Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Oct 31, 2013.
I don't know when I miss the voice more. K's birth date, her passings time frame or day to day.
How ironic is it that the powers that be said it contained no hits, yet a) it was pulled as a single in the US and charted on Billboard, b) featured on a national TV ad campaign and c) was the only track from the album to be played when Richard was interviewed on radio in 1989 to promote the album. The link escapes me to the interview but the presenter commented how fresh the track was and sounded as if it had been recorded that year, not a decade earlier. As GaryAlan said, not a hit on the album? B.S.
That's 3 B.S's thank you!
Regarding "If I Had You"....
The Television Promo for the song states: ".. Classic Carpenters..."
Bob James (Little Girl Blue) writes: " I wanted to give her something different and challenging.
I was very intrigued to find out how she would react to an arrangement that was deliberately
moving away from the Carpenters' sound."
I have A&M Promo Posters for:
Voice of the Heart, Yesterday Once More, Interpretations,
If I Were A Carpenter, and Karen Carpenter Solo.
There was one for Gold (I do not have that--the photo is the Lovelines portrait, I think).
But, I always thought the Lovelines Cover&Photo would have been a great 24X36
That would have decorated the walls of the last vestiges of Record Stores for the time.
It is a great cut from an impressive solo album.
Not to be a party pooper, but can we at least give a little credit to Richard for tweaking "If I Had You" into the mix that became a middling hit on the Adult Contemporary charts? Most here have agreed that Richard's adjustments to the song made it more favorable than the Phil Ramone mix.
I'm with you Harry!
Credit to all involved, of course:
But, there is no " If I Had You " without Phil Ramone and Karen Carpenter.
Rhythm Arrangement - Bob James
Vocal Arrangement - Rod Temperton
Orchestration - Jerry Hey
Keyboards - Bob James and Rob Mounsey
Bass - Joe Osborn
Drums - Liberty Devitto
Guitars - David Brown and Russell Javors
Tenor Sax - Michael Brecker
Percussion - Ralph McDonald
My favorite selection from the solo album, "If I Had You" was co-written by our friend Steve Dorff who also co-wrote "I Just Fall In Love Again."
I remember Karen calling from New York and relating to me how much effort this imaginative vocal arrangement called for.
As the listener can hear, it was worth it.
I've no hesitation in joining in there Harry! The remix is far better than the solo version, especially the amazing vocal-only ending. It made for a more contemporary, radio-friendly sounding single. Still...where do we draw the line though? I don't know of any other artist's back catalogue where a member of a group has branched out and then had their work subsequently/posthumously remixed and tinkered with by another member of that same group to better effect.
Actually wait...yes I do.
Freddie Mercury Solo Version
Stephen and Harry, I concur that Richard Carpenter's remix is great.
But, he still had to work with the original template of the solo version.
Ultimately, he 'put his stamp' on the product, and, as the audio on the TV Ad from 1989
points out , "....Classic Carpenters..." which--obviously--implies a product of Richard and Karen...together.
In Japan, I see, their was a 45-single If I Had You backed by Lovelines.
In USA, it was If I Had You backed by Uninvited Guest.
So, my question naturally becomes:
Does " No Hits " mean....
not: Make Believe It's Your First Time,
not: If I Had You,
not: Lovelines ?
The Authorized Biography:
Coleman, Page 329:
"Lovelines...a potpourri...Richard prepared four songs from the aborted album...these inferior tracks proved the wisdom
of the earlier decision to stop the album.The songs served only to underscore her real magic and the value of Richard's
When I read that in the Coleman book, I knew straight away it was heavily influenced by Richard's editorial control of the manuscript. That's why, in so many ways, I'm glad we got Randy's book all those years later. It offered a more objective view.
You could fertilize a lot of crops with that much BS! ... "Carpenters: The Untold Story" by Ray Coleman... as dictated by Richard Carpenter. Published by the Ministry of Propaganda.
I too am glad we got Randy's book. It reveals a good deal more about particular aspects of Karen's personality, and also about particular events in her life that were missing from the Coleman bio (the Neil Sedaka firing and her brief marriage to Tom Burris being among the most striking). But I wouldn't say it's more objective. Randy's book certainly relies quite heavily on a different point of view, that of Karen's closest friends. I've always believed that when there are two widely divergent views presented of the same person or event, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. My feeling is that if we combine the two biographies, we get a fairly complete picture. Yet I still think we don't know all there is to know. And, as people who were there at the time pass away, I think our chances of getting that complete picture grow less and less likely.
Richard did alot more than "tweaking"-he refurbished the entire track,and used a superior alternate vocal take.
Karen should've hired Richard to produce her solo album.
It only sounded as "fresh" as it did because of Richard's major renovations on the track-which removed much of the "dated" production quality on the original.
Thanks for the authoritative information,
that the song Richard Carpenter utilized was a " he used a superior alternate vocal take.."
Please provide a reference to document that remark, I have never before read such.
Richard Carpenter re-mixed "I Have You", that is well-documented--
that this is an alternate vocal take--I have never come across supporting evidence.
But, again, I'm not saying "You are wrong", I am requesting supporting documentation.
Why? Because it is very interesting from an historical, musical , outlook.
That is the sort of remark which cries out for supportive evidence.
Pop /Rock : 'LoveLines' from Karen:
October 31, 1989|ALEENE MacMINN | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times
A new album coming out today includes songs from a solo album Karen Carpenter was working on when she died of heart failure brought on by anorexia in 1983. "Love Lines" is an LP of previously unreleased selections featuring Karen solo and with her brother, Richard. The album, marking the 20th anniversary of the Carpenters' association with A&M Records, has four songs from solo sessions overseen by record producer Phil Ramone. Among those tracks are "If I Had You," which also is being released as a single, and "Little Girl Blue," from the 1935 Rodgers and Hart musical "Jumbo." Six years after her death, Carpenter remains a pop idol. A CBS movie-bio, "The Karen Carpenter Story," was last year's top-rated TV movie, and an A&M spokeswoman reports that "the fan mail that still comes in is amazing."
I think Mr J is right on this one. The vocal take on the solo album is slightly more tentative on the start of the verses, although the difference between the two versions is hardly detectable for most of the track.
Re Mr J's other comments, Richard did provide a nice clean ending for his remix of 'If I Had You', but he hardly 'refurbished' a 'dated' original version. Apart from using a different vocal and the end, the rest of the track sounds the same as the solo version - and is all the better for it. He may have got Joe Osborne to re-do the bass, but you'd struggle to hear any change compared to the original. The solo album version is just as fresh sounding as the remix!
You don't need documentation-just listen to the original version on the solo album,then listen to the 1989 version on Lovelines.The 1989 version features a totally different vocal take.
Also,keep in mind that Newspaper and magazine articles aren't necessarily factual documentation on any particular subject.The newspaper article above is a case in point.It states that Karen was working on her solo album at the time of her death-and we know,without a doubt,that is not accurate.
Of course, the two versions sound different. I can Hear that. That is not my contention.
How do I know what type of production technology was utilized in these two different versions?
One mix uses recording technology circa 1979-1980,
the other mix uses recording technology from 1989.
Not to mention, a cd release in 1996. Three entirely different years...1980,1989,1996.
How would a 'casual' listener attribute that Lovelines Album vocal difference as due to an 'alternate take'?
Nowhere on the 1989 Lovelines Album, CD or Cassette, or Cassette Single, of
If I Had You,
gives additional information in that regards. That's from viewing the 1989 liner & credits.
Now, even the 1996 CD of the solo album gives no indication that the vocal there is distinct from the vocal take on Lovelines.
And, of course, the song was put to tape in 1979/1980.
Technology did change throughout the entirety of this process.
I am merely requesting an objective comparison of multiple sources.
How would anyone know what in those versions could be attributable to "the re-mixing",
or, "the production", or, "better technology",
or, " an alternate vocal take".
Yes, One source proves nothing.
This is why I request other sources to authenticate as much as possible.
I do not ordinarily make a 'blanket statement' without something as back-up,
My opinion on the matter is not the issue, I am interested in your source for
that 'alternate vocal take'.
A long time ago, as a history major in university, I spent countless hours in libraries and archives, pouring over microfilm and musty documents, to make sure that any thesis I presented was as firmly backed up as possible by the facts. That is why I especially appreciate your thoroughness and attention to detail Gary. You sir, have the mind of a historian!
Thank You, Murray.
While my (formal/educational) background squarely rests upon Physics/Mathematics
teaching and research, my personal 'hobby'---especially as I get older---has been
historical reading in those particular broad subjects.
Nothing is 'true' merely because one man utters a pronouncement. (Myself, of course,included.)
Also, and especially, when the subject of historical research is comparatively recent events,
(i.e., the historical study of Carpenters' career ,music and lives) the extant sources
can tend to be conflicted with one another--whether purposeful or accidental--this is what
makes the study of the multitude of sources regarding Karen and Richard Carpenter fascinating.
Obviously, I do not need to delve into sources to appreciate their achievements--listening
to their music provides musical appreciation. The music is the wellspring for the interest, after all.
However, as in Physics and Mathematics, studying a modern textbook on a topic rarely
provides historical insight into the genesis and acceptance of that topic--one need only study Einstein's 1905 paper
on Special Relativity and compare to a 'Modern' textbook.
All humanity is stripped from the 'Modern' Textbook.
But, back to the topic at hand:
My viewpoint, however contentious, is that the last word on Karen and Richard Carpenter's Legacy has yet to be written.
Questions remain. These questions are unlikely to be resolved.
How much of the content those Carpenters' Fan Club Newsletters can be taken as reliable?
Or, even, the Coleman Biography or the Schmidt Biography? Multiple TV Documentaries,even.
Liner Notes, Newspaper Articles, Magazine Interviews....putting it all together...what is reliable, verifiable, authoritative?
Even the sanctioned TV-Movie and the sanctioned Biography give one questions to ponder.
I will never display a dismissive attitude to one who asks questions, one who seeks answers.
If ever a student--or,professor-- exclaimed "...you don't need documentation...",
well, I do not know how to respond to such a statement.
my thanks to you, Sir.
I really like both Richard's remix from Lovelines and Karen's solo version for different reasons. I think what I like most about Richard's remix is the ending it really added that extra punch the song needed for radio play, however what I like more about Karen's version is her vocal is more up front in the mix. Sometimes I feel Karen's vocals are fighting with all the added remixing that Richard did which is especially evident before the ending occurs. I will admit that Richard's version sounds great for radio and I can understand why it charted as well as it did he should be commended for that....however we will never really know whether Karen's solo version would have charted just as high or even higher because it wasn't given the chance.
To be really honest, I agree with what Rumbahbah said above, "The solo album version is just as fresh sounding as the remix!"
aside from the ending they really sound almost the same. They both sound great but it's Karen's lead vocal that makes the magic and while her vocal may be 2 different versions we have to remember that without her voice there would be no "If I Had You".
I personally feel her solo version if it had been released as a single with promotion would have charted much higher than 18 because her version sounds more expressive and intimate with her vocals more up front in the mix. I think it would be unfair to assume just because the ending on Karen's version is not the same as the ending on Lovelines that her song would not have charted, it was a product of 79/80 and should be compared to what was happening at the time on the adult contemporary charts. I think her solo version would have been as fresh as anything going during that time in 80, the fact alone that she was soloing would have garnered much attention in the mags and radio.
^^^And it would have charted higher because it would have been released when it was intended- with Karen around to promote it!