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Favorite lead and/or background vocal by Richard?

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Without A Song, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. Without A Song

    Without A Song New Member Thread Starter

    This is just the kind of information I was looking for when I started my first thread on this site. So there definitely are some more completed unreleased tracks with Richard singing lead? I hope they get all get released someday, especially "Fool Me" because I've never heard that song, and "You'll Never Know," which I think is another one of Richard's best vocals.

    I hasten to add that I also want any songs with Karen on lead vocals released as well. And I would definitely prefer those tracks be released first. I find Richard's lead vocals enjoyable but nowhere near as captivating as Karen's!
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  2. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    If he was actually considering singing lead again, maybe he came to the realization that their best selling albums all featured some songs with him on lead vocals. In fact the only poor-seller with him on some vocals was Ticket To Ride.

    I've often said that the thing I liked most about those first five albums was the variety and fun in the sound, which they lost in the latter albums. Maybe he was thinking of trying to recapture that. I'd have loved to hear some more Richard leads in the later days.
    Geographer and Without A Song like this.
  3. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Yeah but the fun went away because Richard's productions became less fun. It wasn't the vocals. I seriously doubt the absences of his leads made the future albums sell worse and I doubt you believe that either. Heck, "Time" was a sales disaster and that had a lot of "Made in America"-style production and Richard leads. Karen is, IMHO, the greatest female pop vocalist ever. Because of that, Richard had no business singing leads on anything. Given how little time we actually had with her, I firmly believe that we should only have gotten Karen-led songs. Of course, no one could know that. Heck, I'm sure even he'd agree with that.

  4. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I would say Richard may have overdone it in the production department however I enjoyed his lead vocals equally as Karen's although His Time Album wasn't all him on the vocal leads as we know I still think it suffered from Lack of proper promotion more than anything I think there were 3 of his lead vocal tracks such as "Calling your name again" When time was all we Had. And" Remind me to tell you" could have Been fairly good follow ups to " Something in your eyes" had the aformentioned song been a bigger hit than it was. Nevertheless I'm thankful for All we have from Karen and Richard Together as well as solo and regardless of various tastes and opinion For me Everything is still fun to listen to and enjoy for all time.
    Without A Song likes this.
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I'm certainly in the minority, but, after listening to the Close To You LP this morning,
    I do not think Richard's lead vocals on I Kept On Loving You
    are particularly strong or memorable (the arrangement is not particularly memorable, either).
    That song, clocking-in at 2:14, and sequenced directly after Mr. Guder,
    --for me--provide for the weakest part of the entire CTY album.

    In fact, I prefer some of his Leads on the LP Time !
    But, that could be because his vocals do not come-in, on Time,
    as breaking-in on Karen's lead vocals (as would happen on a Carpenters' album).
    His harmonies with Karen are forever memorable, but otherwise, on any Carpenters' album,
    his leads are simply not needed and are not strong enough to carry an entire song (imho).

    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  6. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    The inherent problem with Richard’s leads is that his voice is weak, was usually double tracked (making it sound worse sonically) and the timbre of his voice just isn’t all that attractive. Multi-tracked - that’s a different story. He sounds great. He never would have made it purely as a solo vocalist and the commercial performance of “Time” holds up to that theory.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Not only do we read of the "at least two" Richard Carpenter "lead vocals"
    on the forthcoming Carpenters' album (June 1982), but, too,
    the "possibility that the Carpettes will be used on the next album." (April 1982, #74).

    What is going on with these choices ?
  8. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I would have welcomed a lead vocal by Richard on a follow up album after MIA. Especially if Karen was once again almost pushed into the background. It might had added some needed energy. On that note, Time had an energy that MIA was missing. I thought it to be a pretty good album considering the circumstances.
    Bobberman likes this.
  9. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    I recall reading an interview where Richard said, regarding Time, that Karen would have taken all the leads with the possible exception of Say Yeah!, so Richard might well have come back with a lead or two. . .in fact I think he tracked some vocals in 80 and 82, didn't he?
  10. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I think Richard sounded really great on Book of Love, Daddy's Home & Shuboom, where he clearly wasn't multi-tracked.
    Without A Song likes this.
  11. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    "Say Yeah!" is a total mistake in every sense. Richard tried desperately to be hip and, as was always the case, failed miserably. Not only should Richard not have led that tune, that tune shouldn't even exist. It's absolutely, IMO, the very worst thing any Carpenter has ever been associated with.

    "Who Do You Love" is definitely better but that song was completely out of his range both vocally and aesthetically. There was no way he could have captured that song and I can't imagine Karen doing so effectively either. The original recording by Mark Holden, on the other hand, is fantastic.

    newvillefan likes this.
  12. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I find "Who Do You Love" to be the best track on the album, actually. To my ears, it sounds fresh, Richard sounds happy, and I think it would have been a better choice as a lead single in the long run.
  13. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    You're right, I don't believe that. I think the future albums sold worse because the Carpenters' arc was on the downward side, which happens to all pop stars eventually regardless of how awesome they are. The albums having less fun and variety in their content and production may have hastened that, or it might not have been a factor - we'll never know.

    My favorite version of the Carpenters was when they were a true vocal duo and sharing the lead duties. Obviously Karen was the stronger voice and rightly deserved more leads, but my favorite albums are the ones where Richard had a couple of leads per album, or a line in a song here and there, like in "Crystal Lullaby." That's just my preference. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
    Geographer likes this.
  14. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    I've always wondered what that song would have sounded like, if it had been recorded by the composer, Paul Janz (who was a far better lead vocalist than RC, IMHO). Here's one of his hits...

    ... does anyone else think he looks like Mick Hucknall's long lost twin? :laugh:
  15. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I Like "Who Do you love" personally a great topical 80s song I would have to unfortunately disagree with it being out of Richard's Range I think Given the circumstances He gave it His Best shot and I still enjoy hearing it to this day as another member said it best " Different strokes for Different Folks".
    Geographer likes this.
  16. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    He's an actual tenor singer - I'll give him that. Most of the failing of "Say Yeah!', beyond Richard's voice, is the horrid lyric. I have no clue what Pamela Oland was thinking. "Up and down/ring around the roses/you move in close/I come undone". She's every bit as guilty of trying to be "hip" as Richard was. She also similarly failed. She was well out of her wheelhouse trying to write a "cool" lyric.

    newvillefan likes this.
  17. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    This is how "Who Do You Love" is supposed to sound:

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  18. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Richard is a baritone if he's anything. He's definitely not a tenor. The tune is in a tenor range. By the time he gets to the b-section ("If I'm hard to handle..."), he's singing outside of his vocal range and he's singing in his head voice. Tenor vocalists sold records at that point (they still do) so he had little choice but to operate outside of his range.

    goodjeans, Bobberman and newvillefan like this.
  19. I am one who always enjoyed the "variety" Richard's lead vocals added to the Carpenter's albums. After all, it was "CarpenterS" (plural)!! They were a vocal DUO, people! LOL. Seriously though, some of my favorite leads of his were: I Kept On Loving You, The Night Has A Thousand Eyes, Daddy's Home, Who Do You Love, etc. I think a solo or two on the "1982 album" would have been a welcome change and a would have added interest to the album. Even if his songs didn't win over new fans (which, as an act, they weren't likely to do anyway by that point), they would have pleased longtime fans in a nostalgic way.
  20. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I think Say Yeah and Who Do You Love should've been issued as the lead-off 45's from Time here in North America.

    It's to bad that Richard doesn't include the tracks from Time on more compilation albums. This should've been the type of album released in 81, not the MIA that we got (although (Want You) Back In My Life Again & Beechwood 4-5789 were sure steps in the correct direction). I think that had Karen lived, we probably would've seen a Carpenters album done like Richard's solo album, and I think one song that they probably would've covered as a duet would've been I've Had The Time Of My Life.

    But I was thinking, in terms of Richard vocals still in the vaults, I wonder if there are any outtakes from the Live In Japan & Live At The Palladium albums in the vaults with Richard leads. Or even the Riviera tapes, are there any Richard vocals on those.
  21. Without A Song

    Without A Song New Member Thread Starter

    I hadn't even thought about outtakes from live recordings but yes, if there are ones that feature Richard on lead vocals then I hope that those songs will also be released someday.

    One of my favorite songs from Time is "Remind Me to Tell You." It sounds great and I love Mark Mueller's lyrics: "I can be distant like an echo in a canyon. I get resistant and I need your understanding ..." and "How much I've come to rely on the strength that I find in your eyes." Just beautiful.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    One of mine is Calling Your Name Again - an exceptionally pretty melody, a great arrangement and a decent lead vocal. Although Richard isn't really a lead singer, to his credit he did hold his own and produce a half decent album with Time. There are plenty of strong tunes on there. If they'd been done by Karen, who knows what this album could have done. I'm Still Not Over You is the biggest tear-jerker on the album for me, especially when you listen to the lyrics in the context of Karen's passing. I can put it on today and listen all the way through and really enjoy it.

    I'd love more than anything to know what Karen thought of the album. I'm sure Richard feels the same. He's said as much about Something In Your Eyes:

    "That, to me, is one of the greatest records I ever made. And all I can think of is "My God, you know, if Karen could come down for one day - like in 'Carousel' - and I could play her all the things we've done posthumously and remixed...and I could say 'Karen, listen to THIS!'".

    Seeing him say this in that VH1 special always brought a lump to my throat. It must be very bittersweet for him.
  23. Actorman

    Actorman Active Member

    They don't sound all that different to me, to be honest. The arrangement is pretty much the same right down to the backing vocals ("tell me 'bout it," etc.). Vocally, other than being a little smoother on the high notes, this guy isn't really any better of a singer than Richard.
    Mark-T likes this.
  24. Actorman

    Actorman Active Member

    Donny and Marie did that all the time. :)

    I'm pretty sure the infamous vault list showed it as "Some GIRLS Have All The Luck" which would imply that it was a Karen lead. I've always assumed that it was the Rod Stewart song, just with the gender flipped.
  25. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    No, it didn't.

    There are a few other interesting titles that I've spotted having gone through that list again (my comments in bold). I'm sure many of these are covers and that original versions may be out there to give us a taste of what they'd be like. Anyone care to offer up comparative versions?

    All My Life - 81
    All The Way - 79
    All Good Things I Remember - 81
    Auld Lang Syne - 79
    Better World - 79
    Come And Be Kind - 77
    Dancing In The Street (full length studio recording done during "Christmas Portrait" sessions)
    Fallin' For Love - 82
    Fool Me - 82 - Richard on vocals
    For The Minute - ?
    Funny Faces - 79
    I Can't Stay Mad At You - 77
    I Don't Need You - 79
    I Don't want My Arms Around You - 80
    I Finally Got It Right This Time - 77
    Last of the Romantics - ?
    Lately - 79
    Lord's Prayer - 83 Surely Richard wasn't considering this for inclusion on VOTH?
    Love As Old As The Heart - 83 - RC Lead Vocal?
    Love Is Coming Back - 75
    Love Me Like The First Time - 79
    Love You Through and Though - 82
    Magic In The Music - 76
    Once In A Lifetime - 81
    Play A Simple Melody - 80
    Rainbows In Your Eyes - 79
    Real Love - 77
    Savin' It Up For The Minute - 77
    Sebastian - ?
    Second Thoughts - 77
    Slaughter On 10th Ave - 83
    Some Guys Have All The Luck - 82
    Stay Young - 77
    Stop Me - 82
    Sunday Afternoon - ?
    Sweet Talkin' Guy - 80 Another cheesy cover - possible alternative to Beechwood 4-5789?
    Thank You For The Music(studio recording) - 78. Two studio versions of this exist, at least one in finished form.
    Try To Win A Friend - 75
    We Won't Be Back Tomorrow - 77
    Where Is Love - 75
    Why Don't They Understand 80
    You Made Me Feel Love - 80
    Yours Sincerely - ?
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2018
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