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I Believe You. No promotion

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
It’s just plain boring to the mostly younger people that bought 45’s back then. Geared at MOR radio, mostly non music consumers, or request line callers. It was DOA. I don’t think we sold more than 5 copies. Mostly to me, just because.....
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
I think the problem with HCL was the ...light a cigarette, line of the song. It didn’t fit Karen’s image at all. They sang it as written, which surprised me the first time I heard it. I still don’t like that one line. Slow Dance would have been a much better choice, but not a hit either I’m afraid. Maybe top 30 at best.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I think the problem with HCL was the ...light a cigarette, line of the song. It didn’t fit Karen’s image at all. They sang it as written, which surprised me the first time I heard it. I still don’t like that one line. Slow Dance would have been a much better choice, but not a hit either I’m afraid. Maybe top 30 at best.
Yeah, that's the one issue with the song---but considering that Karen laid down backing vocals for the song, most likely in 1978, Honolulu City Lights seems to have been quite a ways along when the decision was made not to finish it, you have to wonder why I Believe You was picked over it. Or why it wasn't finished for Made In America.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I Believe You....is interesting, in that Dorothy Moore's single release scored much better on the charts (only on the Easy
Listening chart did the duo's version place higher than Moore's---but that might not amount to much in terms of sales).
Personally, I prefer Carpenters' version. However, on the whole the song is a sleeper for me (I do like the drum break, though).

Now, to read Wiki, the poor showing is attributed to the absence of an album release in 1978 to coincide with the single release.
However, I believe that that explanation is entirely beside the point. The song itself is the problem.
To be sure, the song makes a pleasant-enough album cut, it is simply not cut out to be a "hit" pop single.
Quite frankly I am surprised that it was released as a single at that time.
Unfortunately, I am not informed as to the technical aspects of music, but there is something about the song that
has never set right with me (excluding lyric). That is, I recall hearing it in 1978 on the radio and from first-listen
I knew it would bomb. But, I can not describe why that is.
On the other hand, I felt that the three singles from Passage would do well, so what do I know !

I think 'I Believe You' is a perfectly decent song (ironically it's one of the few tracks on Made in America that I actually enjoy) and it's a lovely performance by Karen, but it had no chance of being a hit single in 1978. Dorothy Moore's version had already made the Top 30 only a year earlier, so it wasn't as if their version was resurrecting a song that no one had heard for a while - it had already seen a moderate hit for another artist in the recent past. They didn't really promote it either, which surely didn't help.

The bigger problem though as I see it is there none of the other songs they recorded in 1978 sounds even vaguely like a hit to me either. Some of them are nice performances, but there is no sure-fire commercial single amongst them. Had the album actually gone ahead and been released in 1979, I'm pretty certain it would have produced no Top 40 singles. Sad to say, but I think by this stage (partly due I'm sure to their personal issues at the time) their focus wasn't really on what type of music they should be recording in order to stay competitive on the chart.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
1978 is full of interesting things.
I listened to the (rel: July 7) 1978 BL Mitchell song, Where I Want To Be. Not a bad tune at all. I can hear Karen singing this song.
One notes from the info on the 45-vinyl that it is produced and arranged by Richard Carpenter... "for RC Productions."
Now, the flip side is a remake of "Venus," which is orchestrated by Richard Carpenter. This song is forgettable in every way (imho).
We read in the Fan Club Newsletters (July 1978) Sweet Sweet Smile has become a "hit in Europe." ASCAP presented the duo
with two awards for the success of the song Sweet Sweet Smile.
Read July 1978: The song Thank You For The Music is "being incorporated in their new road show."
We read (CFCN November) that I Believe You was released October 20th (b/w B'wana She No Home).
Apparently, the duo were scheduled to be guests on Kenny Rogers' TV Special and "discussions are in progress"
for Karen to appear on Love Boat or Fantasy Island (CFCN September).
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
1978 is full of interesting things.
I listened to the (rel: July 7) 1978 BL Mitchell song, Where I Want To Be. Not a bad tune at all. I can hear Karen singing this song.
One notes from the info on the 45-vinyl that it is produced and arranged by Richard Carpenter... "for RC Productions."
Now, the flip side is a remake of "Venus," which is orchestrated by Richard Carpenter. This song is forgettable in every way (imho).
We read in the Fan Club Newsletters (July 1978) Sweet Sweet Smile has become a "hit in Europe." ASCAP presented the duo
with two awards for the success of the song Sweet Sweet Smile.
Read July 1978: The song Thank You For The Music is "being incorporated in their new road show."
We read (CFCN November) that I Believe You was released October 20th (b/w B'wana She No Home).
Apparently, the duo were scheduled to be guests on Kenny Rogers' TV Special and "discussions are in progress"
for Karen to appear on Love Boat or Fantasy Island (CFCN September).

It's funny, re BL Mitchell, I prefer his cover of 'Venus' to 'Where I Want to Be'.

The comment about 'Sweet Sweet Smile' being a hit in Europe is something of an exaggeration. Apparently it made #22 in both the Netherlands and Germany, which is OK but hardly big hit numbers, and only #40 in the UK. 'Calling Occupants' was probably a bigger hit in Europe overall, going Top 10 in at least two territories.
 

adam

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
It's funny, re BL Mitchell, I prefer his cover of 'Venus' to 'Where I Want to Be'.

The comment about 'Sweet Sweet Smile' being a hit in Europe is something of an exaggeration. Apparently it made #22 in both the Netherlands and Germany, which is OK but hardly big hit numbers, and only #40 in the UK. 'Calling Occupants' was probably a bigger hit in Europe overall, going Top 10 in at least two territories.

Hi
Sweet sweet smile also made no 19 in Belgium its biggest success was no 10 position in Zimbabwe.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
As I stated in the RPO thread, I Believe You is the one song on the RPO album that in my opinion sounds significantly better with Richard's 'tweaks'. I would have to listen to it again to point to specifics, but regardless, even with the RPO version it would not have been a hit in the late 1970's, for the reasons others here have stated.
 

Donn

Member
I remember purchasing I Believe You from a record store (I was 20 at the time) - I had not heard the song on the radio, so I was eager to play it - my first thought was huh???? this will never be a hit - of course I appreciate it now, but it just did not have any potential for Top 40 when it was released - one of Richard's few miscalculations for single release, along with Solitaire and Goofus
 

Portlander

Well-Known Member
Though "Solitaire" is not one of my favorites, it still charted respectfully at #17 Pop and #1 on the AC charts. I'm in total agreement that Richard goofed with "Goofus". By the time "I Believe You" was released the Carpenters radio popularity in the US had declined to the point of no return and it wouldn't matter what Richard released as a single. On the upside, Karen and Richard did have a successful run of TV specials and a top selling Christmas album during this period and still remained somewhat relevant with the public. Richard was also at his lowest point towards the end of the decade which I'm sure played a major role in his decision making.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Though "Solitaire" is not one of my favorites, it still charted respectfully at #17 Pop and #1 on the AC charts. I'm in total agreement that Richard goofed with "Goofus". By the time "I Believe You" was released the Carpenters radio popularity in the US had declined to the point of no return and it wouldn't matter what Richard released as a single. On the upside, Karen and Richard did have a successful run of TV specials and a top selling Christmas album during this period and still remained somewhat relevant with the public. Richard was also at his lowest point towards the end of the decade which I'm sure played a major role in his decision making.
Yes, you would still regard 'Solitaire' as a hit single. It was Top 20. Probably bigger than a lot of artists have as their biggest hit. It was certainly a lot more classy and a much stronger arrangement, production and performance than a lot of its competition on the charts at the time, including those songs peaking higher. I was hypnotised by it at the time and still love it to this day. A magnificently impressive recording.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
In Australia in the 70s, some songs were released around three months after they were hits in the UK or USA. 'I Believe You' seemed to be released right at the beginning of 1979, because it suddenly began being played every day on our local radio station in January of that year. It seemed to be on high rotation. I was tuned into the radio all day every day that summer throughout December and January, (the school summer holidays), and would hear it without fail. 'Calling Occupants' had been Top 5 in my state exactly a year before that, (it peaked mid-January 1978). While I recognised that 'I Believe You' was in a totally different genre and was unlikely to appeal to the kids as much, (apart from me), I had my fingers crossed. The charts were such a mixed bag at that time that you never knew.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
But the best thing about the "I Believe You" single is its b-side, "B'wana She No Home". On that single, "B'wana..." has a bit more stereo separation than it does on any CD. It's also that way on the PASSAGE vinyl.

Does anyone know if the mix on the 3” CD from the Japanese Singles Box Set is the same as the original 45 single mix? I’ve got the set but never thought to take a close listen to it.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
In the US, there were some very light, easy listening songs in the Top 20 in November and December 1978 when 'I Believe You' would have been a hit if it was going to be a hit, including 'Time Passages' by Al Stewart, 'Talking In You Sleep' by Crystal Gayle, 'Don't Throw It All Away' by Andy Gibb, 'You Needed Me' by Anne Murray, 'Reminiscing' by Little River Band, 'You Don't Bring Me Flowers' by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond, 'Sharing the Night Together' by Doctor Hook and 'Ooh Baby Baby' by Linda Ronstadt, and some of these were Top 5. There are even a couple of Number Ones amongst them.

The American Top 40 at that time was likely to be a mix of very easy listening stuff, country, disco, soul, harder rock, instrumentals and a number of other genres - so it wasn't beyond the realms of possibility for 'I Believe You' to fit in amongst them - although you were probably a bit less likely to have a big Top 10 hit with an easy listening song than with something a bit harder.

To me, 'I Believe You' sounds like a more likely hit than 'Time Passages' or 'You Don't Bring Me Flowers', as much as I like 'Time Passages'. The other easy listening songs mentioned above I can recognise have a repetitive hook or a catchy chorus, which were almost necessary ingredients for hits back then, and made them a bit more likely to be hits.

I think that it would have been unlikely for 'I Believe You' to be a hit then, because it was slow, it was about marriage, it wasn't something that the main record buyers of 12 years old to 20 years old were going to be able to relate to much, (pairing up for a life time, setting up house, having a child), so the odds were low for Top 40 status. However, some other songs broke the odds and maybe Richard had so much faith in Karen's performance, the orchestration of Paul Riser and his own production that he thought the single might have had a chance.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Does anyone know if the mix on the 3” CD from the Japanese Singles Box Set is the same as the original 45 single mix? I’ve got the set but never thought to take a close listen to it.

It's the same as all of the other CD mixes. Even the COMPLETE SINGLES version is the same really narrow version.
 
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tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
It's the same as all of the other CD mixes. Even the COMPLETE SINGLES version is the same really narrow version.
It’s the Remastered Classic version. The 80’s CD version sounds a little better, but for whatever reason no digital version sounds stereo or has the dynamic range like the 45 and pre-Remastered Classics LP, the all sound mono. Actually, does anyone have the 2017? Passage LP? How does B’Wana sound on there?
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
I just listened to several I have. The acetate, pre-release record , the 2017 vinyl, all 3 Japanese cd boxes, white, black and shm versions. They all sound close to mono. Most of the music and vocals come from the center speaker. Not much from the other front speakers, zilch from the rear speakers. The flute is a bit stereo, the same with the sax. The mid 80’s Japanese vinyl was much better. Definite stereo, but huge reverb on the entire track. I liked it best of all.
strange how that slipped through like that.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I just listened to several I have. The acetate, pre-release record , the 2017 vinyl, all 3 Japanese cd boxes, white, black and shm versions. They all sound close to mono. Most of the music and vocals come from the center speaker. Not much from the other front speakers, zilch from the rear speakers. The flute is a bit stereo, the same with the sax. The mid 80’s Japanese vinyl was much better. Definite stereo, but huge reverb on the entire track. I liked it best of all.
strange how that slipped through like that.
Sounds like they are using the 1998 Remastered Classics digital masters for Passage for everything since 1998.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Though "Solitaire" is not one of my favorites, it still charted respectfully at #17 Pop and #1 on the AC charts. I'm in total agreement that Richard goofed with "Goofus". By the time "I Believe You" was released the Carpenters radio popularity in the US had declined to the point of no return and it wouldn't matter what Richard released as a single. On the upside, Karen and Richard did have a successful run of TV specials and a top selling Christmas album during this period and still remained somewhat relevant with the public. Richard was also at his lowest point towards the end of the decade which I'm sure played a major role in his decision making.

'Solitaire' did OK on the charts but I think they were expecting it to do much better than it did. I recall Richard mentioning in an interview from around late 1975/early 1976 that Karen wasn't a big fan of the song and that she turned out to be right, as it was their worst performing single at that time (of course, things were soon to get much worse than peaking at #17!). In hindsight, I don't think it was a good choice of single and there were better options on Horizon for the third single.

I don't know how much of an 'upside' there was for them in late 1978 in the US. The Christmas album eventually went on to be a strong seller, but crucially it wasn't a big seller at all on its initial release in 1978. I know the 1976 TV special got good ratings, but did the other three specials in 1977 and 1978 also do well in that respect? I don't recall reading anything about this.

I also don't recall Richard having ever discussed the decision to release 'I Believe You' as a single or what the plan was (if indeed there was a plan) behind the other songs they were recording for the supposed 1979 album. Perhaps because of all else that was going on for him personally in that year, he doesn't wish to remember that time particularly - or maybe it's simply no one has ever asked him that question. Outside of the fanclub letters, you'd have had no idea that the plans for a 1979 album were even in the works.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
'Solitaire' did OK on the charts but I think they were expecting it to do much better than it did. I recall Richard mentioning in an interview from around late 1975/early 1976 that Karen wasn't a big fan of the song and that she turned out to be right, as it was their worst performing single at that time (of course, things were soon to get much worse than peaking at #17!). In hindsight, I don't think it was a good choice of single and there were better options on Horizon for the third single.

I don't know how much of an 'upside' there was for them in late 1978 in the US. The Christmas album eventually went on to be a strong seller, but crucially it wasn't a big seller at all on its initial release in 1978. I know the 1976 TV special got good ratings, but did the other three specials in 1977 and 1978 also do well in that respect? I don't recall reading anything about this.

I also don't recall Richard having ever discussed the decision to release 'I Believe You' as a single or what the plan was (if indeed there was a plan) behind the other songs they were recording for the supposed 1979 album. Perhaps because of all else that was going on for him personally in that year, he doesn't wish to remember that time particularly - or maybe it's simply no one has ever asked him that question. Outside of the fanclub letters, you'd have had no idea that the plans for a 1979 album were even in the works.

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