Eyes.”Â In fact, Carmen sounds borderline desperate and frantic during the bridge, demanding the object of his affection to hold him.Â While such a delivery would make almost anyone else besides John Lennon sound downright creepy, Carmen pulls it off.
While it sounded great on AM radio, “Let’s Pretend” barely squeaked in the Top 40 and would be the group’s biggest hit until “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” from their fourth and final record a year later. “Let’s Pretend” makes the cut for almost every Raspberries compilation, but you never hear it on the radio anymore, which is a shame.
Luckily, Raspberries have reformed with its original line-up, including a post-embarrassing DUI Carmen, and have a few concert dates lined up this year, starting as the warm-up act for this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum induction ceremony and a show this Saturday, April 4, at the Hard Rock Cafe in, where else, Cleveland.
“Let’s Pretend” peaked at #35 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart in 1973.
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