Fabulous Flip Sides In Memoriam – Eric Carmen’s Lead Guitarist Dan Hrdlicka

Musicians from Eric Carmen’s band remember lead guitarist Dan Hrdlicka
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Eric Carmen and Dan Hrdlicka mid-1970s courtesy of Richard Reising

Eric Carmen and Dan Hrdlicka mid-1970s courtesy of Richard Reising

Eric Carmen’s lead guitarist Dan Hrdlicka passed away October 5 at age 69. Hrdlicka’s Top 100 debut came in 1973 as a member of the Cleveland band Circus, singing and playing guitar on “Stop, Wait & Listen,” which he wrote along with the band’s next single “Feels So Right.”

Billboard Top 100 debut February 24, 1973, peak position No. 91

Billboard Top 100 debut February 24, 1973, peak position No. 91

After Circus, Dan was a member of the Cleveland band Magic, with Richard Reising and George Sipl on keyboards, Steve Knill on bass and D. Dwight Krueger on drums.

Magic L to R: Dan Hrdlicka, Steve Knill, Richard Reising (top), D. Dwight Krueger (bottom), George Sipl, photo courtesy of Adam Hrdlicka

Magic L to R: Dan Hrdlicka, Steve Knill, Richard Reising (top), D. Dwight Krueger (bottom), George Sipl, photo courtesy of Adam Hrdlicka

After The Raspberries disbanded, Eric Carmen recruited Magic along with drummer Mike McBride from The Raspberries to be his backing band as he embarked on a solo career and released his highly successful self-titled debut solo album, featuring three hit singles.

Hrdlicka Eric album

In 1976, Hrdlicka was in the Top 40 three times with Carmen’s gold single “All by Myself” followed by “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again” and “Sunrise.” Steve Knill told Goldmine, “We had such wondrous times together, being kids from Cleveland who got to live our dream, at least for a while, and then remain musicians our whole lives. Who could ask for more really? Finding the right spot for guitar solos is not easy in a band with different instrument combinations by song, but Dan did it. His tour de force was ‘Sunrise’ but his guitar playing on all the songs was stellar.” Richard Reising agreed, “Dan’s opening guitar and ending on ‘Sunrise’ was so cool.” Hrdlicka’s playing was reminiscent of what he previously brought to Magic’s cover of Elton John’s “Love Lies Bleeding.” Reising continued, “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” was Magic’s signature performance with great guitar soloing from Dan.” George Sipl added, “I realized in my reflections on our past that we never had one disagreement. That’s a lot to be said for two musicians who played together for over five years. In the studio we worked together on background vocals. With Dan’s powerful voice, they always asked him to step back from the microphone. He was always pitch perfect and was a pleasure to sing with.”

Reising and Sipl also sang with Hrdlicka in 1978 on The Euclid Beach Band's local hit “There’s No Surf in Cleveland,” co-written by Reising, originally released independently on Scene Records and picked up for a second pressing nationally on Steve Popovich’s Cleveland International label.

Hrdlicka EBB

Hrdlicka’s final vinyl release came in 1988, on the flip side of Eric Carmen’s Top Five hit “Make Me Lose Control,” with Carmen’s version of “That’s Rock ‘N Roll,” originally on his debut album and successfully covered by Shaun Cassidy.

Hrdlicka Eric flip side

Eric Carmen

Flip side: That’s Rock ‘N Roll

A side: Make Me Lose Control

Billboard Top 100 debut: May 21, 1988

Peak position: No. 3

Arista AS1-9686

Dan Hrdlicka and Steve Knill, photo by Dolores Tancredi

Dan Hrdlicka and Steve Knill, photo by Dolores Tancredi