• Our Album of the Week features will return in June.

⭐ Official Review Carpenters "THE SINGLES, 1969-1973"

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 62 81.6%
  • ****

    Votes: 13 17.1%
  • ***

    Votes: 1 1.3%
  • **

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • *

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    76
Record Mirror, January 19, 1974:
"Sing those songs again
THE CARPENTERS
The Singles 1969-1973 (A & M SP 9881). Not their "greatest hits", you understand.
Just a modest, dignified album made up of the singles which, in four years, have boosted
the Carpenters Into the top flight of charts and popularity polls. Up-to-date, too.. includes Top Of
The World, Also Paul Williams' We've Only Just Begun, The David and Bacharach great" Close To
You, and John and Paul's Ticket To Ride. A strong compilation album.
P. J."
 
It's an "insult" because Hank W. is a hard-core-country guy, and the Carpenters (despite the steel guitar that pops up here and there) are soft-pop, not country. For a hard-core country fan, anybody who's NOT in that category can never do justice to a hard-core country song.

Hardcore Beatles fans probably didn't like Carpenters treatments of Lennon/McCartney songs either, since Carpenters isn't a "rock group" in the strictest sense.
 
It's an "insult" because Hank W. is a hard-core-country guy, and the Carpenters (despite the steel guitar that pops up here and there) are soft-pop, not country. For a hard-core country fan, anybody who's NOT in that category can never do justice to a hard-core country song.

Hardcore Beatles fans probably didn't like Carpenters treatments of Lennon/McCartney songs either, since Carpenters isn't a "rock group" in the strictest sense.

you're probably right. Ticket To Ride is great and as far as I am concerned is better than the Beatles version.
personally I think the Beatles are overrated... They wrote great songs, I just prefer their songs being performed by other people. I struggle to understand what is so good about them really, they're not the best singers and to my ears there doesn't seem to be anything special about their playing, especially when you contrast them to the Carpenters.
why Karen Carpenter is at 90 something on Rolling Stones list of 100 greatest singers whilst John Lennon is at 7 is beyond me !
 
personally I think the Beatles are overrated... They wrote great songs, I just prefer their songs being performed by other people. I struggle to understand what is so good about them really, they're not the best singers and to my ears there doesn't seem to be anything special about their playing, especially when you contrast them to the Carpenters.

I used to think exactly the same but the more I researched them and watched various documentaries, I came to realise that to really understand what’s so good about them, you had to have been there at the time. When they came on the scene, they really did cause a musical revolution, in almost every way. Their music, their sound, even their look was new. The girls went crazy for their look (which they’d picked up from their early days gigging in Hamburg and imported back to the UK) and the music industry was awed by the depth of their songwriting and, in particular, the production values. Add to that the fact that they later started producing concept albums like Sergeant Pepper and you can begin to see how they affected the landscape of British music. You’ve only got to listen to people like Benny Andersson and Barry Gibb talking about the profound effect the Beatles had on them as songwriters to understand their impact.

I once sat through a mammoth session of the Anthology DVD box set (something like eight hours) to see what all the fuss was about and I’m not kidding when I say that by the end of it, I’d listed 60 songs that I’d heard snippets of during the documentary that fascinated me. I immediately went and sought out the full versions of each song and not one of them was a hit single. It was all album tracks.

But yeah, to come back to your original point, I’d agree with you that they were better songwriters than they were singers.
 
Last edited:
I used to think exactly the same but the more I researched them and watched various documentaries, I came to realise that to really understand what’s so good about them, you had to have been there at the time. When they came on the scene, they really did cause a musical revolution, in almost every way. Their music, their sound, even their look was new. The girls went crazy for their look (which they’d picked up from their early days gigging in Hamburg and imported back to the UK) and the music industry was awed by the depth of their songwriting and, in particular, the production values. Add to that the fact that they later started producing concept albums like Sergeant Pepper and you can begin to see how they affected the landscape of British music. You’ve only got to listen to people like Benny Andersson and Barry Gibb talking about the profound effect the Beatles had on them as songwriters to understand their impact.

I once sat through a mammoth session of the Anthology DVD box set (something like eight hours) to see what all the fuss was about and I’m not kidding when I say that by the end of it, I’d listed 60 songs that I’d heard snippets of during the documentary that fascinated me. I immediately went and sought out the full versions of each song and not one of them was a hit single. It was all album tracks.

But yeah, to come back to your original point, I’d agree with you that they were better songwriters than they were singers.

I would add that the Beatles not only changed pop/rock music, but everything that touched them turned Gold. Their sales even affected the sales of phonographs and DVD players. And it was a big deal when iTunes acquired them digitally.
 
I used to think exactly the same but the more I researched them and watched various documentaries, I came to realise that to really understand what’s so good about them, you had to have been there at the time. When they came on the scene, they really did cause a musical revolution, in almost every way. Their music, their sound, even their look was new.
Add to that timing, which in show business is everything. President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated, and Americans, in particular, were looking for a reason to smile again. What better distraction than these seemingly carefree, funny, vibrant young mop-tops from England? Their longevity is due more to the other reasons you describe: strong songwriting skills, lots of experimentation in the studio and innovative (especially for that time) production values. Everything they released sounded fresh and new. By the time Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band came out, it cemented their greatness.

The Beatles, JFK and Nov. 22, 1963
 
you're probably right. Ticket To Ride is great and as far as I am concerned is better than the Beatles version.
personally I think the Beatles are overrated... They wrote great songs, I just prefer their songs being performed by other people. I struggle to understand what is so good about them really, they're not the best singers and to my ears there doesn't seem to be anything special about their playing, especially when you contrast them to the Carpenters.
why Karen Carpenter is at 90 something on Rolling Stones list of 100 greatest singers whilst John Lennon is at 7 is beyond me !

You definitely had to experience Beatlemania (as mentioned by newvillefan on a previous post) to appreciate its impact. It was a phenomenon. I was in grade school at the time, and I remember begging my mom to transport me and a friend down to the local theater where "A Hard Days Night" was playing. The place was packed and the audience wildly enthusiastic (mostly young women :)). We left the theater completely convinced they were the greatest thing since sliced bread, bigger fans than ever. That whole JFK and America in mourning has validity in certain respects, but they were great songwriters, musicians, charismatic entertainers, and just very charming...they opened-up the whole British Invasion of the 60s. And they never seemed to lose their popularity all the way up until their breakup in 1970.

As far as any Rolling Stone Magazine list is concerned, ugh! Them and their lists...pleeze! Really, how can you list Jimi Hendrix as the #1 guitarist of all time?! He was only relevant on the music scene for maybe 4 years. A better resume than Jimmy Page or Eric Clapton or BB King? Flamboyant, charismatic, great front man? Yes, definitely. But that should be a separate list. But best guitarist? Ahhh No (besides, he stole the whole destroying your guitar bit from Pete Townsend).

Despite a pretty good interview with the duo in 1974, RSM completely marginalized The Carpenters in their heyday. I never liked their "holier than thou" attitude towards acts like John Denver, ABBA, and The Carpenters. Didn't Richard Carpenter once say something along the lines that most of the reviewers that pan their music and concerts were just "frustrated musicians"? Well, there you go...
 
As far as any Rolling Stone Magazine list is concerned, ugh! Them and their lists...pleeze! Really, how can you list Jimi Hendrix as the #1 guitarist of all time?! He was only relevant on the music scene for maybe 4 years. A better resume than Jimmy Page or Eric Clapton or BB King? Flamboyant, charismatic, great front man? Yes, definitely. But that should be a separate list. But best guitarist? Ahhh No (besides, he stole the whole destroying your guitar bit from Pete Townsend).
What the heck do the self-appointed "experts" at Rolling Stone know about music anyway? One of the greatest guitarists I've ever heard, Roy Clark, didn't even make their list, and he played like a virtuoso!
 
What the heck do the self-appointed "experts" at Rolling Stone know about music anyway? One of the greatest guitarists I've ever heard, Roy Clark, didn't even make their list, and he played like a virtuoso!


Duly noted Murray, you would never know he was THAT good (from Hee Haw). Impressive!
 
Last edited:
Rolling Stone is a rock magazine (well, sorta), and Ray Clark was a country guitarist, which may explain why he's not on the list. (Glen Campbell may be on it because he got some rock cred by appearing on Beach Boys records.)

Those lists are all created to generate clicks anyway. I think they purposely assign some way-crazy ratings, or leave some people off, just to generate feedback. (Clicks = money.)

I also agree that the Beatles were better writers than singers. But, some of their songs, their version is THE definitive version."Hey Jude" comes to mind... or "A Day in the Life." Can you imagine anybody else doing those songs and having them be as powerful?

I agree with the "You had to be there" comments above. The Beatles really did change everything in the music business. The notion of rock groups writing their own material was brand new at that time, and the fact that these guys not only wrote material but wrote such GOOD material, and they just kept getting better and better...plus they were good looking young boys, so everybody found something to like, well unless you were over 40. And even then, when people like Frank Sinatra started covering their songs, their victory was complete.

But I do like the Carpenters' "Ticket to Ride" far better than the Beatles' version. Richard's arrangement seems to fit the lyric better. I also think the Carpenters' version of "Help" is better, because I like the high harmonies on the chorus. It really makes the song sound more urgent, IMHO.
 
Rolling Stone is a rock magazine (well, sorta), and Ray Clark was a country guitarist, which may explain why he's not on the list. (Glen Campbell may be on it because he got some rock cred by appearing on Beach Boys records.)

Those lists are all created to generate clicks anyway. I think they purposely assign some way-crazy ratings, or leave some people off, just to generate feedback. (Clicks = money.)
Well, Chet Atkins and Willie Nelson are on the Rolling Stone list (Glen Campbell is not), and they were country artists. B.B. King made the top 10 - he was a legendary guitarist, and I loved how he made Lucille sing, but he was hardly "rock".

You're right about those lists though. They make about as much sense as the inductee list at the R&R Hall of Fame.
 
The logo is correct so it's got to be official, right? lol
It makes the CTY cover not so bad, huh?

$50.00 on e bay rare from Singapore.

s-l1600.jpg
 
It also would have been nice to indicate in all your 1000 posts where the “source for these chart facts” came from? It would lend to more credibility and less spamming in posting so many in 1 day. It’s now too late to edit all your posts.
 
Is it possible to change the heading of this thread from AOTW to say OFFICIAL REVIEW, so that it matches all the other Official Review threads on the albums. I can never find this Singles Official Review because of that AOTW.
 
There's a cool Test Pressing for this Singles LP 1969-1973
I have a few test pressings but have never seen a Sonic Recording test pressing, is this company any different plant than Columbia Records Pittman or Columbia Records Santa Maria


It says this:
Release Info: A&M (SP 3601) - Pre-release Sonic Recording Test Pressing from 1973. This is from the collection of a former A&M employee. Comes in embossed gatefold cover with booklet.
 
you're probably right. Ticket To Ride is great and as far as I am concerned is better than the Beatles version.
personally I think the Beatles are overrated... They wrote great songs, I just prefer their songs being performed by other people. I struggle to understand what is so good about them really, they're not the best singers and to my ears there doesn't seem to be anything special about their playing, especially when you contrast them to the Carpenters.
why Karen Carpenter is at 90 something on Rolling Stones list of 100 greatest singers whilst John Lennon is at 7 is beyond me !
I love the Carpenters & The Beatles equally, and rank Karen Carpenter, John Lennon & Paul McCartney as the greatest voices in music.
Strangely enough I don't like Ticket to Ride by either The Beatles or Carpenters.
 
I love the Carpenters & The Beatles equally, and rank Karen Carpenter, John Lennon & Paul McCartney as the greatest voices in music.
Strangely enough I don't like Ticket to Ride by either The Beatles or Carpenters.
While both Lennon & McCartney were good, naturally talented singers who were highly "listenable", I personally wouldn't rate them as among "the greatest singers in music" - there were just too many others whose vocal abilities were superior...it's interesting that Paul had taste and sense enough though to agree with your choice of Karen in that elevated ranking.

The Beatles' and Carpenter's versions of "Ticket to Ride" don't cover all of the possibilities that could be arranged musically with the song, but they cover a pretty wide range, from the Beatles' driving, rocking version to the Carpenter's down-tempo, ballad style version (which itself morphs into a pulsing, uptempo power-ballad). If one can't find something to like in all this musical choice then there must be some problem with the song's somber, disheartening lyrics, and nothing can help with that - they are what they are...

Personally, I feel that the re-recorded version of TTR is in their top 5 recorded musical performances, from Richard's ingenious arrangement to Karen's stunning (and thankfully unadulterated) vocal. It's right up there beside "Superstar" and "Rainy Days...". It's a brilliant creation & production.
 
I love both of the Carpenters versions equally for different reasons. The first one is a more organic/raw vocal, which I love, and the second one has a more matured vocal, which I also love. But you're right. It is the arrangement and the vocal that makes this cover brilliant.

From Richard (fans ask):

"Not only did I slow the piece down, but changed, or added, some chord changes as well, along with the melody at the end of the choruses, with Karen resolving on a very effective major seven. This put her in a marvelous lower register on the word 'care' which sounds terrific and adds to the plangent character of there entire chart; after all 'Ticket to Ride' is a sad lyric".
 
Back
Top Bottom