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Goofus vs BEechwood 4-5789/Worst single release

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by adam, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    In my opinion, if they were going to record Beechwood for release, it should have been on Now and Then. It would have fit, and they were still young enough to pull it off. Aside from poor Karen being so ill, they were in their 30's, singing a teen song.
  2. JBee

    JBee Active Member

    Sonically and in terms of enjoyment, Beechwood is a better record and song. It ages better if you can get the video of it (and the way Karen looks) out of your head. But there is no way it should have been a single. There were no "hits" (except perhaps Touch Me) to be had on MIA. And the Carpenters, even though they loved the oldies, should not have been releasing a song like this in 1981. I think most of Richard's regrets about recording these types of songs relate to losing Karen so early, if she hadn't died I'm pretty sure the C's would still have recorded one oldie on every record, Karen even recorded Jimmy Mack for her solo album which was intended to update her image. But don't release any of them as singles.

    I get a kick out of Goofus. If you look at it as the Carpenter's meta-commentary on their own image, its quite ironic. And as an example of Karen's humor (she always loved the song and was actually disappointed it didn't do better), its also interesting. As an album track its fine, but a single? A single coming off a #25 MOR disappointing "I Want To Be In Love"? I have no idea what A&M/Carpenters were thinking. It wasn't "Please Mr. Postman" (and they had already gone to the 60s cover well with the album's first single "A Kind of Hush" which peaked out of the top 10) and it was a song from 1930 called Goofus and had been covered by Phil Harris and recently (in the 70s) performed by Lawrence Welk. A better song (possibly "You" from AKOH, or possibly re-releasing "Happy" from Horizon as a single, which was exactly the kind of upbeat song they needed to get on the radio) could have stopped the downward momentum that I Want To Be In Love gave them. Instead they got a song that peaked at #56 on the top 40. So in the sense on the damage to their careers, Goofus was the worst single.
    byline and MissK like this.
  3. Hate "Goofus"....hate the Les Paul/Mary Ford version as well. Love "Beechwood". But the video was ok. Compared to Karen, the other females in the video made Karen look even thinner. Karen looked beautiful facially in the video but her legs and arms looked like Olive Oyl's. Poor Karen....
    Tapdancer likes this.
  4. ScottyB

    ScottyB Active Member

    Sign of the times!
  5. Murphy

    Murphy New Member

    I hate "Goofus", because to me it represents the bad mistakes which ended the Carpenters string of hits. Granted this is probably unfair, because musical tastes were changing at this time as well. But I'm convinced that a poor selection of choices for singles speeded up their demise. "Solitaire" is actually the first "unsuccessful" Carpenters single. It peaked at #17, so you just knew something was wrong. Then "A Kind Of Hush" was a blatant attempt to recreate the "Postman" success...but the difference in energy between the two singles was night and day. "Postman" was driving and fun, while "Hush" was bland. The next single "I Need T Be In Love" is a very good song, but that damn chorale makes it sound so dated. Which brings us to "Goofus"...wtf were they thinking????

    Am I the only person who looked at the "Kind Of Hush" album, and saw "Can't Smile Without You" as the PERFECT single...it had all the pop elements of Close To You, as Barry Manilow discovered not long after.
    Must Hear This Album likes this.
  6. I love "You". I heard it for the first time only a few months ago on one of the radio programs about the Carpenters. I don't understand why it does not appear on almost any of their collections. I find it very touching.
    Jamesj75 and K.C. Jr like this.
  7. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I liked TAKOHush but I did not feel the timing was right for an oldie. You is nice but still bland and I can't picture it interesting live. Goofus is a nice song, just misplaced as a single. ICSWYou needed the hard rhymetic drive Barry Manilow gave it. I always thought Boat To Sail was the next strongest song. I agree that the OK Chorale did not belong on a POP song. I loved everything else on INTBILove, and just felt it needed a bridge. It was too formula-like to be different enough to charts higher. There was already an album's worth of material like it from the duo and thankfully without the OK Chorale. Most people never knew Goofus was ever a single so I don't believe any harm came from it. Ordinary Fool would have been nice as a single.
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I know we have Richard Carpenters' documented 'regrets' about
    recording certain songs ( 'regrets' based primarily on given what happened to Karen)
    --among which he has included Goofus and Beechwood---
    but, what we are missing in Carpenters' career retrospectives,
    is the precise reasoning (explained by Richard) as to:
    (1) why these two (in particular) were chosen for tracking,then recording,
    at that moment in time, 1976:
    and, then,
    (2) an explanation as to why they were chosen (again, by him) to be released as Singles.
    (3) Going further, why did no one (Herb, Jerry) at A&M stop those Single releases ?
    Album cuts, fine. But, as Singles ?

    (1) And, even Mike Curb had not the audacity to be truthful in 1982
    and say to Karen not to release Beechwood 4-5789 as a Single.
    (2) And, in 1978, Jerry Weintraub (producer of the TV Specials and Manager)
    approves Goofus to be aired on the Space Encounters TV Special.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  9. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    To be honest, when the "Hush" album first came out, "Goofus" was one of the songs that I was initially taken by...I suppose because it was different and, in a pretty lackluster and unimaginative collection overall, it stood out. While "I Need to Be in Love" was the current single I did the usual fan thing and wrote to the fan club suggesting "You" or "Goofus" as the follow-up. Ev wrote back and said Richard did read that letter, so yeah, maybe it's my fault... :cry:
    Looking back today, I consider "You" and "Can't Smile Without You" as the strongest tracks on the album. Anyone else who was alive and well in '76 and would like to comment on their first reactions to "Goofus" at that time, please do. Hopefully I'm not alone...
    Jamesj75 and GaryAlan like this.
  10. This post triggered a fan memory from the distant past....

    I was SO upset that Barry Manilow scored a hit with "Can't Smile" especially with the single choices coming off of "AKOH". Then when Anne Murray later scored a huge hit with "I Just Fall in Love Again" and the Carpenters had a far superior version included on the "Passage" album, it just pushed me over the edge and resulted in a scathing letter to the fan club. I don't recall receiving a response - maybe I made Evelyn too angry! Oh well, recalling the passionate days of my youth....:) Ha-ha.
  11. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I thought Barry's version was so much better but Anne's was not.
    goodjeans likes this.
  12. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Well, I've been 'spinning'
    this morning.

    For the record:
    I think it has a brilliant arrangement and great vocals.
    A Single release, no.
    But, as an album cut, I love it.
    Jeff likes this.
  13. Song4uman

    Song4uman Active Member

    Goofus is an OK album cut, but really shouldn't have been released as a single IMO. Beechwood was just behind its time.
  14. You are not alone. In fact, if they felt the need to release another single from that LP, I still feel it was the correct choice because I don't see anything else from that LP single-worthy or charting that high in 1976. Now, if they would have arranged "Can't Smile Without You" similar to Manilow's later version, most definitely that would have been single-worthy material. So the regret shouldn't be that "Goofus" was a single release. The regret should be that they didn't approach the song "Can't Smile Without You" properly.

    As I have said before, the only single release in their entire history that I feel was an error was "I Believe You" (I thought that at the time of release). All other decisions were perfection and Richard & Karen should be applauded. Any other analysis is just typical hindsight chatter, which Richard himself has been guilty of as well.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  15. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    So many unanswered questions, GaryAlan. I share your desire to learn more about these single releases (as well as others), certainly more than what we can glean in liner notes... Sometimes we don't have much more than that...

    Toolman, I was alive and well in 1976! And as I've stated in other threads, I am a HUGE fan of A Kind of Hush, the album, as well as "There's a Kind of Hush (All Over the World)," the single. I enjoy every song on that album. It pains me that Richard has stated regret at recording "There's a Kind of Hush..." (single) as, to me, it's fun and fantastic! I remember being so excited hearing this new Carpenters' song on the radio! As for "Goofus," that track was my least favorite; and back in 1976, I was shocked that it was released as a single. I thought, at the time, that "Can't Smile Without You" or "You" would have been better choices.

    Made in America, I think that all of our discussions herein are indeed "typical hindsight chatter." But it's great to have them! :)
    Mark-T likes this.
  16. To some degree, but I was referring specifically to career decision regrets. My biggest regret is not having a time machine where I can go back and alter some of the decisions to what people believe should have been made. Then demonstrate how all of those alternate decisions would have been even worse career moves. :wink:
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  17. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I'd disagree - it's clear the record buying public felt the same way in 1976 as we do now or the song would have charted higher.
    Rumbahbah likes this.
  18. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, one line sums up what I perceive to be the Carpenters' career problem (1976 Onward) :
    Coleman Biography, Page 214:
    1976, Jerry Weintraub to Richard Carpenter,
    " You are the Perry Como's of Today !"
  19. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    Absolutely. Whilst 'Sing', 'Solitaire' and 'There's a Kind of Hush' may in hindsight seem like poor choices of singles despite their reasonable commercial success, the fact that 'Goofus' should never have been a single was made abundantly clear at the time of its release by its highly disappointing chart performance - their first single in over six years, let's not forget, not to make the Top 40 (and it didn't even come close to making it either).
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    And, yet:
    May 1978....Space Encounters Television.....Goofus....is aired !
    Late 1981....Beechwood lip-synced--on Television-- in Europe....!
    Newsletter April 1982:
    "Richard decided to release Beechwood 4-5789 on Karen's Birthday...."

    Even allowing for hindsight....
    What is going through Richard Carpenter's mind to arrive at these decisions--at that time ?
  21. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    I suppose the main reason "Goofus" was used in the TV special is that it fit what they wanted to do in that particular segment. The single did go to #4 on the AC charts. Nobody's questioning the use of "Sweet Sweet Smile" to open "Space Encounters", but that wasn't a Top 40 hit either. Top Ten Country, which is happy, but if the Hot 100 is used as the standard for success, "SSS" was as questionable a choice as "Goofus". A lot of the decisions probably just boil down to wanting to use recent material rather than ride on the success of the early singles and come across as an oldies act.
    Made In America likes this.
  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Excellent points, Toolman !
    Unfortunately, every time I read about Weintraub's involvement in their career
    (e.g., "...Perry Como of your time..." and producer of all of the Carpenters' television specials,
    not to mention, The Movie.....)
    I am under the impression that Weintraub convinced Richard that they needed to "play to" the Como audience,
    or, at least, to that mindset.
    Unfortunately, by 1976, they were being perceived as 'an oldies' act.
    For the record, I have never heard--then, or now, Goofus or Beechwood on the Radio.
    Whereas--at least where I was at the time--all of the Passage Singles I heard often on the radio.

    I do not believe--as Weintraub believed--that placement on Television spurred album sales.
    But, notice this entire advertisement:
    The Pittsburgh Press - Google News Archive Search ยป
    Mark-T likes this.
  23. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I agree, GaryAlan, with Weintraub's direction, they became old before their time. As much as I LOVE "Music, Music, Music", a couple of folks 30 and 33 should not have done a special that "aged" them by 25 years. (Nor should they have done some of the corny stuff either.) TOTAL mismanagement and mismarketing of the duo once again. Linda Ronstadt could pull it off in 1983 because she was already seen as cool.

    For all its mistakes, Passage at least made them contemporary.
  24. Yet for being "contemporary", "Passages" didn't have a single that made it above #32. So this talk about career decisions and directions is silly. The Carpenters were never going to be a disco act. Nor a new wave act. Nor anything else outside of their area of expertise. Their audience was easy listening. The easy listening period of the first half of the 70's allowed them to shine. And like other easy listening acts of that era, their success on the singles chart diminished naturally. The Captain & Tennille also made specials at that time which focused on old music. Perhaps the Carpenters shouldn't have recorded the Christmas Album of old standards either because it aged them? Good grief.

    Linda Ronstanst pulled it off? In 1983, Linda Ronstadt couldn't get a single higher than #53, which is only 3 spots higher than "Goofus".

    People people people. This hindsight stuff is getting ridiculous. I cherished every one of the Carpenters releases and thank goodness they didn't follow any of your recommendations because we would then be discussing how those failed attempts shouldn't have been made and they should have stayed with what they were good at.
    Daniel Perales likes this.
  25. Song4uman

    Song4uman Active Member

    Of course many of the things written on this site are opinions...everyone is entitled to theirs. None of us knows what might have been.... We can't go back and see the future, otherwise Karen might still be here.

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