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Eric Carmen
Eric Carmen early 1990s.jpg
Carmen in the early 1990s
Background information
Birth name Eric Howard Carmen
Born (1949-08-11)August 11, 1949
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Origin Lyndhurst, Ohio, U.S.
Died March 2024 (2024-04) (aged 74)
  • Guitarist
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • keyboardist
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
  • guitar
  • bass
Years active 1967–2024

Eric Howard Carmen (August 11, 1949 – March 2024) was an American guitarist and keyboardist. He was first known as the lead vocalist of the Raspberries. 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"), 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".

Early life

From a family of Russian Jewish immigrants, Carmen was born in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, and grew up in Lyndhurst, Ohio. He was 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 his aunt Muriel Carmen, 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 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 the Raspberries

Carmen became serious about being a musician while attending John Carroll University. He joined a band named Cyrus Erie, which recorded several commercially unsuccessful singles for Epic Records. 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 disbanded at the end of the 1960s, Carmen, Bryson, Bonfanti, and Smalley teamed up to form the Raspberries, a rock and roll band that was among the chief exponents of the early 1970s power pop style. Carmen was the lead singer of the group, and wrote or co-wrote all their hit songs. In 1975, after the breakup of the Raspberries, he started his solo career, de-emphasizing harder rock elements in favor of soft rock and power ballads.

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. Carmen himself stated that he planned to write new harder-edged songs for the band to perform in the same vein as those that the Raspberries had performed in the 1970s.

Solo career

Carmen's 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. The follow-up single, "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" – based on the main theme of the third 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 and in Australia Mark Holden took it to number 13. 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. 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 at 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) he temporarily withdrew from the music industry.

In 1984, Carmen and Dean Pitchford co-wrote "Almost Paradise", the love theme from the film Footloose. The song, performed by Ann Wilson and Mike Reno, peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1985, Carmen resurfaced on Geffen Records with a second self-titled album and a sizeable comeback hit "I Wanna Hear It from Your Lips". 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 reaching number 8 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. "I Wanna Hear It from Your Lips" was also covered by Mandrell only managing to peak at 35 on the same chart. 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.

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. 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 toured with Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band.

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..

Personal life

Carmen married three times; first to Marcy Hill (October 31, 1978 – August 3, 1979, divorced). He shared two children, Kathryn and Clayton with second wife Susan Brown (May 22, 1993 – 2009, divorced). He was survived by his third wife, former newscaster Amy Murphy, whom he married in 2016.

Carmen moved from Los Angeles back to Gates Mills in northeast Ohio in the 1990s.

On March 11, 2024, Carmen's wife Amy announced on his website that he had died giving neither a cause nor a specific date of death. He was 74 years old.


With the Raspberries

Studio albums

Title Album details
  • Released: April 10, 1972
  • Label: Capitol
  • Released: November 13, 1972
  • Label: Capitol
Side 3
  • Released: September 10, 1973
  • Label: Capitol
Starting Over
  • Released: September 16, 1974
  • Label: Capitol

Live albums

Title Year
Live on Sunset Strip 2007
Pop Art Live 2017


Title Year
"Don't Want to Say Goodbye"

b/w "Rock & Roll Mama"

"Go All the Way"

b/w "With You in My Life"

"I Wanna Be with You"

b/w "Goin' Nowhere Tonight"

"Drivin' Around"

b/w "Might As Well"

"Let's Pretend"

b/w "Every Way I Can"


b/w "Hard to Get Over a Heartbreak"

"I'm a Rocker"

b/w "Money Down"


b/w "Don't Want to Say Goodbye"

"Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)"

b/w "Hands on You"

"Cruisin' Music"

b/w "Party's Over"



Studio albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
Eric Carmen
  • Released: November 1975
  • Label: Arista
21 15 41 58
Boats Against the Current
  • Released: August 1977
  • Label: Arista
45 37 39
Change of Heart
  • Released: September 1978
  • Label: Arista
137 93
Tonight You're Mine
  • Released: January 1, 1980
  • Label: Arista
160 80
Eric Carmen
  • Released: 1984
  • Label: Geffen
I Was Born to Love You
(released as Winter Dreams in Japan)
  • Released: 2000
  • Label: Rhino

Compilation albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
The Best of Eric Carmen
  • Released: 1988
  • Label: Arista
59 17 26
The Definitive Collection
  • Released: June 17, 1997
  • Label: Arista
All By Myself - The Best Of Eric Carmen
  • Released: October 21, 1999
  • Label: Collectables
The Essential Eric Carmen
  • Released: March 25, 2014
  • Label: Arista

Charted singles

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
"All by Myself" 1975 2 6 7 7 6 12 Eric Carmen
"Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" 1976 11 1 30
"Sunrise" 34 33
"She Did It" 1977 23 26 30 16 Boats Against the Current
"Boats Against the Current" 88
"Change of Heart" 1978 19 6 Change of Heart
"Baby I Need Your Loving" 62 30
"It Hurts Too Much" 1980 75 Tonight You're Mine
"I Wanna Hear It from Your Lips" 1985 35 10 27 Eric Carmen
"I'm Through with Love" 87 16
"Hungry Eyes" 1987 4 2 4 17 16 18 6 82
  • BPI: Platinum
  • BVMI: Gold
Dirty Dancing: Original Soundtrack
"As Long As We Got Each Other" (with Louise Mandrell) 1988 Non-album single
"Make Me Lose Control" 3 1 8 29 93 The Best of Eric Carmen
"Reason to Try" 87 133 Non-album single

See also

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