Cyrus Erie



When Eric Carmen, a fan of the band in its early years, auditioned to join the Choir, he was rejected and instead became a member of CYRUS ERIE (which was named for a brand of tractor).  He turned his hurt feelings into revenge by stealing away their best musicians; and before long, Cyrus Erie was widely regarded as the best band in the Cleveland area.  The tug of war between the two bands went on for awhile; but ultimately and ironically, the Raspberries were formed by Eric Carmen with three core members of the Choir:  Wally Bryson, Dave Smalley and Jim Bonfanti.  The Raspberries released several albums in the early 1970’s and had a number of hits, particularly “Go All the Way”.  The band is remembered for their intelligent pop craftsmanship; and they are cited as influences by artists as diverse as Bruce SpringsteenPaul Stanley of KISS, Tom Petty, and Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses.  The Raspberries reformed in 2004 and were the first performers when the House of Blues opened a venue in Cleveland.  They began to receive so many requests for It’s Cold Outside that the Choir also came together for a two-night stand in 2006
Eric Carmen also had success as a singer-songwriter with “All by Myself” and, more than 10 years later, with “Hungry Eyes” from the soundtrack of the film Dirty Dancing.  He penned several songs that were hits for others as well, including two hits for teen heartthrob Shaun Cassidy, and “Almost Paradise” from the Footloose soundtrack, which was a duet by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson, the lead singers of Loverboy and Heart, respectively.
Several years ago, I looked up the Wikipedia article on the Dutch band the Outsiders – one of the truly great rock bands of all time and maybe the very best from a non–English-speaking country – and happened to click over to their American contemporaries, also called the Outsiders, only to discover that there was just a stub (in other words, a few sentences with basic information like bandmembers’ names, major hit song, etc.).  With over 1¼ million articles in Wikipedia at that time (it is significantly above three million now – and that is just in the English Wikipedia), it hadn’t occurred to me that I would have an opportunity to work up an article on a well-known group, so I started in.  Though the James Gang and the Raspberries each had a generous write-up, there was nothing at all on the Starfires or the Choir, so I also contributed those articles.  I had planned to get to Cyrus Erie but haven’t as yet, so that Cleveland band – which had only minimal recording though – still is without notice in Wikipedia.
(February 2010)
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Items:    Cyrus Erie 
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 FLASHBACK #2: The Under-Appreciated Rock Band of the Month for February 2010CYRUS ERIE 
This was the first post where I tried to talk about more than just the band itself.  Many people might have wondered why Cleveland of all places was chosen to be the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so I presented my own theory:  that it was (or at least should have been) due to the largely forgotten musical scene there in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  More to the point, rock bands like the Raspberriesthe Outsiders and the James Gang are certainly well known enough; but most people don’t know that Cleveland was their hometown.  Another long-time fave of mine is the Cleveland punk band the Dead Boys and its frontman Stiv Bators, though they were only indirectly pertinent to this discussion. 
After writing the article, I began to wonder whether Cyrus Erie had actually made any records; I certainly didn’t have any of them (unlike everyone else that I have written about).  All I really knew about them was that they were one of the leading bands in Cleveland for a while; and that, when lead singer Eric Carmen left Cyrus Erie and essentially joined the Choirthe Raspberries were born.  The story is more complicated than that actually; several of the bandmembers in the Choir were also in Cyrus Erie at one time or another. 
Happily, there is one Cyrus Erie track out there on YouTube:  “Get the Message” from 1969 is unabashedly Beatlesque and shows Eric Carmen exercising his pipes well – check it out (with several stills of the band) at .   A song called “Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Stop Me” by the Quick also features Eric Carmen on lead vocals and can be heard at .   The song was co-written by Carmen and Dann Klawon.   A couple of years earlier, Klawon had written the immortal song “It’s Cold Outside” by the Choir that you really shouldn’t miss either; that one is at
(February 2012)
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Photo Gallery: The Under-Appreciated Rock Band of the Month for February 2010CYRUS ERIE 
Cyrus Erie is an early band that Eric Carmen was in before he and several members of another Cleveland band the Choir put together the celebrated 1970’s power pop band the Raspberries.  They evidently only ever released one single; this is the A side:  
 Here is a shot of the bandmembers in Cyrus ErieEric Carmen is second from the right.   The gentleman in the middle, Wally Bryson was in both the Choir and the Raspberries:  
(February 2013)
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It was about a year ago that I started my series on Under-Appreciated Rock Bands of the Month (including one Under-Appreciated Rock Artist of the Month), to celebrate the more obscure albums and bands in my record collection that had not yet been profiled in Wikipedia.  The list shows a wide-ranging list of types of music I think: 
December 2009 – BEAST1960’s hippie-flavored rock band (2 albums) 
January 2010 – WENDY WALDMAN, 1970’s singer-songwriter (6 albums) 
February 2010 – CYRUS ERIE1960’s garage rock band (single) 
March 2010 – BANG1970’s hard rock band (4 albums) 
April 2010 – THE BREAKAWAYS1970’s power pop rock band (several singles; retrospective album) 
May 2010 – THE NOT QUITE1980’s psychedelic revival rock band (3 albums) 
June 2010 – WATERLILLIES1990’s electronica rock band (2 albums) 
July 2010 – THE EYES1970’s punk rock band (several singles) 
August 2010 – QUEEN ANNE’S LACE1960’s pop-psychedelic rock band (1 album) 
September 2010 – THE STILLROVEN1960’s garage rock band (several singles; retrospective album) 
October 2010 – THE PILTDOWN MEN1960’s instrumental rock band (several singles; retrospective album) 
November 2010 – SLOVENLY1980’s indie rock band (5 albums) 
(Year 1 Review)
Last edited: March 22, 2021