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Eric Carmen, the Raspberries frontman and 'All By Myself' singer, dies at 74

He also penned hits including “Hungry Eyes,” “Almost Paradise,” and “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again.”

Eric Carmen, the musician who became a ‘70s icon as the frontman of the Raspberries and singer of hits “All By Myself” and “Hungry Eyes,” has died. He was 74.

News of the singer-songwriter's death was announced Monday on his official website, with a statement from his wife, Amy Carmen.

“It is with tremendous sadness that we share the heartbreaking news of the passing of Eric Carmen,” she wrote. “Our sweet, loving and talented Eric passed away in his sleep, over the weekend. It brought him great joy to know, that for decades, his music touched so many and will be his lasting legacy.”

She added, “Please respect the family’s privacy as we mourn our enormous loss. ‘Love Is All That Matters… Faithful and Forever.'”

The final quote is a callback to “Love is all That Matters,” a track from his 1977 solo album “Boats Against the Current.”  No cause of death was disclosed.

<p>Michael Ochs Archives/Getty </p> Eric Carmen in 1970

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Eric Carmen in 1970

Born Aug. 11, 1949, Carmen was raised in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio where he forged a love for music at such a young age, that his parents enrolled him at the Cleveland Institute of Music at just 2 and a half. He began taking violin lessons at 6. As a teenager, he taught himself to play the guitar and joined his first band.

After bouncing between bands, Carmen eventually landed with the Raspberries in 1967, a pop rock band in the style of The Beatles and The Who, that quickly rose to acclaim. Members of the classic lineup include Wally Bryson, Jim Bonfanti, and Dave Smalley. Their hits would include “Go All the Way,” “I Wanna Be With You,” “Let’s Pretend,” “Tonight” and “Overnight Sensation." Despite finding their fanbase, the group earned some ire for being too pop-centric.

"Critics liked us, girls liked us, but their 18-year-old, album-buying brothers said ‘no,’” Carmen wrote in his website biography. “We got frustrated and imploded. Looking back, we might have been the very first ‘alternative’ band. We were the alternative to long boring flute solos and all the other stuff people thought was so ‘heavy’ back then… but alas, we collapsed under the pressure.”

<p>Bobby Bank/WireImage</p> Eric Carmen, Dave Smalley, and Jim Bonfanti of the Raspberries

Bobby Bank/WireImage

Eric Carmen, Dave Smalley, and Jim Bonfanti of the Raspberries

After the band split in the mid-’70s, Carmen took steps to establish himself as a solo artist finding success with songs such as “All by Myself"— which Celine Dion would bring to even greater heights with her 1996 cover. Along with being a radio hit, the song was featured in films including Clueless, Almost Famous, and Bridget Jones's Diary. Carmen’s additional hits include “Make Me Lose Control,” “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again,” “Hey Deanie” (penned for Shaun Cassidy), and the Dirty Dancing song “Hungry Eyes.”

Another of Carmen’s memorable tunes was written for a movie soundtrack too: he co-wrote the Footloose love theme “Almost Paradise,” which earned him his sole Grammy nomination when the soundtrack competed for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture.

While Carmen declined to join the Raspberries when they reunited in 1999 with the EP, Raspberries Refreshed, he did share the stage with them in 2004 for a performance at Cleveland’s House of Blues.

“People used to ask me ‘Why don’t you guys get together and just play one gig?’ Because it takes the same amount of preparation for one good show as a six-month tour,” Carmen told EW at the time. “I never wanted to be the guy to put this band back on a stage and pop everyone’s bubble and have them go home saying ‘Oh, they weren’t that good.’”

Together, the Raspberries briefly toured again in 2005. The group’s final performance together was at Cleveland’s KeyBank State Theatre in December 2007.

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