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If "Help" became the follow-up single?

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
I'm hoping one can really like "Help" (which I do), but also think it probably not single material at the same time?
Well, if Herb had never given them "Close To You", and Richard hadn't seen the Crocker bank commercial, then the second album would have been quite different, and "Help!" would at least have been in the running for the next single.

That's a lot of "ifs", but then fifty years hence, all we have is what we have and "ifs".
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Yep. It would have likely been between "Baby, It's You", "Help!" and "I'll Never Fall In Love Again", all songs by either Bacharach or Beatles.
 

Greg

Active Member
I like 'Help' as an exercise in arranging, but to me it would have been career suicide as a second single. 'Baby It's You' would probably have been the one and may well have done quite well, though nothing compared to CLY or Begun.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
This has been discussed elsewhere but wasn’t ‘I Kept On Loving You’ also technically a single from the ‘Close to You’ album? I think the catalogue number on earlier pressings indicates that ‘I Kept On Loving You’ is the ‘A’ side of the single and the song ‘Close to You’ is the ‘B’ side - or am I wrong? However, I think that ‘I Kept on Loving You’ and ‘Close to You’ both have letters after the numbers - which aren’t the usual ‘A’ and ‘B’. I’ve been trying to read the catalogue numbers online but they’re blurry on all photos I’ve seen. Those numbers are no doubt on here somewhere. Maybe I’m wrong and ‘Close to You’ was the ‘A’ side all along.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Yes, the 1961-S of ‘I Kept on Loving You’ and the 1962-S of ‘Close to You’ indicates that ‘I Kept on Loving You’ was presented as the ‘A’ side, at first. This has been discussed before, actually.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Yes, the 1961-S of ‘I Kept on Loving You’ and the 1962-S of ‘Close to You’ indicates that ‘I Kept on Loving You’ was presented as the ‘A’ side, at first. This has been discussed before, actually.
I think there was some discussion before the single's release as to which side should be on the A side, but I don't believe 'I Kept on Loving You' was ever treated as the actual A side once the single was released and then it was flipped to 'Close to You'. What you're talking about sounds like a mispressing on some copies of the single.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
The matrix number on that single "would" indicate that "I Kept On Loving You" should be the a-side, so it may have been a thought somewhere along the line, but once "Close To You" was ready, it became the de facto a-side.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
I like 'I Kept On Loving You' a lot. It is another exhilarating piece in the quite eclectic mix of the album. There's actually a lot of variety in the tracks on that LP. Whether 'I Kept On Loving You' would ever have made any dent on the charts is anyone's guess. It could have had a bit of success. Obviously, it would never have been the smash that 'Close to You' and 'We've Only Just Begun' were. But it might have had as much chance as 'Help' would have had. As much as I like 'Help', I actually like 'I Kept On Loving You' just as much.

Personally, I like Richard's vocals and the actual songs he sings on the 'Ticket to Ride' and 'Close to You' albums but don't like his lead vocals or his songs on anything beyond that. Maybe I like the song, 'Fun, Fun, Fun' on 'Now and Then' just a bit.

There's no denying that Carpenters' version of 'Help' is a great arrangement, performance and recording. Richard, with his re-visualising, arrangement and, reportedly, production of the song presents it as a totally different experience from The Beatles' original. Recording artists are usually advised not to touch an iconic song as a remake unless they can grab it, own it and take it to a completely new place. Richard manages to give a song that everyone would have known the individualistic stamp of his own act while making the performance believable, attention-grabbing, entertaining, reputable and highly satisfying.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
...I meant, Richard makes 'Help' believable, attention-grabbing, entertaining, reputable and highly satisfying in terms of the re-visualising, arrangement, production* and overall direction. Karen obviously makes it all those things through her performance.
* I realise that Daugherty was credited as official producer.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
[SNIP] Recording artists are usually advised not to touch an iconic song as a remake unless they can grab it, own it and take it to a completely new place.
Perhaps an understated talent Richard had, the ability to take iconic or otherwise well-known songs and give them a sound that stood on its own with an appealing version that was unique to the Carpenters style.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
These recordings were done around 1969, perhaps early 1970, and were being done for a label that had a history of taking "known" songs and twisting them a bit to make them quite different from the originals. At that time, it had only been a year since Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 had had hits with both "Fool On The Hill" and "Scarborough Fair", both very different from their original Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel versions.

Label founder Herb Alpert was rather famous for taking known hits and twisting them so that fast songs were slowed down so you could relish the melody - or taking a slow song and juicing it up. It seems that everyone on the label did a version of "With A Little Help From My Friends."

Bottom line is that it wasn't an uncommon thing at all to have relied on known songs from other artists. But the tide was beginning to turn, and very shortly, we entered the age of the singer-songwriter, and at that point, the masses gave a lot more respect to songs that were composed by the artist performing them.

"I Kept On Loving You" was another Nichols-Williams tune, just like "We've Only Just Begin", and Richard has stated that one of the albums he and Karen were listening to was ROGER NICHOLS & THE SMALL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS - and even THAT album had a version of "With A Little Help From My Friends!" Many of us have rightly compared that Roger Nichols album to the sound of OFFERING/TICKET TO RIDE.

Just some random ramblings...
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
...I meant, Richard makes 'Help' believable, attention-grabbing, entertaining, reputable and highly satisfying in terms of the re-visualising, arrangement, production* and overall direction. Karen obviously makes it all those things through her performance.
* I realise that Daugherty was credited as official producer.
It's certainly a brave interpretation of the song and I suppose it deserves plaudits for trying something different with what is a well-known track. The arrangement just does absolutely nothing for me.

Whilst in their early years it's definitely largely true to say that Richard showed a real gift for rearranging song already recorded by others, there were a few cases where it didn't quite come off. I never thought their take on 'Walk On By' in the Bacharach/David Medley was that successful either - it's too frantic (something I dislike about the arrangement on 'Help!' too) and sounds oddly upbeat, which is completely at cross-purposes with the lyrics. Perhaps on that song too, Dionne's flawless original was just too definitive for any other take on the arrangement to work successfully.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Yep. It would have likely been between "Baby, It's You", "Help!" and "I'll Never Fall In Love Again", all songs by either Bacharach or Beatles.
Yes, all of these three songs were on earlier 'Greatest Hits' packages that were released before Carpenters had twelve hits and needed filler. This shows that Richard and / or the record company thought that they were the stronger non-single tracks and were worthy of sitting alongside the huge hit singles. All three were on a 1972 Japanese collection released to support their tour and also on 'Great Hits' released in Australia the same year, and possibly some other collections in other territories.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Yes, all of these three songs were on earlier 'Greatest Hits' packages that were released before Carpenters had twelve hits and needed filler. This shows that Richard and / or the record company thought that they were the stronger non-single tracks and were worthy of sitting alongside the huge hit singles. All three were on a 1972 Japanese collection released to support their tour and also on 'Great Hits' released in Australia the same year, and possibly some other collections in other territories.
“Baby It’s You” also turned up on the 1978 Canadian The Carpenters Collection: 22 Original Hits 2-LP set.

 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
I’ll Never Fall In Love Again was released in April 1970. I wonder what the story is in how the Carpenters came to record it around the same time as Dionne?
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
I’ll Never Fall In Love Again was released in April 1970. I wonder what the story is in how the Carpenters came to record it around the same time as Dionne?
Something that I had forgotten was that 'I'll Never Fall in Love Again' was still a relatively new composition when Carpenters recorded it. It was written for the 1968 movie, 'Promises, Promises'. I was thinking that it was an older composition.

Yes, it does seem unlikely that Carpenters' version would have been released as a single, due to Dionne Warwick's version entering the Billboard US Top 100 as recently as January, 1970. Dionne's version had such impact that it debuted on the Top 100 at Number 40, (an unusually high debut), entering the charts in the first week of 1970, spending four weeks in the Top Ten and climbing as high as Number 6.

In the United Kingdom, Australia and other areas, it was Bobbie Gentry's version that was the smash. It was released shortly before Dionne's single. Bobbie's version hit Number One in Britain. In Australia, it entered the charts towards the end of 1969 and hung around until the end of March, 1970, climbing as high as Number 5. It was also Top 5 in South Africa, Norway, New Zealand and Rhodesia.

With two big hit versions of the song on the charts around the world, it seems that it would have been unwise for Carpenters to release a third single version the same year, which is probably one reason why they didn't.

Having said that, back then, different artists did used to almost flood the market with different versions of the same song. For instance, there were three versions of 'I Won't Last a Day Without You' on the US Billboard Top 100 within a fifteen-month period - Maureen McGovern's, Carpenters' and Al Wilson's.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
And don't forget the Bacharach tune "This Guy's In Love With You", a huge #1 hit that Dionne Warwick recorded as "This Girl's In Love With You" and sent it back up the charts to a lofty #7 in the same year. Bacharach songs were everywhere, and everyone was taking a stab at them in search of a hit.

Trivia: the first Burt Bacharach tune to appear on A&M Records was in 1965 when the Baja Marimba Band placed "Walk On By" on their RIDES AGAIN album (A&M SP 4109).
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Help would have been better as a b-side to give it more exposure. It wouldn’t have been wise to have another Beatles cover as an A-side (despite the fact that both of their covers are vastly superior to the originals).
 
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