Eric Carmen – Boats Against the Current

“I know it’s over…
You know it’s over.
We’re just goin’ through the motions
But we’re sailin’ separate oceans world’s apart…
And you know it’s breakin’ my heart.”

Cleveland native Eric Carmen made a name for himself in the early 1970’s as the leader of original power poppers The Raspberries. With hits including Carmen’s “Go All The Way” and “I Wanna Be With You”, they released four critically acclaimed albums and gained the respect of the Rock elite. Carmen experienced his biggest hits, however, after disbanding the group in 1975. His solo debut, 1975’s eponymous “Eric Carmen” on Arista Records, featured one of the most frequently covered songs of all time, ‘All By Myself’. It was his most popular solo LP and featured the traits all Eric Carmen releases that followed enjoyed: masterful songwriting, prodigious piano work and expert production. Jimmy Einner, Rasperries producer, followed Carmen into the studio for this first album and carried over the same flair that propelled the early group releases.

Most fans would agree that his masterpiece was the 1977 follow up “Boats Against the Current”. The album was not a commercial hit, yielding only one top 10 single, ‘She Did It’. It was the title track that defined the song cycle on the LP release. The lyrics depict the lives of two people who desperately depend on each other but must soldier on alone, only to hope of each other’s success. It was the driving wheel of the song cycle, and is hailed as a true classic of the pop genre. As with ‘All By Myself’, the song features a beautiful piano score from Carmen and impassioned vocals only the writer of the track could deliver.

“There’s romance in the sunset
We’re boats against the current to the end…”

Eric Carmen made two more albums for Arista before taking an extended break from the pop scene. He made a true comback in 1987 with two huge singles, ‘Hungry Eyes’ from the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack and his own ‘Make Me Lose Control’, a #1 hit. “Boats Against the Current” remains a true unheralded classic among his collection of amazing songs. He is a voice criminally missing from our current pop landscape with solo albums criminally out of print. ‘Boats Against the Current’ is essentially what this list is all about…a song any music fan needs to hear to be able to claim a discerning ear when it comes to analyzing music in any format.

(This clip is interesting as it features pictures from the film ‘Splendor in the Grass’….I include as it is the only video I could find of the original album version of the song. The 1997 ‘Definitive Collection’ album has a version with backup singers that is less impacting.)

One response to “Eric Carmen – Boats Against the Current

  1. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

    Last line of “The Great Gatsby”.

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