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Herb Alpert and Carpenters

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by GaryAlan, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Might be nice to find instances where we read comments of Herb Alpert regards Carpenters.
    Here is the latest find:
    October 31st, 2017:
    " When asked which act he was most proud of, he answered quickly: The Carpenters."
    "I signed them and people in my own company said 'these kids are too cute, too soft,' but I saw something there," he said. "We had them record 'Close To You,' and it was not good. Karen was playing drums, which I talked her out of. More importantly, we brought in The Wrecking Crew (legendary West Coast studio musicians) who gave it a deeper, richer sound more in tune with the audience. That was all it took, the doors were busted wide open."

    Herb Alpert returns to Ohio after 40 years for one, special show (photos)
    Chris Mills and Carpe diem like this.
  2. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Is there a version of the "not good" recording of Close To You available? I would love to hear it.
    Must Hear This Album likes this.
  3. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I have wanted to hear that for many years too. I suppose a person can imagine how it would have sounded.

    It's interesting to listen to Karen's drumming on the Now and Then album...you can tell she tried to "toughen up" her sound on the uptempo songs, compared to the very early records.
    jaredjohnfisher likes this.
  4. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    There are two prior takes before they recorded a third version they settled on. I wish Richard would release them but I imagine he would think they’d tarnish everyone’s image of the song’s perfection. He’s wrong. Other artists have released early versions of their hits and the fans have loved them. Fleetwood Mac included a number of early/raw takes of songs from the Rumours album on the deluxe anniversary release of the album and they were great! Queen and ABBA have also done the same on occasion. It’s a fun insight into the creative process in the studio and the evolution of how a song comes to life.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
    Don Malcolm and David A like this.
  5. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I suppose it's possible those early recordings got lost in the Universal fire, OR perhaps they got taped-over with other recordings or otherwise lost somehow.
  6. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    Two tracks from Offering/Ticket to Ride stand out for me for Karen’s style of drumming, Eve and Turn Away.
  7. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Agnes didn't like Karen being removed from the drums in lieu of Hal Blaine for the recording and I'm sure Karen was disappointed, but who is going to argue with the founder of the label? Karen was barely out of her teens and was too much in awe of Herb to say anything. Once the song hit #1 and stayed there 4 weeks, everyone concerned with it was a genius.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  8. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Her drumming on "Now & Then" convinced me! Her style was definitely more oriented to jazz (she is superb on This Masquerade) but there were times when a more heavy handed approach was needed (example; Only Yesterday with Jim Gordon). I never thought Close To You was a drum-intensive song. I think Karen, if instructed by Herb or Richard what kind of sound they were looking for, would've been able to rise to the occasion.
    jaredjohnfisher likes this.
  9. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    Some people might think that Karen was the drummer of record on the track if they've watched the music video. The video shows her playing the drums.
    jaredjohnfisher likes this.
  10. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    Not all the way through, but listen to the fills and the way the bass drum hits. I think what made it all click was the chemistry in the rhythm section of bassist Joe Osborn and drummer Hal Blaine, who had years of playing together under their belt. You can't underestimate the power of a good rhythm section...just ask Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Herb, Carpenters and , 2017 Merry Christmas Darling:
    Yamaguchi likes this.
  12. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    9/24/2105 Austin Chronicle:
    Herb Alpert’s School of Music
    Trumpeter’s alums include Waylon, Satchmo, and Karen Carpenter
    "Most of the great artists we had were unknown until they started recording for us.
    Like the Carpenters, for one. For about a year into their recording contract, nothing was happening.
    I had the feeling from some of the people in my own company of, “Why did you sign these kids? They’re too soft.
    They don’t sound like what’s on the radio.” But that’s the reason I signed them.
    When I heard [Karen Carpenter’s] voice, it was like magic to me. Wow, what a sound.
    What a beautiful voice this girl has. And she didn’t even know she was a singer.
    She thought she was a drummer."
    Herb Alpert’s School of Music

    Herb Alpert,November 13,2012:
    " Oh, yeah. Karen had a magnificent voice. Her voice touched."
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
    Chris Mills likes this.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    November 9, 2017: Herb Alpert brings legacy of brass to Annapolis concert
    "...he also recalled one of his earlier signings,
    a brother-sister duo that faltered before clicking with radio programmers and record buyers in a very big way."
    “When I signed the Carpenters to A&M, their first couple of records didn’t do well,” Alpert admitted.
    “People in my own company said: ‘Why are you recording these kids? Their music is too soft.’
    Then ‘Close to You’ came out, and bang!
    They are one of A&M’s biggest artists, to this day.

    Herb Alpert brings legacy of brass to Annapolis concert
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Herb Alpert / The Christmas Wish
    A Conversation with Herb Alpert

    I briefly mentioned Richard Carpenter earlier. Richard and Karen Carpenter recorded one of the great Christmas albums of all time for your old label, A&M, and you used him to arrange your cover of his and Frank Poole’s original “Merry Christmas, Darling,” a song that now seems as traditional as “White Christmas.”
    What was it like working with him again and why did you choose that song?
    HA: Well, I signed the Carpenters to A&M in 1970, and I love Karen. She was a doll. She had a God-given, amazing voice. She never really realized how she affected so many people around the world with her talent. If you asked her, she’d say, “Well I’m a really great drummer.” She was something special. That song, “Merry Christmas, Darling,” was one of the songs on their Christmas album that I happened to like a lot. Richard wrote the song and I asked him if he’d do the arrangement for me on this one with the orchestra and the choir. He was more than happy to do that. He’s a really talented guy. When people talk about the Carpenters and they say, “Karen was this magical artist,” she was, but it was the two of them. Richard really knew how to get the most out of Karen’s talent, he knew a great song, and he’s an excellent arranger, so I’m delighted that he was part of this album.


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