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Carpenters 55th Anniversary Celebration - April 2024 in Downey

^^^ I wouldn't have been bothered if I'd never heard a Richard lead either. He's heard plenty on the backing vocals and that's where he sounds amazing. It's like being an Olivia fan and hearing John Farrar on back up. It doesn't make me think "oh I'd love to hear him on his own".

That said, he was left with little choice but to release his own album after Karen's passing and, had I never heard him sing lead before, I would still have loved it, because it's rich with all of his usual Carpenters vocal and orchestral arranging licks.
 
For those interested in hearing my conversation with Richard last Saturday evening in Downey, here’s the link:


I just loved every minute of this. Thank you for sharing it, especially for those of us who couldn’t be there in person. The presentations at the end unexpectedly had the effect of making me rather emotional, especially that plaque. And Richard seemed really moved too. Bravo everyone who made this event what it was!
 
^^^ I wouldn't have been bothered if I'd never heard a Richard lead either. He's heard plenty on the backing vocals and that's where he sounds amazing. It's like being an Olivia fan and hearing John Farrar on back up. It doesn't make me think "oh I'd love to hear him on his own".

That said, he was left with little choice but to release his own album after Karen's passing and, had I never heard him sing lead before, I would still have loved it, because it's rich with all of his usual Carpenters vocal and orchestral arranging licks.
Ha, your first sentence contradicts your last reply. If you had never heard a single lead from Richard you would have missed out on the richness of his usual Carpenters vocal and arrangements. :razz: Isn’t it always better to have more than less? More music or less music? With Carpenters it’s never enough.

I tend to disagree with several posts here. I enjoy Richard’s leads on the earlier albums. I feel like it all happened the way it was suppose to so I disagree with Richard statement that he shouldn’t have sung lead on the earlier album. Like all things as we get older we soften our hearts and perspectives change.

There is no one who compliments Olivia better than John Farrar’s backing vocals. In fact I loved them so much that sought out his solo album John Farrar, I own the see for miles CD and I own a WLP LP and love his lead vocals. He actually recorded 3 songs on his solo album that Olivia recorded as well including Falling, It’ll Be Me Babe and Recovery that I love. He has an incredibly high range and that led me to find his very early work with The Shadows which has some wonderful lead songs by him.

So I think because of how much I’ve enjoyed both Richard and John Farrar as backup singers has made me like their solo work as well. I don’t particularly like all of Richard’s solo album but that has more to do with the production, overuse of electronics and his vocals sound artificially enhanced (wrong range for him?) and don’t sound natural.
 
Here is the “Behind the Music” discussion from Saturday afternoon:


It's so interesting what Earl says, comparing Richard's arrangements with Peter Knight's. He describes Richard's arrangements as more intimate, and I agree. But Richard's style got "bigger" after Passage, on which Peter did a lot of the orchestral arrangements. I'd never thought of this before, but now I wonder if Richard was influenced by Peter's arranging style?
 
Richard's style got "bigger" after Passage, on which Peter did a lot of the orchestral arrangements. I'd never thought of this before, but now I wonder if Richard was influenced by Peter's arranging style?

Bound to be, really. Most artists are influenced by their heroes.
 
It's so interesting what Earl says, comparing Richard's arrangements with Peter Knight's. He describes Richard's arrangements as more intimate, and I agree. But Richard's style got "bigger" after Passage, on which Peter did a lot of the orchestral arrangements. I'd never thought of this before, but now I wonder if Richard was influenced by Peter's arranging style?
I love it all but for me, less is more when it comes to Richard's arrangements.
 
Here is the “Behind the Music” discussion from Saturday afternoon:


I thoroughly enjoyed this discussion, thank you so much Chris for allowing us to see and hear this.

I especially enjoyed the video of I Believe You. This whole discussion along with this video really leaves me with a greater appreciation for just how much was involved into making a Carpenters song and album. There is a lot going on behind the scenes apart from Karen’s incredible vocals. Sometimes we listen and if we are not listening for all the orchestration and different instruments they can get overshadowed by us just wanting to hear Karen. It’s amazing they were able to crank out as many songs and albums as they did especially with all the touring.

Gayle mentioned when she hears Karen sing even in a store she has to stop and just listen. I can so identify with this statement. There is something that touches you inside when you hear that singer that has meant something special to you for so many years...even in a place as common as a grocery store. It happens that way for me with Olivia as well, I could hear an Olivia song in a store and I have to stop and just close my eyes and listen, it’s like that voice and “The Heart Knows”
 
He simply had no business singing lead when he had Karen Carpenter at his disposal.

You have to remember that the act was called Carpenters. It wasn't "Carpenters featuring Karen Carpenter." Richard considered them a band -- their alternating lead vocals on the first album are proof of that, as if any were needed. He knew after the first couple of hits that Karen was going to be the lead singer, and the biggest draw, but that didn't change the fact that he regarded their act as a group, with himself as an equal partner. Remember, he's the one who found, selected, and oftentimes wrote the songs, not to mention the arranging, producing and vocalizing (background and otherwise). Without him it's very possible Karen may have languished in obscurity. Keep in mind, in the beginning she didn't even consider herself a singer!

Plus, Richard was the producer/arranger, so if he felt that an album needed a different lead vocal now and then, he had that right. Personally I think the albums following Now and Then suffered from a lack of the variety which had been provided by Richard being more out-front vocally.

The fact that you think the balance was more like 85% Karen / 15% Richard may be your opinion, but in his mind (and in reality) it was a 50-50 partnership.
 
Really, Karen for the most part just contributed vocals - and Richard did basically everything else (except playing the non-keyboard instruments). However - the sheer weight of that one thing Karen had is what leads me to agree that their partnership was still a 50/50 contribution. While Karen is the sound we all know and love, and is really what made a Carpenters record a Carpenters record, she definitely couldn’t have done it without Richard. And without a voice as magnificent as Karen’s to sing the tunes he produced, Richard likely would never would have gone anywhere either.
 
Really, Karen for the most part just contributed vocals - and Richard did basically everything else (except playing the non-keyboard instruments). However - the sheer weight of that one thing Karen had is what leads me to agree that their partnership was still a 50/50 contribution. While Karen is the sound we all know and love, and is really what made a Carpenters record a Carpenters record, she definitely couldn’t have done it without Richard. And without a voice as magnificent as Karen’s to sing the tunes he produced, Richard likely would never would have gone anywhere either.
I'm a bit surprised that anyone would see Carpenters as anything other than a 50/50 contribution. Neither would likely have had success as single artists - at least, not in the smash way Carpenters did. They may have had musical careers (especially Richard - not sure if Karen had the musical passion and ambition that Richard had, it seems at least some of Karen's passion came from making music with her brother), but the magic for big-time success came with both of them together.

IMO, Richard was masterful in framing Karen's one-of-a-kind voice, not sure any other arranger/producer would have been as successful as Richard at creating that magical sonic experience we all love. And, as I have said before, the fact that they were siblings plays into the beautiful harmonies.
 
While I agree that K and R were a non pareil musical team and that their extraordinary gifts most certainly complimented each other pretty much perfectly, I think it's clear that her own musical passion and ambition did match Richard's. His clarity for what he wanted to do began at an earlier age but once she discovered the drums she became as unstoppable as he was. Although even now I am re-reading your post and the point of origin for her musical interests was probably Richard in the first place as she idolized him so we are probably not in disagreement after all. :)
 


At about the 2:17 mark in this video tour of Richard's memorabilia room, there's a poster of what appears to be album covers. I can recognize all but the last one on the bottom right? Can anyone make out what that album is?

Screenshot 2024-05-19 105938.png
 


At about the 2:17 mark in this video tour of Richard's memorabilia room, there's a poster of what appears to be album covers. I can recognize all but the last one on the bottom right? Can anyone make out what that album is?

Screenshot 2024-05-19 105938.png

I can't identify that last item ... but what an incredible memorabilia room Richard has created and maintained! Chris May has described what a marvel it is, but seeing it in this video takes it to a whole different level. Amazing!
 
At about the 2:17 mark in this video tour of Richard's memorabilia room, there's a poster of what appears to be album covers. I can recognize all but the last one on the bottom right? Can anyone make out what that album is?

Screenshot 2024-05-19 105938.png
I wonder if it's an engraved gold plaque similar to this one, seen at the one-minute mark? Though the square in your screenshot looks more tan than gold.

gold.png
 
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