Liner Note Series: Interpretations (1994 UK/1995 US)


I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
I’ve always been frustrated that the often-fascinating liner notes to many Carpenters compilations aren’t available online anywhere, so I thought I’d create a series for those who don't have some of the compilations that I do own. The fascinating thing about many of these releases is that Richard wrote the liner notes himself.

First up: Interpretations.


Chronologically, the UK 21-track version came first and the US 16-track version followed. For that reason, I’ve followed the UK tracklist as there are more tracks (and therefore additional notes) on that release. Where there are variations between the UK and US commentary, I’ve listed those at the end.

So…here is part one in the series for your reading pleasure. I have left out publishing and performing credits as these can be found elsewhere. Other album liner notes coming soon:

- Treasures (Japan) (1987)
- Anthology (1997)
- Original Master Recording (1989)
- Singles 1969-1981 (SACD)


Liner notes by Richard Carpenter
Without A Song (a capella version)
Karen and I recorded this 1929 standard in February, 1980 for the opening segment of our fifth ABC Television Special: “Music, Music, Music”, which aired the following March. If it seems a little short, well…it is; the complete version used in the special continued with guests Ella Fitzgerald, John Davidson and accompaniment by the Nelson Riddle Orchestra and Chorus. Remixed on June 9, 1994. Engineer: Roger Young.

In early 1973, Karen and I were guesting on an ABC television special: “Robert Young with the Young”. Also guesting were Arte Johnson, Sandy Duncan and a group of the “young”. One of the songs featuring the cast was “Sing”, originally written for “Sesame Street”. Karen and I thought the song could be a hit (most of our associates thought we were nuts) and selected it as the debut single from our Now And Then album. Remixed on June 9, 1994. Engineer: Roger Young.

Bless The Beasts And Children
Producer/Director Stanley Cramer contacted us in early 1971 regarding the possibility of our recording the title song of his new film. We met with him in Las Vegas – where we were appearing – and after listening to the demo, agreed to record this beautiful song. Originally released on the “flip side” of “Superstar”. Additional recording and remix done in 1985. Engineer: Roger Young.

This Masquerade
A great Leon Russell song that has become a modern day standard. I originally heard it on Leon’s Carney album and felt it was a natural for Karen. Remixed in 1990. Engineer: Roger Young

Originally heard on Neil Sedaka’s album of the same name and a hit for Andy Williams in England. One of Karen’s finest performances.

When I Fall In Love
One of the greatest songs ever written. Victor Young’s melody to “When I Fall In Love” was introduced in the 1951 war film One Minute to Zero. The timeless lyric was added by Edward Heyman and the song first became a hit when released by Nat “King” Cole. This version was recorded in 1978 along with “Little Girl Blue” for our third ABC TV special: “Space Encounters”. Only one ballad could be used for a particular scene and “Little Girl Blue” provided the more suitable of the two. We subsequently featured “When I Fall In Love” in “Music, Music, Music”. Remixed in 1990. Engineer: Roger Young.

From This Moment On
J.S. Bach’s Prelude No. 2 from “The Well Tempered Clavier” somewhat interpolated to accept this Cole Porter classic. This clever treatment is the work of Ken Welch, who with his wife Mitzi, re-vamped our stage show in 1976. Recorded in February 1980 (but not included in) “Music, Music, Music”. Remixed June 9, 1994. Engineer: Roger Young.

Tryin’ To Get The Feeling Again
Karen and I recorded this track in January 1975, during the Horizon sessions. We did not include it in that album release, as we felt that set ultimately featured an adequate amount of ballads. For some unknown reason, the title was never catalogued, and over the years Karen, Roger and I assumed it had been inadvertently discarded. On November 29, 1991, while remixing tracks for the Japanese “Karaoke” album, we found the title on the multi-track tape containing “Only Yesterday”. The impending release of Interpretations provided an excellent reason for me to orchestrate and complete the production. Strings were recorded on the 31st of May 1994. Roger and I mixed the selection on June 6. Karen’s flawless performance of the song is a “work lead”, solely intended to familiarize bassist Joe Osborn and drummer Jim Gordon with the melody. (One can hear the lyric sheet being turned over by Karen as she segues from the end of the first chorus into the second verse). For this reason alone the lead would have been re-recorded had we decided to complete production in 1975. Certain sections of the lead would also have been “doubled” hence the “effect” used in the mix. Karen sings the lyrics as originally written by David Pomeranz. Barry Manilow, who subsequently had a hit with this song, asked that some words be changed for his interpretation. I continue to marvel at the talents of Karen and engineer Roger Young. This track sounds as though it was recorded yesterday. I find it hard to believe that nineteen years have passed since we first began recording on this song.

When It’s Gone
I was “hooked” on this haunting song upon one listening of Randy Handley’s demo. An ideal song for Karen’ style, and an arranger’s dream.

Where Do I Go From Here?
A lovely Parker McGee ballad. Recorded in 1978. Mixed in 1989. Engineer: Robert De La Garza.

When this timeless ballad was “pitched” to me by a publishing representative, I hesitated, as two fine versions were already in release (by the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt, respectively). After listening to Karen sing it however, I changed my initial thinking. Remixed on June 9, 1994 for reasons that would bore the listener. Engineer: Roger Young.

Late one evening during the period in which we were recording our third album, I happened to tune in the “Tonight Show”. Bette Midler, then relatively unknown, was guesting on this particular show and sang “Superstar”. I felt the song could be a hit and was a natural for Karen. Remixed in 1991. Engineer: Roger Young.

Rainy Days and Mondays
“Rainy Days” was submitted to me in a stack of demos from Almo/Irving, two of A&M’s former publishing concerns. Two of the songs impressed me: “Let Me Be The One” and “Rainy Days and Mondays”. Both were recorded and the latter was selected as our fifth single. Additional recording done in 1985. Remixed in 1991. Engineer: Roger Young.

Ticket To Ride
I happened to hear the Beatles’ “Ticket To Ride” being played as an “oldie” one day early in 1969 and upon hearing it this particular time, decided the tune would make a nice ballad. We chose the resulting recording as our debut single. Released in October of 1969, it remains one of my favorite Carpenters’ recordings. In 1973 Karen re-recorded her drums and lead vocal on the track for its inclusion in the Singles 1969-1973 album. (Karen was not satisfied with her original performances). Guitars were added at the same time. This is the 1973 version.

If I Had You
For personal reasons, I decided to go on hiatus for most of 1979. Karen, not wishing to remain idle during this period, chose to record a solo album with producer Phil Ramone. As Phil is based in New York, much of the recording was done there, with the remaining work done in Los Angeles. To make a long story short, the album, completed in early 1980, was not released. “If I Had You” is my favorite from the solo album. I remember Karen calling me from New York and relating how much effort was required to perform this imaginative vocal arrangement. As the listener can hear, it was worth it. Remixed by Richard Carpenter and Robert De La Garza in 1989. Engineer: Robert De La Garza.

Please Mr Postman
“Please Mr Postman”, a Motown classic, was originally a number one hit for the Marvelettes in 1961. It was subsequently recorded by the Beatles. Karen and I had always liked it and considered recording it for some time. Listening to the basic track of this song can be a fairly boring experience, as it consists of only four chords repeating themselves. Our engineer, Ray Gerhardt, upon first hearing the track, hated it and thought we had taken leave of our senses. Of course as more was added to it, the recording took shape and Ray ultimately just disliked it. Released in the fall of 1974, “Postman” was a smash worldwide. A simple but magical song. Remixed in 1991. Engineer: Roger Young.

We’ve Only Just Begun
This title has become our “signature” song. Karen and I had met Roger Nichols and Paul Williams (the co-writers) around the time we signed with A&M. Already familiar with their work, we came to know them, and Paul’s singing, as he would occasionally stop in and sing with us while we rehearsed on the A&M Sound Stage. Around the time we were recording the Close To You album, I took notice of a TV commercial for the Crocker Citizens Bank. A “soft sell” campaign, it featured a young couple getting married and driving into the sunset. The song, expressly written for the commercial, was “We’ve Only Just Begun”. It caught my ear immediately. As the commercial featured Paul’s singing, I assumed it was a Nichols/Williams song and spoke with Paul on the A&M lot shortly thereafter. Paul informed me that I was correct and that the song did indeed have both a bridge and a third verse (I was curious as the “ads” contained only one or two verses). Upon hearing the demo I was convinced the song could be a hit and went into the sound stage – where we were rehearsing, to work out the arrangement. The single was released in August of 1970. Additional recording and remix done in 1985. Engineer: Roger Young.

Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft
I heard this song on the debut album of KLAATU – a talented group of Canadian studio musicians who were heavily inspired by the Beatles and named after the purposeful alien in the “sci-fi” thriller The Day The Earth Stood Still. Always looking for something novel, we decided on it for our Passage album and ended up immersing ourselves – and 160 musicians and singers – in the biggest “single” recording we ever attempted. Incidentally, there was no actual “World Contact Day”, as we have been asked many times. Maybe in the future… Remixed in 1989. Engineer: Robert De La Garza.

Little Girl Blue
Written by Rodgers and Hart for the musical “Jumbo” (1935), this poignant standard was one of arranger Peter Knight’s favorite songs. He was particularly delighted to pen this arrangement for Karen, who interprets the song as if to the genre born. Remixed in 1989. Engineer: Robert De La Garza.

You’re The One
This beautiful Steve Ferguson ballad was recorded (sans bridge) by Jennifer Warnes. Our version was recorded in 1977 during the Passage sessions, but not included in that album. Mixed in 1989. Engineer: Robert De La Garza.

(They Long To Be) Close To You
Burt Bacharach had heard our version of “Ticket To Ride” not long after its release and had mentioned to Jerry Moss that he liked it. Jerry told Burt that the artists also recorded for A&M. This led to our being asked by Burt to arrange a medley of some of his tunes and open the show at a benefit for which he would be performing. The performance – for the Reiss-David Clinic – took place on February 26th of 1970. During the time I was selecting tunes for the medley, Herb Alpert asked me if I was familiar with a little-known Bacharach/David song named “They Long To Be Close To You”. I was not. Herb gave me a lead sheet of the song and after working up an arrangement, I decided against it for the medley. With some subsequent “urging” from Herb, however, we decided to record the song on its own. Several recordings were made until everyone concerned (especially Herb) felt it was right. Prior to its release on May 15th of 1970, Herb asked us how we thought the recording would “go over”. I remember answering it would either hit number one or “stiff” completely. No in-between. (“Ticket” had peaked nationally at 54). Thankfully the former proved to be true and the release of “Close To You” (I had presumptuously taken it upon myself to shorten the original title) marked the turning point in our career. Remixed in 1991. Engineer: Roger Young.

Additional Tracks (US 1995 Version):

I Believe You
In addition to recording Christmas Portrait in 1978, Karen and I recorded several other selections, including this lovely song written by the Addrisi Brothers.

Reason To Believe
Karen and I recorded this Tim Hardin classic in 1970 for our Close To You album. It remains one of my favorite Carpenters recordings. Remixed in 1987. Engineer: Roger Young.
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Martin Medrano

Well-Known Member
Reason To Believe
Karen and I recorded this Tim Hardin classic in 1970 for our Close To You album. It remains one of my favorite Carpenters recordings. Remixed in 1987. Engineer: Roger Young.

i really hope that one day he does another remix of this song.

John Adam

"A House Is Not A Home"
Another reason I like having a physical copy of a 'collectible' is for the booklet and the possibility of "liner notes," which has been all but lost in the age of digital downloads and streaming of music.

Good idea Stephen to share with others that didn't grow up with physical product, or don't have the money to buy it. Thank you!


Well-Known Member
I would be very interested to see the liner notes for the Japanese 40th box set! Please, somebody ... :razz:
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