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Carpenters signed to A&M on RICHARD'S lead vocal????

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Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
I hope someone can clear this up (Randy, maybe you know); I was listening back to an interview with both Rich and Karen- I think it was the Charlie Tuna interview....Anyway, they both commented by saying "...there were about 3 or 4 tunes and Herb only heard one tune 'Your Wonderful Parade' and really dug the vocals because Herb like a lot of vocals...." Richard went on to comment that "we were signed on my lead and the vocal sound...." Then Karen mentions that "after we cut 'Ticket' Herb said to me "oh, do YOU sing too????"

Ok, what's the deal with this? I remember hearing another interview with Herb Alpert where he says he was taken by Karen's voice and the fact that it had the Keely Smith quality he remembered while growing up. I want to know which is fact here..... Anyone out there know the answer? Was it Karen's voice that sold the Carpenters initially to Herb Alpert, or was it the overall sound?????? (as the Jeopardy theme chimes in the background....) -Chris
When Karen and Richard were signed to A&M in 1969,Karen wasn't regarded as a "vocalist" at that point.They were just another run-of-the-mill music act looking for a label.It probably wasn't until after CLOSE TO YOU was released that Karen took on the status of a serious vocalist.I would say that TICKET TO RIDE was the sort of experimental "test" album,geared toward "testing the waters" to see which direction they should go in.After A&M heard TICKET TO RIDE in its completed form,they probably then realized that Karen was a great vocalist-well suited to singing slow,smoky ballads(like "Someday").Incidentally,I always thought "All I Can Do" was a great track,particularly with those ultra-cool complicated time signatures.(very similar to Dave Brubeck's "Take Five").
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