Raspberries frontman and solo star Eric Carmen dead at 74

Eric Carmen in 1975
(Image credit: Tom Hill/WireImage via Getty Images)

Eric Carmen, the former Raspberries frontman who scored a huge hit with All by Myself in 1975 and went on to have a string of single successes, has died at the age of 74. The news was confirmed in a statement shared on social media by his wife, Amy Carmen. 

“It is with tremendous sadness that we share the heartbreaking news of the passing of Eric Carmen,” she wrote. “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 the family’s privacy as we mourn our enormous loss." 

She finished with the line "Love Is All That Matters… Faithful and Forever”, a lyric from Love Is All That Matters, taken from Carmen’s 1977 solo album Boats Against the Current.

Carmen formed The Raspberries in his hometown of Cleveland, OH, in 1970, with bandmates guitarist Wally Bryson, bassist Dave Smalley, and drummer Jim Bonfanti.

"I was going to high school, and there was talk that there was this really great band, The Choir," Carmen told Classic Rock. "I ventured out to see them, and they were awesome – Wally, Dave and Jim were all members. They played all the chords right, they sang the harmony parts right. I looked up at that stage and said, boy, if I could get into that band we could really do some damage."

With their short hair, matching suits, and Beatlesque sound, the band ran in the opposite direction to the prevailing hard rock mentality of the Cleveland scene, but it worked: their second single Go All The Way hit the US Top 5, and further Top 20 hits followed in I Wanna Be With You and Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)

The Raspberries broke up in April 1975, but Carmen hit big with his first solo release, All By Myself, a Top 10 hit in the US, Canada, Italy, Australia and New Zealand. Over the next decade, Carmen would enjoy a string of single hits including Never Gonna Fall in Love Again, Hungry Eyes and Make Me Lose Control.

His old band, meanwhile, left an unmistakable imprint on the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Cheap Trick and Kiss. Rumours of an original Raspberries line-up reunion appeared throughout the years but didn’t come to fruition until 2004 when Carmen, Bryson, Smalley and Bonfanti played a handful of gigs together at House Of Blues venues in the US. 

"Our fans are the best in the world," Carmen told Classic Rock. "They just wouldn’t let us die. They waited all these years. It’s astounding. Our music lived on, and forced us to get back together."

No cause of death has been announced.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.