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Olivia Newton-John New Autobiography (Mention of Karen)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by newvillefan, Jan 27, 2019.

  1. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen Thread Starter

    I know there are quite a few Olivia fans on this site (calling @Rick-An Ordinary Fool) and I thought I'd share the section of her new autobiography in which she talks about Karen. I believe this has already been released in Australia but not yet worldwide. This is courtesy of a hometown friend of mine and and ABBA/Olivia obsessive called Lee Gale (thank you Lee! :)):

    Life became a bit of a whirlwind at this point. I was juggling my time between studio and the road, and I was also given my own ABC TV special, an hour long show that aired in November of 1976, featuring many of my hits. Soon after I had to jump on a plane to the UK to star in Big Top Show at Windsor Castle. I worked with Elton John and he was a hoot, very funny, warm, and kind - just delightful. I even invited him to be on my TV show, Hollywood Nights, in the US with Tina Turner, Andy Gibb, Cliff Richard, Toni Tennille and the late, great Karen Carpenter who became one of my dearest friends.

    I still miss Karen a lot to this day. She and I became friends immediately. I was drawn to her terrific sense of humour and, of course, her extraordinary talent. She was quirky and fun, and we really enjoyed each other's company. Karen's lush voice was truly astonishing and reached the depths of my heart. We talked about what she wanted for her life and what I wanted from mine. No topic was off limits.

    She got married and it sadly ended fourteen months later. That's when the anorexia really hit her hard. She became so thin it was frightening, but she still mustered the guts to divorce her husband, break out on her own and move to New York for treatment. I was so proud of strong and determined Karen. I truly believed she was on the road to recovery. She had the most gorgeous townhouse she was putting the finishing touches on. She adored anything Disney, so her house was full of all whimsical things, and beautifully done.

    The last time I saw her, we were both staying at the Drake Hotel in New York and she looked so much better. She had gained some weight and was bouncing back, shopping, laughing and doing all the things she used to do. It was one of those moments where you sigh with relief, and I truly believed that the crisis had passed. I was in Los Angeles, listening to my car radio on the way to a restaurant for a lunch meeting with Pat [Farrar], when I heard that Karen had died. It was as if the sky fell to earth. My stomach hit the ground. This couldn't be possible. I had a date to see her the very next day
    . Devastated, I arrived at the restaurant and cried all the way through our lunch. Pat tried to comfort me, but I was inconsolable. Karen was so young and full of hope and promise.

    Karen Carpenter's death was a great loss, not only to her family and friends, but also to everyone graced with her voice. We will never know what she could have done artistically, which was sad for everyone around the globe. She was bursting with talent and creativity, but that was only part of it. She was also a kind and authentic human being. I've always wanted to respect Karen's privacy and I know that her struggle was a hard one. Perhaps there can be a positive from such a terrible tragedy: her death marked the beginning of raising awareness about anorexia and body image. Little did I know that later in my life, I'd be confronted with this insidious illness with my own daughter.

    Karen shined a bright light on anorexia, which allowed so many others to heal, including my own Chloe. Karen never got a chance to tell her story, but I'm proud of my daughter who is working on telling her own. We have Karen to thank for all the lives that have been saved after women and men found treatment and acceptance from their families and society.

    One thing remains: I still miss my friend.

  2. LondonRobert

    LondonRobert Active Member

    I'v always absolutely adored Olivia. A truly special lady and I finally got to see her live at the Royal Albert Hall a few years ago.
    I love her Gaia album.
    Her greatest hits album on vinyl ( front cover dressed in white with shorter hair ) had a few more tracks than the later released CD......... I played that vinyl until i wore out the grooves.
    Also when she sings Zanadu in the film and transforms into some sort of goddess with a head dress on..... wow! Stunning voice, beautiful on the outside and the inside - hope she recovers from her latest set back ok
  3. John Adam

    John Adam Well-Known Member

    Yeah, me too! I loved "Grease" and as a little fellow saw it, many, many times! My first CD was ONJ's Greatest Hits Vol.II (MCA) and it had the Grease (hit) songs on it. Plus I discovered Xanadu through this, and more importantly, that she had a recording career before Grease. I didn't know! lol. Which led me to Greatest Hits (1977) and opened up a whole can of worms for me! But the first song I remember on the radio that was current was "Soul Kiss." Before that it was a blur. And then I never heard another new song of hers on the radio again! Almost though....... :sad:

    Karen, Olivia and Linda are my favorite 70's female vocalists.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  4. AM Matt

    AM Matt Well-Known Member

    In November of 1976 on a Wednesday night, Dorothy Hamill, the late John Denver & the first Olivia Newton John show all had specials that night!! Matt Clark Sanford, MI
  5. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Such a classy lady is ONJ. A very nice tribute to Karen in her autobiography. I'm sure that Karen felt the same towards Olivia. Much mutual admiration between two pop icons...
    David A likes this.
  6. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much for sharing this, @newvillefan. I knew they were friends but not that they were this close. Olivia says some very nice, heartfelt things about their friendship. Made me smile.
    newvillefan likes this.
  7. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I always Knew Olivia Was and still is A Very Classy Lady as well as one of the very best Female Vocalists of all time. And it seems she opens her heart to us in her biography it should be a great one
  8. New Horizons.

    New Horizons. Active Member

    Thanks Newvillefan for posting this.Really touching and very sad but joyous all the same.
    Olivia is obviously famous for many things and I have lots of her UK releases as my family liked her since she was the UK entry in the Eurovision song contest when ABBA won in 1974.
    Doesn't Olivia sing backing vocals on John Denvers song fly away? I like how the Karen,Olivia,ABBA and John Denver stories all mix together.Most of my favourite artists.
    I know we will never get Karens side of the story and I think Olivia touches there on the fight inside of Karen to be a grown up Karen.
    newvillefan likes this.
  9. I love how she keeps most of her memories of Karen private and never goes into great detail. A true friend
    Mark-T, David A and goodjeans like this.
  10. Greg

    Greg Member

    What a lovely, sensitive tribute from a clearly very caring friend.
    David A and newvillefan like this.
  11. John Adam

    John Adam Well-Known Member

    Yes, that's Olivia! She is not credited on the single release of the song, as they were on different labels, and record label politics probably played a part in that. It was a #1 AC song here on the charts.

    Without A Song and Jamesj75 like this.
  12. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Newvillefan...I forgot to mention in my previous post, thank you very much for this contribution. I can see by the number of "likes" to your post that this was greatly appreciated by the members of this forum :).
    newvillefan likes this.
  13. Kaisu

    Kaisu Member

    I remember reading from this forum that Karen and Olivia were "I hate you / I love you" kind of friends... Any ideas what that means?
  14. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    ^^ Not to doubt you, but that seems contradictory to all other reports.
    (It means sometimes they were close, and sometimes they had great and constant difficulties with each other. In the music world, Simon and Garfunkel come to mind.)
  15. I have always been fascinated by the psychological impact that friendship had on her. Olivia was the ultimate hot, sexy IT girl with the blockbuster career and fame. Karen mentioned to Phil Ramone her insecurities comparing herself to Olivia (don't have the link to the clip or quote right now). These were women in their prime living in rarefied air and it's a complicated business. I think they were looking in the mirror at each other and assessing who they were at that critical stage of life. I think Olivia knew that Karen was envious of her looks and it put her in an awkward position. Please don't rip me to shreds about this, it's just my opinion. To be so public and so vulnerable at that age must be very difficult. Child bearing years, career wants, pressure....she won this, I want that, the other gets something and the other, wants that too...or doesn't. There is a peer pressure to keep up. One gets married, the other dates, the other gets a boyfriend, the other has a breakup. Sometimes it's how women learn to figure out who they are and it takes a while.
    Carpe diem likes this.
  16. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen Thread Starter

    Thank you, I appreciate all the kind feedback. As soon as I was sent the images from the book by my friend Lee, I knew straight where I wanted to come to share it :)
    Carpe diem likes this.
  17. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    I definitely believe there was some envy towards Olivia from Karen. Olivia was able to pivot and "reinvent" herself going into the new decade (80s). She was able to get that iconic role in Grease and her album sales soared thereafter. Karen tried to turn the corner in her career and was slapped down hard for her effort. There is a Good Morning America interview that Karen and Richard did (I believe in 1981) where Karen looks absolutely emaciated and she says in all seriousness to host Joan Lunden; "I would like to do a movie, a musical"(not an exact quote perhaps, but close enough). There could've been some envy from ONJ towards Karen as well; Karen had that once-in-a-generation voice. I think their friendship was pretty solid. They could empathize with each other, going through the same cut-throat industry.

    PS - I don't think anyone in this forum will "rip you to shreds". Your opinion is valued here.:)
  18. ^^ aw thanks. thats because carpenters fans are the best.
  19. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen Thread Starter

    This is the concert that Karen had planned on being part of as a guest drummer in 1982.

    From Wikipedia:

    Olivia's personal friend, Karen Carpenter, attended various tour shows, and considered the possibility of drumming during a few concerts, but dropped because of her deteriorating health”.

    Physical Tour - Wikipedia
  20. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I saw her doing this tour- amazing!
  21. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    I was lucky enough to attend this concert in NC. I still have the color booklet and baseball jersey t shirt with North American Tour 1982 on the back. It’s packed away in an air tight bag for preservation. Lol

    I’ll never forget it, my best friend bought the tickets and planned everything. I remember when we arrived we saw this black limousine riding around the streets near the stadium with a blonde girl with her body waving out the sun window, everyone thought it was Olivia. I told my friend follow that thing...we got close and we both turned to each other and said that’s not Olivia. Lol It was a sick joke but we laughed about it later :laugh:
    newvillefan likes this.
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen Thread Starter

    I saw this photo today for the first time in a while and it made me wonder...was this taken during their trip to Catalina Island and their stay at the famous Hotel Dumpwater? :laugh:

    goodjeans likes this.
  23. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    I would say from the looks of those walls YES!! :laugh:
  24. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen Thread Starter

    Filmed on September 1, 1981

  25. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen Thread Starter

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