The Raspberries Meet John Lennon


by Peter R. McCormack

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Raspberries and Rickenbackers

Wally Bryson, guitarist with the Raspberries played one of two Rickenbackers he owned on two of the group's greatest hits namely: "I Wanna Be with You" and "Let's Pretend." These songs were written by Eric Carmen for the Rickenbacker 12 string as this is said to be a sound that he always loved. This love continues to the present day as Eric apparently bought a Rickenbacker 12-string at the Guitar Center in the mid 80's. A photograph acquired recently shows Eric playing a Rickenbacker 12 string at one of the Raspberries last performances. Scott McCarl played a Rickenbacker bass similar to Paul McCartney's 4001. Photographs of Eric Carmen and Scott McCarl playing Rickenbackers follow this text. Persistent attempts to obtain Raspberries' fine guitarist Wally Bryson playing a Rickenbacker have been unsuccessful to date.


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Eric Carmen with 360/12 Fireglo (March 1975)
Photograph taken by Ms. Karen Smith



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The Raspberries Scott McCarl with "Feast" in 1978
Scott seen here with 1972 4001 LH/RHS
Copywritten Photo courtesy of Scott McCarl



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Scott McCarl of the Raspberies in 1977
Copywritten Photo courtesy of Scott McCarl



Eric Meets John

Eric Carmen is said to have met John Lennon for the first time at the Record Plant where the Raspberries were recording their "Starting Over" album. It was quite the introduction with Eric hitting John in the face with the men's room door. Eric and Raspberries' drummer Mike McBride were invited by Lennon to hand-clap in the background for the Harry Nillson track "Loop de Loop" on the "Pussycats" album. John Lennon is said to have loved the Raspberries album and rumour has it that John assisted the group with the mix of their song "Overnight Sensation." The Raspberries had a poster in their recording studio that Lennon painted over including eyeglasses and other swirls of color, signing it at the bottom. Surprisingly, none of the group members took the poster home from the studio and its current whereabouts remains unknown.


Rumoured Lennon Rickenbacker

It had been rumoured for some time that Lennon was so taken with the Raspberries' music and Eric Carmen's interest in the Rickenbacker 12 string that he present a member of the Raspberries with a Rickenbacker 360/12 Fireglo. It was not possible to document this through any written source either than the interesting comments made in preparation for a Bonham's Auction. Repeated visitations to the site were unable to determine whether the instrument was purchased, and if so, for what amount. The photograph and particulars of the instrument and the auction are presented here.


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Rumored 360/12 Fireglo presented to Raspberries
1967 GI 3950 used in Nillson Album recorded at Record Plant


Bonham's Auction Lot 762

"February 18, 1998 at 56-59 Lots Road Chelsea London England JOHN LENNON: A rare 12-string Rickenbacker custom red GLO Serial No. G.1.3950 1967 owned and played by John Lennon. 2500-3000 This guitar was used in New York's Record Plant Studio whilst recording with Harry Nillson. The USA band, The Raspberries, were also recording at the Record Plant at this time. A member of The Raspberries played this guitar on a session with John and Harry and expressed a liking for the guitar. John later gave this guitar to The Raspberry band member (the vendor) for his help on the session. With full letter of authenticity. See Inside Front Cover Illustration"


Raspberries' Reaction

All of the previous members of the Raspberries have a busy schedule and of their email reponses to date only one has commented the "Rumoured Lennon Rickenbacker." After sometime Eric Carmen graciously responded to my query about the instrument. A quote from Eric was received late in 1998 and was as follows. "To Peter McCormack: I heard about this auction some time ago and to the best of my knowledge John Lennon didn't give any Rickenbacker 12-string guitar to any of the Raspberries. I'm not sure how this story came about, but I'm pretty sure if John HAD given any of us the guitar we would remember." Thus ends the story and speculation regarding yet another Rickenbacker guitar owned by John Lennon.

For more information regarding the Raspberries
visit the Eric Carmen Homepage

Article Submitted on January 10, 1999

1999 Peter R. McCormack. All rights reserved.



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