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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)
    86.5%
  2. Side B: "Druscilla Penny"

    5 vote(s)
    13.5%
  1. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    There can't be any argument that from a purely commercial point of view in the sense of 'what's going to be the next hit?', they were obviously on the money with 'Sing'. It did well and, as has been noted, better than say 'Goodbye to Love', which is rated more highly by most fans and critics.

    However, I think there's a case to be made that rather than judging things merely on the basis of 'what will be the next hit?', they might have been better off picking at least some songs that would challenge the image that had ben built up of them and that might allow them to challenge perceptions and start appealing to other demographics.

    The Billboard writer Paul Grein, a long-standing supporter of the Carpenters, wrote some insightful pieces in the early 1990s on why the Carpenters ran into trouble in terms of their image and subsequent chart decline. He mentioned 'Sing' in particular as a misstep in this respect - a quick sugar-rush of a hit, but without any longlasting benefit to their career and a track that would be used as evidence for years to come for them being a lightweight act that didn't deserve to be taken seriously.

    Whilst 'Goodbye to Love' didn't go gold, it did cause some critics to take notice of them and it's a track that's still talked about with some reverence now by many critics. It didn't achieve their short-term aim of getting another Top 3 single, but in the long term it's more than justified its release as a single - it helped to change perspectives on them. I believe that releasing 'This Masquerade' in 1973 could have done something similar - it didn't sound like their other singles (or even the other Leon Russell songs they'd recorded), but it had real depth to it too. Again, it's a song that's often singled out by critics as one of their best performances. Instead, we got 'Sing', 'Yesterday Once More' (a favourite with some but not a departure from their general sound) and in some countries 'Jambalaya' (which was almost as lightweight as 'Sing').

    Of course, the image problem wasn't just down to releasing songs like 'Sing' as singles, but it certainly did nothing to help matters, and it's one area where I think they had some responsibility in adding to the problem. Their fans may have lapped it up in 1973, but once the market starting turning against them, those fans weren't buying their singles anymore and they hadn't done enough work when times were good for them to show the audience that there was more to them than the 'saccharine' image suggested. As such, there was very little they could do - they weren't having hits with their trademark songs or with more challenging material like 'Calling Occupants'.
     
    GaryAlan likes this.
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^I have read the Paul Grein material.
    Where he and I disagree: I place the mis-step, not on recording/release of "Sing,"
    but, the release of It's Going To Take Some Time !
    If you ask for a 'lightweight' arrangement, there's the mis-step !
    Yes, the lyrical content of Take Some Time is (apparently) a bit more substantial,
    compared to lyric of Sing....even so, an oh-so-boring Single.....

    1973 Grammy nomination for :
    BEST POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE BY A DUO, GROUP OR CHORUS...Sing (Single)

    Fan Club Newsletters:
    May 1973: Karen and Richard are now performing their new single, Sing, in concerts....
    March 1974: They played to over 47,000 specataters in Holmdel, New Jersey.....
     
    MorningOpensQuietly likes this.
  3. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I think from a fan perspective there would be a toss up on Sing vs It’s Going To Take Some Time, even though I agree with Harry’s assessment on the singer/songwriter angle. To see Paul Grein’s point I had to remove myself as a fan, since it has a tone of what it would have taken for the Carpenters to be loved and respected as they desired from non fans, as well as fans. Those articles are 20 years old and mute at this point for the Carpenters are etched in history with some nostalgic resurgence at this point, but they show an interesting perspective. Any objection I still hear, is the singer/songwriter angle, but that’s from those who would never listen anyway. They were still young in their career. Had they had 30 years under their belt I feel some songs would have shifted perspective a little.
     
  4. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    ABSOLUTELY. Sometimes I have to remember that Richard and Karen were in their young 20s when they hit big. Even though songs like Rainy Days, Superstar, and A Song For You seemed to imply differently, they were still young and growing as people as well as artists. I think that's one reason I loved Postman- they were able to be free and cut loose and be 24 and 27 years old.
     
  5. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    For Karen Carpenter's birthday today I've listened to Close to You, A Song For You, the Tan album and Now and Then.
    I chose SING. I used to want to strangle the la la choir but thought better. The song is growing on me thanks to the SACD. Druscilla Penny? Now that's another felony.
     
  6. Sing was a beautifully crafted single and deserved the success it received. I think there was a bit of "damage control" thinking behind it (after radio stations took it upon themselves to edit "Goodbye To Love"), but it's another great commercial Carpenters single no matter how you look at it.
     
  7. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    This Masquerade has virtually acquired the status of ‘single’ despite never having been one. It’s included on all the major compilations right alongside the bona fide hits and is played fairly often on some UK radio stations, particularly BBC Radio 2.
     
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Yet, another aspect of
    Sing, which--I believe--elevates it above the so-called 'lightweight' status,
    is that it was used in
    1980's Closing Medley of Music,Music,Music.....the duo must have thought highly of the song......
    Apparently, so did Barbra Streisand:
     
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Sing! The Songs of Joe Raposo


    "....there are two versions of ”Sing (Sing a Song).”
    The one by multiple Muppets is eerily moving, as it recalls the loss of the great Jim Henson
    (the voice of Ernie and Kermit).
    Still, it’s nothing compared with the version, also here, that the late Karen Carpenter made famous.
    As a pop tune, the Carpenters’ ”Sing” was saccharine.
    But as a kids’ song — a cheerful, singable confidence builder —
    it’s unsurpassed. And as a piece of shared cultural history, it’s reason enough to make
    Sing! the next Sesame Street collection you buy...."
     
    CraigGA likes this.
  10. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I don’t think anyone can disagree with the above. It is perfectly woven for that category.
     
  11. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    From a Carpenters stand point that’s a rare thing to see: a track on a multi-artist album.
     
  12. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    newvillefan and Jarred like this.
  13. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    A Richard-lead as an A-side! I wonder if it was released commercially or if it was a promo-only release.
     
  14. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    That’s virtually unheard of! Great find. I love how some other territories go with really off the wall choices for singles and promos. They definitely make for great collectors’ items all these years later. I can’t believe it’s only $2! :eek:
     
  15. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    This sounds as if it would fit onto the album, If I Were A Carpenter,
    World of Pooh...Druscilla Penny:
     
  16. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I thought I’d never say this: I like the original (in comparison). Just awful!
     
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  17. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    I agree with your assessment, @GaryAlan. However, unlike the songs from the tribute CD (some of which are terrific), I couldn't make it through this recording. I have to agree with @Mark-T.

    World of Pooh, indeed...
     
    John Adam likes this.
  18. adam

    adam Active Member

    Hi
    Sing. chart facts

    Australia. 24
    canada. 4
    Hong kong. 1
    Israel. 4
    Japan. 18
    Malaysia. 5
    Mexico. 8
    USA. 3
     

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