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All By Myself

by

Eric Carmen



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Carmen: "The song started with the solo. It started 4 bars at a time. Eventually, over a period of 2 months, that entire interlude had been written. Then my quest was to put this in the middle of an actual song. Then it was a matter of trying to figure out what kind of song and how could I do it. I was listening to Rachmaninoff's 2nd piano concerto (written in 1901) and I heard the melody which I used for the verse. Then I needed a chorus. I went back and listened to a song that I had written in 1973 called 'Let's Pretend' for the Raspberries. I just took those notes and took it from there. I thought, ''Let's Pretend' was a nice melody.' The song didn't go quite as far as I thought it should have. I'll go back and steal from myself for this."
Carmen used the same notes from "Let's Pretend" to open his song "The Way We Used To Be."
Carmen: "There's not nearly as much fuel in being happy as there is in being miserable. Being miserable is a great catalyst for songwriting, for me anyway. I'm constantly amazed at the amount of wonderful work that Mozart did during periods when he was fairly happy. His music during those periods reflects the happiness. On the other hand, I can't imagine that Rachmaninoff was happy when he was writing the 2nd symphony and 2nd piano concerto. I don't think the anguish and angst of those melodies comes out of being peachy keen."
When he wrote this, Carmen thought the Rachmaninoff music was in the public domain, meaning he could use it free of charge. After this song came out, he found out it wasn't and agreed to a settlement with the Rachmaninoff estate.
Carmen: "If you walked in a record store and saw 'All By Myself' on the record label, you'd know what the song was about, and it's an emotion that everyone has felt at some point in their life. Therefore, it's a song that goes immediately to your heart. The lyrics are as simple as I could possibly make them. Sometimes my melodies are so dramatic that if the lyric is that dramatic, it's overkill."
Carmen: "The edited version was still about 4:22 so I know the song probably had to be edited. The only problem was that there really was no place to edit because it changed keys 4 different times within that piano interlude. Jimmy Ienner, the producer, and I had struggled trying to figure out how we could possibly do an edit. (thanks to Bernie and the folks at EricCarmen.com for all above)
Celine Dion covered this in 1996. Her version hit #4 in the US and #6 in the UK.
This has been used in the movies Clueless, Dawn of the Dead (2004 version), and Shrek 2. It was also used in Bridget Jones's Diary when Bridget (Renee Zellweger) was alone and drunk on New Year's. The latter version was performed by Country artist Jamie O'Neal, who told Songfacts: "Boy, that is a real challenge to sing a song like that. It’s just one of those songs that has such a range to it that you’ve got to dig deep just to get the notes out." (thanks, Elanor - Liverpool, United Kingdom)
The song was performed by Charice in the April 19, 2011 episode of Glee. The actress and singer has an occasional part as talented rival glee club member, Sunshine Corazon. The comment was made that it was a tad inappropriate to hear the teenager singing the song's opening lines, "When I was young/ I never needed anyone / And making love was just for fun / Those days are gone"?
Eric Carmen
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Comments (26):

On December 14th 1975 "All By Myself" by Eric Carmen entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on April 30th, 1976 it peaked at #2 (for 3 weeks) and spent 19 weeks on the Top 100...
"Love Machine" by the Miracles kept it out of the top spot the first week it was at #2, the next two weeks "December 1963 (Oh What A Night)" by the Four Season was the culprit that kept it at the runner-up position...
It reached #3 in Canada...
In 1997 Celine Dion covered it; on April 6th, 1997 her version peaked at #1 (for 3 weeks) on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Track chart.
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
I loved Lets Pretend from the moment my sister got the 45 inch single in 1973. I used it in my Wedding song list. In 75 All by myself was all over the radio. For some reason I did not put the two together until this post at the top. Eric has a great voice. His lyrics are good but not great. Dylan was great. He tends to rip off everyone from the Eeatles to the Who to the above mentioned Rachmaninoff' on the melodies. But as Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols would say on Indie 103.1 in LA, "Eric Carmen is a nicker (thief), but a good one at that". Later the electronic duo Thievery Corp. made no bones about their larceny. I am not sure if this is legend or fact but I heard Rachmaninoff ripped off the melody used in All by Myself from a Venice street vendor. When I saw the Rasberries in a reunion show in Nov 2007 in Anaheim, CA, Eric went on an extended piano jam in the middle of the song I presume playing Rachmininoff note for note. He also said he would have released the song with the Rasberries had they not broke up.
- Mark Hardt, St. Petersburg, FL
This was a great song from the mid 70's and I remember when I took a classical music class in '79 that I heard the same music in Carmen's song. I thought of it as compliment Carmen was giving to the composer. I don't think it would have gotten near the attention otherwise. Yes it sounds a little depressing but if you follow it up with R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts" its like the otherside of the same record.
- Michael Scott, Punta Gorda, FL
Tod, with all due respect, Rachmaninov was one of the greatest pianists and composers of the 20th Century. (And the late 19th as well.) Comparing Carmen and Rachmaninov might be one of the absolutely dumbest things I have ever heard in my life, and I'm an old fart. Get a grip on reality.. you probably believe Global Warming is a "hoax."
- John, Margaretville, NY
With all due respect to Rachmaninoff, Eric Carmen is three times the creative talent as his classical counterpart. His estate beneficiaries should thank their lucky stars that someone as brilliant as Carmen brought Rachmaninoff's work alive. Sure, Carmen sampled the melody for the verse, but it was Carmen lyrics and voice that made that verse immortal and commercially valuable.
- tod, las vegas, NV
Okay...I've just signed up so I could make a comment here, like two other people have already noted and therefore spoilt my thunder, I have just watched "Brief Encounter" on our FOX Classics Channel, introduced by Bill Collins I was immediately sucked in to watching all 86 minutes of it, by about halfway through the film I picked up on the music score and sounded very much like a song I hear played on our local easy music station 3MP all the time, which has finally led me to SongFacts, I'm not sure what "John" of the UK was getting to exactly but it is clear that Noel Coward had used Rachmaninoff 2nd Piano Concerto as the main theme throughout the film, nothing unusual here, definitely a beautiful piece though, oh and one small observation, Bill had indicated that this was his favorite film, I guess there might be some truth in that judging by the teary look in his eyes once the film had finished tonight, you gotta love'm...18/4/09
- Clint, Melbourne, Australia
Carmen had another hit on his next album that is a happy follow-up or an answer to "All By Myself." It is called, "She Did It" from 1977, and it is posted on You Tube.
- Les, Joplin, MO
and it was also in the movie "clueless" when she realizes that she likes her step-brother. ewwww.
- jane, austin, TX
i think celine dion made a cover version of this song. it is really painful how the singer is all by himself.
- Fulu, limpopo, South Africa
Okay, so it turns out the Rachmaninoff thing is true, (see two entries down) but I have one more question. Did Eric get his name from Carmen Curlers? With a barnet like his, it makes perfect sense.
- John, London, United Kingdom
loved it in DIRTY SEXY MONEY when jeremy sings it at his birthday party
- malena, monterrey, Mexico
I agree with Doug (entry below) the song can be found woven in the fabric of the Brief Encounter film score, so spare me the Rachmaninoff cobblers! I suppose somebody's gonna tell me Rachmaninoff wrote the score now.
- John, London, United Kingdom
My wife and I just watched the Noel Coward 1945 B&W movie Brief Encounter and started humming All by Myself which is the main song throughout the movie.
- Doug, detroit, MI
For the comparison between Eric Carmen's "All By Myself" and Sergei Rachmaninoff's 'Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 18 in C Minor - Adagio Sostenuto (2nd movement)', see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDZ1LK7huxM .
- Perry, Pasig City, Other
Great Song. Great piano solo! Could someone please tell me where I can purchase the "complete" piano solo from the album version?

Eric does a great live version with Ringo.
- Adolph, Coram, NY
this song is so good, I really love listening to it, beacuse it's about how tired you get of begin alone sometimes and sometimes begin alone is okay.
- Sara, Traverse City, MI
The best showing of this song was on bridget's Jones diary... when she was alone screaming this song out with a cig and a bottle!
- Nachomoma, Columbus, OH
I like ths song, but I just LOVE that ol' Eric had to cough up some of his earnings to the Rachmaninoff estate.
- Matt, Portland, OR
Actually this song was featured in the March 5, 1977, episode of the short-lived Brady Bunch Hour. There were 8 shows in the early part of 1977 after the success of what was to be a one-shot Brady Bunch Variety Hour in November 1976. Greg sings All By Myself when he decides to leave the Brady home - he was probably in his mid-20s by this time if not older. He sings it by himself while Carol sings Traces at the same time on two different ends of the stage. She is sad Greg is moving out and looks at a picture of him as she sings Traces.
- David, Youngstown, OH
The guitar solo was played by a session guitarist called Hugh McCracken, who played in the Petula Clark Band.
- Ivan, Dallas, TX
"All By Myself" was featured in a Brady Bunch variety show special. Greg (Barry Williams) sang it as a duet with Carol (Florence Henderson). B

ut I really just wanted to ask if anyone knows who played lead guitar on that song. It certainly has a George Harrison sound, but I would be shocked to find out it was the former Beatle on that song. Besides, if it were actually Harrison, I would imagine that tidbit would have already been included.
- Donovan, Milwaukee, WY
She's not a real canadian....she doesn't play hockey or curl or anything. You can keep her.
- rob, vancouver, Canada
Undoubtedly one of the most depressing songs I've ever heard.
- Tony, Topeka, KS
Okay can anyone tell me if this was the song used in the movie "under wraps" when the mummy has no one to dance with / something or other??? help me i want to know!!!
- mia, wellston, MI
the showboating canadian wench celine dion covered it
- Papa Burgundy, Bridlington, England
This song was used in an episode of "Friends" in the 2nd season, when Joey moves out of Chandler's apartment, and they aren1t roommates anymore! Heart rendering!
- Ascorbic, New York, NY
We're sorry for the inconvenience. Comments are closed for update.
Max Cavalera of Soulfly (ex-Sepultura)Max Cavalera of Soulfly (ex-Sepultura)
The Brazilian rocker sees pictures in his riffs. When he came up with one of his gnarliest songs, there was a riot going on.
John Doe of XJohn Doe of X
With his X-wife Exene, John fronts the band X and writes their songs.
Jackie DeShannon - "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"Jackie DeShannon - "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"
It wasn't her biggest hit as a songwriter (that would be "Bette Davis Eyes"), but "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" had a family connection for Jackie.
Zakk WyldeZakk Wylde
When he was playing Ozzfest with Black Label Society, a kid told Zakk he was the best Ozzy guitarist - Zakk had to correct him.