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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. natureaker

    natureaker Active Member

    I don't think that they actually performed it on the show, but "Sing" was written for Sesame Street in 1971, two years before The Carpenters released their version
  2. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I don't think they appeared on The Muppet Show either, but the Muppets (and its on the Season 1 DVD set) performed (They Long To Be) Close To You. I forget which episode its in.

    But even on the Muppet Family Christmas the Muppets performed songs that most associate with the Carpenters at Christmas, like Sleigh Ride (although in Canada and the US if you want to hear, you need to track down someone with a recording made off-air, as the North American rights for home video are rather expensive for the song, but the VHS/DVD releases in the UK and Europe have the songs intact), or other songs that the Carpenters covered, but are better known by others, such as Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  3. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    I'll always have a special affinity for this song, as it was my first Carpenters purchase. A precursor to my first album purchase a few months later with Now & Then.

    I remember my sister couldn't stand the children's choir, but I liked the song, no matter what... I also stared at that photograph for hours on end. I actually was surprised it was as popular as it was... I think it reached number 1 here in Nashville.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Love this commercial !
    In case you missed it, here is the iconic Sing
    commercial from VH1:
    BarryT60, natureaker and Jamesj75 like this.
  5. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    Trying to remember if Sing was performed on the Robert Young special. Hmmm.
  6. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    Yes... that was when RC first heard of the song and decided to record it... the special was taped well before the song was released... but aired after it was charted...
    song4u likes this.
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I really enjoy this song,
    the opening, with just the right amount of flute....followed by horns...then Karen's vocals,
    (Karen's drumming, too) also, utilization of the children's choir is exceptional,
    I wish they (children's choir) had been utilized in other songs--for instance,
    Rainbow Connection (where, I think they could have been a great addition),
    or, even, Bless The Beasts And the Children (in some capacity).

    And, its counterpart--
    Canta (as, From The Top)
    is enchanting.
  8. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I think a children’s choir used once was enough. Overkill would be the topic if they had. And, Bless the Beasts and the Children is perfect as it is and even the remix has more vocal harmony present. I desire nothing to hide it!!
    Geographer likes this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^I suppose "perfection" is in the 'ear' of the beholder !
    For instance, I revolt against the use of the 'choir' at the end of "Ave Maria,"
    I believe the use of Children's Choir in "Sing" is Genius....yes, Genius...
    (as, I do not use that term lightly)....
    Keep in mind, I love the Original soundtrack version of Bless The Beasts,
    and merely tolerate its later incarnations.....!
    As for Rainbow Connection--excepting Karen's lead vocal,
    the arrangement is a disaster (imho).....
  10. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Came in late but, it's side A for me. Karen on the lyric "make it simple to last your whole life long" and the fact she is drumming on the track sold it for me. The only good thing about Druscilla Penny is Karen's backing vocal. Should never have seen the light of day on the "Tan Album".
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
    GaryAlan likes this.
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The more I re-listen to this song,
    the more I like it.
    The arrangement--I feel--is brilliant.
    Restrained use of flute, add the horns, the drums, the harp...
    another song where the arrangement falls together beautifully.
    Excellent children's choir and Karen's lead....

    What a shame to throw in the 'throw-away' Druscilla Penny on the flip side.....
    MorningOpensQuietly likes this.
  12. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    It does have a certain charm, although I can imagine that hearing it played a lot on the radio back when it was released would have driven non-fans mad. The children's choir, whilst sort of catchy, was toxic from that perspective. Richard once described people calling it 'the Munchkin song' and I can see where they're coming from.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Billboard Magazine, February 17,1973:
    POP Picks....Sing.....
    "This selection from Sesame Street should help The Carpenters continue their string of hits,
    with Karen taking a more up-front approach than in previous singles.
    Production is excellent and children's chorus lends a catchiness to the soft-sounding cut.
    No info on flip available."

    MorningOpensQuietly likes this.
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Also...a great concert song....
    Japan, 1976:
  15. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    'Sing', side A.

    While 'Sing' may have played a role in harming their image, that seems a non-sequitur as to whether I like the song or not. It's not one of my top 5, or even 10, but I enjoy Karen's vocals (what else is new). For what it is - a children's song - Richard produced a hit, and did an excellent job with it.

    'Drusilla' is a song I don't care much for, a "skip" I never listen to.
    Mark-T likes this.
  16. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Then you never get to hear Karen's backing vocals.
  17. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    If only it had been given the "original master karaoke" treatment... :wink:
    Mark-T likes this.
  18. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    :wink: While I obviously love Karen's vocals, there are a few songs she actually SINGS that I don't care for. This one has too much I don't care for, to listen to for her amazing background vocals.
  19. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    Quite. I'm not particularly keen on Karen's backing vocals on 'Druscilla Penny' either - the odd modulating of the notes just sounds strange. It's one of those (thankfully few) songs in their catalogue that's a dud in every respect.
    David A likes this.
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Forgot to add:
    In my opinion, the release of this songs as a single--Sing--
    played virtually no part (that I can ascertain) in the "image problems" which beset the duo.
    After all, Goodbye To Love (only !) made it to #7--it being an 'edgier' single.
    Sing --lightweight as it is claimed to be--charted higher, and sold more copies,
    Top of The World and Postman, both released after "Sing,"
    reached #1........
    David A and MorningOpensQuietly like this.
  21. I couldn't agree more! I'd even venture to say that its release was strategic in design at the height of their popularity and helped fuel the success of the subsequent Singles LP and singles referenced above.
  22. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    'Sing' didn't seem to affect the opinion of most fans who were already besotted with them. They continued to purchase, as is evidenced by the songs mentioned by @GaryAlan.

    Whether it was one of the "nails" that contributed to their 'pablum' music image as regards casual fans and certainly the critics, is another question. Personally, I have little doubt that this type of song hurt them with the critics; but then, the critics (for the most part) were never going to like them all that much anyway, given the time period.
  23. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    "Sing" was one of those records that struck a chord with a wide demographic range. It was popular with children as well as with their parents and grandparents. It's a simplistic song, designed to appeal to the younger set, but adults enjoyed it too as it came on their radios. I can envision grandma going to the department store record counter and picking up a copy for her grandkid - and maybe one for her too.

    The '70s were rife with novelty songs that managed to cross all generational boundaries and "Sing" was one of them. I'm pretty sure it did Carpenters no favor as far as their image went.
    Bobberman and David A like this.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Interesting to read of your perspective, Harry.
    I never thought of "Sing" as a 'novelty' song (i.e., it's not Goofus).
    While the song appears simplistic...I believe appearances are deceiving, in this instance.
    The arrangement--the entire arrangement--is, as I've often said, brilliant.
    I've always admired the duo for having the guts to record and release the song as a Single !
    I respect your view that it did the duo "no favor as far as their image went."
    Perhaps, as of mid-late 1973 they were having those "image problems,"
    however, the brunt of those image problems--in my opinion--really snowballed in 1976.
    The July 1976 People Magazine Cover, and article, did them no favors.
    The First 1976 TV Special--as highly rated as it was--did them no favors.
    None of the Singles: Hush, I Need To Be In Love, Goofus....1976....helped their image.

    I simply see nothing in 1973 which compares to 1976, in terms of "image."

    August 11,1973 (Billboard,page 17,Talent In Action):
    " The Carpenters may be a bit too saccharine for some, but, judging from the avalanche
    of applause they left the stage with,Karen and Richard would be foolish to tamper
    with their G-rated approach to music

    MorningOpensQuietly likes this.
  25. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    "...Make it simple, to last your whole life long..."
    And it worked - here we are, a lifetime later, still discussing it!

    Absolutely. The arrangement, the strategic key change, the stacked backing, all add up to a magical recording of what appears to be just a simple song. Richard was able to hear its potential on that Robert Young special and took the song to the top of the charts.

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