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Anyone read this?

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

  1. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Rock Rushmore I — The dymanic duos
    THE OLD ROCKER: Rock duos don’t get any better than these
    By Barry Levine

    "The Old Rocker has decided we need Rock Rushmores for the greatest performers in the modern era from 1955 through 1970.
    This installment, the first of three, features duos.
    As with Mount Rushmore, there will be four in each category listed in alphabetical order."

    The Carpenters – Karen and Richard Carpenter, a brother-sister tandem, began their meteoric rise in 1969 when “Ticket to Ride” climbed into the Top 20.
    They followed with their first No. 1 hit, “Close to You.”
    They had two other No. 1 hits: “Top of the World” in 1973 and “Please Mr. Postman” in 1974.
    The Carpenters also had several Top 3 hits, including “We’ve Only Just Begun” in 1970, “For All We Know,”
    “Rainy Days and Mondays” and “Superstar” in 1971, “Hurting Each Other” in 1972,
    “Sing” and “Yesterday Once More” in 1973, and “Only Yesterday” in 1975."

    BARYY LEVINE: Rock Rushmore I — The dymanic duos »
    goodjeans likes this.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Two Articles:

    Glass Animals’ ‘How To Be a Human Being’

    The second album of twisty pop from Oxford’s Glass Animals invites deeper investigation of its themes.

    ".....describes the clamour of Mama’s malevolent internal voices.
    “Mama’s Gun” also features another prominent sample, this time from The Carpenters’ “Mr. Guder”.
    I’m a Carpenters fan but there’s a perverse joy in a Carpenters sample being attached to such a sordid song. Bayley claims he used “Mr. Guder” because,
    as a character-based song, it could have almost been written for this album. “It’s cool to use a sample,”
    Bayley says. “You could write your own music but if you’re adding context as well as music it’s just a whole other dimension.”

    Glass Animals’ ‘How To Be a Human Being’ »

    Dami Army flock to meet their pop idol
    "Her vocal control brought new life to the music of Karen and Richard Carpenter ,
    to the delight of the older members of the crowd, while Im’s more modern pop tunes
    brought the younger fans to the front of the stage as they recited every lyric."
    "It was a dynamic performance with costume changes, Im’s beautiful piano work,
    solos from each member of her band and a surprise crowd selfie taken by her husband Noah."
    "Im spoke between songs of her love of Karen Carpenter’s music, telling the tragic story caused by her long term suffering from anorexia nervosa."
    "Im does not just want you to listen to her music but understand the concepts behind each note and each lyric, a rare thing in the pop world."

    Dami Army flock to meet their pop idol »
    Tapdancer, Chris Mills and goodjeans like this.
  4. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    Track 11 of album 'How To Be A Human Being' entitled 'Agnes' !!
  5. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    This remark from Glass Animals (Mr.Guder Sampled) :
    "....The Carpenters let us use it, well, Mr Carpenter, but then their label wouldn’t let us put it in… So we had to replay it.”
    "It’s a really weird Carpenters song called Mr Guder. The song is about a really odd character, and
    The Carpenters have an amazing history themselves
    and that fed really nicely into the actual context of the song, Mama’s Gun.
    There are lots of little references to the words, and it all just fit, it just made sense.
    One of those things where you drop it in and it was too magical, because of what the song means and who wrote it, and it all works."

    Glass Animals interviewed on their new album, hype, and attention to detail »
    Chris Mills and natureaker like this.
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    South of the border to top of the pops
    Simon Collins - The West Australian on August 27, 2016
    South of the border to top of the pops »

    Herb &Richard Carpenter:
    "The remarkably vibrant legend is working on an orchestral Christmas album,

    which will feature Richard Carpenter on a remake of his Merry Christmas, Darling."


    "After Alpert asked David for some more tunes you could “whistle in the shower”,
    he had a crack at a ditty called (They Long to Be) Close to You."
    “I thought it was a really good recording until I was listening to a playback with my friend, engineer Larry Levine,” he says.
    “He said ‘You sound terrible singing this song’.”
    "A chastened Alpert shelved the song until he was looking for something special for a young sibling duo signed to A&M,
    after they were passed over by “every company in LA”. Close to You became the breakthrough hit in 1970 for the Carpenters,
    who went on to sell more than 100 million records."
    goodjeans likes this.
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    An article from Quebec:
    Link:Joel Goldenberg: Retro Roundup's Carpenters favourites »
    Joel Goldenberg: Retro Roundup's Carpenters favourites
    The album Horizon: This time, I have to recommend the album as a whole.
    Richard totally took over the production reins and came up with a fully realized album.
    Karen was never better vocally, the arrangements were modernized and the sound quality was exquisite.
    Even the comparatively light cover of the Marvelettes' Please Mr. Postman came off well."
    goodjeans likes this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    A rather interesting Newspaper Article of the day.....

    An article from February 13th, 1983,The Reading Eagle :
    "For Karen Carpenter, A Fantasy Ends"
    Reading Eagle - Google News Archive Search »

    "It seems unlikely that Karen Carpenter's death will have anything more than a minor effect on the recording industry."
    "...Just what did Karen Carpenter contribute to American popular music?"
    "....in the end, one wonders how Karen Carpenter's music will be judged through the years."
  10. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    Wow! I wonder what Mark Wisniewski's thoughts about Karen are today. This stuff always blows my mind. Of course, we are living in hindsight so his thoughts perhaps have changed since that article was published...
  11. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    I think this article just provides further clarification of the extent to which the Carpenters had been written off as an act by a significant proportion of critics at the time of Karen's passing. Following the critical re-evaluation that took place in the early 1990s, it would be pretty much unthinkable for any music critic to put forward views like this - although clearly critics didn't imagine that this turn of events would come to pass in 1983!
    JBee, goodjeans and Chris May like this.
  12. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    That's quite an article. He basically slams Karen's legacy while at the same time he praises her hits, as well as 'Christmas Portrait'. Interesting, but I'm not sure he knew what to think.
    Chris May likes this.
  13. JBee

    JBee Active Member

    Wow is right. I'm not sure what to say. I again think back to Herb and Jerry saying on the "Nation's Favourite" special that Karen never knew how great she was. Maybe it was because she had critics like that?

    I don't know anyone who actually think the Midler version of "Superstar" is better than Karen's (I'm sure they exist, but this is the first I've ever heard someone say it) . I'd also put the Carpenters' "Desperado" up there with Ronstadt any day (although for me the best version of that song is the plaintive one sung by an untrained schoolgirl in The Langley Schools Music Project album "Innocence and Despair"). So Karen dies in 1983 and Mark Wisniewski writes this, by 1996 (just 13 years later) when her solo album is finally released no less than the NY Times can write matter-of-factly of the growing "Cult of Karen".

    Later than that, Rolling Stone would label her one of the 100 greatest singers of all time (too low on the list for my taste, but still). She has been the subject of movies, biographies, documentaries and tribute acts. The Carpenters catalog still sells for Universal when many other "big" 70's acts are almost forgotten. A few weeks ago, a new Carpenters compilation hit the top of the British charts again. That's not even going into how many singers (famous and non-famous) have claimed to be influenced by Karen Carpenter. The Carpenters are still huge in Asia. I've started to watch some Asian dramas on TV (subtitled of course) and particularly in the K-dramas (Korean) and Japanese dramas and comedies it is not unexpected to hear Carpenters pop up (particularly "Close to You", which became a running theme in "She was Pretty" which was a hugely popular romantic drama just last year in Korea). Asia very much still loves the voice of Karen Carpenter.

    That's not even going into you-know-what outside the music field, where Karen's death opened millions of eyes to the dangers of anorexia (putting it on the popular lexicon in fact) and probably saving untold lives. That is Karen's legacy too. I echo Chris, I too wonder what Mark Wisniewski would say today.

    I believe Richard may have said/insinuated that MIA never had a chance because of their "image" issues and several posters here more knowledgeable than I about radio stations/radio play and the music press in the early 80s have said that Karen's solo album (had it been released when it was supposed to be) would have been basically torn apart by the critics. I've never been sure if that was true, but know I'm thinking that's right on. The music was still pretty good (and I say that not being a big fan of MIA) and yet they were almost treated like has-beens when they were promoting it in 81 (at least in the US). If Karen had lived, I guess the 80s really would have been a dark age for the duo (even if they had produced good material) before the eventual 90s rediscovery.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
  14. K.C. Jr

    K.C. Jr Well-Known Member

    "Several of them are worth remembering. "The Singles 1969-1974" is, of course, THE outstanding...."

    Wish it were worth remembering the title. :rolleyes:
    A&M Retro, goodjeans and Don Malcolm like this.
  15. Don Malcolm

    Don Malcolm Well-Known Member

    This is, at bottom, a klunky writer vainly attempting to discuss big social issues (see the passages dealing with "social nearsightedness"--a very awkward coinage that also ignores the fact that the individuals who form a group of "young music stars who died young" are people with particular histories and cannot be so glibly lumped together) and it seems to me that he really isn't able to come to any actual conclusion about Karen's "legacy."

    While I think Chris et al are right to wonder what the passage of time may have done to these meandering thoughts, I am not convinced that the writer has it in him to say something definitive about anything, much less Karen's musical legacy. Underneath it all, I get the sense of a closeted Carpenters fan who is trying (too) hard to disguise this from the reader and who is also trying (too) hard to sound like a lofty thinker. If he were to be forthcoming about that in a subsequent essay, that would be extremely refreshing--the hemming/hawing in this article is just short of exasperating.

    What we know today is that a large portion of the general public (and many so-called "music critics") who misjudge the quality of the Carpenters' music based on lingering "image problems" that prevent them from accessing the depth of emotion that Karen brings whatever she sings. Richard was unable to transcend this particular issue in the "post-hit" period of their career and Karen's attempts to do so were not given a chance to succeed or fail on their own merits during her lifetime. All of that leaves the general public on the outside looking in at the paradox of a musical legacy that is still awaiting its opportunity to be evaluated on its own terms.
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    While I sympathize with much of Don Malcolm's commentary, I must say that while I was reading that Newspaper article
    from 1983, it brought back many a memory regarding how I felt at that time.
    It is admittedly difficult to place oneself whole-heartedly "in" that year--1983--but, I'll give my perspective:
    (1) As of February 4th, 1983, I was the only admitted Carpenters' fan that I was aware of, period.
    (2) Many, many American Newspapers completely overlooked Karen's legacy as an artist, centering on her health issues.
    (3) Close To You and We've Only Just begun were virtually the only "legacy' that was spoken--or, written of--in 1983.
    (4) The Singles 1969-1973 LP
    was the album most-owned by the American public. This was "the Carpenters" to them !
    (5) I too, at that time--February 1983--was very concerned that Karen would not be remembered for all the great music.
    (6) Even as of 2016, I know of very, very few people who have heard the original 1978 LP Christmas Portrait.
    In 1983, that original LP, great as it was--and, still is--remained largely devoid of public admiration.

    Finally, we should remember that the writer of the above Newspaper piece was undoubtedly constrained by word-count,
    and editorial constraints unbeknownst to us. In short, odds are he wanted to say and write more--but, it would never get published.
    Newspapers, on the whole, in 1983--devoted precious few words to Karen (or, Richard) and the Carpenter's musical legacy.

    I'm afraid that much of what I perceived in 1983--regards Karen's legacy--is accurately reflected in the 1983 Newspaper article.

    Thus, the article brought back a flood of memories as I read it in the Google-archives a few days ago.

    As a period-piece....1983...it is not far off the mark.
    Thankfully, as with any and all futuristic predictions, it (Karen's and Carpenters' legacy) turned out otherwise.
  17. Don Malcolm

    Don Malcolm Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Gary. I agree that it is entirely possible that the article could well have been compromised by editing. But my sense when reading is that there are good ideas here that are just not handled in a way that makes them compelling, or that forcefully infuse a sense of "pushing back" against the prevailing consensus that had been plaguing Richard & Karen in the 1980s. His reference to the Singles LP is so off-handed that it blunts any notion of just how many hits the Carpenters had, and the songs from that collection that he does mention are couched in negative comparisons...rather than assert that the depth of emotion in Karen's version of "Superstar" is more artistically valid than Bette Midler's version, he takes a passive, defensive stance instead and winds up his argument with a rather wan endorsement of the Carpenters' sonic mastery.

    I wonder if Chris May and Randy Schmidt could guide us a bit here in terms of refreshing our memory about just how much was known to the public about Karen's struggles in the last couple of years of her life. Had this come to dominate what people were saying about them in 1981-82? Looking at our key sources for Carpenters biographical material (Coleman and Randy), I don't see this aspect being addressed directly since they are each focused on telling what happened from inside the story rather than how things appeared to the general public.

    My own recollection from 1983 was that here was one of the greatest singers I'd ever heard, with so much more still to give, and for dim reasons that I could not quite pinpoint had somehow not been able to do so despite her singular gifts. I also had the feeling from studying the arts that all too often those individuals with the purest gifts were taken from us at a tragically young age, and how sad and terrible it was that this had happened again.

    I wish that this type of emotion had been more in evidence in what was written in this article, as I think it would have allowed it to transcend the passage of time and speak to us (and by "us" I mean any/all readers, not just those of us who intensely admire the C's and their music) in a way that could communicate just how special their achievements were, despite the constraints of success and circumstance. I think that is what the author wanted to convey, but for a number of reasons it falls short of the mark in that regard.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  18. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Here's an article I had never seen before, Record World Feb 07, 1976


    David A, Chris Mills, JBee and 5 others like this.
  19. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting! Nice interview.
  20. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    An interview with Bette Midler in an issue of EW in which she references Karen...

    A&M Retro and GaryAlan like this.
  21. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Bette scores point with me for her humility and should I say repentance with regards to how she treated Karen!
    GaryAlan and Jamesj75 like this.
  22. JBee

    JBee Active Member

    In almost every interview RC and KC had to point out they weren't squeaky-clean and didn't live up to the image people had of them and yet...all their protestations never seemed to make any difference whatsoever. One could see how annoying it would be them.

    Bette has been very upfront about the guilt she feels mocking Karen (who never did anything to her) and the Carpenters as a group. I wonder how many other critics of the Carpenters who frequently dismissed them from the 70s felt the same guilt after KC's passing?
  23. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

  24. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    Wasn't aware of Midler ever making jokes about Karen's anorexia. The late Joan Rivers did; no comment on my opinion of her.

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