Eric Howard Carmen (born August 11, 1949) is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and keyboardist.
He scored numerous hit songs across 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”.
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. 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. Two years after its 1975 release, this self-titled album was certified Gold in 1977 for sales of more than 500,000 copies. “That’s Rock and Roll” was also a number 3 hit single for singer Shaun Cassidy.
Carmen’s second album, Boats Against the Current, came out in the summer of 1977 and received strong reviews. It featured such noted backup players 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), Eric resurfaced on Geffen Records in 1985 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. “I want to hear it from your lips” also a Country hit for Louise Mandrell.
Carmen’s hit-making course surged again in the late 1980s. In 1987 his contribution to the mega-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. Although Carmen did not follow his two hit singles with a new studio album in 1988, “Make Me Lose Control” was included on a revised ‘Best Of’ collection from Arista. (The original version of the album was released a few months before the single was released, and early pressings exclude the song.)
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 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”.
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. With Carmen performing lead vocals and piano, “Brand New Year” featured musical and vocal contributions by Jeffrey Foskett, Darian Sahanaja, Nick Walusko and Mike D’Amico.
Pioneer Records 1998
Tracks: I Was Born to Love You, Some One That You Loved Before, Every Time I Make Love to You, Cartoon World, Almost Paradise, Top Down Summer, Isn’t It Romantic, I Could Really Love You, No Caroline, I Wanna Take Forever Tonight & Walk Away Renee.
Musicians on the Winter Dreams album: Eric Carmen and others.
Geffen Records 1985
Tracks: I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips, I’m Through With Love, American As Apple Pie, Living Without Your Love, Come Back To My Love, She Remembered, You Took Me All The Way, Maybe My Baby, Spotlight & The Way We Used To Be.
Musicians on the Eric Carmen album: Eric Carmen, Dwight Krueger, Michael McBride, Steve Knill, Dan Hrdlicka, Richard Reising & George Sifl.
Tonight You´re Mine
Arista Records 1980
Tracks: It’s Hurt Too Much, Lost In The Shuffle, All For Love, Tonight You’re Mine, Sleep With Me, The Inside Story, Foolin’ Myself & You Need Some Lovin’.
Musicians on the Tonight You´re Mine album: Eric Carmen, Carmine Appice, Rick Shlosser, Davey Johnstone, Fred Tackett, Billy Peek, Steve Lukather, Kenny Passarelli, Bob Glaub, Duane Hitchings, Paulinho Da Costa, Harry Maslin, David Woodford, Jim Haas, John Joyce, Laura Creamer, Steve Farber & Joanne Harris.
Change Of Heart
Arista Records 1978
Tracks: Desperate Fools Overture, Haven’t We Come A Long Way, End Of The World, Heaven Can Wait, Baby I Need Your Lovin’, Change Of Heart, Hey Deanie, Someday & Desperate Fools.
Musicians on the Change Of Heart album: Eric Carmen, Jeff Porcaro, Russell Kunkel, Michael Botts, Nigel Olsson, Daniel Kortchmar, Richie Zito, Fred Tackett, Richard Reising, Mike Porcaro, David Wintour, Leland Sklar, Jay Winding, James Newton Howard, Craig Doerge, David Paich, Burton Cummings, Paulinho Da Costa, Joe Porcaro, Laura Allan, Brian Russell, Brenda Russell, Valerie Carter, Donny Gerrard, Bruce Johnston & Joe Chemay.
Boats Against The Current
Arista Records 1977
Tracks: Boats Against The Current, Marathon Man, Nowhere To Hide, Take It Or Live It, Love Is All That Matters, She Did It, I Think I Found Myself & Runaway.
Musicians on the Boats Against The Current album: Eric Carmen, Jeff Porcaro, Nigel Olsson, Richard Reising, Richie Zito, Andrew Gold, David Wintour, Michael Boddicker, Gene Estes, Ollie Brown, Tom Scott, Bobby Keys, Jim Horn, Steve Madaio, Burton Cummings, Bruce Johnston & Joe Chemay.
Arista Records 1976
Tracks: Sunrise, That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, Never Gonna Fall In Love Again, All By Myself, Last Night, My Girl, Great Expectations, Everything, No Hard Feeling & On Broadway.
Musicians on the Eric Carmen album: Eric Carmen, Michael McBride, D. Dwight Krueger, Richard Reising, Dan Hrdlicka, Steve Knill & George Sipl.