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Official Review [Single]: 11. "SING"/"DRUSCILLA PENNY" (1413-S)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Jul 9, 2016.

Which side is your favorite?

  1. Side A: "Sing"

    32 vote(s)
  2. Side B: "Druscilla Penny"

    5 vote(s)
  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter


    Sing.png SingSingle.png Druscilla Penny.png
    Side A: Sing 3:20 (Raposo)
    Side B: Druscilla Penny 2:18 (Carpenter/Bettis)

    Catalogue Number: A&M 1413-S
    Date of Release: 1/13/73
    Format: 7" Single
    Speed: 45 RPM
    Country: US
    Chart Position: #3

    Notes: Regarding this single, A&M redesigned the label near the end of its chart run. Also note that both ochre label pressings are from Columbia Records' Pitman, NJ plant, while the later silver and tan label was a Monarch Record Mfg. (Los Angeles, CA) pressing, with label fonts from Alco Research & Engineering, Los Angeles.

    Arranged by Richard Carpenter
    Producer, Side A: Richard and Karen Carpenter / Producer, Side B: Jack Daugherty

    Side B taken from A&M SP-3502 album "Carpenters"

    For more definitive information regarding each single, you can visit our Carpenters - The Complete Singles page in our Carpenters Resource.
  2. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Difficult to vote in this one because I dislike both tracks equally. The B-side has the edge only because it has the innocence and charming feel of Offering.

    I know Sing reached #3 on Billboard but I think it only compounded their goody four shoes image and should not have been released as a single.
    Paola Rousseau likes this.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Stephen, I do agree with somewhat with your assessment:
    reinforcing the goody-four-shoes image.
    And, Druscilla Penny (which I really dislike) does have that 'Offering' vibe !

    That being said, I find
    to be rather brilliant--both in vocal execution and arrangement !

    And, of course, the later utilization of the song for the VH-1 Television promo was simply genius.
    Q: Did Richard Carpenter have to give permission for its use, there ?
  4. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    Say what you like about "Sing", but Karen's lead is absolutely chilling on it. She almost gives it a "bittersweet" feeling -- even though I love the message of the song and I get a smile on my face whenever I listen to it. Supposedly she sung with the children's choir too; I always thought I heard her voice in there!

    "Druscilla Penny" is one of my new favorite album cuts. I never particularly cared for it at first, but it was one of those songs I never forgot about, either. Then I recently found it and have played the heck out of it since. I really like how Richard sings the line "you're family's probably given up on you ... long-haired rock n' rollers". What bothered me at first was not the unusual drum sounds, but the way it ended! I was convinced there was more. :D

  5. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    My standard-issue stock copy is a Columbia pressing like the one pictured above, pressed on styrene. My white-label promo copy, mono/stereo "Sing", is a Monarch pressing on vinyl. Both are in the ochre-label style with A&M logo at 9 o'clock.
  6. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Oh, and as for the songs, I never had any problem with either "Sing" or "Druscilla Penny". Both are lightweight, fun songs and nothing more need be read into either of them.

    "Sing" was very popular on US radio and rightly made it all the way to #3 on the big chart.

    ... ♪♪ Canta una cancion ♪♪
    theninjarabbit likes this.
  7. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    'Sing' gets the nod from me in this poll.

    I saw Karen and Richard 'live' as this song was still in the top 10, so I've got a soft spot for it. I played the grooves practically off the 45 after getting it as a little surprise gift. And, of course, I still have it to this day. 'Druscilla Penny' has its moments especially with the harpsichord. Very baroque-sounding.
  8. K.C. Jr

    K.C. Jr Well-Known Member

    I voted for "Sing". I always thought it was a nice, bright, happy little song. A surprising single, though.

    Okay, confession time. I like "Druscilla Penny" - a lot! I don't even know why, except for that perfectly overdubbed "no, NO" at the end. It was one of the first Carpenters songs I heard, so maybe it's just out of nostalgia.

    Another thing I want to mention - the picture sleeve. I like that they finally got a photo that didn't make them look like a couple. They both look happy, healthy, and at the peak of their game. (In a way, I suppose they were.)
    theninjarabbit likes this.
  9. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    Lots of Carpenters songs grew on me gradually, especially the album cuts. With "Sing," it was the opposite -- I liked it when I first heard it but now I can't stand it.

    I also don't like it as a leadoff track for their album...but I don't know what other song on that album would have worked better. I guess that's a testament that the album as a whole is not as strong as what came before.

    I totally agree about this song doing more harm than good for their image. Given that, I'm really surprised they even did the song at all -- Richard had to know the song was going to reinforce their white-bread image and, other things being equal, he probably would have nixed it especially as a single. But, as we all know, they were busy with touring and didn't have as much time to devote to recording as he would have liked, so this is what we got.

    I actually like "Druscilla Penny" quite a lot. As I've stated before, one of the strengths of their early albums is the variety of sounds on display, so this song plays into that. It (as with "Saturday") makes a nice break from the normal on the album.
  10. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Sounds a bit like Richard's own personal take with it: [Paraphrase] "It's a nice record, arrangement and vocals; but having listened to it over and over again throughout the years, I don't care to hear it again - I really don't."

    Opinions aside, it really is a clever arrangement, very catchy, and the double modulation from E-flat to C, back to E-flat...the vocals...subtly brilliant.
    GaryAlan, Don Malcolm and A&M Retro like this.
  11. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    I loved "Sing" when it was released. It was a happy, cheerful song, with a positive message. I never gave a thought about what impact it might have on the Carpenters image - I mean, I was a 10 year-old kid, so what did I care about stuff like that! I still enjoy hearing it occasionally, and Karen's vocal still gives me chills.

    The best part about "Drusilla Penny" for me is the harpsichord. I've played it quite a lot on my digital piano - on the harpsichord setting of course!
  12. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    Karen's voice was suited well for Sing and the arrangement gives the song a playful feeling. Over the years I have grown to hate it then when the remix came out I liked it again. 1973 was an innocent year for music and it seems that it was last year in the 70's to capture this innocence that began with the Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head and Everything Is Beautiful theme type songs and Sing rounds it out in good fashion. (Actually, Top of the World does, later in the year, but it was from a revival of 1972's A Song For You album. Seems TOTW is an exception to the rule since it as a song that just keeps on giving through the years!) 1973 was a perfect Carpenters year on the charts!
    Nick Sphnix likes this.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The arrangement of Sing,
    utilizes--in an almost modulating, back and forth manner,to and fro manner:
    Flute (especially in beginning)
    Trumpets/horns (especially in beginning, repeated near the end)
    strings (almost throughout)
    drums (especially near the end)
    harp (near the end--outstanding utilization)
    children's choir (brilliant concept)

    Always great to watch this song on the concert footage,also.

    I believe--even though the song itself is not lyrically particularly strong-(e.g., it's not a 'love' ballad)-
    that the lead vocals, backing vocals, use of children's choir and arrangement
    are exceptional. To my ears this is where Richard Carpenter exercised musical talent/genius:
    he took lightweight, almost pop fluff, and created a magical masterpiece. (IMHO)
    I did not like the song when I first heard it....then, I really listened to it.....
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I notice that release of Sing was January 13th, 1973.
    "....during the recording, Karen accompanied them (Jimmy Joyce Singers)
    with her 'little girl' voice...as you know she can sing in many voices" (CFCN#23 March 1973).
    In reading the Fan Club Newsletters I see the duo were in Lacrosse, Wisconsin
    around this time......and, concurrently we were living there around this time....
    so, I missed seeing their concerts both in Lacrosse,Wisconsin and Rockford, Illinois.

    Oh, back on topic, to
    1973 Grammy Nominations:
    Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist
    Best Vocal Performance by Duo,Group or Chorus

    Let us not forget....Karen on drums, here.
    CraigGA and Don Malcolm like this.
  15. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    Someone here mentioned on another thread that "Sing" would have been a wonderful Carpenters entry on a children's album, and I agree with that enthusiastically...as you've all articulated well, it is produced, arranged, and sung quite nicely.

    I recall riding somewhere in the car with my mother when this song was first getting airplay. It came on the radio, and she commented something on the order of, "This is that group you like? I really like this." (Insert ominous organ chords here.) Later, after the "Now and Then" LP came out, I was visiting a friend when I noticed it next to the stereo in their family room. I picked it up and was about to comment that I had the LP as well. My friend quickly interrupted: "Oh, that's not mine. My mom bought that."

    This was the point that I really first started feeling Carpenters pushback...that they were not even remotely cool and that it was social poison for a teenager to admit you listened to them. I know that attitude existed in places long before "Sing", but I don't think it reached heartland America until then. The follow up single was great (and I don't think "Sing" itself is any more lightweight than "Top of the World"; both have a similar appeal).

    Obviously it was a big hit and continues to be popular. In some ways it just strikes me as a bit "easy" compared to the previous single. I almost never listen to it now, and avoid "Druscilla" entirely. Not that "Druscilla" wasn't perfectly fine in '71. I don't think I'd have dug back that far for a "B" side to "Sing".

    Just an opinion. "Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear...."
    Don Malcolm and GaryAlan like this.
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Here, the charts for

    April 7,1973
    TW/ LW/ Wks. /Song-Artist
    2 3 11 Neither One Of Us-Gladys Knight & the Pips
    3 1 11 Killing Me Softly With His Song-Roberta Flack
    4 5 10 Ain't No Woman Like The One I Got-Four Tops
    5 6 9 Break Up To Make Up-Stylistics
    6 13 8 Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree-Tony Orlando & Dawn
    7 9 7 Sing-Carpenters
    Toolman likes this.
  17. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    What really, really bugged me was that it was a song from Sesame Street, and it was one of those embarrassing things someone my age had outgrown a few years prior. :laugh: Seriously, I couldn't even put the stylus down on that track most of the time and if I did, I'd have to turn the volume down to save my sanity (especially when the childrens chorus comes in). Usually went straight to "This Masquerade," or just skipped side one entirely. Today I can say I like the arrangement, but the song itself is still cringe-worthy.

    OK, I'll give it that point...but just barely... :wink:

    So by default, that almost means I'd have to pick the B-side of this single...but it is such an oddball that I probably wouldn't spin it much anyway.
    Chris May likes this.
  18. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Hahaha okay...I get it...I GET IT!!! Let's put it this way, it's no where near my top 3 or even 5, but I would think it's fair to say a well crafted arrangement and nice showcase for their vocals. That said, I'll SHUT UP now LOL :D

    ...teasing Rudy, who's afraid to admit he was one of the original Jimmy Joyce Children's Choir singers..."La la la la la..."
  19. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    Good lord, I owned six of those seven singles. No wonder I'm turning gray.
    Thanks for the context. Always interesting to see what else was a hit at the time.
  20. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    But two weeks later (April 21, 1973), it was at its peak:

    CraigGA, Joeyesterday and Don Malcolm like this.
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the peak chart, Harry.
    Call me strange, but,
    is just as good --if not, better than-- the remainder of that Top 10.
    playing this song for the kids ,note their reaction to it. Priceless.
    Bless the Beasts and Children !
    Joeyesterday and Don Malcolm like this.
  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    was chosen as the flip-side of the UK released Vinyl 45-Single
    Trying To Get The Feeling Again, 1994 !

    Thus, someone--at that time--thought enough of the song for its placement there.
  23. Joeyesterday

    Joeyesterday Active Member

    I always liked DP. Nice companion piece with Superstar. Clever arrangement and melody. Never really could determine if the out of sync thump sounds were Hal's drumming or Joe's thumping a muted bass string. Anyone know the answer?
  24. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    It's the kick drum. :)
  25. Joeyesterday

    Joeyesterday Active Member

    Thanks Chris! My musical mystery is solved. I like the out of sync approach. Do you know if it was Hal's or Richard's idea?

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