1. The new Carpenters recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is now available for preorder! Use this link to preorder, and help us out at the same time. Thank you!

Holidays! Bruce Forsyth's Big Night w/Karen Carpenter, Part 1 (1978)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    With all of the hype and anticipation regarding the release of the upcoming Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra album, we figure we'd kick off the holiday season a little early with another rare gem straight out of the U.K.!

    Part 1 of 4 w/Karen on Bruce Forsyth's Big Night, as she helps Bruce ring in the Christmas cheer!!

  2. John Adam

    John Adam Well-Known Member

    Good thread idea! :) These appearances from 1978 are unique, with just Karen and the Carpenters band.

    Chris, are the vocals pre-recorded in a studio beforehand and Karen is doing her usual lip-syncing? This sounds like a television playback version, with live audience. I guess what I'm asking, do these performances exist on stand alone studio masters without any applause or any talking? They would certainly be wonderful to release, and for us to enjoy all the time.

    I would love to hear any insight on the story of these recordings, and yes I know why Richard wasn't there, but was he in the studio when these were done? Thank you.
    no1kandrfan and Mark-T like this.
  3. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I think you're right, John Adam, that these vocals were live in studio. Certainly the song sounds different than the single or the album version.
    John Adam likes this.
  4. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    All live in-studio! Wait until you hear parts 2 thru 4 - if you haven't already, you're in for a treat! Out soon :)
    John Adam likes this.
  5. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    It's going to be a Christmas to Remember!!
    John Adam, Mark-T and Chris May like this.
  6. John Adam

    John Adam Well-Known Member

    Best quality sound that I've ever heard on the above! Thanks Chris for sharing this with us!!! I enjoy hearing slightly different renditions of their songs. I did detect a pre-recorded background vocal or two of Karen and Richards which sounded nice. Looking forward to the rest of this set as much as the new release!
  7. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Glad you're enjoying it! I've had a few people ask where part 2 is. Usually I like to space this kind of stuff out so that it not only builds anticipation, but gives even more excitement as we move through the Holiday season. There are some gems in there, so stay tuned!
  8. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    You rock, Chris! Thank you for this fantastic clip. Can’t wait to see and hear parts 2-4!

    Chris May likes this.
  9. CarpentersToYou

    CarpentersToYou What I feel has come and gone before...

    Wow! What a treat. I had never seen this particular song from the show. Karen had amazing stage presence here. I wish we had a three hour show.
    John Adam and Chris May like this.


    I`ve watched this a few times and it staggers me, how Karen has the strength to perform these songs. She just dos`nt sound any different than she always had. I even find myself thinking that when Bruce stakes her hand, I`m thinking `don`t pull on her arm in case you break it` Beautiful as always to listen to, but equally painful to watch as well :sigh:
    I have put this together as one 17 minute video of the performances in widescreen, but when I tried to put it on YouTube, it gets blocked worldwide, so couldn't share it, sorry.
    newvillefan likes this.
  11. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Chris I’m assuming that doesn’t include the band. I don’t see a single cable connected to any of the guitars, saxophone and no overheads over the drums. And there’s an orchestra audible but curiously not visible :laugh:. Karen’s mic looks to be the only thing connected to anything and she sounds amazing live. You can even hear all the intimate mouth enunciation noises we are used to hearing on the studio recordings. She’s a dream on these clips, if only we could bottle it and recreate that magic!
    John Adam likes this.
  12. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    That's correct. I'm trying to find it, but I have images someplace of the multitrack tape legend for these tracks. The band and backing vocals were all pre-recorded. Listen carefully, and you hear multi-layered backing vocals from Karen along with a couple of the band members pre-recorded, singing to recreate the backing vocal sound "live". In addition, Karen's lead was performed live.

    Regarding the pre-recorded instrumental tracks, watch carefully the keyboardist at the Rhodes as he hits the first chord of Merry Christmas, Darling (in part 2) shortly *after* you audibly hear the attack :)
  13. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    These days, people are used to video and audio being out of sync with each other. It happens all the time with the idiosyncrasies of digital media. Even just playing a Blu-ray with an A/V receiver for the sound will often get the audio slightly before or after the video. And I see it all the time just on regular television. It wasn't so much of a problem in the analog days.

    Heck, we can be watching a TV show in our family room and want to switch to the bedroom. The two TV's on the same channel aren't even in sync with each other as their processing of the digital signal is handled differently. It creates quite an echo effect!
    Chris May likes this.
  14. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    There’s a bunch of people behind the keyboard player, could they be the orchestra?
  15. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    It’s clear on the Postman clip that Karen is there on the backgrounds, which is what started me analysing the studio layout looking for evidence that the band was performing live. They’re not, but they sound like they are. The audio backing track in itself is incredibly clear on these clips. I’m assuming all this was done back in LA under Richard’s stewardship and was the reason for Karen’s comment to him on a postcard (“the music end is tops!”).

    What really impresses me is that they went to all the effort and expense to re-record everything (save Karen’s lead) for this show, which was just a one-off appearance. I don’t think many artists did that back in the late seventies and many of the lead singers mimed as well. Karen didn’t, she stepped up to the plate and performed the entire show with live vocals. That’s very rare and all adds up to make their appearance on this show a real rarity.

    I’d love to see that multitrack tape legend if you can track it down!
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
  16. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Except for the fact that Karen’s vocals are in sync. Could be wrong but I really do think the guy missed his cue.

    I know... this is some REALLY important stuff we’re talking about here LOL
  17. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I have no doubt that everything's in proper sync, just that these days people might be more forgiving as they are sort of used to it. Like fat aspect ratios on 4:3 programming...
  18. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Tracked 12-11-78 (the day and month are reversed in UK)

    KC - Postman ENGLAND '78.jpg KC - Postman ENGLAND '78 - 2.jpg KC - Postman ENGLAND '78 - 3.jpg
  19. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Wow! Thank you Chris! I noticed on the header of these sheets it states “Wembley, Middlesex”. Does that mean everything was recorded by the band here in the UK and not in LA? If so, that is something I did not know.

    LWT (the client) by the way stands for “London Weekend Television”.

    Another thing I noticed...

    “Artist: Karen Carpenter” :)
  20. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Yes sir! Peter Knight handled the music directing duties to my knowledge. :)
    John Adam and newvillefan like this.
  21. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Then he did a fabulous job. She was clearly in safe hands there!
    David A, John Adam and Chris May like this.
  22. Someday

    Someday Active Member

    I see that those studio documents are labelled 11th December. That's the same day Karen made her personal appearance at the London music store.

    These little relics are fascinating. Wouldn't it be great if there was a 50th Ann book: "Carpenters in the Studio ... and Beyond". Photos from recording sessions and on tour, annotated by RC. It's been done for ABBA, Queen etc. We can dream, can't we ...
    John Adam and newvillefan like this.
  23. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Given Richard’s reputation for fastidiousness, his impressive ability to recall small details from their career and his passion for maintaining a well-documented archive, I’m actually surprised this isn’t something he’s considered before now. There are a couple of books on ABBA like that which are an amazing read.
    John Adam likes this.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^The Japan Mook appears to be an attempt, though.
    What a shame it remains untranslated for the most part.
    That Mook should be translated and re-published professionally.
  25. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    This may have been clarified before, but does anyone know who the stand-in piano player is?

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