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I Believe You. No promotion

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by adam, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    'I Believe You' is the ONLY Carpenters single that did nothing for me. I've mentioned this before, but the only way I even knew about it was because I obsessively checked the Carpenters listings in the big yellow 'Phonolog' book they would have displayed at Musicland. It had an arrow pointing to the title, and it had apparently just come out that week! My timing was great. Musicland carried the Top 100 singles, so there it was....just one or two copies in the store.

    I took it home, and could tell by the opening orchestral flourishes that it was NOT a hit, and that it sounded rather Lawrence Welk oriented. Just too sugary and schmaltzy....not the kind of tune that should have come out in the fall of 1978 (of all periods). It has grown on me since, but I've never included it on any of the myriad compilations tapes/CDs I've made through the years for friends. Just doesn't have 'it'. The 'freckled little girl' line doesn't do it any favors, but what really bugged me more was the Glinda Good Witch of the North harps and strings.
    FreddieB likes this.
  2. aaflyer98

    aaflyer98 Well-Known Member

    I've always liked "I Believe You" but knew even then it was not a hit. Once the SACD 5 channel version of the song came out I can now say I LOVE that track!
  3. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Agreed, aaflyer, it sounds really GOOD on the SACD. You can turn down the schmaltz and just focus on Karen's singing and alternate vocal lines if you like. :)
    aaflyer98 likes this.
  4. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    Well of course Richard used her work lead in the mix-down for the SACD so that's a definite treat :wink:
    A&M Retro likes this.
  5. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    Amplify this thought by 100x and that sums up my feeling of the song. Completely embarrassing lyrics aside, that whole arrangement reeks of "career disaster" to me, firmly in the "old fogie"/outdated/square music territory they should have been trying to avoid at that point, IMHO. It is the one song on all those albums I cannot stomach listening to. I recall being excited when I saw this single show up at Peaches without even knowing anything new was imminent, but when I got it home... :shake:

    Usually takes an hour or so of Rob Zombie blasted at full volume to get this one out of my head. :laugh:

    As always, this is just my singular and totally misguided opinion, so it can be safely ignored... :wink:
    A&M Retro likes this.
  6. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    I have to agree, Rudy. I always think of Glinda. :)
  7. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    The arrangement on "I Believe You" is rather exquisite-and Karen's vocals are incredible.Wasn't outdated or square-it's just too classy for top-40 radio.

    Richard considers " I Believe You" one of their finest recordings & one of Karen's best performances.Whether it was a hit single in 1978 doesn't really matter-it has become a Carpenters classic.
    Jamesj75 and ThaFunkyFakeTation like this.
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I do recall a radio interview, late 1970's, where Karen refers to the song as reminiscent of Close To You.
    It may have been a Wink Martindale interview, but I haven't located the disc, yet (I have it stored on disc, somewhere).
    True enough, it really is irrelevant if the song did, or did not, become a "hit" single. It's still Carpenters.
    However, were I to introduce a new generation of listeners to Carpenters' music, I would never choose this song.
    The arrangement (forgive me, Richard Carpenter) is anemic. Absolutely, no oomph (except, The inspired drum fill).
    Vocals by Karen, while sublime, are unable to rise above the awful lyric. (just my opinion)
    The song places emphasis on all that the Carpenters' (image) were rallying against, at the time. (boring, soft, square).
    I remember the print interview (Radio Report 1978), " If Somebody Would Just Let Us Know What the Problem Is",
    and, this is the song that springs to mind.
    Sorry, if that assessment is opposite to many, but, I have felt that way (since 1978) regarding this song, and its choice as a single.
  9. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    Actually, Richard didn't arrange it as the arranger on this one was Motown's Paul Riser.
  10. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Chris, thanks so much for catching my huge blunder!
    I had truly forgotten that fact! Of course, it pays to do one's homework...which I did not do.
    Well, I do not feel as bad (regarding apologies to Richard), now!
    I really should have caught that it was not Richard Carpenter's arranging.
    Now, my question:
    Why did Richard Carpenter choose not arrange this song?
    Must be in some liner notes, somewhere.
    (Although) On the Official Webpage Song Notes (RAKC):
    Arranged by Paul Riser and Richard Carpenter
  11. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    Chris, I suspect that Dorothy Moore felt more comfortable taking out "freckled" because freckles are uncommon in blacks. I don't think it was the nausea factor that some here ascribe to the term. Moore's "Misty Blue" is a classic! As for the Carpenters' take on "I Believe You," because of this discussion, I have listened to it quite a bit lately, and it's growing on me... Also, back in 1978, I was ecstatic to hear a new single.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  12. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    James, I'm with you, as I have re-listened to this song quite a bit, since this discussion on this forum.
    Well, I will not go so far as to say it's growing on me: But, after listening to the near- a cappella rendition on
    Youtube, I will say Karen's vocals are beautiful. (Is this the SACD alternate vocal take?).
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  13. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    Gary, I hear where you're coming from... And I just heard this near-a cappella version on Youtube, based on your recommendation. It is stunning. You know, with all of Richard's marvelous and lavish arrangements, sometimes it's nice to hear Karen's voice in a stripped-down setting. For instance, most fans (myself included) seem to prefer the stripped-down version of "Make Believe It's Your First Time." And in the discussion here on Made in America, many argue that Karen's voice is not as prominent as it should be. Certainly, Richard worked magic, but Karen's voice was also magical.
  14. Actorman

    Actorman Active Member

    Me too. It's far from the worse lyric in the song. ("I'd live in a cave if you wanted to." Seriously??)

    For me, "you say you'll fill my body with your soul" is the total "ick factor" line. That is Madonna-style, double entendre territory of which the Carpenters usually always steered clear. (And at least Madonna used that kind of stuff in an empowering way unlike this song which is the exact opposite.)
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  15. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    Hey Gary,

    Regarding the arranging duties I'll paste what I wrote above:

    "I also see that Richard handed over arranging duties to Riser, but he still handled the background vocal arranging. I remember an early '78 interview where he and Karen both said they wanted to get back to their big "over-dubbed" sound that had been missing on the previous 2 albums. I Believe You certainly fits the bill, as does Slow Dance. . . and obviously MIA was overdub central."

    I'm guessing when the charts for this were being done, sometime between March-Sept '78, he was not in a good place with his problems, and maybe felt he had enough on his plate with the Christmas album etc. . . but he couldn't resist doing his beloved vocal arranging. Maybe he was shooting in the dark about what the public actually wanted from The Carpenters, so handed it to Riser for a different sound.

    I also see that Riser arranged Dancing in the Street from Space Encounters which aired in May '78, so presumably he did the arrangement in March/April. Maybe Richard gave him I Believe You to arrange at the same time, but they didn't get round to recording it until later.

    For what it's worth. . .I like "I Believe You", I just don't like its inclusion in MIA since it's not representative of their 1980/81 sound. It would also have freed up space for Uninvited Guest or Kiss Me.
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Thanks very much for the information, Ullalume! Much appreciated.
    Note the Carpenters' Fan Club Newsletter #60, July 1978:
    "Sorry we could not advise you on their appearance on the Tonight Show June 27th.(Where Carpenters sang Thank You For The Music)"
    Q: Can we expect a new single in the future?
    A: Decision not concrete, a toss-up between Thank You For The Music or I Believe You.
    Q: Any info on the New Album?
    A: Hope to be completed by the fall. Some of the tracks include:
    Little Girl Blue, When I Fall in Love, Dancing in The Street.

    Newsletter #62,November 1978: October 20th, New Single released :I Believe You. ( To be featured on the new album, some time in the new year.)
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    And, I might add, but probably shouldn't, if it were not Karen Carpenter singing,
    I would never give it another spin.
    Back in the day, and I a mere 16 years old, it astounded (?) me that Carpenters could go from
    Passage to this!

    What transpired with Thank You For the Music? After all, they performed it on National Television, June 27,1978.
    Was there a change of heart?
    (Recall: Abba recorded the song in July 1977 and released the song on LP in December, then released as a single in 1983.)
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  18. Yes, Richard deemed it too much of an ABBA-identified song, and he didn't feel that they could do the song any more justice than ABBA already did.

    For a sample of a Richard take on an ABBA song, check out Veronique's "One Of Us" on the VERONIQUE album that he produced. I suppose that a decade later he had no trouble working up an ABBA song for release on an album he produced.

    GaryAlan likes this.
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that info, Harry:
    And, I had forgotten about that Veronique cover One of Us.
    Also, that is one of my favorite Abba songs. (along with, Under Attack--I know, off topic!)
    Was Richard unhappy with the performance on the Tonight Show?, as the audience seemed to enjoy it.
    Certainly a completed Carpenters studio recording exists of Thank You For The Music ?
    Or, is it up in flames?
  20. I think it was just a change of heart. I can imagine them looking at the videotape and thinking, "What the heck are we doing singing ABBA songs? ABBA doesn't need any help and we're not adding anything to make the song better."

    Then there's the matter of the lyrics. Having Karen singing that she's the girl with the golden hair just didn't fit.

    BarryT60 likes this.
  21. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    Karen had amazing big brown eyes, it's because of this I thought it strange to change the lyric.
  22. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    I get it now, Chris. You're so right!
  23. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    I've always really liked "I Believe You", thought it a great song to open side 2 of MIA, and for years just assumed it had been recorded during the MIA sessions. After "Passage" there seemed to be this huge void of Carpenters songs released in the UK until MIA was released. I was getting pretty desperate after four years of hearing nothing new from the duo.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  24. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Is forgotten about the "fill my body with your soul" line. Yuck! I actually like the arrangement and "live in a cave." Paul Riser is a legendary arranger and it feel that what he did with this tune works extremely well. It's "elevator with guts." Plus, no overwhelming oboe. Always a plus!

  25. close2u40

    close2u40 New Member

    Harry, when I heard the Veronique version of "One Of Us" when it was released it made me sad. This was the PERFECT Abba song for The Carpenters to have covered! It was not released here in the States when Abba's "The Visitors" was released (although it reached Number 3 in the UK). The chorus is MADE for Karen!! It was pure ear candy and had hit single written all over it.
    Jamesj75 likes this.

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