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Anyone read this?

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by ullalume, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the information, John! Also, it's nice to see some good news coming out of the United Kingdom! :)
     
  2. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

  3. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    If anyone's read the book in question, I'd be interested in reactions. There aren't many reviews on Amazon yet.
    Over the weekend I read "Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY and the Lost Story of 1970" by David Browne. Very interesting look at the music and events of 1970, providing a good context for understanding the era in which the Carpenters first stormed the charts. No sensationalism, just a straightforward recounting.
     
  4. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    Still a jerk after all these years? :)
     
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I do wonder to what degree of accuracy this incident can lay claim to......

    (1) After such, Phil Ramone co-produces a Paul Simon album in--what--1981/ 1982 ,
    The Concert In Central Park ?

    It would be interesting to hear if Itchie Ramone knows of this incident being reported by Berger.

    (2) Also, other news outlets include this:
    ".....In the book, Berger concedes that while the music wasn't Carpenter's best....."
    Source:
    Paul Simon depicted as 'insensitive,' callous in new book »

    And,
    (3)
    "Simon said “in a voice that combined derision, snobbishness, concern, and alarm . . .
    ‘Karen, what are you doing? This stuff is awful!’ ”
    Berger writes that Simon was right, but, “His insensitivity was stunning.”
    Source:
    http://pagesix.com/2016/07/03/book-depicts-paul-simon-as-music-snob/
     
  6. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    The problem with this is that it's just another retelling of what Berger has already claimed Paul Simon said rather than separate corroboration that it actually was said.

    Given that Karen and Phil recorded two of Paul's songs for the project and included one on the final cut, I'd find it very hard to believe that they would have done so if Paul was so negative towards the material they were recording. Such a shame that Phil has now passed on, as I'm sure he could say definitively one way or another what the truth is here.
     
    Must Hear This Album likes this.
  7. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    Exactly. "Derision, snobbishness, concern, alarm"...those are a LOT of specific qualities to ascribe today to a statement allegedly overheard more than 35 years ago and reported in this book without any context (and no living witnesses to verify or discredit). Sure seems like we'd have heard some reference to Simon's opinion before now if true. While everything I've read about him is consistent that he's insecure, testy and a perfectionist, that's a far cry from someone who'd "bully" a fragile-looking Karen. Does get the author some press coverage, though.
     
  8. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    From what I've read about the music business and from what I've heard from the only insider I've known, egos are huge especially with success. Along with the huge egos comes a general entitlement mentality to do or say whatever is desired. Regardless of her shortcomings, Karen was at the minimum humble if not insecure. A perfect unintended target for others who felt they could throw barbs without consequence.
     
  9. I’m also wondering, as I wasn’t in the room, if Simon was being supportive in a tough-love kind of way, from one artist to another, kind of like what one might say to a friend or family member for whom they cared, as in: “You’re so much better than this,” etc. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Simon’s comments were blunt/direct, as he’s had a famously tumultuous relationship with his former BFF for decades...that doesn’t happen by being sensitive and supportive. But again, my gut suspects Simon’s comments, if they happened at all, may have been as a supportive (but tough) colleague.

    The other thing I’ll say about Simon’s alleged “insensitivity to a clearly anorexic Karen Carpenter,” as I believe one reporting of the alleged exchange indicates, is that even her own family members, at that time, were unaware of the seriousness of Karen’s problem. “Thin” was (and is) “in,” and even in the recent UK documentary, the narrator suggested Karen’s appearance in the “BEechwood” video was “healthy,” which is highly debatable, no? In fact, my brother in law recently saw the video to “Those Good Old Dreams” and indicated that “Karen really looks great, here.” Umm... All this to say that I believe it’s unfair to suggest that Simon would somehow have had access to more information than others about anorexia in 1979.
     
    Harry likes this.
  10. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I was shocked at the narrator commenting that Karen looked well in the promo for Beechwood in the documentary. And whether you knew Karen's condition or not, I cannot understand how anyone watching the promo for Those Good Old Dreams could think Karen looks well and healthy. Yes she has a tan, but she probably weighs about 6 stone. It's quite interesting and telling that in that promo (and the one for Touch Me When We're Dancing) that the camera rarely focuses on Karen's face close up.
     
    Mark-T and Must Hear This Album like this.
  11. A good number of devoted fans, I think, look at things from the perspective of what happened. That's natural. But let's consider Paul Simon's perspective. Here's this East Coast, New Yorker type, who has probably not very often been in the presence of Karen Carpenter. He surely knows her by reputation.

    I see the situation that Paul's producer, Phil Ramone, mentions to him that he's working with Karen Carpenter. Paul goes in to witness a session in the studio and to perhaps meet up with Karen and offer support. Instead, he hears her doing the stuff she's selected for the album and he's appalled - so like "Must Hear" has theorized, tells Karen in a tough-love kind of way that he doesn't like the song or songs he's hearing and that she's better than this.

    No-one - not Paul Simon - not Phil Ramone - not Itchy (or Scratchy!) - not Richard - not the band - NO-ONE had any inkling that Karen was going to die soon. It was not only not on the horizon - it was unthinkable. So giving someone of her stature some tough-love opinions is not out of line. Some recognized that she was not well, that she was too thin, and all of that stuff, but NO-ONE knew what was ahead.
     
  12. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    Makes sense if he coincidentally observed sessions for "My Body..." or "Still in Love..." or some of the outtakes. People always forget that there's good stuff on the album, too (including a mighty fine cover of "Still Crazy"). Still not willing to take the author's word on this. There are several retellings from him on Huffington Post, each a little more dramatic or psychoanalytical than the other -- in one, saying that Karen "collapsed in despair". Really? Everybody picture in their heads what it is to "collapse in despair". Falling on the floor weeping? Slumping in chair from frustration and discouragement? Maybe just sitting down because she was flippin' tired? Who knows? It's credible to me that Simon may indeed have voiced concern over the direction of one session he might have witnessed, especially if it was one of the more disco-oriented numbers (point of fact, they're not all disco songs -- another error this writer makes). Also credible that the author, who already seemed to have issues with former boss Phil Ramone, was just trying to sell a lousy book.
     
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Spot On ! Toolman !
     
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    JUL 8, 20165:50 AM
    Still crooning his way to the top
    Sue-Ann Tan[email protected]
    Ahead of his upcoming show, Engelbert Humperdinck
    reminisces about living next to The Beatles,
    discovering The Carpenters and Elvis Presley stealing his trademark sideburns.


    ".......The balladeer also takes credit for discovering soft rock duo The Carpenters:
    ...... "I was the first one to give them their big break.
    ........I put them on my show as my opening act and they played to 20,000 people in Canada."

    Source:
    Still crooning his way to the top »
     
  15. K.C. Jr

    K.C. Jr Active Member

    US
    Never heard of this before...
     
  16. Engelbert Humperdinck has a "Herb Alpert" complex...
     
    goodjeans likes this.
  17. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Don't you mean Hal Blaine? :)
     
    song4u and goodjeans like this.
  18. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    Lol. If you hadn't said it, I would have. :laugh:
     
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The ‘Delta Lady’ Speaks: Q&A with Rita Coolidge
    Written by: Ken Sharp

    Q: "Y
    ou co-wrote the beautiful song Superstar but you weren’t credited for it.
    A: Rita Coolidge: No, I didn’t get credit."

    Q:What was your impression of The Carpenters’ hit version?

    A:Rita Coolidge
    :

    " I adored Karen Carpenter.
    I loved her voice; she had one of those voices,
    It was like Tammy Wynette; there was so much feeling and so much emotion in Karen’s voice.
    So I loved loved loved it."

    - See more at:
    The ‘Delta Lady’ Speaks: Q&A with Rita Coolidge | »
     
  20. So based on @GaryAlan's helpful (as always) post, I picked up this book over the weekend, and it’s a fun and insightful read, so far. The idea for the book is a month-by-month account of 1971 - describing how rock music intermingled with and influenced politics, culture, and the daily lives of listeners. The author posits that 1971 was the most important year in rock-and-roll, and he does an excellent job defending that premise. One of my favorite parts of the book is at the end of each month-chapter, Hepworth includes a list of key songs or albums released that made an impact in that particular moment (month) of the year. Per his suggestion, I made a Spotify list of the songs and albums and am listening to them as I read his book.

    He speaks highly of Karen Carpenter in Chapter 2 (February). In discussing the initial lead vocal for “Superstar” that ultimately became the final take, “Even with only half her mind on the job, she delivered a perfect performance. The guide vocal never needed to be replaced. That as the special quality of Karen Carpenter, a quality that became even more poignant following her anorexia-related death in 1983. When Bette Midler performed (“Superstar"), half the impact was in the twinkle in her eye, her coquettish body language, the way she carried herself. With Karen Carpenter, it was in her voice and her voice alone.”

    Her voice alone. Heartbreakingly true, those words.
     
  21. Song4uman

    Song4uman Active Member

    Actually, I discovered them...I was 5 years old at the time, but I gave them their big break. :)
     
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Excerpt:
    Little Girl Blue explores the life and legacy of Karen Carpenter

    By Nathan Rabin@nathanrabin
    Jul 21, 2016 9:00 AM
    "Why are we so fascinated by the sad life and even sadder death of Karen Carpenter?
    What is it about her story that resonates so strongly? I suppose a lot of it has to do with the timelessness of her music.
    As long as there are elevators, or easy-listening stations, or lovers, the music of the Carpenters will endure.
    Karen and Richard Carpenter’s early 1970s hit parade will be with us forever, along with the equally perfect pop of contemporaries Abba and the Bee Gees."

    "Then there is the not insubstantial matter of Karen Carpenter’s voice,
    an instrument as achingly sad and pure and wise as any in popular music,
    at once the voice of experience and naiveté.
    With a voice that was shattering in its hushed intimacy, s
    she gleaned every last bit of melancholy and emotion from the words she delivered so inimitably."

    "Even now, more than three decades after her death, it’s hard to get a fix on Karen Carpenter.
    She remains a fascinating aggregation of contradictions."

    ".....this misunderstood and mistreated icon’s ghostly and exquisitely human voice
    will never be silenced.
    It rings out for perpetuity, forever pushing toward that curious threshold where agony becomes ecstasy, and bottomless pain becomes a strange form of joy."

    More:
    Little Girl Blue explores the life and legacy of Karen Carpenter »
     
    Tapdancer, CraigGA, JBee and 4 others like this.
  23. JBee

    JBee Active Member

    Thanks for this. I think Randy's book is great just because it is "not trying to transform Carpenter’s life into deeply personal art or use it to comment scathingly on sexism and conformity" but because it a just-the-facts kind of bio. I like that. If the review gets more people to read it, all the better.

    A few thoughts on the review itself though. I almost skipped over it based on the "elevator" music dig (I consider it a pejorative, and to be honest, I've never heard KC over any elevator and I've been in plenty), but Nathan Rabin obviously loves and gets KC so I'm willing to overlook it. I think there are no truer words than "it’s hard to get a fix on Karen Carpenter. She remains a fascinating aggregation of contradictions" and I think that is just as responsible for (in addition to her voice/drumming) why the "Cult of Karen" (as the 1996 NY Times article on her solo album put it) still persists and grows. I think Karen's complexity (the "strong, funny, vibrant" personality and "old soul/woman-child/tomboy/girly-girl" binaries that Rabin mentions) have made people feel more closer to her today than in the 70s-early 80s when they didn't know what was going on with her and she was just another successful singer who seemed to have it all. I don't think the popular interest in KC is just about the disease anymore (especially since more celebs have come forward about fighting it since).

    On the not so great side, it does bug to see a writer who so obviously appreciates KC (calling her one of the "greatest voices in all of music") and the Carpenters music (which RC played no small part in creating) goes back to digs at their image and how freakishly "normal" they seemed to be (complete with references to how Richard Nixon liked them and how "their aesthetic would be tragically unhip and weird even if the duo singing the love songs weren’t brother and sister"). All this image stuff never stops when it comes to the Carpenters. Really, I am a fan of other groups/musicians from the 70s-80s and no other group gets it like them. Rabin points out in the very next paragraph after ridiculing their "awkward Mormon prom" fashion sense (which is not entirely true, it was really only in the Weintrab era that KC and RC started dressing older than they were) that "the Carpenters were easy to mock, and widely ridiculed, but there was an artistry to their arrangements, and, more than anything, a powerful, mournful melancholy to Karen’s singing that made them hard to dismiss." Does a musician need to be a counter-culture rebel to get respect? The image thing just gets tiring after awhile for a reader even in retrospect. I can't imagine how Richard and Karen felt while it was going on.
     
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  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Interview With Dean Pitchford

    Special Interview With Dean Pitchford, Academy Award-Winning Songwriter of “Footloose,” “Fame,” “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” And Other Hits »

    " It was in 1991 that Pitchford had another #1 hit, co-writing the classic ballad “All The Man That I Need” for Whitney Houston.
    Also, he has co-written songs for many other artists, including Barbra Streisand, Blake Shelton, Michael Bolton, Bette Midler,
    Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Martina McBride, Karen Carpenter, George Benson, Kim Carnes, Roger Daltrey, Art Garfunkel,
    Sammy Hagar, Jennifer Holiday, James Ingram, Hugh Jackman, Patti LaBelle, Jana Kramer, Hilary Duff, Eric Carmen,
    Merle Haggard, LL Cool J, Teddy Pendergrass and Dionne Warwick."

    Too bad there is no mention--or backstory to-- his song
    "Now".......
     
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  25. Graeme

    Graeme Active Member

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