Eric Carmen Solo Artist Profile

Compilation Album Cover Image Courtesy of BMG

Born:

Eric Howard Carmen on August 11, 1949 in Cleveland, Ohio

Overview:

American pop/rock singer-songwriter Eric Carmen has enjoyed a lengthy, successful music career that has often functioned in distinct cycles. During his early years, he was a bona fide rock star as a vital member of the briefly huge power pop band Raspberries. Then he embraced piano ballads during the latter half of the '70s when he first embarked on a soft rock-focused solo career.

However, for the purpose of '80s music nostalgia, perhaps Carmen's biggest solo moment didn't happen until the late '80s, when a song attached to one of the decade's most unlikely movie phenomena took him back to the top of the charts. Though mostly quiet for the past quarter-century, Carmen remains a major figure in '70s and '80s American pop music.

Early Years:

Carmen was a music prodigy almost from birth, studying music at a level well beyond his years before he'd even reached typical primary school age. Then, after a childhood spent studying classical music on both the violin and piano, he discovered as a teenager (like so many of his contemporaries) the magical draw of rock and roll. During the late '60s Carmen played in local bands and added guitar to his list of instrumental proficiencies. While at college near Cleveland, Carmen joined a band called Cyrus Erie, which had a brush with record business success.

But an acquaintance with fellow local musician Wally Bryson would soon change his path considerably.

The Raspberries and American Power Pop Glory:

With Bryson and the latter's former bandmates, Carmen formed Raspberries around 1970, serving as the group's frontman and chief songwriter. Within a few years, the band would be viewed as one of the major American proponents of a newly christened style (power pop), which combined hook-heavy melodies with rock guitars and intricate harmonies.

Raspberries would release four records before breaking up in 1975, along the way producing some '70s rock classics - particularly "Go All the Way" and "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)." Not always a critical favorite or appreciated by rock music purists, the band nevertheless made a significant mark on the American music landscape.

Early Solo Success:

Following Raspberries' dissolution, Carmen immediately embarked on a successful solo career, eschewing most of his former group's loud guitars for a piano-based, ballad-heavy approach. Combining a soft rock sensibility with his classical music chops of the past, Carmen incorporated into his 1976 smash hits "All By Myself" and "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" elements of compositions by classical composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. Pop music fans probably rarely realized this, but they certainly received Carmen's dramatic, lovelorn pop songs with great enthusiasm. Sustaining a great deal of this solo success for the remainder of the '70s, Carmen nevertheless experienced a decline in fortunes as the '80s began. But his third act was yet to come.

'80s Resurgence and Beyond:

An artist seemingly well-suited to the bombast favored in arena rock and '80s music in general, Carmen was probably destined for a comeback sooner or later.

That resurgence got its start when Carmen cowrote "Almost Paradise," which served as the love theme to 1984's massive cinematic hit . After resuming his solo career full-time (to moderate success), Carmen then hit another jackpot in 1987, when "Hungry Eyes," his song from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, rode the coattails of that surprising movie smash to another stay for the singer near the top of the charts. 1988's "Make Me Lose Control" is (to date) Carmen's final flirtation with pop music chart action. In subsequent years, Carmen has mostly stepped away from music, with the exception of a well-received Raspberries reunion in 2004 and some occasional appearances and recordings.