george_b said:I have never heard why Richard sang the first phrase. I do agree that there is a "grand entrance" effect that I still enjoy.
In '78 when the session was done for this song, Karen's lead vocal was a "work lead" that was incomplete. She sang during a tracking session that included some orchestration, as there were two separate "takes" of this tracking session that were spliced and edited together to make one complete musical pass at the song.
During production for "An Old Fashioned Christmas", Richard went back to this reel, and discovered on the playback that Karen's work lead from the take used to complete the first segment was scattered and sung incompletely. However, the work-lead from the back half section of the take was compelete and well enough to complete the song. SO, hence the reason Richard went into the first verse, deleted Karen's lead, and recorded his twice (doubled to create the Carpenters "sound" if you will).