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Disco.....The Hustle/Boogie nights medley.

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by New Horizons., Jul 4, 2018.

  1. New Horizons.

    New Horizons. Active Member Thread Starter

    I had forgotten that during space encounters a medley was performed of The Hustle/Boogie nights and one other song.Would studio versions of these tracks likely exist?
    Karen seems to be having a blast,Richard not so much dancing to The hustle.
    Jamesj75 likes this.

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    Karen makes Boogie Nights (Heatwave) sound like a lot of fun!!

    She was definitely coming down with Disco Fever after this TV special. :D

    Seems as though this moment lead to "My body keeps changing my mind" and "Lovelines."

    There would be a mono mix of this prepared for Television. Unlike the many tracks from TV specials that got remixed for "As time goes by" this one stayed in the same shape it was for broadcast (1978).
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  3. Kristopher

    Kristopher Active Member

    I always thought Lovelines had a disco vibe in it. I wish they had done a disco album. May have turned their career around very much.
    Jamesj75 likes this.

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    ^Well, this is why fans have gone back and fourth over the solo album material, since hearing it in 1989. Lol
    Richard was against following trends--especially disco.
    But, it would have shown that The C's or Karen at least liked to keep it fresh instead of "same old, same old."

    Idk about a full Disco album. It'd be novel looking back at it now.
    Everyone in the industry was doing it.
    For example, I happen to like James Brown's disco album. His song "Too funky in here" is awesome.
    Even "Sesame Street" went Disco. :shock:

    To look to where Disco can go wrong... look no further than Ethel Merman's Disco album.
    It becomes campy. By the late 70s, it was cliche and considered "selling out."
    The C's were accused of that, for different reasons, by using a fuzz guitar solo in "Goodbye to Love." Lol Imagine.
    But, had they gone complete Disco it'd have everyone asking, "why was such a great voice singing that?"
    Even on the few Disco songs of hers we have, many ask that same question.

    Mind you, I don't mind Disco at all. I love "fun Karen"!
    It shows her open mindedness for a trend that began underground...
    and by the early 80s the culture rejected it--in a very noticeable way.

    So, I guess when you hear Jerry and Herb saying "we didn't want her to go through all that [by releasing her songs]."
    It makes some sense considering how the infectious Disco beat was basically fizzling out by the time she got to it.

    Of course, the dance evolved into something else... and people still enjoy the nostalgia of that time.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  5. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Karen was ill suited to disco. Richard said it and he was totally right. My Body Keeps...works a bit because of the vocal arrangement but the lyric is awful and Karen needed good lyrics to sell. Also, Richard never did trendy well. Any time he tried it, it just made them sound relentlessly square, IMHO.

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    I think Karen loved the t.v work and really threw herself into it and had fun, but I wonder if Richard actually enjoyed anything outside the studio because I`ve never seen anyone look as miserable as he does, for someone who had the success they did!
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  7. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I always feel quite sorry for Richard in that clip - he clearly isn't enjoying it at all and you can see him trying desperately hard to remember the steps. Karen however seems to be having a ball. She clearly had a flair for performing (even if she didn't display it much earlier on in their career).

    I don't know if a full-length version of 'Boogie Nights' would have been recorded, given that it was only a small segment in the medley for the TV show. Then again, 'Dancing in the Street' did have a different studio version that cropped up on As Time Goes By, so you never know.

    I know a lot of people claim this to be the case, but I don't really hear anything other than a very very light disco influence on the song 'Lovelines'. 'My Body Keeps Changing My Mind' was the only really disco-ish song Karen recorded. As to whether they/she could have done more disco, I think it would have depended on the song, but I don't think Karen was completely ill-suited to it. Good disco was great, but there was plenty of bad disco as well.
    Jamesj75 and GaryAlan like this.
  8. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    Didn't A&M put out two versions of Rita Coolidge's "You" (off the "Love Me Again" album) -- one without the disco flourishes and one that really pushed them forward in the mix? I don't recall when releasing dance club mixes became SOP, but that was the first time I ran across a "disco version" and a "pop version" of the same song from an artist I followed and who didn't really fit the disco genre. Possibly Karen/Carpenters could have tried that, if the right song came along, but I don't think I'd have reacted well to a full disco album...at least not one that regurgitated all the disco clichés. I thought Summers' "Hot Stuff" was great, though, and ELO's "Don't Bring Me Down."
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I can only add two things:
    (1) If you read the Interviews regarding the "making" of the 1978 Television Special,
    Space Encounters, both Karen and Richard are exceptionally pleased with the results.
    Pleased, that is, if the interview is taken at face-value (excerpts are on the Forum).
    In fact, regards the Weintraub TV Specials, Richard and Karen seem always to be pleased with the results.
    Richard, in particular, seemed to enjoy "making" the specials as much as Karen--however,
    his enjoyment does not transfer to the television screen. (He rarely appears happy in concert, either).
    (2) Recalling the first time I heard "My Body Keeps Changing My Mind",
    after purchase of From The Top CD-Set, it was indeed a revelation !
    Karen could do so much more than we were "used to hearing" at that point in time.
    Who cares what type of music it is "labelled" ?
    Karen's vocal prowess on the song surpass any negative issue about the song (imho).
    As with Rumbahbah, I never felt there was that much Disco on Karen's solo work.
  10. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    Why is that disco gets a bad rap but rap doesn't get a bad disco?! :)

    Yes, at the time of "Space Encounters," disco was pervasive, and it was almost expected that top 40 acts would record at least one disco song, including the following: Barbra Streisand, Cher, Kiss, Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney & Wings, etc. Before becoming famous, A&M artist Bryan Adams put out a disco song, "Let Me Take You Dancing," a song you won't see on any of his compilations/CDs because he later admitted displeasure over that recording, in part because his vocal was sped up (in his view, almost chipmunk-like; ). Another recording you won't find easily in compilations is the disco version of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" . But I fondly remember both songs being played, as the young kids say, "in da club!"

    As Karen attempted with her solo album, it appears that Carpenters were trying to branch out by including disco in their TV special. Karen was clearly comfortable with, and enjoyed, the genre.

    I love disco. I continue to play it to this day. I have excitedly found obscure disco songs from long ago, songs I hadn't heard since those "club" days but recognize and remember fondly. As with playing Carpenters' songs --- something we all do here --- the music transports me back to my youth and brings a smile to my face. Such will always be the case...
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^I used to have an EP of Olivia-Newton John's
    The Rumour:
  12. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    The time to do that was 1977 or 1978, when disco was at its peak. Instead we got Passage. Also, Richard was a strong believer that Karen was never meant to do disco, which is a shame, because I think she was versatile enough to carry it off - as her solo album showed. It doesn't matter if the material wasn't strong enough to be considered for singles, some of those solo tracks are outstanding.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  13. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Karen's solo album would probably not have enjoyed huge success because the recording of it dragged on for far too long, and disco was pretty much over by 1980. I think disco started to outstay its welcome once the Bee Gees had five singles from Saturday Night Fever in the top 10 at the same time. And I'm sure plenty of people remember the piles of vinyl disco albums that were steamrollered over in 1980 against banners reading "Disco Sucks".
    WYBIMLA likes this.
  14. Kristopher

    Kristopher Active Member

    I love disco and and I feel it still exist today. Genres change forms.

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    ^ Exactly.
    Disco is alive and well...in that people want to dance and celebrate for whatever reason big or small.

    Karen was singing "Boogie Nights" at the right time.
    By 1980, it was too late for "My body keep changing my mind."

    So, I guess instead of asking what other Disco songs Karen could sing...
    What other "non-little girl blue" songs could she have done?
    Call it "dance" or "club" music... something with rhythm.
    We know Karen had rhythm!

    You can tell there was a real innocent, spirited, fun, maturing lady that wanted out.
    Much more than an oldies singer & more than lamenting about past relationships.

    Not to say she doesn't love all that stuff too, but surely a singing, dancing, drummer wants to have a little pep in her step sometimes! And this is exactly the part that's missing in her story. Anytime I see articles about The Carpenters they play the "sad little girl" card. It's not a complete view of who she was. In order to do all that she did, she needed to have determination and grit.

    Anyways, you guys are right, she loved TV. Some see it as "trashy" or not as prestigious as film or theatre, but you can tell Karen recognized the power it has so she could connect with her fans.
    Mikel and Don Malcolm like this.
  16. I was 15 in 1978 and I remember this period well. Just how pervasive disco was at the time was evident from the fact that not just pop acts were incorporating the sound, but hard core rock and roll bands too. You mentioned the Rolling Stones. They had an extended dance mix of the song, "Some Girls." Heart's "Straight on for You" had some nods to disco and funk. Perhaps the most surprising example was the Grateful Dead's "Shakedown Street." I think all three records came out in 1978. One reason I remember this so well is that the trend irritated me. I was firmly into blues-based rock at the time, and I thought all these bands were selling out. While I never attended a disco demolition party, I was sympathetic to the cause. Fortunately, my musical tastes broadened when I went to college.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  17. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Was this the true end of the disco era? July 12, 1979;

    Sabar likes this.

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    ^Yes, I believe it may have been as early as that actually!

    If any of you wish to dig deeper into Disco and perhaps why Richard felt it wasn't suitable for Karen check out this BBC doc! I don't think either KC and RC knew the ins and outs of the party lifestyle Disco came out of--that wasn't on their radar. They could appreciated the beat & arrangement though.
    This says it all. And how the end of Disco was more bitter than you think. Warning the doc contains mature themes. However, very well done.
    After this, you may see dissonance between KC's image and what Disco was along side it's Queen, Donna Summer.

    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
  19. The promotional idea was silly, and the behavior of the fans sad and stupid. But the clip definitely captures the widespread anti-disco mood that prevailed at the time. It certainly helps one understand, in part, why Herb and Jerry might have had some concerns about how Karen's album would be received in the U.S.. At the same time, I think the anti-disco sentiment played a small factor in the decision. As others have mentioned, there is really only one disco song on the solo album. Much more prominent are the R&B (Rod Temperton) and "smooth jazz" (Bob James) influences. Aside from Karen's always awesome voice, that shift in style is the best part of the record IMHO. I would have liked to hear more of Karen in that style; something along the lines of what Anita Baker did the early 80s. More than the disco sound, I think Richard, Herb, and Jerry were troubled by the more sexually-explicit lyrics. I think this is why Herb and Jerry are always so cagey in interviews when explaining why the album was rejected. I think they are too embarrassed to frankly state the real reason on camera. To be honest, the more sexually explicit lyrics are the least attractive part of the solo record from my perspective. But I have to confess I find Richard's behavior inconsistent on this point. If he found My Body Keeps Changing..., Making Love in the Afternoon, and Remember When Loving Took All Night morally troubling, how could he possibly record Strength of a Woman? Strength of a Woman! AKA: "If You Love Me, You'll Put Up with My Adultery"! Sorry. I don't understand that.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  20. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    I was saying goodbye to my teenage years as the '70s drew to a close. I remember that period well. I loved Casey Kasem's "American Top 40" show to the extent that I would sit through it every Sunday morning and write down each song's place from one week to the next. I remember very well when Top 40 got to the point that almost every single dang record on that countdown was a disco song, more often than not either written, performed, or produced by a Gibb brother. That's not to say a lot of them weren't good records -- but when they've eclipsed everything else, there's a problem. And I don't think a disco record, really, would have helped Carpenters. "Can't Stop Dancin'" didn't help Captain and Tennille. It may have even driven away some of their base. It did nothing to help launch their "Come in From the Rain" album, their first poor seller.

    The biggest problem I had with disco (aside from the monotonous beat) was the vapid lyrics. Much credit to the Bee Gees for giving their singles some lyrical heft, probably helped along by having a movie plotline that they needed to support. Not so true of garbage like "Boogie Oogie Oogie" and a bunch of other dreck that lyrically didn't amount to anything more than "Shake shake shake" or whatever. "My Body Keeps Changing My Mind" isn't much better in that regard.

    There are a few that I like a lot. "Dancing Queen". "Dancing in the Dark". Most of the Bee Gees stuff. A few others, mentioned earlier. But there's a good reason disco got a bad name, and that's because too many less talented acts and producers grabbed onto the disco cow and milked it dry without much concern for quality. I wish, given that Karen decided to go there, she would have picked a better song than "My Body". I don't think that one would have cut through the din or, if it had, endured. It's fun to listen to now, I suppose, as an anomaly in their catalog. But it's a pretty lightweight bit of fluff, and I tend to think she deserved better material in the genre if that's a direction she wanted to go.
    Sabar likes this.

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    You have a point there, but it wasn't about that.
    It goes to show artists can get away with a lot with a beat...
    this new idea went right through the 80s to today.
    There are similar concerns with some of the dominant genres on the Billboard charts right now.
    A lot of these songs had great production value, so can't take that away.

    "MacArthur Park" by Donna Summer is crazy long... well the nearly 18 min medley she did with it.
    Amazing this trend could hold people the way it did.
  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, as many a music critic in the 1970's complained--
    much of the Carpenters' material was considered to be
    pop "fluff".....
    My Body Keeps Changing My Mind is not another Close To You or We've Only Just Begun, but,
    by the time Karen was recording that solo material, the Carpenters' music had already been ignored for a while.
    People Magazine, August 1976: "But it is their curse to be grooved in a middle-of-the-road musical bag and life-style
    at odds with much of their own generation."
    "Movie porn queen Andrea True moans an explicit piece of trash—More, More, More—
    and it becomes a gold record. She will almost certainly never have another one;
    yet Andrea is getting more, more, more attention than the Carpenters..."
    Richard: “Our music shouldn’t be compared to rock. It’s pop, and it’s progressive in its own pop way.
    We’re not your average ‘easy-listening’ act by any means. Easy-listening artists will only record what
    has already been done.”

    (But....he chose such Singles as: Hush, Goofus, I Believe You, Touch Me.....which
    had already been done....)
    Brother & Sister Act

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    Wow that says a lot.
    Was it in that "Superstar: Barbie Movie" where there were clips of people saying they didn't feel they could trust The Carpenters because of this?
    I easily forget, outside of these boards, there's others that really don't dig their music.
    Critics will be critics though.

    I know this is off topic...

    Karen talked about how some thought "Offering/Ticket to Ride" was "ash tray material."
    It mustn't be easy being an original, innovator, pioneer.
    The Carpenters were truly unique in the best possible way.

    I don't like to say it, but if Karen were alive today I think the best advice she could get would be "don't read the comments." I'm sure she and Richard both have had their her share of reading negative articles, yet the tabloid culture would become more pervasive in the 80s and the citizen journalism of today.

    Anyways, I don't doubt that she would have found her groove despite what anyone said.
    She was the type who says "all you have to do is tell me no and I'll do it." Lol!

    She would be like a fine wine... only gets better with age.
    Man, it gives me goosebumps to think of all the things she could have done...
    Given the right time, opportunity, surrounding people and state of mind.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
  24. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    Just realized that the woman who wrote "My Body Keeps Changing My Mind", Leslie Pearl, was also the writer and performer of "If the Love Fits" -- a vastly underrated, Mamas & Papas soundalike that didn't crack the Top 20. Given how much I like the latter song, I'll concede I'm probably guilty of underrating "My Body Keeps...". Karen would've sounded great on "If the Love Fits".

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  25. "If the Love Fits" is one of my favorite most underrated tunes of the 1980s, right up there with "First Time Love" by Livingston Taylor, and "City Lights", which Livingston sang with his older brother James. Just like Karen and Richard, their voices blend beautifully on that latter song.

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