• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline for October 2021! The new book Carpenter: The Musical Legacy will be available on October 19 and can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is being released October 22, and is available for ordering here.

Siedah Garrett

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
I've often wondered just how very different (and better) the Carpenters' harmony (and overall sound) would have been if Leslie Johnston (or someone else with decent vocal talent) had decided to join them in the beginning and had ended up singing along on most of the choruses where Karen double tracked herself...

Richard did actually employ other established and well respected female vocalists to add to their sound over the years: Maxine Willard-Waters, Carolyn Dennis, Julia Tillman and Carlene Williams being the main ones. The jewel in the backing vocalist crown however was Siedah Garrett, who made an amazing contribution and difference to their sound on the very underrated track “Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night”. I wish they’d used her more on Made In America and that more people could hear this song. I’ve often wanted to hear about her experience of working with Richard, and whether her vocal was added in 1980 or 1989. My money’s on the latter - she was a recognised name in the industry by then thanks to her work with Michael Jackson on the Bad album.

[Moderator: Moved these Siedah Garrett posts to their own thread as it didn't really belong in the KIND OF HUSH thread.}
 
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Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
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Richard did actually employ other established and well respected female vocalists to add to their sound over the years: Maxine Willard-Waters, Carolyn Dennis, Julia Tillman and Carlene Williams being the main ones. The jewel in the backing vocalist crown however was Siedah Garrett, who made an amazing contribution and difference to their sound on the very underrated track “Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night”. I wish they’d used her more on Made In America and that more people could hear this song. I’ve often wanted to hear about her experience of working with Richard, and whether her vocal was added in 1980 or 1989.

All of the vocals were cut in late '80. :)
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
All of the vocals were cut in late '80. :)

Wow - years before she was an established vocalist. I’m impressed. I’ve always loved her voice and talent as a songwriter. She wrote “Man In The Mirror”, which Quincy Jones described as “the best song I’ve heard in ten years” just hours after she gave him the demo on a cassette.
 

Chris May

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Wow - years before she was an established vocalist. I’m impressed. I’ve always loved her voice and talent as a songwriter. She wrote “Man In The Mirror”, which Quincy Jones described as “the best song I’ve heard in ten years” just hours after she gave him the demo on a cassette.

I know! I've always loved that story... when something is great, it's just GREAT!
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
All of the vocals were cut in late '80. :)
Really, Chris ? I always take what you say as gospel but Garret was just 20 in 1980...Richard and karen sought out a virtually unknown 20 year old as a background vocalist for their album?

Anymore details?
 
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Chris May

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Really, Chris ? I always take what you say as gospel but Garret was just 20 in 1980...Richard and karen sought out a virtually unknown 20 year old as a background vocalist for their album?

Anymore details?
Siedah was doing background vocal session work as early as ‘77ish.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
Siedah was doing background vocal session work as early as ‘77ish.
Wow...this song just keeps getting more interesting. I wonder if she was signed with A&M at the time. I always assumed the track was shelved before karen completed all of her bg vocals and so Richard hired Garret circa '89 to complete her parts and the process add a bit of flavour to the song. But it seems karen and she actually met in late '80.

As always thanks for the info...I'll never doubt you again 😉
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I am surprised, then, that Richard did not utilize Siedah Garrett for his Time solo album.
Why was the song Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night shelved as an "outtake" at the time ?
Even now, KMTWYDLN occurs on no compilation album.
 

Chris May

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Wow...this song just keeps getting more interesting. I wonder if she was signed with A&M at the time. I always assumed the track was shelved before karen completed all of her bg vocals and so Richard hired Garret circa '89 to complete her parts and the process add a bit of flavour to the song. But it seems karen and she actually met in late '80.

As always thanks for the info...I'll never doubt you again 😉
Actually, the entire recording was finished by April 1983 (including, of course Richard's, Karen's and Siedah's backing vocals, which were overdubbed some 2-1/2 years earlier).

The track was considered for the Voice of the Heart album, but remained on the shelf another six years. :)
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
I am surprised, then, that Richard did not utilize Siedah Garrett for his Time solo album.
Why was the song Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night shelved as an "outtake" at the time ?
Even now, KMTWYDLN occurs on no compilation album.
Good question for which there is probably no good (or at least, satisfactory) answer - but then, several other song titles could be substituted here...
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I just assumed that Richard had worked with her in 1988/89 to sweeten the tune. Upon further thought, by that time, she was quite in demand as a session singer/songwriter and likely wouldn't have been available had he asked her. Thus, the whole thing makes more sense.

Ed
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
Actually, the entire recording was finished by April 1983 (including, of course Richard's, Karen's and Siedah's backing vocals, which were overdubbed some 2-1/2 years earlier).

The track was considered for the Voice of the Heart album, but remained on the shelf another six years. :)
You realize, Chris, that your book will reignite these boards with info like the above.
The last time we had any really new info on them or their music was a decade ago with Randy's Book. You are about to sprinkle moondust over so many of these songs and then nerds like us can have chats about them again.

12 weeks and counting, huh
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
To be honest, I have tried to hear her in “Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night” but all I hear is Karen. :hide:

There’s a reason for that which I’ve mentioned before on another thread. Siedah is what I can only describe as a “vocal chameleon”. She has an incredible ability to mimic the artist she’s singing with. It’s most obvious on the lead single from the Bad album - “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” (in particular the line “You know how I feel” - she sounds just like him). Even the sound engineer on that session recalled at one point not being able to differentiate between her vocal and Michael’s in the verses.

On this track she’s buried down a fair bit but if you listen with headphones you should hear her on the first line of each chorus, in particular the word “ni-i-ight”. She’s also there on the first really high notes of the chorus (“Kiss Me”), to bolster Karen’s upper register sound. I’d love to hear about her experience of working with Richard and whether she even met Karen in the studio at the time the song was recorded.
 

Matthew Smith

Well-Known Member
I sent in a question to Richard many years ago to the old website asking why they started using other vocalists and the answer was “to get a different sound” but I always thought maybe he did it to give himself and Karen a break from all the intensive background vocal duties they had undertaken in years past. But I feel they do mostly use them as “filler” in the mix so that no one else’s voices stand out particularly much. I assume they didn’t single out hiring any particular individuals, like Siedah Garrett, and just got their people to go hire some folks, and ended up with whomever they got. Likely they had to be pretty agreeable and willing to work hard enough to satisfy Richard’s high standards.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
To be honest, I have tried to hear her in “Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night” but all I hear is Karen. :hide:
Agreed- it's really hard to distinguish anyone individually, even Karen - the harmonies are so thick it could have been anyone filling in - if you didn't know better you might have thought it was Karen overdubbing for the 7th or 8th time in her higher register - granted, the sound is really gorgeous and might not have been quite so without Seidah, but signaling her out in the mix is an exercise in futility...
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Oh, I can hear Sid quite easily in the backgrounds. She adds a silkiness that wouldn't have been there otherwise. I believe Richard really did use her to get a slightly different sound just like he did with Carolyn Dennis and others. She's even more obvious at the end where the chorus repeats ("yeah"!). She really colored their sound so nicely.

Ed
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
After another listen to the song, I can say I finally do hear Siedah where you point it out Ed...that is on the lyric "Yeah," near the end of the song.
Otherwise, were it not for the credits appearing on the album, I would never be able to delineate her vocals from the other instances of the song.
In order to really be able to do that, with certainty, I would need to hear the song without her vocals and then with her vocals re-inserted.
I'm pretty much in line with Rick on this.
 

Mike Blakesley

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Moderator
I sent in a question to Richard many years ago to the old website asking why they started using other vocalists and the answer was “to get a different sound” but I always thought maybe he did it to give himself and Karen a break from all the intensive background vocal duties they had undertaken in years past.

I don't know if it was to give them a break so much as it was just a matter of time. Overdubbing takes a lot of time, and they were on this grueling schedule of record, album, tour, record, album, tour etc. and they didn't have the time they had in the early years to devote.
 

Chris May

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The utilization of Siedah's vocals were all about deviating from the original formula a little.

"Kiss Me" was considered for inclusion on Made in America, with the track and several of the overdubs recorded in '80. Remember, there were a couple of other recordings on the album that utilized some of the same treatment, so this would have fallen in line with what Richard was looking for on the whole when recording MIA.

The orchestra was recorded shortly after Karen passed, and the selection, once again, left off of [at the time] Voice of the Heart. So, in theory, the timeline in which various overdubs went down for all of this makes perfect sense, even though we didn't officially hear it until the end of the decade.

And to clear up any confusion, the Siedah Garrett appears courtesy of Reprise/Qwest Records credit was given simply because she was under contract with another label at the time the track was released on A&M in '89.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
And to clear up any confusion, the Siedah Garrett appears courtesy of Reprise/Qwest Records credit was given simply because she was under contract with another label at the time the track was released on A&M in '89.

If I may deviate a bit from the main topic briefly, this mention of vocalist credits reminded me of a story I read years ago about which I found really interesting.

The seemingly inconsequential process of painstakingly listing all vocalists on a record is taken for granted now, but back in 1990 there was a track released by Black Box called “Ride On Time” that was a massive dance hit across Europe (it reached #39 on the US Hot Dance Club Play Chart). Shortly after its release, there was a huge controversy when it was discovered that the girl in the video (and on the album and single sleeves) was miming to the voice of veteran session singer Martha Wash, who had recorded the original demos for RCA. The label kept these demo vocals and - without her knowledge, permission or credit - used them on five tracks on the finished album. Wash later filed a successful lawsuit against RCA and this legal action spurred legislation in the United States making vocal credits mandatory on albums and music videos - which is now the norm. I always make a point of carefully poring over album credits because not only is it interesting to see who’s worked with who, but that tiny printed mention of someone’s name on a record can make the difference between its success and a multimillion dollar lawsuit.

Back on topic, I didn’t realise until quite recently that Siedah also co-wrote “Keep The Faith” for Michael’s Dangerous album. Another great tune!
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
Martha was also the lead female vocalist for Gonna Make You Sweat by C+C Music Factory. A huge hit in the U.S. with no credit or appearance in the video, because she was very obese. She sued and settled with Sony, plus they added her credits at the end of the video. Anyway, Quincy Jones found a great talent with Siedah. Too bad her solo career didn’t pan out very well. Glad Carpenters and Michael got to work with her.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
Martha was also the lead female vocalist for Gonna Make You Sweat by C+C Music Factory. A huge hit in the U.S. with no credit or appearance in the video, because she was very obese. She sued and settled with Sony, plus they added her credits at the end of the video. Anyway, Quincy Jones found a great talent with Siedah. Too bad her solo career didn’t pan out very well. Glad Carpenters and Michael got to work with her.

Yes, I remember this incident when it broke at the time.
 

Matthew Smith

Well-Known Member
After another listen to the song, I can say I finally do hear Siedah where you point it out Ed...that is on the lyric "Yeah," near the end of the song.
Otherwise, were it not for the credits appearing on the album, I would never be able to delineate her vocals from the other instances of the song.
In order to really be able to do that, with certainty, I would need to hear the song without her vocals and then with her vocals re-inserted.
I'm pretty much in line with Rick on this.
Agreed. I suppose if I had something better than Bose QC headphones and my iPhone, laptop or Bluetooth turntable to hear it, I might be able to hear her singled out. But nevertheless the vocals on KMTWYDLN are stellar and I enjoy them anyway!
 
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