It's a rare thing, but Raspberries just kept getting better.

Oh, the charts don't reflect that. Their biggest single, "Go All the Way," was on Raspberries' self-titled debut. Starting Over, their final LP, finished 107 spots further back than 1972's Fresh on the Billboard album chart.

But the charts aren't always fair. Raspberries' best single, a 1974 eruption of power pop aptly titled "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)," somehow finished behind the lesser No. 16 hit "I Wanna Be with You."

Maybe their time had simply passed by then: Eric Carmen left for a solo career that included its own moments of heartbreaking beauty and spit-shined hooks. Maybe it was never their time, considering how similar Raspberries' best-known songs sounded to the pre-psychedelic era of pop rock. We were bound to snap awake from this moment of nostalgic reverie, right?

That's the thing about this band, though. Raspberries were far more than bubblegum, way deeper than pastiche. As they indulged parallel tendencies toward rougher, randier sounds, their albums turned into more balanced, better-conceived triumphs. LPs that few critics hailed, and fewer still listeners bought, emerged as their very best.

Carmen and Wally Bryson saw bassist Dave Smalley and drummer Jim Bonfanti replaced by Scott McCarl and Michael McBride, but that only accelerated a process in which Raspberries more confidently combined the melodic genius of the Beatles and Beach Boys with the punchy gumption of the Who and Humble Pie.

In the end, as this countdown shows, Raspberries were no singles band. Yet it all had only lasted roughly three years. Our list of Raspberries Albums Ranked Worst to Best follows that rocket ride:

Ranking Every Raspberries Album

As our list confirms, these power-pop geniuses just kept getting better.

Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso

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