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Carpenters Fan in 2017 vs When You First Discovered Carpenters

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Rick-An Ordinary Fool, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I'd like to hear from fellow Carpenters fans if they feel different today verses when they first discovered the Carpenters music. Do you feel better about the Carpenters music today or do you feel like too much information has led you to feel differently about their music?

    It seems like in the past 10-15 years we have seen so many documentaries, read so many books, watched so many shows on tv about the Carpenters. We have been inundated with material about the life of Karen and Richard from their professional career to so much personal behind the scenes. We are all interested about our favorite group, who wouldn't be but do you feel too much information has influenced how you feel when you listen to their music today?

    This forum is such an excellent tool for just about everything in the Carpenters catalog and we have uncovered some terrific topics that at times has led to new discoveries. Yet when I read a lot of the posts here I get the feeling that because of all the back history of their lives (mostly due to what happen to Karen) does what we know now....affect how we feel when we stop to listen to their music.

    I can still remember the time when I was a teenager (no internet) and I would come home from school or get a last minute listen before having to go to bed at 9:00 and sit in my plush bean bag chair, pull out a Carpenters album with my headphones on and just become immersed in the music. I would hold the record album keep turning it from front to back as I listened to the tracks and Karen's voice would sing to my soul. I wasn't thinking about her illness (of course I didn't know then) I wasn't thinking about her solo album of which never would be released, I wasn't thinking about why she stopped playing drums and I wasn't thinking about the problems Richard faced with drugs or Karen's weight issues.

    I just listened to the music without any association with the tragedy in their personal lives.

    So all this to say...do you feel differently listening to their music today then when you listened when you first discovered the Carpenters? Has it changed how you feel about their music for the better or just the opposite?
    Chris Mills and Brian like this.
  2. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    I'm a die-hard. Nothing has moved me from my fanaticism. It's a wonderful thing!
  3. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    Good idea for a discussion! Not being able to find information about Carpenters back in the day definitely added to the mystery surrounding them. We had no TV and I had less exposure to media than my peers. When I was a teen, I probably imagined that Karen and Richard embodied all of the characteristics that I upheld as ideal, because that's the way kids tend to view their idols. Knowing more now about their foibles, shortcomings, troubles and weaknesses doesn't really affect the way I look at their music, but it might have back then. They certainly weren't the perfect people who I imagined them to be, but who ever was?

    Sharing amongst fans of unreleased footage and, later, the advent of the Internet only strengthened my respect for what Karen and Richard were capable of, musically. To hear what they could do with just Richard on piano and Karen singing with no other accompaniment can be mind-blowing. And to hear or see them on video performing when Karen was 16 or 17 highlights just how unique they were in their talents. There has still not been anyone who could sound the way that Karen did, at her best.

    From interviews with those closest to them, we know that Karen could be kind, warm-hearted and generous, but we also know that she could be hard, explosive, derogatory towards band members, instrusively controlling and obsessive. (Tony Peluso, John Bettis, Karen's friend, Frenda, Herb Alpert himself, one of the comedy duo that supported them on tour in 1974, her hairdresser, Maria, and various music company insiders have alluded each to at least one of these traits). Most people exhibit some of these characteristics, though, at one stage or another, so there's nothing all that unusual there. Aside from that, Karen, with all due respect, must have had some major deep-rooted psychological issues, more's the pity. And she was about as self-destructive as anybody could be. However, all of these things made her who she was and, no doubt, contributed to her sound. Knowing all this doesn't really detract from my appreciation of Carpenters' music, at all. Some of these traits also helped her to succeed and survive in the male-dominated music industry of the '70s. Richard had his demons and weaknesses, too, as we all do.

    These days, I perhaps see more depth in artists who produce more 'left of field' work - who speak through their lyrics of unique life experiences or eccentric, bizarre or enlightening points of view, who blend different musical styles and incorporate unusual instrumentation and arrangements, who push the boundaries more. I generally don't get much from the message of love songs, for example, because, in those sorts of lyrics, there usually isn't a message. I like lyrics that are truly imaginative and different. However, from the particular genre that Karen and Richard specialised in, they had few equals. And seeing as I'm on this site, I must still be really into them.
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  4. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    I don't watch the documentaries or the "final hour" stuff. To me, it's unnecessary-- a lot of it is sensationalized, and it detracts from the music itself (in my opinion). I don't need to know the tragic, psychological demons of somebody else. I can go my whole life without discovering what the people I idolize went through. I do this with a lot of the artists I like-- I prefer not to read solely about personal problems, misdemeanors, divorces, alcoholism. Because then my thoughts tend to wander towards that, and that's not fair because these things are just part of life. Normally the music is too good to think about anything else, anyway. Karen and Richard Carpenter have the highest amount of respect from me because they managed to produce timeless records in spite of the things we know about them now. I've only been a die-hard for a mere few years, but in keeping this outlook I know my fanaticism will outlive me.
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool and Brian like this.
  5. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I was only 12 when I first realized the name of who I was listening to on the radio. I had heard Close To You and Sing and loved Close To You but never knew who sang it. It was the opening lines to Yesterday Once More that hooked me and started my addiction to her voice and their sound. What’s interesting about YOM, is that even people who don’t appreciate the Carpenters like this song. For me, it started a daily dose of their sound that I treasure. Through the years just when I think I’ve heard all the older songs, old and new, another seems to come along. I keep waiting for those last few nuggets and know that they will be worth the wait! In the meantime, I can seek clean versions and remixes and videos and thank God above for sending a sound that gives me gratitude for great audio pleasure. They sang in most every genre and Karen’s voice was multi faceted, so their music is never boring, and it was blessed with great musicians who always surrounded them. It’s funny, in 1985, I thought I had every collection. Little did I know....
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  6. I first listened to the carpenters in 2005 my last year of secondary school. I found lots of recordable CDs that were my aunts and I listened to each one and wrote down the track names. I hadn't heard many of their songs at that time so I never knew which track was coming next. I was so pleased when I got a carpenters DVD as I'd only watched ' Calling Occupants '. I listened to them each chance I got and soon learned all the words to their songs. I didn't care that people knew I liked the carpenters. I do like modern music but it's nice to have a guilty pleasure. Now I have most albums and compilations so it's nice to pick out a song at random and listen to the cd. I have various books and DVDs and even a carpenters hoodie. I'm part of many carpenters groups on Facebook and it's great to talk to other carpenters fans !
  7. arthowson

    arthowson Active Member

    I still listen daily. Major fan since KC Story in '88, but being a '71 baby, my first grade teacher had us listening and dancing to the brown album. It always felt to me that the Carpenters were the highest echelon of pop music. a sound that everyone would want to strive to achieve. i still feel that way.
  8. My story is somewhat similar to athrowson's. I was born in 1972, and so when I was a child, the Carpenters' records were all over the radio (and, similarly to athrowson, my Kindergarten teacher was a big fan too and had us learn how to sing "Sing"). The Carpenters were always a pleasant childhood memory from the 1970s, and growing into adulthood, I've never lost my fondness for their music. During the past two years, however, I've developed a greater interest in how they created and recorded that music, and how factors in their personal lives might have shaped the creation of that music.
    Brian likes this.
  9. The first time was 2004 was 12, my dad had bought a DVD called CARPENTERS GOLD, put it and I began to tell the story of this duo of 70. And began to see that the singer (Karen :whistle:) was very skinny in Some videos and some not. Anyway, what I call the most attention is that for the first time a voice of a girl made me feel sad and happy at the same time, well in the end I started to see the dvd every day, it is strange but it was the first time I needed to hear that voice every day ..... at the end today with 25 years I am a sickly fanatic who buys the versions of his disc of different countries ... (Posdata. I'm always annoyed that at my age I like the music of the carpenters, and I tell them that Karen's voice is so timeless that it surpasses all the current singers...:phones:)
    Tapdancer, Brian and theninjarabbit like this.
  10. Tapdancer

    Tapdancer Active Member

    I'd say that by the year 1970 - with the radio in our household blaring morning, noon and night - my 10 year old ears had a pretty good grounding in what turned out to be an embarrassment of musical riches from the 60s.
    But when "Close To You" hit the airwaves for the very first time, I clearly remember thinking "This - this - is Heaven". Most perfect sound I'd ever heard. Five decades on, nothing has changed.
    Mark-T and Jeff like this.
  11. David A

    David A Active Member

    All of the things I've learned about the Carpenters' trials and tribulations, both personally and professionally, have enhanced my admiration for their musical legacy. As to Karen specifically, her voice - to this day - melts me just as if it were the 1970's. I get the same goose bumps. One thing may be different; a feeling of awe that I get now. An awareness that it's been decades since she passed, and still her voice cuts straight through me. Thanks Karen, and thank you Richard for surrounding Karen with the music that together stole (and continues to steal) our hearts.
    song4u likes this.

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