THE RASPBERRIES (1970 - 1975 and 2004 - 2007) were an influential American pop and boy band active from 1970 until 1975 then active again between 2004 through 2009. 

The Raspberries formed in the early 1970s when Eric Carmen and Jim Bonfanti envisioned a band that would emulate music legends of the 1960s such as The Beatles and The Who. 

The Raspberries first lineup included Eric Carmen on rhythm guitar and keyboard, Jim Bonfanti on drums, Wally Bryson on lead guitar, and John Aleksic on bass. Their first performance on stage was a cover of “I’ve Got A Feeling” by the Beatles on October 16, 1970, in North Ridgeville, Ohio. 

After three months in the band, Aleksic left the group and was soon replaced by Dave Smalley, who had been Carmen’s original choice for a bass player in the first line up. 

On May 5th, 1971, the Raspberries performed their first gig and began to write original songs for their subsequent performances. In that same year, their managers approached producer Jimmy Ienner and played a demo tape of one of the Raspberries’ original songs. Ienner was intrigued and decided to help the Raspberries land a recording contract. They received various offers and eventually, the group decided to sign with Capitol Records. 

In the winter of 1971, the Raspberries relocated from Cleveland to New York City to record their first album. They released their debut album, Raspberries, in 1972 and it was an immediate success. The album reached the top 100 on the Billboard album chart and their singles “Go All the Way” and “Don’t Want to Say Goodbye” reached the top 5 and top 100, respectively, on US charts “Go All the Way” sold over one million copies and was certified Gold. During the same year, the Raspberries also released their second album Fresh, containing two top 100 hit singles “I Wanna Be With You” and “Lets Pretend.” 

From 1973 to 1975, the Raspberries went on tour in Europe, performed at Carnegie Hall, appeared on various radio stations and TV shows, and conducted numerous press interviews. In 1973, they released their third album Side 3. This album, like its predecessors, also contained several top 100 singles. 

Their last appearance was on The Mike Douglas Show in 1974. Shortly after, Bonfanti and Smalley both quit the band to pursue individual music careers. Michael McBride and Scott McCarl replaced them and shortly after Raspberries went on to produce their fourth and final album Starting Over. 

The Raspberries officially broke up in April, 1975. In 1999, the band reunited with all members of the last ensemble, except Carmen, and released an EP titled Raspberries Refreshed. Then in 2004, the original four members of the group performed at Cleveland’s House of Blues. This resulted in a 2005 mini-tour. The Raspberries performed at other venues around the United States, with their final concert performance in Cleveland, Ohio at KeyBank State Theatre on December 14th, 2007.

Therese Ruane

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