Eric Carmen

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Eric Carmen
Carmen in the early 1990s.
Carmen in the early 1990s.
Background information
Birth nameEric Howard Carmen
Born (1949-08-11) August 11, 1949 (age 71)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
OriginLyndhurst, Ohio, U.S.
GenresPop rock, power pop, soft rock
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, musician
InstrumentsVocals, keyboards, guitar, piano
Years active1967–present
LabelsArista, Geffen
Associated actsRaspberries, The Beach Boys, Shaun Cassidy, Andrew Gold, Burton Cummings, Michael Damian, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band
Websiteericcarmen.com

Eric Howard Carmen (born August 11, 1949) is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and keyboardist. He had numerous hit songs in the 1970s and 1980s, first as a member of the Raspberries (who had a million-selling single with "Go All the Way"),[1] and then with his solo career, including hits such as "All by Myself", "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again", "She Did It", "Hungry Eyes", and "Make Me Lose Control".[2]

Early life[edit]

From a family of Russian Jewish immigrants,[3] Carmen was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and grew up in Lyndhurst, Ohio. He has been involved with music since early childhood. By the age of two, he was entertaining his parents with impressions of Jimmy Durante and Johnnie Ray. By age three, he was in the Dalcroze Eurhythmics program at the Cleveland Institute of Music. At six years old, he took violin lessons from Muriel Carmen (his aunt), who was a violinist in the Cleveland Orchestra. By age 11, he was playing piano and dreaming about writing his own songs. The arrival of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones altered his dream slightly. By the time he was a sophomore at Charles F. Brush High School, Carmen was playing piano and singing in rock 'n' roll bands including the Fugitives, the Harlequins, the Sounds of Silence and the Cyrus Erie.

Though classically trained in piano, Carmen became a self-taught guitarist. At 15, he started guitar lessons, but when his teacher's approach did not fit with what he wanted, he decided to teach himself. He bought a Beatles chord book and studied guitar for the next four months.

Tenure with Raspberries[edit]

Carmen became serious about being a musician while attending John Carroll University. He joined a band named Cyrus Erie, which recorded several unsuccessful singles for Epic records.[4] Cyrus Erie guitarist Wally Bryson had been playing with friends Jim Bonfanti and Dave Smalley in one of Cleveland's most popular bands, the Choir, which scored a minor national hit in 1967 with the single "It's Cold Outside".

When Cyrus Erie and the Choir collapsed at the end of the 1960s, Carmen, Bryson, Bonfanti and Smalley teamed up to form Raspberries, a rock and roll band who were among the chief exponents of the early seventies power pop style.[4] Carmen was the lead singer of the group, and wrote or co-wrote all their hit songs.[5] In 1975, after the breakup of Raspberries, he started his solo career, de-emphasizing harder rock elements in favor of soft rock and power ballads.[4]

In 2004, Carmen, along with original Raspberries members Jim Bonfanti, Wally Bryson, and Dave Smalley, re-formed the band for a series of sold-out live performances in cities across the United States. On that tour, the Raspberries recorded a live album of their hits at The House of Blues on Sunset Strip, in Hollywood. Both the show and album received critical acclaim.[6] Carmen himself has stated that he planned to write new harder-edged songs for the band to perform in the same vein as those that the Raspberries performed in the 1970s.

Solo career[edit]

His first two solo singles were chart hits in 1976. Both were built around themes by Sergei Rachmaninoff. The first of these singles, "All by Myself" – based on Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 – hit number 2 in the United States, and number 12 in the United Kingdom where it was his only charting hit. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in April 1976.[7] The follow-up single, "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" – based on the main theme of the slow movement of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 – reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and hit number one on the US Adult Contemporary Chart, as well as number nine on the Cash Box chart. In the UK Dana took it to number 31. Those songs featured on his 1975 self-titled debut album, along with "That's Rock and Roll", a number 3 hit single for singer Shaun Cassidy. The album made number 21 on the Billboard album chart and was certified Gold in 1977 for sales of more than 500,000 copies.

Carmen's second album, Boats Against the Current, came out in the summer of 1977 and received mixed reviews.[8][9][10] It featured backup players such as Burton Cummings, Andrew Gold, Bruce Johnston and Nigel Olsson. The album spent 13 weeks in the Billboard Album chart, peaking number 45. It also produced the Top 20 single "She Did It," but the title track only managed to scrape the bottom of the chart. The title track was later covered by Olivia Newton-John on her album Totally Hot. A third single taken from the album, "Marathon Man," became his first solo single not to hit the Billboard Hot 100 chart. However, Shaun Cassidy again made the Top 10 in 1978 with Carmen's "Hey Deanie". For several weeks in the fall of 1977, Carmen had three compositions charting concurrently on the Billboard Hot 100, Cassidy's two big hits and Carmen's own "She Did It".

Carmen followed up with two more albums. Despite declining chart fortunes, the single "Change of Heart" broke into the Pop Top 20 and reached number 6 at AC in late 1978, with this hit also being covered by Samantha Sang on her Emotion LP. But in 1980, after the release of the album "Tonight You're Mine" and single "It Hurts Too Much" (number 75 Billboard Top 100; number 3 South Africa, June 1980) he temporarily withdrew from the music industry.

Four years later, after Mike Reno and Ann Wilson topped the charts (Pop number 7; Adult Contemporary number one) with the Carmen-penned ballad "Almost Paradise" (the love theme to the film Footloose), Carmen resurfaced on Geffen Records in 1985 with a second self-titled album and a sizeable comeback hit "I Wanna Hear It from Your Lips".[4] The single hit the Adult Contemporary Top 10 as well as the Pop Top 40. The follow-up single, "I'm Through with Love," also climbed the Billboard Hot 100 and reached the Top 20 of the Adult Contemporary chart. Another track from the album, "Maybe My Baby," later became a Country hit for Louise Mandrell. "I Wanna Hear It from Your Lips" was also a country hit for Louise Mandrell.

In 1987, Carmen's contribution to the hit movie Dirty Dancing, "Hungry Eyes", hit number 2 on the Adult Contemporary Chart and also returned him to the Pop Top 10. "Reason To Try", a further contribution to the One Moment in Time compilation album of songs recorded for the Seoul Summer Olympics, kept Carmen's profile high in 1988, during which the nostalgic "Make Me Lose Control" also returned him to the number one position on the Adult Contemporary chart – where it stayed for three straight weeks – as well as number 3 on Billboard's Hot 100. This became his highest charting song since "All By Myself". Both, along with "Hungry Eyes", having in the past two decades become classic pop radio favorites.

The year 2000 saw the stateside release of I Was Born to Love You, which had been released in 1998 only in Japan as Winter Dreams.[4] Carmen eschewed the use of a band on the recording, playing most of the instruments and programming the drum parts himself. The album did not find a large audience, but Carmen has continued to enjoy success placing songs with other artists over the years. In 2000 he also toured for the first time in years with Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band performing "Hungry Eyes", "Go All The Way" and "All By Myself".[11]

On December 24, 2013, the first new recording in over 15 years by Carmen titled "Brand New Year" was released. The track, written and recorded in November/December 2013 in Ohio and Los Angeles, was issued via a gratis download by Legacy Recordings as a special "Christmas gift", to herald the March 2014 arrival of a 30 track career retrospective entitled The Essential Eric Carmen..[12]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Eric Carmen among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Carmen has not toured since 2009, but continues to write and license music.[when?] He moved from Los Angeles back to Gates Mills[14] in northeast Ohio in the 1990s. In 2016, Eric married former newscaster Amy Murphy.[15][16][17][18]

Discography[edit]

Raspberries[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
US[2] AUS[19]
Raspberries
  • Release date: April 10, 1972
  • Label: Capitol
51 30
Fresh
  • Release date: November 13, 1972
  • Label: Capitol
36 31
Side 3
  • Release date: September 10, 1973
  • Label: Capitol
128
Starting Over
  • Release date: September 16, 1974
  • Label: Capitol
143 72
Raspberries' Best Featuring Eric Carmen
  • Release date: 1976
  • Label: Capitol
138
Live on Sunset Strip
  • Release date: July 31, 2007
  • Label: Rykodisc
Pop Art Live
  • Release date: August 18, 2017
  • Label: Omnivore Recordings
45

Solo albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certification
US[2] AUS[20]
Eric Carmen
  • Release date: November 1975
  • Label: Capitol
21 15
Boats Against the Current
  • Release date: August 1977
  • Label: Arista
45 37
Change of Heart
  • Release date: September 1978
  • Label: Arista
137 93
Tonight You're Mine
  • Release date: January 1, 1980
  • Label: Arista
160 80
Eric Carmen
  • Release date: 1984
  • Label: Geffen
128
The Best of Eric Carmen
  • Release date: 1988
  • Label: Arista
59 17[22]
The Definitive Collection
  • Release date: June 17, 1997
  • Label: Arista
All By Myself - The Best Of Eric Carmen
  • Release date: October 21, 1999
  • Label: Collectables
I Was Born to Love You
(released as Winter Dreams in Japan)
  • Release date: 2000
  • Label: Rhino
The Essential Eric Carmen
  • Release date: March 25, 2014
  • Label: Arista

Solo singles[edit]

Hits/compositions and chart positions[edit]

Chart singles[edit]

Year US Billboard US Cash Box US Record World US AC AUS CAN CAN AC IRE NZ SA
[23]
UK Title Certification
1972 86 90 89 "Don't Want to Say Goodbye" Raspberries
5 4 3 14 5 "Go All the Way"
16 10 7 17 "I Wanna Be With You"
1973 35 18 14 13 "Let's Pretend"
69 37 43 80 "Tonight"
94 75 "I'm a Rocker"
116 118 "Ecstasy"
1974 18 24 26 22 "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)"
1975 2 1 1 6 7 3 1 16 6 9 12 "All by Myself" Eric Carmen
1976 11 9 9 1 1 1 30 "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again"
34 38 28 33 36 29 "Sunrise"
1977 23 15 27 26 11 16 "She Did It"
1978 88 95 "Boats Against the Current"
19 19 20 6 14 10 "Change of Heart"
62 60 63 30 50 8 "Baby I Need Your Lovin'"
1980 75 83 71 3 "It Hurts Too Much"
1985 35 37 10 17 "I Wanna Hear It from Your Lips"
87 79 16 "I'm Through with Love"
1987 4 3 2 4 2 6 18 10 82 "Hungry Eyes"
1988 3 4 1 8 2 1 29 22 93 "Make Me Lose Control"
87 "Reason to Try"

Compositions sung by others[edit]

Year Chart position (US)* Title Artist
1976 13 (AUS) "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" Mark Holden
1976 31 (UK) "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" Dana
1976 "Let's Pretend" Bay City Rollers
1977 3 "That's Rock and Roll" Shaun Cassidy
1977 "Boats Against the Current" Frankie Valli
1977 "I Need You" Frankie Valli
1978 7 "Hey Deanie" Shaun Cassidy
1978 "Boats Against the Current" Olivia Newton-John
1978 "Change of Heart" Samantha Sang
1978 "Let's Pretend" Joey Travolta
1979 81 "I Need You" Euclid Beach Band
1980 "Change of Heart" Donna Fargo
1980 "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" John Travolta
1981 69 "She Did It" Michael Damian
1981 "Boats Against the Current" Patti Labelle
1984 7 "Almost Paradise" Mike Reno & Ann Wilson
1995 26 (NZ) "All By Myself" Margaret Urlich
1995 86 "(I Wanna Take) Forever Tonight" Peter Cetera
1996 3 (UK) "I Need You" 3T
1997 4 "All By Myself" Celine Dion
1999 "Someone That You Loved Before" Diana Ross
2003 "Tonight" Mötley Crüe
* - Except as indicated otherwise

Billboard Country singles[edit]

Year Chart position Title Artist
1985 8 "Maybe My Baby" Louise Mandrell
1986 35 "I Wanna Hear It from Your Lips" Louise Mandrell
1988 51 "As Long As We Got Each Other" Louise Mandrell & Eric Carmen (duet)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Eric Carmen Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  3. ^ "'All by Himself' among musicians; Jewish Clevelander Eric Carmen reflects on his life as a rock star – Cleveland Jewish News". Highbeam.com. December 31, 2004. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e Prato, Greg. "Eric Carmen Biography". allmusic. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  5. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "The Raspberries Biography". allmusic. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  6. ^ Eustacio Humphrey (December 12, 2007). "Raspberries show and album review – Cleveland, OH 12/12/2007". Cleveland.com. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  7. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 355. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  8. ^ Marsh, Dave. "Boats Against the Current". Super Seventies. Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  9. ^ Weiner, Matthew. "Adrift in the Seventies". Save the Robot. Save the Robot. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  10. ^ Ofjord, Michael. "Boats Against the Current". AllMusic. RhythmOne Group. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  11. ^ "Eric Carmen - Interview". www.ericcarmen.com. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  12. ^ "'Brand New Year' for songwriting legend". Cleveland Jewish News. March 13, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
  13. ^ Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  14. ^ Eric Carmen - Book Eric Carmen for your Corporate Events, Fund Raisers Retrieved 2018-05-20.
  15. ^ Carmen, Eric [@RealEricCarmen] (October 20, 2016). "Meet Mrs. Eric Carmen. Last week I married my beautiful soulmate and best friend. Love at last!" (Tweet). Retrieved June 16, 2020 – via Twitter.
  16. ^ Carmen, Eric [@RealEricCarmen] (August 29, 2017). "Happy Birthday to the love of my life, Amy Carmen, today! I love you "immoderately."" (Tweet). Retrieved June 16, 2020 – via Twitter.
  17. ^ Carmen, Amy [@CarmenAmy1] (January 16, 2012). "Hey tweeples- go to my Facebook page Amy Murphy-abc15 and like it then register to win 1 of 10 free i-pad2's !!" (Tweet). Retrieved June 16, 2020 – via Twitter.
  18. ^ Carmen, Amy [@CarmenAmy1] (October 2, 2015). "Thanks @justadude2012 - where did you find these awesome memories?" (Tweet). Retrieved June 16, 2020 – via Twitter.
  19. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. p. 246. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988.
  20. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. p. 55. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988.
  21. ^ a b "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  22. ^ "EricCarmen The best Of". Australian-charts. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  23. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  24. ^ "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved May 10, 2020.

External links[edit]