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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. Song4uman

    Song4uman Active Member

    I don't know about singles, but the album "What's New?" was #3 on the charts behind Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie....
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I respect everyone's opinion on this issue, it bodes well for honest discourse.

    However, in response to applying "hindsight",
    may I simply add that a perusal of (at a minimum):
    (1) Rolling Stone, July 1974
    (2) People Magazine, August 1976
    (3) People Magazine, March 1983

    allows a small peak into the mindset--- at that time.
    (Was it "Us" Magazine 1976 who wrote:" Carpenters are out " ?).

    Those articles will provide some background as to Why I feel as I do regarding Carpenters' career.

    Of course, each recording is to be cherished....that is the reason we have remained ardent fans throughout
    the ups and downs. (Me, a listener since 1973...an album a day I play !)

    Did I ever allow the chart position of an album to influence my enjoyment of the album ?
    Of course, not.

    Needless to say, these questions being brought forth---regarding Career choices,
    are (some of ) the reasons that Histories and Biographies are written.
    "The Past is Prologue."
    (" The way it is commonly used today is to mean that the past is of great importance because it defines the present,
    and therefore sets the stage for the future.")
  3. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Made in America, while I respect your views, I do disagree with much of your last post. We are here to discuss our respect for K&R and their art as well as all the ups of downs of their career. We are bound to get into opinion as by definition we are on a discussion board. Thanks for sharing yours!
    GaryAlan likes this.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I concur, mstaft !

    If one is prevented from any criticism, then how does one recognize mistakes and alter the course ?
    Even Richard Carpenter stated that Herb Alpert dropped in the studio during recording of Album Hush
    and commented on its lackluster selection.....which, apparently fell on deaf ears---at that time !
    No hindsight needed.

    a stripped down arrangement of
    I Need To Be In Love
    a release of
    One More Time (as a Single)
    would have done wonders in 1976 !

    Comparison/contrast of the styles of management between
    Sherwin Bash (1970-1975) and Jerry Weintraub (1976-1983)
    makes perfect exercise in
    historical discussion of Carpenters' career.

    At least for History's sake, the discussion should not be downplayed--regardless of
    perceived positives or negatives.
    This is the nature of historical discourse.
    Carpenters are History.
  5. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I always hated the Easy Listening tag. Carpenters' audience was actually closer to "pop" or "soft pop." Easy listening equates to elevator music -- Ray Conniff and the like. I once tried to sell a Herb Alpert CD to a venue that wanted background music...the buyer had asked for easy listening music. He said, "Herb Alpert isn't easy listening...the trumpet stands out too much." That was when it hit me that "easy listening" is music that has no major standout qualities. Background music. The Carpenters records certainly don't fit THAT description.

    I know that Billboard had an "Easy Listening" chart that pigeonholed everything that wasn't hard rock ... but that doesn't make it right. Sergio Mendes wasn't "easy listening" either but he kept getting shoved into that category too.

    Carpenters belong in the same category as Jackson Browne, Carole King, James Taylor, and other soft rockers of that era. Linda Ronstadt too, although she got more rock-ish as the decade went on.

    Captain and Tennille were another act that I always thought were mis-advised. They hit #1 with "Love Will Keep Us Together" and then what did they follow up with? A bunch of sappy ballads. Their next album had more great uptempo stuff like "Shop Around" and "Angel Face" but for the rest of their career, they gave the most attention to the ballads. They could have had a lot more big hits with the type of fizzy pop hits like the three I mentioned but they chose to focus on her voice instead of his production. (Which is basically the same thing that happened with Carpenters in their last few albums.)
    Nick Sphnix, K.C. Jr and Jamesj75 like this.

  6. In the 70's, the term "easy listening" for the Adult Contemporary audience advanced similar to how "country" advanced to mean something more than what it used to mean. The term I was using was to fit the terms used in Billboard since that is what everyone is using to qualify success in these posts. But I have no problem altering my prior post and plugging in "soft pop". It doesn't change the direction of the post.

    The spirit of my prior posts is simply this: There are things to regret about the Carpenters, for example, Karen's health. But not the music. The reason they were and continue to be one of my favorite artists is because they rarely failed from a music perspective. They kept their musical integrity in check and created amazingly solid albums up to and even beyond Karen's passing. They were musical geniuses and they knew what they were doing.

    Could I nitpick and find some thing that I might have done differently? Like perhaps removing the DJ intro to "Calling Occupants"? Sure. But what if someone told Richard & Karen they didn't like the recording because of that and they decided to pull the plug on creating that track? That would have been tragic. Leave it alone. Allow Richard and Karen to do what they want to do. They've never disappointed. And because of that mindset, I am rich beyond belief with album after album filled with amazing recordings. Not a disco album like Helen Reddy created in 1979 with a see-through blouse on the LP cover and an album with recordings that tarnish her catalog.

    Hindsight has no value. Saying Richard and Karen should have done something different serves no purpose. Being a fan of the Carpenters means no regrets. They should be celebrated and not criticized. We see enough of the bashing occurring outside of our friendly confines without introducing any here. I loved their clean image (my goodness is that lacking in artists today!). I love their music (that's why I am here folks). So forgive me if I am disappointed when I see Carpenters fans wanting to change the Carpenters. I loved them as they were, career decisions and all.
    Daniel Perales and Jamesj75 like this.
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I am of an opposing viewpoint, MadeInAmerica.
    " We ", Fans of Carpenters---and, their music--are precisely the folks who should be allowed to criticize.
    Folks who have never delved into their extensive catalog, who have never taken the time to
    really listen to all of the songs---those are the ones to be disappointed in.
    I am not 'asking' for change. I am asking for honesty, integrity.
    Most --at least, here--have spent a lifetime enjoying all of their music.
    We (or, at least I) lived through the days when "we" were ridiculed for walking in to a "record store" and purchasing their product....
    We (or, at least I) lived through phoning radio stations, trying to get " I Believe You" played on the stations....
    Attending school, in 1978, saying, "yes, I watched the TV Special--Space Encounters-- last night", and then, getting laughed at....
    We, having to hide the fact that we collected every LP by placing more "hip" Rock groups in front of our cherished Carpenters' albums....
    We have spent a lifetime defending our passion for their music--if not, defending their souls,
    that is, their very existence...
    Thus, if, on this platform--this forum--we are dissuaded from complete honesty in our assessment,
    then, we do a profound disservice to Carpenters and their legacy.
    Jamesj75, Murray and Mark-T like this.
  8. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure if you saw this post but Goofus did hit the top 50 Billboard Easy Listening chart, in fact it went to #4 so someone liked it, I guess it was me calling 50 times each day into the radio station for a month straight!! :D

    Goofus vs BEechwood 4-5789/Worst single release »
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  9. Whether you agree of not, criticizing the Carpenters places you in the same category as the individual ridiculing you for purchasing their product. Some of the comments I read in this forum are the same as the ones coming from the haters outside of the forum. I have spent a lifetime defending the Carpenters' music and I have no desire to trash any part of their legacy at any time or in any forum. To me, that is honoring their legacy.
  10. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    I just wish to add a couple of quick thoughts...

    I like much of what I read here, sometimes finding valid, reasoned viewpoints in seemingly opposing views. I think that the bottom line for me is that we are all Carpenters' fans. We thus inherently enjoy and cherish their work and influence.

    As fans, some of us look back on the Carpenters' recording career with a nostalgic bent. Sometimes we're analytical, even critical, even questioning, often attempting to piece together puzzles that have not been clearly explained or adequately addressed. We try to fill in the blanks in an attempt to gain a broader, more complete perspective to satisfy our fanaticism. We cherish the music we have and yet yearn for what else might have been... There is no reason to be argumentative or divisive, and I don't think anyone comes here with that agenda. Our moderators and members do a great job in creating threads that invite continued and colorful discussion. And that is to be commended, particularly when you consider our duo began recording back in 1969!
  11. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    This isn't the first time on this board I've seen the implication made that one cannot be a true Carpenters fan if one is in any way critical of any output or decisions made during their career. It's certainly one perspective. It's definitely not mine. A lot of discussion is subjective and opinion by its very nature. As long as people 'show their working' when giving their thoughts, that strikes me as absolutely fine. It would make for a very strange forum indeed if there were nothing but the same opinions being posted on any topic and if everything Richard and Karen recorded were treated uncritically - the logical conclusion of this potentially being us all agreeing that 'Goofus' or 'Beechwood' were just as valid recordings and surefire great choices of singles as, say, 'Rainy Days and Mondays' or 'We've Only Just Begun', which is mind-boggling to put it mildly.

    I've noticed some 'tetchiness' in several threads over the last year or so to opposing opinions that I find somewhat worrying, but increasingly I've found myself just stopping reading threads where this attitude in my eyes starts to take over. Live and let live I say. Provided no one's seriously overstepping the mark in terms of reasonable behaviour or the broad rules of the forum, then that seems fair enough. We have the choice to engage and offer an alternative viewpoint or to stop reading certain threads if they're heading in a direction that we're not finding enjoyable. As I say, if people can explain why they like or dislike a song, that just adds to the discussion rather than taking away from it.
    Murray, Mark-T and GaryAlan like this.
  12. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Let's 'hear' from Richard Carpenter:
    "......So you did certain things that you think will be a hit, but wished you’d never done,
    like “Please Mr. Postman.” It’s really an extremely well-performed and produced pop record.
    But we shouldn’t have been doing any of those things (oldies) by that time.
    With side two of Now And Then, that should have been it.
    And beyond that, the very few times that I chose to use a synthesizer, I have regretted it.
    Every last time....."
    " ....Of course, if I had it to do over again,
    I’m like most artists who wouldn’t have done over 50% of what they did.
    I really believe that. So, there are certain recordings like
    There’s A Kind Of Hush” that are very well made, but pop fluff.
    Love the song, but we never should have made it."

    HuffPost Exclusive: The 40th Anniversary of Carpenters / Interview with Richard Carpenter »
  13. Self-deprecation is a past-time for artists. Richard states it himself, "I’m like most artists who wouldn’t have done over 50% of what they did". The decisions were correct at the time or they wouldn't have been made. It's similar to someone stating they regret marrying someone who they divorced later on. The children from that marriage could take offense to such a statement, but they are forgiving because it is their father. That's why I can forgive Richard for his statements of regret.

    But fans of their music are a different animal altogether. Because I purchased those recordings at the time they were released and I enjoyed them, they were the right decisions. Otherwise I wouldn't have purchased their follow-up releases. My investment in their music was correct then and it has made me wealthy beyond belief today because I still enjoy those recordings. I wouldn't attempt to rewrite the legacy of such an artist. It could only do harm. Why in the world would anyone who is a fan attempt to do so. It boggles my mind.

    Where I have no issue with criticism are contemporary decisions. For example, I have made it no secret that I feel Richard is selfish and shows a disregard to fans for refusing to release the TV Specials to DVD. So it's not like I live in a world where Richard can do no wrong and he isn't open for criticism. But I praise him for the music he and Karen created. I guess I am funny that way as a fan of the Carpenters.
  14. JBee

    JBee Active Member

    This has been an interesting topic. As I wrote earlier, generally I feel that neither "Goofus" or "Beechwood" are terrible songs or even the worst Carpenter songs (that goes to "Man Smarter, Woman Smarter"), in fact "Goofus" is quite fun as an album cut and, for me, "Beechwood" is the only toe-tapper with a beat in MIA. The real question is a) why, oh why, were they given single releases and b) should the Carpenters really have been recording them at all at that point (this is especially true of Beechwood in 1980-81) instead of more contemporary songs/beats.

    This is partly why I would love to have a recording "biography" of the Carpenters that just tracks their career - from being the top American group of the early 70s to a duo who couldn't crack the top 40 by the end of the decade, with the switch coming VERY sudden (as in from Horizon to A Kind of Hush). In March '75 they hit #4 with "Only Yesterday" but by June 1976 "Goofus" ended at a high of #56 on the charts. That's just over a year - like whiplash. And I don't care if it was the "fan club's" call, you don't follow up "I Need to Be in Love" (the first major Carpenters single to fall out of the top 20 since "Close to You" came out, which must have been a disappointment) with..."Goofus".

    Where exactly was A&M in all of this (we know from what happened with Karen's solo album and the making of MIA that Herb and Jerry could be hands on when they felt like it)? What was Richard thinking exactly? It's not like there weren't better album cuts on HUSH (even if it was only a so-so album overall in my opinion) than "Goofus". At least with Beechwood, one gets the sense that A&M wanted to get as much mileage out of a disappointing selling MIA as they could. I really wish there was more than the (out of print and somewhat out of date) Coleman biography to give a better picture of the management/recording thinking during this period. Richard pointedly regrets "Goofus" (and "Breaking Up is Hard to Do") now as songs they shouldn't have recorded and blames his own issues at the time - but it doesn't explain why the single release of that song, as opposed to almost anything else.

    My own (crackpot) theory is that the incredible success of "Please, Mr. Postman" (which Richard ALSO now says they shouldn't have done) became an overall detriment to the group ever afterword. The fact that they were able to cover an oldie from the 60s (which had already been a #1 hit) and also make it go to #1, seems to have convinced Richard and/or A&M that they could eventually do it again, despite evidence to the contrary. And so the Carpenters kept trying.

    Thus we have "There's A Kind of Hush" itself (the titular and prime single of an entire album was the cover of a #4 hit from just NINE years earlier), "Goofus", a 1930 song that Les Paul had sent to just #21 in 1950 (in a more generous period for such a record) as the third single from that LP, and Beechwood, another Marvellettes song (just like "Postman") that had gone to #17 in 1962, redone in 1981, as part of their comeback album. All released as attempts to recover that "Postman" lightning in the bottle.

    Despite being their last #1, it may be that "Postman" actually hurt the Carpenters as a group, since they kept trying to recover that "oldies" magical success...which is something I never understood since if you have one of the greatest vocalists of her generation, if not of all time, as your lead singer (something Richard thought even then and said as such in interviews) why give her such sub-par material (post 1975) and keep releasing cover songs of oldies as singles while Karen was still in her prime?
    Rumbahbah, GaryAlan and MissK like this.
  15. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    I think you had the answer to this earlier in your post -- the fact that "I Need to Be in Love", the type of ballad that used to soar into the Top Ten for them, didn't do well. Plenty of interviews at this point and shortly after show them to be confused, a little scared, even desperate. You don't want another ballad? What about this? ("Muskrat Love" was a big hit at the same time "Goofus" was a single. Stupid song, but it has some of the same novelty charm as "Goofus".) Honestly, I just think the Carpenters had hit the end of their ride as a radio favorite. Five years as a playlist constant is pretty exceptional.
  16. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    I think that's a possible explanation for why 'Goofus' was released, but I think that desperation you mention was more in evidence by the time of Passage and its singles. They may well have started naturally coming to the end of their 'hot' period at radio in 1976, but it did coincide with a certain drop in quality of their output (just as 'There's a Kind of Hush' was an ersatz attempt at an oldie in comparison to 'Please Mr Postman', 'I Need to Be in Love' has a more MOR arrangement than most of their earlier ballads), so I suspect it was the two factors combined that did for them.

    I think JBee is right to an extent that the remakes of oldies following 'Please Mr Postman' were attempts to re-create its success as a single, but I suspect that recording so many oldies was also an easy solution to the problem of finding new material to record by 1976. Richard himself has commented that many of the composers whose songs he and Karen had recorded early on their career (Bacharach/David, Williams/Nichols, etc) weren't writing together anymore, so that source of new material had dried up. Richard and John Bettis were starting to write fewer songs as well, and what they were writing and recording wasn't really hit material.

    What with their personal problems really kicking into gear at this stage, they were probably focusing less on searching for those new writers and songs to record, and so were settling for remaking oldies to make up the numbers on the albums. Richard allegedly had a good memory for old songs, so this wouldn't have been so hard for them to track these down. To some extent the problem was less that they were recording so many oldies than that they ended up picking such insubstantial oldies to remake!
    JBee likes this.
  17. One also has to take into consideration the proliferation of oldies radio stations around the mid-70s.

    Rock & roll (pop) radio had been a steady force through the late 50s and all of the '60s and into the '70s. The most-listened-to radio stations in that era played the current hits of the day. Some skewed harder, some skewed softer, some skewed more R&B, etc. But they pretty much all focused on the hits of the day with a few slightly older songs that still sounded good. Carpenters fit into this perfectly as the change-of-pace artist for the higher-energy stations, and were main staples at the stations that had a little softer sound for the adults.

    All of a sudden, a bunch of radio stations across the country began to discover the power of those old songs from the birth of rock & roll. The old 50s and 60s songs hadn't been heard much throughout the early 70s, so they all sounded fresh again. They had that "Wow" factor. Now-adults, who had been the kids who grew up on these records were flocking to those old songs in great numbers. And Karen and Richard themselves were just as perfect targets. All of the old "songs they loved so well" were being revived and it had a profound influence on the duo.

    It influenced the creation of one of their biggest records: "Yesterday Once More" and the whole Side Two of NOW & THEN - heck, even the title of that album refers to the divide between the old songs and the current stuff.

    The oldies thing was reacted to very favorably in their concerts and continued to be a highlight for years to come. When they opted to do "Please Mr. Postman" and it shot all the way to number one, it's no wonder that they, their management, their record company etc. were all impressed. Could this be a blue-print for the future? Do we have to write new songs when the old ones are still so thrilling?

    I agree that after A KIND OF HUSH as an album and "Goofus" as a single failed, they should have gotten their heads around the fact that old stuff wasn't going to work anymore. It was a pleasant diversion, but get over it. PASSAGE was a step in the right direction, with songs like "All You Get From Love Is A Love Song". "Calling Occupants" kind of slipped back into doing a cover song. It's still referred to as "that Klaatu song".

    And then MADE IN AMERICA brought us face to face with yet another golden oldie, brought back to life by the Carpenters, "BEechwood 4-5789". And yet even at this point in time, oldies radio was still a force. It was still getting great ratings from the all-important adult demographic, and yes, Karen and Richard probably loved that song dearly - enough to give it their own stamp. It was a function of the times in which they lived and worked. It's often noted that we as adults tend...TEND...to love the songs we were listening to at the ages of 13-15. It's not always true, but more often than not, it is.

    JBee likes this.
  18. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    There's a beautiful re-recording of Don't Stop Believing on a more recent Olivia album. Very lovely. You should give it a listen!
    GaryAlan likes this.
  19. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Carps management and A&M execs clearly dropped the ball after Horizon- arguably at the Carps were at the height of their career no less.
  20. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    Very good point. Thanks for the addition.
  21. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Active Member

    In the thread "Goofus Re-Evaluated" about three years ago, I outlined just how sketchy the Billboard Hot 100 numbers were:

    Goofus re-evaluated »

    The fact is, the Easy Listening/Adult Contemporary chart was even more useless. In the mid-60s, it was (according to Billboard) based on the relative position of the songs on the Hot 100 with the harder songs taken out...but a comparison of the two charts showed that wasn't true, and it was so poorly curated that Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" made it to #6 on the Easy Listening chart in 1965.

    Eventually, the Easy Listening/Adult Contemporary chart factored in radio airplay, but all that did was make songs that weren't selling at retail look bigger. It'd be like Chrysler counting every time someone rents a Chrysler 200 sedan at the airport as a sale.

    Bottom line: "Goofus" was a stiff. Beyond that, it was poison in terms of image (though it could be argued that since it didn't sell well, not enough people heard it to cause much more damage than Karen and Richard had already suffered), and Richard's right...they should never have recorded it, much less released it as a single.
  22. Back on the Richard-liking-oldies theme, let's not forget that even in 1989 when working Veronique, she recorded "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me", the old Temps/Supremes record from the late '60s - and it was released as a single! Album stiffed.
  23. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    These are all almost better arguments for why "There's a Kind of Hush" shouldn't have been a single...certainly that was a better-known "oldie" and, by peaking at #12, got enough attention for some folks to realize that a pattern was forming. "Goofus" was definitely less familiar and, as you've noted, made no impression at radio to cause any damage.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  24. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    It has always surprised me that at their highest point the material suffered. Their concerts were still sellouts so the desire for them was still strong.
    Mark-T likes this.
  25. JBee

    JBee Active Member

    I think all these things could be true:

    1) The radio playlists and record buyers were in a constant change of flux in the mid/late 70s and the Carpenters and A&M were not prepared for it, did not know how to reverse and after a single try (the throw everything at the wall and see what sticks Passage album) were content to keep up with the MOR sound (which is why we have A Kind of Hush and MIA).

    2) The Carpenters were due for a come-down after a solid 5 years in which every major single they put out made the top 20 and they were one of the most successful bands in the world.

    3) Both Richard and Karen were suffering health and mental wellness issues around about 1975 that would just get worse as the 70s went on and this had to affect them.

    4) The management team was not a great help. The C’s regarded themselves as a “recording” act and yet they had Bash who had them touring non-stop for years on end (to the point they put out no 1974 album at all at the height of their success) and then Weintraub who turned them into a campy old fogey Vegas act (concentrating more on performing their old hits than making new ones) before their time.

    5) Thanks to their success, A&M seemed to let Richard have his way, especially when it came to material - which may have been a mistake. Just think of how Herb literally saved/made the Carpenters when he gave them “Close to You” during a period when there some in the company who wanted to drop the duo. Richard could have used such help post-75 as well.

    6) Both Carpenters loved oldies (especially from the 1950s-60s). Richard’s regrets about recording them are all in retrospect. Karen even recorded “Jimmy Mack” for her solo album, even though that project was supposed to be a complete departure from the “Carpenters”. Had Karen lived they probably would have continued to record at least one oldie on their future albums. Now...whether to release such songs as singles is another story. As I said previously, I think the “C’s” and A&M continually had “Postman’s” success on the brain and continued to try to hit it again, despite it not working.

    7) The material itself was subpar compared to 1970-1975. Not just not “radio friendly” or listener tastes had changed (though that is also true) but of lesser quality. “Goofus” and “Beechwood” would not even have made it on earlier albums, let alone be released as singles. I think that is something that has to be obvious and the responsibility for it has to go to Richard and A&M (for a variety of reasons). Richard’s many, many regrets about various recordings since Karen’s death (regrets he never seemed to have about what they were putting out according to the various interviews he/they gave when KC was alive) is an acknowledgement now that some of the material then was just unworthy of Karen’s voice and RC’s talent.

    For me #7 is the overriding issue. The Carpenters were due for a decline but the sudden and quick descent would not have been so sudden and quick had they had better material. Both the HUSH and MIA albums in particular are filled with so-so to average MOR songs and the recordings they made in 1977-78 for the planned ’79 album (which found their way to Voice of the Heart and Lovelines) while pleasant were neither particular radio or top 40 chart friendly. I love listening to Karen Carpenter sing almost anything, but their version of ABBA's "Thank You for the Music" as performed on The Tonight Show is cringe-worthy for me (it just seems all wrong for them). Yet, according to the fan club notes at the time this song was a contender to be released as a single in 78 or 79! I don't blame Richard for never letting it out if there actually is a complete recorded track of it. But no one at A&M at the time seemed to intervene.

    I used to think that the problem (per Richard's belief as well) with the HUSH album could be put on the inclusion on "Goofus" and "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" (two of the Carpenter's lesser tracks) and the album would be stronger with better recordings (like "Ordinary Fool" which was recorded around this time and is one of Karen's best vocals). To an extent I still believe that, BUT, having listened to it again recently the primary thing wrong with the album is the title track itself.

    The thinking behind naming and launching an entire LP (especially coming off the critical and still solid financial success of Horizon) on the back of a cover of Herman's Hermits song from just NINE years earlier. And it is not a great cover either. With "Close to You" they also took a song that had been recorded by others but it was largely unknown and Richard transformed it to such an extent that the Carpenters version is now the standard. Then, with "A Song for You", the Carpenters took a song that had been (and has since ) successfully covered by a multitude of singers and made it a theme for the whole album, coupled with one of Karen's best-ever vocals, and the album itself was so strong they didn't have to even release the titular track as a single since there were many other strong cuts to choose from.

    With "A Kind of Hush" they relied on a so-so cover (that is NOT as good as the original in my opinion) of a song that was already a huge hit within the last decade for someone else, and named the whole album after it, and also chose it as the first (and perhaps in Richard/A&M's thinking thus the potentially most commercially successful?) single to launch the entire LP. If they thought "Hush" was the strongest single off the entire album for radio play and single marketing it speaks volumes about the overall weakness of the material Richard was choosing at the time. In fact, I think "A Kind of Hush" is one of their weaker single releases. The fact it was a top 20 hit was more on the fact that the Carpenters still had selling power rather than the particular cover of the song.

    This was the clearest example of trying to replicate the "Postman" oldies cover formula, since that was technically the first Horizon single (although I consider "Only Yesterday" the true launching single off of Horizon), yet it was a disaster. Yes, the song went to #12 (I think at this point almost any first single would also have done so - they could have released the superior "Happy" or "Desperado" from Horizon and it may have done the same, I even think the superior "All You Get From Love is a Love Song" which went to just #35 in 1977 from Passage would have been a top 10 hit had it been released at the time "A Kind of Hush" was)) but after that it was all downhill for both the album and the duo.

    After the "high" of #12 for "A Kind of Hush", IWTBIL (not a radio-friendly song, especially with that chorale) went to #25, and then for the third single they put out was..."Goofus"...which put them in the wilderness for the first time in six years. It can't all be blamed on the changing radio times (though some of it can) - the songs/material itself were just not on par with the public wanted/expected, and they never really recovered from it. I understand the Carpenters were confused at the time about the lack of success of the singles, but, it's not like no one saw it coming. Even Herb Alpert thought the HUSH album didn't click like the others, but let it go anyway. So there were warning signs.
    Mary Beth and Don Malcolm like this.

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