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

Which side is your favorite?

  • Side A: "Sing"

    Votes: 42 85.7%
  • Side B: "Druscilla Penny"

    Votes: 7 14.3%

  • Total voters
    49

Rumbahbah

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
."

Source:
Billboard
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

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.....
 

CraigGA

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.....
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.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Had they had 30 years under their belt I feel some songs would have shifted perspective a little.
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.
 

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.
 

jaredjohnfisher

Active Member
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.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
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.
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.
 

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:
 

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

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

tomswift2002

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

GaryAlan

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

adam

Active Member
Hi
Sing. chart facts

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

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Listening to
Sing.....

This song gets berated for being "lightweight," a term I would never use for this song.
A great, creative, arrangement.
Fantastic lead vocals and background harmony. The choir is fantastic.
Placement of piano, strings, drums, harp, horns, flute......is simply genius (a term I rarely use).
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
This sounds as if it would fit onto the album, If I Were A Carpenter,
World of Pooh...Druscilla Penny:
I listened to the whole thing. What does that say about me? 😂😂

This is done with a wink and a nod. It’s also done with samples of their voices and Richard’s harpsichord solo so it may not even be legal. Either way, it’s not crime against humanity, though it’s not good.

Ed
 
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