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Potential Singles ?

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Simon KC1950, May 16, 2017.

Which of these songs could have been singles?

  1. Mr. Guder

    0 vote(s)
  2. Reason To Believe

    0 vote(s)
  3. Let Me Be The One

    26 vote(s)
  4. One Love

    2 vote(s)
  5. A Song For You

    8 vote(s)
  6. This Masquerade

    7 vote(s)
  7. Desperado

    5 vote(s)
  8. Happy

    14 vote(s)
  9. Can't Smile Without You

    3 vote(s)
  10. You

    6 vote(s)
  11. I Just Fall In Love Again

    8 vote(s)
  12. Sleigh Ride

    3 vote(s)
  13. You're The One

    9 vote(s)
  14. When I Fall In Love

    0 vote(s)
  15. Leave Yesterday Behind

    2 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Simon KC1950

    Simon KC1950 Active Member Thread Starter

    The Carpenters released well over 40 singles (I count 46)
    there are many album cuts which I believe could have made great singles. It's regularly discussed here and elsewhere what songs could have been singles.. And what singles should have remained as album cuts.
    So here we go, I have complied a list of 15 songs which I think could have been a hit or would have been interesting to see how they turned out.
    Let's discuss these as ideas and maybe suggest any others you think could have worked as singles. (I know some here were released in a few countries/released as promo singles many years later)
    Carpe diem likes this.
  2. "A Song For You" is the most obvious pick. It was the title song and lead track for what many believe to be the Carpenters' best album.
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  3. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    My three; I Just Fall In Love Again, Let Me Be The One, and This Masquerade. Though it was hard not to vote for A Song For You, I feel LMBTO would've been a BIG hit.
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  4. "Let Me Be The One" is the main one that got away, with "A Song For You" coming in second.
    Bobberman and Simon KC1950 like this.
  5. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    "Let Me Be The One" would be my choice - it got a lot of airplay anyway, and has a great chorus hook. "Can't Smile Without You" would also be a good choice.

    "Mr. Guder" -- great song (I know lots of folks hate it, but I don't) -- but the subject matter and strange title might make it a little dicey. It's not a singalong tune.

    "Reason to Believe" would have been a good choice for a single aimed to country radio, but they'd have had to do a punched-up version...like they did with "Top of the World." The album version doesn't have that in-your-face quality in its arrangement.

    Most of the other songs on that list aren't really the type of "catchy" song that makes for a top-40 hit. They don't have choruses that grab you. "A Song For You," "Desperado," and to a lesser extent "This Masquerade" all fall into this category for sure. They're all great songs, but none of them would have done much chart action just based on what kind of songs WERE making the charts at that time. For example, the sax solo on ASFY, great as it is, would make a lot of top-40-type people change the station. It's just too slow and jazzy for 1970s top-40.

    "Sleigh Ride" would have been a good Christmas season single, for sure. Although nothing will ever displace the original Leroy Anderson arrangement in my book.

    Carpenters were really very good at picking the best cuts to release as singles.
    Jamesj75 and Simon KC1950 like this.
  6. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    "You can deal me in this time around": "Happy," from the stellar Horizon, with its upbeat sentiment and catchy arrangement, would have made a great single.

    "To set things right," "Let Me Be the One," from the prolific, successful time period of Carpenters' chart action, would have made a great single.

    "Inside my head the wheels are turning": "You," a sweet, "inspiration"-al ballad, would have made a great single.

    "Two Sides," although not among the options --- "few are the choices we are given" --- would have made a great single. "Goodbye!"
  7. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    While I love A Song For You, I do think Let Me Be The One is the one that got away.
    Bobberman, GaryAlan and Simon KC1950 like this.
  8. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    They probably should've gone with Happy instead of Solitaire. I love Solitaire, but the synthy guitar based fun of Happy in late summer of '75 would probably have got them another top 10.
  9. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    "Let Me Be The One," although I get why they might have hesitated about releasing Williams/Nichols songs over and again as singles. A few others on this list are sentimental favorites but if I'm honest with myself, I don't see them hitting the Top Ten, at least at the point they fall in the Carpenters' career trajectory.
    Brian and Simon KC1950 like this.
  10. John Tkacik

    John Tkacik Active Member

    The 3 I selected were "Happy", "I Just Fall In Love Again", and "You're The One". "Happy" is the upbeat song that they should have released in the Summer of 1975 rather than having it be the "B-side" of "Only Yesterday". The Carpenters version of "I Just Fall In Love Again" is superior to Anne Murray's version IMHO and her single made it into the Billboard Top 15. Finally, people were interested in the Carpenters when the tv movie aired and would have sought out a new single if it had been released in January of 1989.
  11. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    I had to go with Happy, Can't Smile Without You & Sleigh Ride. In my area I've actually heard a few stations in the 90's play the Carpenters version of Sleigh Ride.

    I've kind of wondered, since I first heard the Carpenters version of Desperado on their Interpretations cassette whether it could've stood up on the charts or not. It's clearly a country song, but not as up beat as Sweet, Sweet Smile, but it might've done something on the country charts, but I don't think that it had enough potential for the main chart.

    This Masquerade is another song that the Carpenters could've released as a single, as it has become very synonymous with them. But for a single, they probably would've had to have released an edited version, as I see that George Benson's version that hit the charts in 1976 was an edited version of his cover. But for the Carpenters it was clearly a hit in countries where it was probably an AOR, such as Canada, as can be seen on the 1978 The Carpenters Collection (where we also find A Song For You --- opening a Greatest Hits package no less! Other non-single hits on the album include Baby It's You, Happy, I Just Fall In Love Again, Flat Barouque & Piano Picker.)
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  12. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    My two (or three!) cents: "Let Me Be the One", "This Masquerade", and "I Just Fall In Love Again". Since the Tan Album is my favorite, I love a cut like "One Love" very dearly but I don't see it as an a-side. On the other hand -- as stated a few times here -- "Let Me Be the One" is the Williams/Nichols composition that got away! I'm not much on dwelling on "what ifs", but that's a wonder. "This Masquerade" need not be explained. Always had a soft spot for Passage's "I Just Fall In Love Again". :D
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  13. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    Let me be the one ( a big favorite song of mine) This Masquerade And You're The One my choices for what could have been singles to me they really have that "Hit Sound" potential but sadly was overlooked in my opinion because they would have been hits and at least 2 of these were included on at least 1 compilation collection over the years maybe more. But nonetheless I could be mistaken too
    Brian and Simon KC1950 like this.
  14. Many of these could have been singles... I
    Voted for Let Me Be The One, One Love, and Happy
    Simon KC1950 and Brian like this.
  15. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    I always thought that 'Love Me for What I Am', from Horizon, sounded like a hit single. Great lyrics, catchy chorus, light and shade, subdued then powerful, wonderful arrangement, great vocal by Karen and sublime harmonies. Right for the times, too. 'Trying to Get the Feeling' should have been released as a single around 1975 or 1976, instead of years later, (as long as 'Solitaire' was still released. That's an unbelievably beautiful single. Entrancing). 'Where Do I Go From Here' would have been a brilliant single in 1978, what with the beautiful melody and lyrics, Richard's wonderful arrangement and Karen's unbelievable, wistful, rich, melancholy vocal performance. I think that 'This Masquerade' is a majestic song. People would have been captivated by it, but I didn't select it here because of the 'Choose three' rule. If Carpenters had released it, they would have got the attention for it a couple of years before George Benson got hit mileage out of it. There were a couple of other artists who got airplay with the song, though, which may have detracted from Carpenters' impact. Desperado was so well-known as an Eagles song and identified with them so strongly that I don't think it would have worked. Linda Ronstadt also had a single with it around the time Carpenters might have been releasing it and she was perhaps more in the ilk of The Eagles at the time, with the West Coast country rock sound, so her version might have been accepted better. I love Carpenters' version of 'Reason to Believe' but the song was already associated with a number of artists and around 1970 / 71, Karen and Richard would have been completing with Rod Stewart's version as well. I like the simplicity of Anne Murray's arrangement of 'I Just Fall In Love Again' and also prefer her straight-forward but charming and warm delivery. I think that Karen over-sings the song and that it is over-arranged and over-produced, although I used to love Carpenters' version back in 1977 / 1978. For me, the story with 'Can't Smile Without You' is similar. Karen's version is lack-lustre and she sounds weary, whereas Barry Manilow exudes energy. Mind you, I think this song is catchy and Richard's arrangement is well done. So are the harmony vocals. I loved Karen and Richard's version back in 1976 / 1977. Many, many artists, including soul, jazz, pop and rock people, recorded 'A Song for You' around the time that Karen and Richard did and this would have lessened the power of their version where radio was concerned. I love Richard's arrangement, Karen and Richard's harmonies and part of Karen's vocal delivery, although I think she didn't interpret it as sensitively as she could have. She tears into it full-throttle instead of varying her tone in keeping with the lyrics. This version was also a little long for a single. I chose 'Let Me Be The One' because it's a great song with great arrangement, great production and unbeatable performance by Karen. It was also on my much-loved album, 'Great Hits of The Carpenters Vol Two 1969-1973', which I was given for my eleventh birthday. I also chose 'Happy', because it was an original song, was upbeat, positive and catchy. In reality, though, I'm not sure that it was strong enough to be a big hit. 'Love Me For What I Am' and 'Trying to Get the Feeling' would have been more promising in this same period. 'You're the One' was my third choice because I love Richard's arrangement, Karen's incredible vocal and the harmonies. And, hey, Karen and Richard weren't releasing anything much else in the way of singles in 1978.
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  16. Brian, I agree with you on almost every point here. The list to chose from, in my humble opinion, is a little on the short side. When I think of potential singles that never were, both "Where Do I Go From Here" and "Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night" are conspicuously missing from the list. "Love Me For What I Am" should have been on here, too; however, not sure it would have faired well as a single in spite of how much I like that song from Horizon.
    Brian and Simon KC1950 like this.
  17. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    I remember reading Richard was wavering between LET ME BE THE ONE and SUPERSTAR, jerry moss took the bull by the horns and released SUPERSTAR.
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  18. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Reading Richard Carpenter's Liner Notes for Gold, I am again struck by
    his description of the song
    I Just Fall In Love Again....
    He begins: "I received a demo from a friend of ours and felt
    it was well-suited for Karen and a potential hit."
    He goes on to lament that it could not be edited: "I was not happy"
    Now, my question...
    If this song had all along been thought of as "a potential hit," then,
    Why was it not originally arranged and 'cut' in the style of a 'potential hit' ?
    (1) As: Backing Vocals by Gregg Smith Singers already decreases its potential as a top pop hit.
    (2) As: Running time exceeded 4 minutes, why did Richard not originally create a shorter arrangement ?
    (He says: "Top 40 radio was not playing records that ran much longer than three minutes.").

    Thus, if he really thought---at the time he received the demo from Steve Dorff--
    that this song was a "potential hit,"
    he really should have approached the song differently for play on Top-40 radio.
    (Although, I am glad he did not !).

    On the other hand--even as it stands, single or not--
    I love this recording.
    BarryT60, Carpe diem and Simon KC1950 like this.
  19. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    I am completely with you, GaryAlan on this one. If it was indeed recorded on a sound stage and could not be edited for top 40 radio, why not bring Karen into the recording studio and redo it completely with new vocals and shortened arrangement? Start from scratch! Shorten it up for a "single" release. Keep the long version for the LP. It's not like they haven't done it before. Didn't they completely redo Top Of The World and Merry Christmas Darling? I think he was "not happy" with the fact he let this one get away and he probably heard a lot of flack from fans after Anne Murray turned it into a hit. I think Richard and "management" really dropped the ball on this one. So this song will forever be synonymous with Anne Murray which is a travesty considering that The Carpenters put out such a far superior version IMHO, with a special emphasis on Karen's magnificent vocals.
  20. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    "Travesty"? A little over dramatic, don't ya think? :laugh: IMHO, there's nothing wrong with Anne Murray's recording (what else would you expect a Canadian named Murray to say, eh?). :D Like probably everyone here, I prefer Karen's vocals on this particular song - but I like the simpler arrangement on Anne's version better. I've always felt that the Carpenters version is over produced. IF Richard would have seen the song as a potential single, and recorded it in a radio-friendly length, then they may have had a hit with it. I say may, because you just never know what's going to be popular with the public at any given time. As we all know, sadly, the Carpenters chart fortunes were on a downward slide at this time. Conversely, this period marked the beginning of Anne Murray's greatest popularity, due in large part to her crossover appeal. Her recording of "I Just Fall In Love Again" went to #12 on the hot 100, but it was a #1 country hit in the US (her first of 9 country #1's).

    I sometimes wonder, after the surprise success of "Sweet, Sweet Smile", if the Carpenters shouldn't have concentrated on the Country market. I think that their brand of soft pop, if twanged up a little more, would have gone over very well. If Karen had lived, I could have seen them relocating to Nashville (where John Bettis lives). Many of their contemporaries had a career resurgence as Country artists in the 1980's.
  21. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    I agree. I probably prefer Anne Murray's simpler arrangement and the production on her version. I also like her warm but no-frills delivery. It comes across as direct and sincere. I do like Karen and Richard's version, but Anne Murray's version is right up there and, for me, probably comes just out in front...... although nostalgia tells me to like Carpenters' version better, because I was enamoured of it back when 'Passage' was first released when I was a kid.
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  22. I'm always amazed at the praise heaped on "I Just Fall In Love Again". Whenever I listen to it, all I can hear is Karen's post-cold nasalness on her vocals. It sounds like she's had a cold and was just about back to normal, but there was that nasal sound that occurs when we're in that stage of a cold, and extra resonance on "m's" and "n's", (listen to "mmmagic...") the consonants that require use of the nasal cavity. Anyway, that's what I hear, and it never enters my thoughts that this recording could be a single.
    Simon KC1950 and Brian like this.
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Gee, Harry,
    I must confess I do not "hear" the nasal sound on this song that you are referring too.
    Yesterday, as I was cycling through all of my various Passage recordings,
    the only thing that "hit" me was how utterly astounding Karen sounded on this song !
    Oh well, perhaps my ears are still off !
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  24. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I've always thought she sounded like she was coming out of a bad cold. Her vocals aren't as rich and "present" as they are on other ballads. Just listen to "You're The One" and compare.
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  25. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Very interesting.....
    I re-listened to some vinyl:
    1985 Carpenters Collection
    1981 Jp flip side of Those Good Old Dreams
    1986 flip side of Honolulu City Lights
    1977 UK Passage album
    1977 Jp Passage album
    1977 USA Passage album.
    Of the above recordings--I Just Fall In Love Again,
    the flip side of the 45-Honolulu City Lights is the best, as far as I can ascertain.
    My only serious reservation is this:
    The very last lyric that Karen sings,
    "....you..." is virtually drowned out by the intrusive flute !
    That really irks me....
    Simon KC1950 likes this.

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