My Top 1000 Songs #469: Go All The Way

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

When name-dropping the most influential acts in 1970s power pop, the Raspberries tend to be high up on the list. And yeah, they've got some great songs, though I've never thought of them in the same class as Big Star or Badfinger. (Ok, full disclosure: they're not helped by frontman Eric Carmen turning into a right-wing crank who blocked me on Twitter.)

But love 'em or not, there's no denying that "Go All The Way," lead-off track on their 1972 self-titled debut, is a defining power pop moment. You've got that killer Who-like guitar hook (with some rock-god shouting by Carmen), setting things up for some boisterous hard rock that would play well alongside Led Zeppelin on classic rock radio... and then the band surprisingly pivots into some lush, melodic balladry and gentle crooning in the verses. Carmen's solo career would have him sticking with the latter, with typically schmaltzy results (ok, I'm a sucker for "All By Myself"). But here the band strike a perfect balance between gentle McCartney-esque pop and harder-edged rock, with some magnificent harmonies (and that fantastic "come on!" bridge). It's the sort of tightwire act a lot of power pop bands would attempt but few could pull off as memorably.

Live at 2007 reunion gig:
Yet another great Matthew Sweet/Susanna Hoffs cover: