Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) - Wikipedia

2021 Song Draft- Round 2 Pick 7- Badfinger20 selects- ‘Overnight Sensation [Hit Record]- The Raspberries.

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In the nineties I bought the Raspberries greatest hits. I listened with headphones to each song until I heard this one. I stopped and listened to it repeatedly. It’s one of those songs that goes beyond other songs…It is truly a pop-rock symphony. I was amazed that I never heard this before.

Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) is an epic, ambitious, grand, lofty, extravagant, and brilliant song from the Raspberries. They were swinging for the fences when they made this song and they hit it out of the park. It’s on the album Starting Over released in 1974.

Put some headphones on and listen to this completely to the very end… When I hear it, I think this is what it would sound like if The Who, Beach Boys, and Beatles made a song together…this would be it. Musically you have a little of everything. Sliding bass lines, tasteful guitar licks, great vocals, a sax solo that gives way to more lyrics as the song morphs into an AM radio sound… and then comes a solo piano.

Stay until the very end because they dupe you into a fake ending and the drums will come in as if the world is going to end. Then… a Beach Boys final huge crescendo wave will wash over you like a warm summer moonlit night. It’s a wall of sound of ecstasy that you wish would go on forever.

The song is about trying to make it in the music business. It’s Eric Carmen singing with desperation wanting a hit record on the radio. After this album, the Raspberries were no more. This was Eric Carmen at his absolute best before he went solo and became an ordinary pop singer. He would never try anything this ambitious again.

Certain songs we all know are timeless. In a perfect world this one deserves to be on that list. I don’t use the word masterpiece a lot but I would consider this song one. The musical arrangement is second to none in terms of arrangement, production, and harmonies.

Although “Go All The Way” was their big hit of their career…this one is in a different league, and they never equaled it. Most people don’t know this song and it’s a musical injustice. I only hope more people discover it.

The three best power pop bands of the early to mid-seventies were Big Star, Badfinger, and The Raspberries. Badfinger were the most successful (and they paid dearly for it), Big Star wasn’t even known, and The Raspberries had one top ten hit with few very good minor ones. All three of these bands were too rock for pop radio and too pop for rock radio…in varying degrees they fell into the cracks of history… none of them had long careers.

Bruce Springsteen: “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) should go down as one of the great mini-rock-opera masterpieces of all time”

John Lennon was said to be a fan of the group. He was producing Nilsson’s Pussycats at the same time The Raspberries were making this album at the Record Plant. John supposedly was blown away by Overnight Sensation.

The song peaked at #18 in the Billboard 100 and #22 in Canada in 1974.


  1. The Raspberry’s kind of overlooked and forgotten today- but they made great pop music during their short window of time. Like the pick!

    • Thanks Hans…They were a really good singles band… Go All The Way is about the only one that is remembered much today because of soundtracks.

  2. The first part of it sounded like Queen to me. Lush production with so many sounds meshing so well. I liked everything I heard of the Raspberries on the radio but this one is new to me. I saw Eric Carmen once after he went solo but I don’t remember much about it. Nice and glowing write-up on the songs and the 3 groups. I like what you said about too pop for rock and too rock for pop.

    • Thanks Lisa… I can see where you would say Queen at the first. They were one of the big 3 in power pop. Badfinger and the Raspberries were supposedly planning a tour together before Pete Ham left the earth… that would be a dream concert for me.

  3. Great write up Max! After reading it I needed to listen right away! I like it – I can see what you mean the combo of the Beatles Who and Beach Boys. The drums crashing back in at the end made me smile!

  4. Have to admit I don’t know much about Raspberries other than Go All the Way. I feel my knowledge of these foundational power pop bands could use some more time of my time

  5. Pingback: Raspberries – Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) – PowerPop… An Eclectic Collection of Pop Culture·

  6. I heard Eric Carmen’s songs first, and then only later ‘discovered’ The Raspberries. I liked this song from first hearing it, but didn’t realize the significance in terms of its quality and respect from other artists. Your post was enlightening. It will be more than just a cool song when I hear it from now on.

  7. it’s a good one, seems like you wrote about it once before which might be the only time I’ve heard it. I’m amazed it hit #22 in Canada because I sure don’t remember hearing it on hit radio back then! (“Go All the Way” by comparison was very big and instantly grabbed me). Definitely an under-rated act. At least Eric became famous on his own.

    • Yes he did…he took some of the edge off and got really popular. It was probably just bad timing for them…if they would have come out with the Cars and Tom Petty….they might have done more damage.

  8. Listening with the “Big Can’ Speaking of the Boss. I hear him in it also. All sorts of stuff going on. Never heard it before. When did Bruce drop that quote? I know zilch about this band except the name. I absolutely get your connection to the music. It sounds 1974 in a good way if you know what I mean. Good stuff Max. On my second listen in a row.

  9. “Go All The Way” is the ONE that everyone knows…the rest were minor hits including this one…darn it. To me it had everything it would need for 1974.
    Bruce did some of the liner notes for their box set. He said ” “Their best records are as fun and sound as fresh today as when they were released. Soaring choruses, Beach Boys harmonies over crunchy Who guitars.” ” I surprised me also…Lennon I could see more.

  10. I have never heard this before, though I have always liked Go All The Way and Eric Carmen. I definitely hear the Beach Boys, the Who (it sounds just like Keith Moon) & a bit of Beatles in this. I see/hear Lisa’s Queen in this, too, as well as some Elton John and Meatloaf/Jim Steinman (we just lost Jim in April). Thanks for the intro!

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