Anatomy of a Classic: Deconstructing the Raspberries’ ‘Go All the Way’

When Eric Carmen wrote the Raspberries’ first and most timeless hit, the quintessential power pop classic “Go All the Way”, he took inspiration (to say the least) from some other great songs. Let’s have a listen:

Although The Who and Faces are most often mentioned as the templates for the Raspberries’ sound, I think The Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar” is the closest match for Carmen’s opening riff and may have inspired it. This is speculation on my part, but there’s a clear similarity:

The next bit isn’t speculation at all; Carmen has admitted he lifted the staccato guitar in the verses from The Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby”:

For the chorus, Mr. Carmen said he was aiming for the sound of The Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee”. This isn’t quite as obvious, but see if you can hear the similarity:

The bridge pretty clearly seems to be nicked from The Beatles’ “Please Please Me”:

Here’s an edit containing all four points of comparison:

Amazingly, this Frankenstein of assembled stolen song parts turned out to be not a mess of ugly stitches, but a seamless pop classic in its own right, perhaps even the equal of those that inspired it:

Even the idea for the song was directly inspired by another song–The Rolling Stones’ “Let’s Spend the Night Together”. When Carmen saw them perform it on TV, forced to sing it as “Let’s Spend Some Time Together”, he got the idea to write a sexually explicit lyric that would be understood by kids but could avoid similar censorship. Carmen also cleverly had the most explicit line, ‘please go all the way’ come from the song’s female subject and not directly from its male protagonist. As you can see by its performance on the Mike Douglas show below, he succeeded in skirting the censors.

Raspberries trivia: the band’s first album came with a raspberry scented scratch-and-sniff sticker. While searching for names for the band, one member rejected another’s suggestion by quoting a line from the old Our Gang comedies saying, “Aw, raspberries”. It stuck.

See also:

See also:

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Songs You May Have Missed #386 | Ed Cyphers

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