ERIC CARMEN-DEFINITIVE COLLECTION: Eric Carmen was the great lost chord connecting the Beatles to the Beach Boys. Blessed with a high pitch-perfect voice and the ability to write hooks that could catch Moby Dick, the Cleveland native's first group, the Raspberries, sounded too good to be true, let alone last long (they didn't). Their bubblegum-meets-hard-rock efforts bore chart fruit via the lust-encrusted power poppers GO ALL THE WAY and I WANNA BE WITH YOU, school dance ballad LET'S PRTEND, and the flawless autobiography OVERNIGHT SENSATION, which kick off this compilation disc in grandiose style. What follows are Carmen's slightly mellower, but equally classy solo career highlights, not the least of which are a pair of biggies he wrote for teen throb Shaun Cassidy (THAT'S ROCK & ROLL, HEY DEANIE), heard to best advantage here in their harder-nosed original versions. The Beach Boys-channeled SHE DID IT, yearning angst-fest ALL BY MYSELF, and DIRTY DANCING-era guilty pleasures HUNGRY EYES and MAKE ME LOSE CONTROL round out the fun. Maybe his recorded output has been a tad slight compared to say, Billy Joel or Elton John, but I'd rather hear one TRULY GREAT greatest hits like Eric Carmen's than a bloated box set of almost anyone else.
RATING: FIVE RASPBERRIES