Two-Disc 30-Track Collection Spans Pop Pioneer’s 45 Year Career, From Raspberries To Solo Superstar
Remastered Set Includes “Brand New Year,” Carmen’s First New Recording In Nearly Two Decades, Alongside Previous Unreleased Live Classics
Arista/Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, has announced the release of The Essential Eric Carmen , a 30-track retrospective of the legendary singer/songwriter’s four-and-a-half decade career. The two-disc set arrives in stores on March 25th and is available now for pre-order on iTunes (www.iTunes.com/EricCarmen). By pre-ordering you will receive the new track “Brand New Year” instantly.
Remastered carefully from the original analog recordings by Grammy Award®-winning engineer Mark Wilder at New York City’s Battery Studios, The Essential Eric Carmen reaches back to the Cleveland-based artist’s first recordings out of the teenage garage and then travels through his unforgettable catalogue of hits, both with power pop icons Raspberries (“Go All The Way,” “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record),” “I Wanna Be With You”) and as chart-dominating solo superstar (“All By Myself,” “Never Gonna Fall In Love Again,” “She Did It,” “Hungry Eyes,” “Make Me Lose Control”).
The Essential Eric Carmen also includes the sonically inspired and lyrically optimistic “Brand New Year,” Carmen’s first new recording in more than 15 years. The track, which has received over 35K plays to date since its initial offering as a free download this past Christmas Eve, is streaming now at Legacy Recordings’ official SoundCloud,
“It would be a mistake to think of this release as just another compilation,” Carmen recently noted. “I can tell you that you have never really heard most of these songs until you’ve heard them on this package. It is the closest to what I envisioned for most of these 30 tracks that I have ever experienced.”
The Essential Eric Carmen contemplates and highlights, for the first time in an engaging musically linear narrative, Carmen’s entire recorded anthology, all marked by his oft-lauded pop craftsmanship as well as an instantly identifiable voice, equally capable of intimate crooning and raw-throated power. The collection gets off to an electrifying start with 1969’s “Get The Message,” making its very first digital debut in 45 years, one of the original three sides cut by Carmen’s first signed band, Cyrus Erie, for Epic Records. Raspberries came together soon thereafter and immediately made an indelible and undoubtedly influential mark on rock ‘n’ roll. With Carmen at the helm, the band virtually invented the quintessentially American brand of power pop – big melodies, bounteous harmonies, and riff-driven crunch, all played with the amps turned up as far as they can go. The Essential Eric Carmen gathers some of the band’s finest moments, from their million-selling debut, “Go All The Way,” to a stellar take on “Ecstasy,” recorded live at Los Angeles’ House of Blues during 2005’s sold out Raspberries Reunion Tour.
Carmen set off on his solo course upon Raspberries’ 1975 demise, releasing Eric Carmen the same year to both critical acclaim and massive popular success. Highlighted by the chart-topping “All By Myself,” the album bore witness to the scope of the classically-trained Carmen’s talent, showcasing his gift for sophisticated ballads, literary lyricism, and immense vocal arrangements. Each record that followed – 1977’s self-produced and intensely autobiographical Boats Against The Current, 1978’s Change of Heart, 1980’s Tonight You’re Mine – offered new facets, touching on soul, classical, and the great American songbook. Melancholic and romantic, songs like “Nowhere To Hide” and “Desperate Fools” lay the foundation for the only now fully appreciated genre of soft rock.
Though his symphonic ballads define mid-70’s pop, Carmen remained, at his core, a true rocker through and through. This fact is clearly demonstrated here by such high-energy tracks as “It Hurts Too Much,” “Hey Deanie,” and “Tonight You’re Mine.” This collection also features two previously unreleased, electric readings of “That’s Rock N’ Roll” and Raspberries’ “Starting Over,” recorded in 1976 with his touring band at New York City’s world-renowned Bottom Line.
Carmen continued to sculpt his ambitious pop-rock well into the next decade. 1984’s second self-titled solo collection saw him team with Bob Gaudio, best known as the genius singer/songwriter/producer behind Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, while his recording of “Hungry Eyes” – featured on 1987’s Dirty Dancing soundtrack – returned Carmen to his rightful place on the charts, reaching the top 5 on Billboard’s “Hot 100,” while helping propel the album to sales currently in excess of 32 million, one of the 10 biggest selling albums of all time.
Having spent much of the past two decades out of the spotlight, opting instead to comfortably ‘retire’ and focus on raising his children, Eric Carmen’s musical return is perhaps most remarkable for its timelessness. “Brand New Year” ranks among the singer/songwriter’s optimistic and insightful best, backed by longtime Beach Boys guitarist Jeffrey Foskett and members of the revered L.A. pop combo, The Wondermints.
Indeed, Carmen has surrounded himself with brilliant collaborators throughout his career, notably a long, prolific association with Raspberries producer Jimmy Ienner that continued through 1988’s top 3 smash, “Make Me Lose Control.” As solo singer/songwriter, Carmen was backed by a veritable who’s-who of the era’s premium players, including guitarists Andrew Gold, Danny Kortchmar, Richie Zito, Steve Lukather, Davey Johnstone; bassists Leland Sklar, Bob Glaub, and Dave Wintour, drummers Jeff Porcaro, Carmine Appice, Nigel Olsson, and Russ Kunkel; keyboardists Craig Doerge and Jai Winding, saxophonists Tom Scott and Bobby Keys, percussionist Paulinho diCosta; and the legendary conductor/arranger Paul Buckminster, not to mention harmonies and backing vocals from such friends as Burton Cummings, Curt Boettcher, and The Beach Boys’ Bruce Johnston.
The Essential Eric Carmen compilation was produced by Legacy Recordings’ Timothy J. Smith and overseen and advised by Eric Carmen, who also contributed original liner notes.
1. Get The Message (w/ Cyrus Erie)+
2. Go All The Way (w/Raspberries)
3. I Wanna Be With You (w/Raspberries)
4. Let’s Pretend (w/Raspberries)
5. Tonight (w/Raspberries)
6. Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) (w/Raspberries)
8. My Girl
9. All By Myself
10. Never Gonna Fall In Love Again
11. Last Night
12. Starting Over (Live 1976) *
13. That’s Rock N’ Roll (Live 1976) *
14. Run Away
15. Love Is All That Matters
1. Boats Against The Current
2. Marathon Man
3. She Did It
4. Nowhere To Hide
5. Change Of Heart
6. Hey Deanie
7. Desperate Fools
9. It Hurts Too Much
10. Tonight You’re Mine
11. The Way We Used To Be
12. Hungry Eyes
13. Make Me Lose Control
14. Ecstasy (Live 2005) (w/Raspberries)
15. Brand New Year **
+ Previously Unreleased Digitally/* Previously Unreleased/** Previously Unreleased New Recording