• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is available for ordering here.

📣 News Carpenters: The Musical Legacy (Discussion)

Someday

Well-Known Member
Who has a favourite photo from the book? For me it is Page 177. Oh, to have a waist like that!
 

Richard’s namesake

Active Member
A recent review:

Jan 9,2021
"Quinn on Books: One-Sided Story"
Excerpt:
"If you’re unfamiliar with the Carpenters, this book is not the place to start. "

Complete review here:
I’ve read it, and that review is B*******
 

Richard’s namesake

Active Member
Okay, so here's what going on with the discography:

The recording dates on Karen's vocals were intentionally left out because many of them were never documented. However, wherever we had documentation regarding the instrumental recording sessions, those dates got included. Let me explain further.

The reason the instrumental dates were available, is because they involved union contracts for each and every session, complete with dates and times. If a particular entry in the discog omits these, it's simply because the contract on that particular session was either lost or unretrievable. The reason Karen's lead vocal dates were not included, is because these—along with the backing vocal sessions, didn't require a contract, and often times were recorded whenever Karen and Richard were back in town and a studio was available. In other words, the vocals were recorded more sporadically and Karen didn't always document those in her date books.

The good news as far as recording dates on a lot of Karen's lead vocals, is that we know a number of them—particularly in the later years, were "work" leads. These were almost always recorded at the same time the rhythm tracks were recorded. So, many of those we actually do have dates for.

I hope all of this makes sense. :)
That is brilliant. Thanks Chris, must admit I’d wondered the same thing.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Maybe in the wrong thread, but, touching on duos' "legacy" (i.e., "...covers helped solidify the Carpenters' reputation as...").

Here is an interesting view (excerpts):

When the Carpenters took on The Beatles' heaviest song​

Tyler Golsen , FRI 4TH MAR 2022.
---
"The reputation of the Carpenters has turned quite a bit in the past 40 years. During the duo’s 1970s heyday, they were as white bread and harmless as could be: during the same time when Black Sabbath, the Ramones, Stevie Wonder, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, and Frank Zappa were pushing the boundaries of popular music, the Carpenters were the safest and least offensive act anyone could find."
---
"On the duo’s debut album, the Carpenters crafted a soft rock piano ballad arrangement out of The Beatles’ riff-centered original version of Ticket to Ride."
---
"... the pair decided to try again on their follow up album, 1970’s Close to You. This time it was transforming the classic frantic plea of Help !
into fairly generic ’70s pop song. At least the Carpenters’ version of Help ! makes the wise decision to keep the energy up,
unlike the total snooze-fest that was ‘Ticket to Ride’. "
"But both covers helped solidify the Carpenters’ reputation as cheap imitators..."
---

More:
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^ Yes, among other things,
I find Ticket To Ride a more creative Carpenters' "cover" than Help !

On the other hand,
I always felt too many "covers" was an issue The Carpenters were saddled with in their day.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
There are a number of this membership who don't seem to "get" Carpenters version of "Help!" and I think I sort-of feel a bit sorry for them. It's really a fantastic recording, IMHO. But, we've had this discussion before elsewhere in these pages. The Japanese seemed to appreciate it as it showed up on a number of their Gold Series and Anthology compilations. And I tend to agree with them, finding "Help!" to be one of the big highlights for me on the CLOSE TO YOU album.

I love both of the Beatles covers that Carpenters did on those first two albums. "Ticket To Ride" is still a goosebump producer after all these years, and some of the stacked harmonies on "Help!" are just tremendous.
 
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Shalom Bresticker

Well-Known Member
Just a matter of taste.
I found Karen's having to lower her pitch when she got to "Won't you please, please help me" a little jolting and disappointing (having already been used to the Beatles's version).
It wasn't a great use of her voice.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
^^ Yes, among other things,
I find Ticket To Ride a more creative Carpenters' "cover" than Help !

On the other hand,
I always felt too many "covers" was an issue The Carpenters were saddled with in their day.
They also covered Nowhere Man, and their 1974 hit Please Mr. Postman which the Beatles had recorded. (While not released as a single in the US, the Beatles Postman was the B-side of the Canadian “Roll Over Beethoven” 45.)
 

GDBY2LV

Well-Known Member
Day Tripper, and Can’t Buy Me Love in the early days. Baby It’s You as well….which Beatles covered, like Postman. Richard has always given the Beatles credit for their inspiration.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I heard The Beatles' (fantastic) Nowhere Man on the radio just yesterday and thought of the version we hear on
Carpenters' cd As Time Goes By:
"... as much as I appreciate the Beatle's original of this song, I still feel it makes a great ballad: Karen's alto is particularly resonant on it.
I just wasn't happy with my original intro, so in 1999 I rearranged and recut it. As the original piano on the demo was a spinet and locked into the mono mix..." (Richard Carpenter).

Karen's vocal is simply divine on Nowhere Man.
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Maybe in the wrong thread, but, touching on duos' "legacy" (i.e., "...covers helped solidify the Carpenters' reputation as...").

Here is an interesting view (excerpts):

When the Carpenters took on The Beatles' heaviest song​

Tyler Golsen , FRI 4TH MAR 2022.
---
"The reputation of the Carpenters has turned quite a bit in the past 40 years. During the duo’s 1970s heyday, they were as white bread and harmless as could be: during the same time when Black Sabbath, the Ramones, Stevie Wonder, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, and Frank Zappa were pushing the boundaries of popular music, the Carpenters were the safest and least offensive act anyone could find."
---
"On the duo’s debut album, the Carpenters crafted a soft rock piano ballad arrangement out of The Beatles’ riff-centered original version of Ticket to Ride."
---
"... the pair decided to try again on their follow up album, 1970’s Close to You. This time it was transforming the classic frantic plea of Help !
into fairly generic ’70s pop song. At least the Carpenters’ version of Help ! makes the wise decision to keep the energy up,
unlike the total snooze-fest that was ‘Ticket to Ride’. "
"But both covers helped solidify the Carpenters’ reputation as cheap imitators..."
---

More:

I don't think he's all that wrong about "Help!" Richard homogenized it and made it MOR. He sanded down every single edge but it is "up" and it kicks a little. I don't hate it but I don't love it either. It just isn't really my thing.

"Ticket to Ride" is an utter reinterpretation in the best way. Richard turned it into a lovely lament and Karen more than understood the assignment. The whole production gives it a whole new color it didn't have before. Both are effective interpretations, IMHO - they're just completely different from one another.

Ed
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Just a matter of taste.
I found Karen's having to lower her pitch when she got to "Won't you please, please help me" a little jolting and disappointing (having already been used to the Beatles's version).
It wasn't a great use of her voice.

That's all it is. We either like something or we don't. It's not that deep...LOL!

Ed
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I think if Help got a remix (why didn’t it?) people would like it a lot more. Her voice is buried in the mix for some reason and even though her vocal isn’t the focal point we need her as an anchor. It’s a little messy but dark and full of energy. Far better the Beatles version (they got better later on).
 

GDBY2LV

Well-Known Member
That was Anne Murray, not Carpenters. Confused with Can’t Buy Me Love on Navy Presents. She was on a Beatles remakes roll for awhile too. My apologies.
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I am revisiting the 1972 concert footage and really enjoy the live version of Help ! also.
On this song, Richard seems more animated with the keyboards and Karen's simultaneity in drumming and vocals
is incredibly fascinating.
Karen's drumming on Please Mr. Postman reinforces my view that she should have retained that
particular position on all of the studio recordings, also.
That's my two cent philosophizing for the day.
 
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