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Profile of a Carpenters' Fan

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Jamesj75, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I recently mentioned to a new-found friend and fellow Carpenters' aficionado that "Carpenters' fans have to be wonderful people." That has been my firm belief all along. And this thesis, if you will, has made me question whether a typical Carpenters' fan fits a certain profile.

    Many fans who grew up with their music are now of a certain age, yet younger fans have also found K&R to be similarly "groovy." People tend to pigeon-hole fans of other music genres, such as rap, metal, New Age, and hard rock. Does it not take a certain type of person to appreciate "soft rock?" Is there not a certain sensitivity for one to appreciate the angelic beauty of Karen's voice? Many have listed the Carpenters as a "guilty pleasure" or referred to themselves as "closeted" fans. Does it not require a certain indignation for one to value and treasure the Carpenters and their music in the face of so many who treat the Carpenters with disdain? Must we all be "nerds?"

    I would assume a certain type of fan would seek out this website and participate in these discussions. And these discussions, many times supportive, other rare times antagonistic, keep us interested in the continuing dialogue. In that vein, I offer my sincerest public apologies to Jeff (djn) and Moderator Harry for an occasion or two when I might have offended (but honestly, without intending to do so).

    So for anyone interested in such psychological exploration, does a typical Carpenters' fan fit a certain profile? I would gladly and greatly appreciate any feedback. But maybe, just maybe, it's my nerdy, sensitive, indignant nature that compels me to ask these questions... Thanks for your indulgence with this lengthy post.
  2. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    I think it's important that our likes and dislikes are challenged by others, if everyone on this forum had the same point of view, it would be pretty mundane.

    As for being a Carpenters fan, what drew me in, was an appreciation of great pop music, and that for me is what Richard and Karen created.
  3. I would expect that we are a diverse group. I appreciate good music but mostly pop, and even occasionally rock. But talent is always the key and much of what we see today is not what I consider talent..
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    My experience thus far is that we Carpenters' fans are a diverse, interesting, humorous, and rather intelligent group of folks!
    Most seem to appreciate beauty, thus the attraction to Carpenters' music in the first place.
    Musically, although I absolutely love Carpenters' music, I also listen to :
    1970's music (Abba, Neil Diamond, Billy Joel,etc.)
    Big Band, (Older) Jazz, Classical (Bach), Classic Country and the occasional alternative (Smashing Pumpkins,say),
    or , at times, Heavy Rock (Van Halen, Def Lepard, Queen, Poison, Skid Row,etc.....mostly for the drumming!).
    Friends and family always assume I am "into easy-listening music" because of my Carpenters' fanaticism. Not so, of course.
    The forum has been a wonderful outlet for me to learn from others and to get alternative perspectives on the duo,
    as I realize that my viewpoint is not necessarily "carved in stone".
    It is always a pleasure to learn from other individuals and enlarge my worldview.
    Hopefully, I have not offended, and if so, I too, offer apologies!
    Well, I would imagine that the diversity of the members on this forum is quite evident through everyone's
    thoughtful participation!
  5. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    The answer to your question is an absolute NO! Carpenters fans don't fit any specific profile.Karen is one of those types of artists that has a very diverse audience.She appeals to black and white fans,younger and older,male and female,jew and gentile,rich,poor and middle class.

    The idea that "Carpenters fans have to be wonderful people" is a misguided thought. An imprisoned criminal could be a staunch Karen fan. In fact,many people involved in the Italian mafia were big fans of Frank Sinatra,Tony Bennett and Jerry Vale.
  6. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    Pretty sure there were some "wonderful people" in the Italian mafia, and quite a lot of "wonderful people" end up in prison!
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  7. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    You're an incredible gentleman James. My hat is off to you. People (Gentlemen) like you are a welcome sight in a world of cynicism, plight and despair.

    BarryT60, Passage_Ta_C and Jamesj75 like this.
  8. arthowson

    arthowson Active Member

    true Carpenters fans understand that Karen made that solo album so that the Carpenters would become popular again. What's good for Karen is good for the Carpenters. It would have been like Justin Timberlake returning to NSYNC, like he should have. Karen would have returned to Richard. She should have cleared the material with Richard so that there would be some buy-in when the playback occurred.
    BarryT60 and Jamesj75 like this.
  9. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    First, my sincere thanks to all posters (so far) and hopefully more to come on this (perhaps) unusual topic!

    Second, Jeff (djn), I appreciate your kind words more than I could ever express. :) I try to live up to your generous description, but I sometimes falter... and feel miserable when I do. My hat is off to you, as well, as it is clear what a kind and generous gentleman you are. It's evident by reading any of your posts... You clearly fit into my preconceived (misguided though it may be) notion of "wonderful people" being Carpenters' fans. If nothing else, it's a great fraternity we have going here.
    Passage_Ta_C and Jeff like this.
  10. This may be an unusual topic, but I think it is a very good one. As fans we always wonder the why's of how fans become fans and what common attributes we share. But before I start, I think you are to be commended for your honesty and willingness to apologize for your self perceived digressions. It takes a man, or person, of great character to admit their faults and apologize for them. My hat is off to you.

    As I grew up, I was the youngest male of six; four older sisters and one older brother. My oldest sister was born six days after Karen: meaning there's fourteen years between us. There was all kinds of music in the house; pop, rock. Big band, country, and showtunes (a personal favorite). The biggest source for music was the radio. That is where I first heard that voice. It transcended all others. Her voice reached the recesses of my soul and told me about things I didn't yet understand but somehow knew. There was a certain yearning for acceptance and needing to belong. The way she phrased and sang her notes just immediately made sense to me. We were kindred spirits, as I think all their fans are. It isn't just the appreciation for good music, but the understanding of the lhuman element she expressed with her voice. I am thankful for Richard's genius with arrangement and composition, but for me, it has always been that angelic soulful voice.
    BarryT60, A&M Retro, Jeff and 2 others like this.
  11. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    This is a great topic James and one we don't often discuss but it's always been in the back of my mind. What is the profile of a Carpenters fan? Why do some "hear" what we as fans hear and why do some not hear her voice or say yeah that's nice music but not really anything more or someone else in left field say oh no I could never listen to their music. For me, when I hear Karen's voice it's more than just listening with my ears, her voice goes deep into my soul, straight to my heart, it's a very special experience.

    When I was growing up and liking their music and my friends were all listening to harder rock stuff and I'd admit that I listen to The Carpenters and they would laugh or smirk, oh I put up with it but I knew what I liked and what made me happy, Karen's voice had a way of wrapping me up into this warm blanket and I was safe. I can still remember as a teen listening to The Carpenters on my technics turntable sitting in my room on my brown bean bag chair with headphones, my lava lamp on and lights down low and it was like I was in another world. Their music had a way of shutting out the rest of the world and I could be myself and just enjoy their music that I loved and it renewed me. When I had a bad day at school, I knew that at the end of the day I could come home and put on a Carpenters record and there was that voice and it was soothing and warm. This is how her voice affected me back then and what it meant to me....little did I know but I was building my Carpenters profile of a obsessive fan. I'm still the same fan yet in a much older body.
  12. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Passage_Ta_C (aka Tracey?): Welcome to the A&M Corner! Thank you so much for your kind words. I can't tell you how much your support means to me. And I believe it is also a sign of great character to extend a sincere and kind compliment, thus making someone else feel good about himself/herself. :)

    Also, I think you understand me (not an easy task) and my original premise. Your eloquent description of Karen's singing as "understanding the human element she expressed with her voice" is apt and astute. Also, your discussion of how Karen's voice reached "the recesses of my soul" and the "yearning for acceptance and needing to belong" has moved me... Karen's voice has long soothed and saved me. Listening to Carpenters' records (during the 1970s) was an escape for me during my difficult high school years, when I was the target of bullying. (I am not trying to elicit sympathy here, just stating a fact.) I also learned to sing by attempting to sing along with Karen. Karen's voice continues to be comfort food for my soul to this day, and it envelops me in warmth, as does a well-appreciated compliment. Thanks again!
    Passage_Ta_C and Jeff like this.
  13. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Chris, thank you for your kind words! I am definitely feeling fountains of "grace and gratitude" tonight! And your rephrasing ("Why do some 'hear' what we as fans hear...") of my original concept brings the whole idea into sharper focus.

    Interestingly, I was composing my response to Passage_Ta_C when I received an alert about your post. It is coincidental, to say the least, that you, too, were referencing putting on a Carpenters record after a "bad day at school," which was also my experience. It's a "dirty old shame" that we, as Carpenters' fans, have sometimes been subject to derision by our peers. It's no coincidence that both of us use the term "soothing" to describe Karen's voice. Passage_Ta_C describes Karen's voice as "angelic soulful." Even though we all have "much older bodies," we can still feel such enjoyment, appreciation, and satisfaction by listening to Carpenters' music and Karen's unparalleled, beautiful, angelic voice. And they still make bean bags and lava lamps; "another world" is always within reach, my friend. :)
  14. Thank you so much James for the welcome. Yes my name is Tracey and my user name is a play on my initials and my favorite Carpenter's album - hence phonetically 'passage to sea'. I have perused the forum for many years and have been very impressed the knowledge its members possess. I only recently joined because I found the courage to do so. Hopefully I might be able to bring forth some food for thought and create some good discussion or debate. I am truly honored to be in such great company. As fans, we are all here to civily discuss and debate the topics at hand, but should always do so the great respect. I made an error in my first post and humbly apologize for my use of bad manners. Here's to having fun, some laughs, some tears, and making new friends. Thank you again for helping to make me feel welcome.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  15. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Hello Tracey! Again, you are to be commended for your great and positive attitude! BTW, I highly doubt that you would have used anything close to bad manners, here or elsewhere... Yet it is truly admirable for you to "humbly apologize." Thanks for the explanation of your user name; you can't go wrong with any reference to "Passage!" As I may have mentioned a while back (before you joined officially), the "75" in my user name denotes a watershed year for me: graduation from high school (things got better for me in my senior year), a magical time in my life, and the halcyon days of the Carpenters (in my estimation) when we were treated to Horizon. To me, notwithstanding the outstanding output from the Carpenters that preceded 1975, I have always been nostalgic mostly for the mid-1970s, Carpenters-wise and otherwise. That's also why I hold A Kind of Hush in such high regard (although here I believe I am in the minority on that point) as well as Passage. Sometimes the influence of music in one's life pertains, in part, to what was going on in a person's life at the time---coming of age, if you will. My avatar picture, BTW, is a shot of the Niagara River, in the area of Niagara Glen, on the Canadian side, a couple of miles north of the Falls: one must hike down into the gorge to reach this beautiful area---I just love it!

    One other brief revelation: Your experience mirrors mine in that I read the posts here at A&M for years before finally having the courage to post. There are so many knowledgeable, insightful fans at this site that it is almost intimidating to make yourself a part of the conversation. But I finally decided to take the plunge and include my voice. I have learned so much here, for instance, regarding a new compilation release date, but also information well beyond that. As we see, there are many terrific people here. I hope this experience proves rewarding for you as well. Take care, friend.:)
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
    Passage_Ta_C likes this.
  16. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    My earliest memory of hearing Carpenters music was Close to You on my mother's kitchen radio when I was 10 or 11. I was hooked by Karen's voice and saved my allowance and babysitting money to buy each single and album as it was released. I love the descriptions already expressed here. Her voice could really take you places. My mother didn't worry about me sitting in front of the TV too much because after school I would be in my room listening to records and escaping the world. :)
  17. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    Carpenters music has had an amazing positive impact on so many lives, I think that those of us who lived through the seventies as teenagers, really appreciated an alternative style of pop music, and yearned for something wonderful. Richard & Karen were wonderful together, they did make the seventies a better place musically. If ever I felt low, just listening to Richard & Karen, would make me feel pretty wonderful.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  18. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    I don't think we fit a profile at all, James. For my part, the attraction has always been Karen's voice and the harmonies. Often, I endure the other stuff (OBOE!!) in order to get to that voice and the harmonies. My main love is R&B but Karen and those harmonies manage to attract me and have for years. It turns out, those harmonies have been influential to Jam & Lewis as well as Boyz II Men and many other R&B acts.

    Passage_Ta_C and Jamesj75 like this.
  19. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    Hmmmm first blush, I liked the idea of being PC and thinking K might have gotten song approval from R.... Then - on second thought, it wouldn't have been totally a 100% Karen project, would it have been?
    Although I really like most of that album, and I am delighted that Karen found some really close friends in Itchy and certainly, Phil, I wonder what a Quincy Jones produced album from Karen might have yielded....
  20. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    You said that brilliantly.... ITA!
    Passage_Ta_C likes this.
  21. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    I find myself in many of these thoughtful responses.... Maybe there are some common traits after all!
  22. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    Profile...??? That would be an interesting demographic study... I can't be certain, but I see myself in many of the posters here...

    But the overriding link that connects is that voice, and of course, how it was recorded and produced.

    I was 9 years old when I first heard "the sound"... Youngest of 3, and from a musical family.
    My Dad was musician, and we always had music blaring from the kitchen radio, or the stereo in the den... For my brother and sister and me, the AM top 40 stuff prevailed... Though I sneaked in some Como, Tony Bennett and Steve and Eydie records, when nobody was looking... :wink:
    It was my dad's guitar player that came into our home with the 45 version of Close to You, the summer of 1970, that changed my appreciation of music forever.
    Only Just Begun seemed to come and go before I knew it... but then... upstairs, in our bedroom hallway, we had a very old, very large radio that played with allot of oomph... For All We Know played on the radio one night... I remember standing in my doorway hearing that song... a favorite to this day... and it was then that I was hooked - indefinitely.
    Something in the reading of that song - reached into my heart, and even at such a young age, the velvety calming melancholy of Karen's rich voice struck a nerve in my soul that has never been matched.

    Oh, I liked other artists... Favorites included Carly Simon, Olivia, Manilow, Helen Reddy, 5th Dimension, Streisand... But the die was cast with For All We Know, and I never looked back.
    With each passing album, particularly, the early ones, my brother, sister, and myself would sit with crossed legs, on the floor of our den, and crank up that stereo for hours, singing along to every note... He did Richard's part, my sister, Karen's... and I got relegated to the "background" harmonies... (did I say YOUNGEST sibling?) Even though my voice, not yet having changed, seemed to hit all the same notes as Karen.. But I digress....
    Later, when I was alone with those headphones, there was something more that took place than just listening to music... That voice, became a respite from an awkward adolescent's tribulations of the day...

    Bullying? Name calling? Inept talent on any sports field?? Who cares? There was a Carpenters logo that needed to be stared at and a new album to look forward to at home...

    Ironically, the struggles of Carpenters music to fit in to radio & the vast musical landscape, happened to parallel my own struggles to fit into the vast landscape of life... And Karen's solitude represented in those woeful lyrics and crystalline arrangements became synonymous with my own search to find my own way...

    The roads eventually diverged, & Karen - of course passed away... But for a brief shining moment - when the clutter of the internet super highway and hundreds of stations on television and radio were distilled to only a few choices, the music of the Carpenters provided a much appreciated and much welcomed place for this lonely - if not beleaguered teenaged soul to land when the day had ended.

    Coming home to that music was a game changer for me...
    And you know what? I am just realizing while writing this cathartic trip down memory lane... that Karen's, Richard's and of course, John Bettis' wish came true! Thanks for lighting those candles - guys!!

    "Weary to be home again
    Among the faces
    Of my friends
    The day is done
    Candles burning by the sea
    Are waiting for me
    I wish the same
    For you"
  23. This may not relate to just Carpenters' fans, but upon watching How To Marry A Millionaire and a Judy Garland biography, I'm struck with the idea that as fans we find those who share similar attributes or relatable qualities. Tragic figures have a tendancy to be relatable because you want them to succeed and be well and there is a hope that if they only really knew how special they are, it would be enough. They give and give until there sometimes is nothing left for themselves. Watching Karen I was always struck with the hope she could understand she was special and moved so many. One can dream the if only.
    BarryT60, Jamesj75 and Jeff like this.
  24. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    You may be right- but I could never understand the Judy Garland love. Just me, of course.
    Jarred likes this.
  25. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    Oh child pleeez
    BarryT60 and Passage_Ta_C like this.

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