Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Raspberries—
Ecstasy/I Don't Want To Say Goodbye


Released 1973 on Capitol
The Seth Man, September 2000ce
Power pop? Nah -- This time, it’s Raspberries throwing off all their pop single sensibilities and creating a monstrous rocker as a result. They charge through all their long-learnt English Invasion riffs, hooks, melodies and zap it up into this track that is at once wholly romantic and plain balls out rock’n’roll at the same time, balanced between the heavy rock with the most sentimental of pop upon the fulcrum of seventies rock. “Ecstasy”, completes Raspberries’ teenage love triptych (first expressed on “Go All The Way” and pined to death on “ I Wanna Be With You”) and it’s also their heaviest track, ever. It starts out like a ‘71 Who bash out, complete with Townshend/Moon type raving cross talk that cuts out to vocalist Eric Carmen’s echoed cries (“Ooof!”; “C’mon!”) before it neatly plateaus down (for the moment) to a calmer pop yet sexy and testifying thing. When the first chorus hits it rocks up a royal storm while maintaining their deftly handled pop hookiness simultaneously. Then the pop gets thrown over with the pulse-quickening chorus that starts revving things up, kicking out into high gear in the bridge as Carmen finally casts asides all his previous insinuations, loudly confessing to his woman of his present, near-insane and sex-deprived condition:

“Baby, Baby -- I Just WANT TO MAKE YOU!!!
Make you feel the way I do!
You got my backbone a-shaking and my poor heart breaking in two…”

Where he slows his pace (although the drummer doesn’t, bless him) after the last chorus, he finally sings his open invite to his lady three times, each time more insidiously compelling in tone with each delivery:

“Tell me that you’ll stay tonight… (pleading)
Stay tonight… (looking downward, despondent)
Stay tonight…” (arms outstretched)

Thunderous drumming brings the above to a halt as handclaps resume over an extended coda with a guitar solo plucked from “Live At Leeds” and the band goes for broke in a likewise blistering rave up as drummer Jim Bonfanti persistent pummels his loose floor toms and ride cymbals until a single yanked guitar note ends it all.

In an alternate universe, this could’ve been the B-side of The Who’s “Summertime Blues.” ‘Power pop’ is barely fitting an epitaph for a band who blurred distinctions between pop and rock with a raging fever that straddled both opposing ends so skillfully. And there weren’t really too many bands that successfully tackled this dichotomy of sound and made it sound this easy, or good. Even though it was for only three glorious A sides.