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Official Review [Single]: 13. "TOP OF THE WORLD"/"HEATHER" (1468-S)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Aug 20, 2016.

Which side is your favorite?

  1. Side A: "Top Of The World"

    38 vote(s)
  2. Side B: "Heather"

    3 vote(s)
  1. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    I have to say, I missed Richard's use of the drums/bass. Not to mention, what he was best at doing -- instrument highlights. My favorite part is the oboe around 1:30 (on their version), but he also gave both the piano and the strings the reigns on the melody. The drums are particularly cool on that oboe line, too. :D

    I think Autumn Reverie is a slightly better name than Heather, though :hide:
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2016
  2. My vote goes definitely to Top of the World. I adore that song.
  3. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen


    Poor Heather :laugh:
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Carpenters Fan Club Newsletter #30 October 1973:
    "Their new single Top of the World will feature
    on the flip side, rather than
    Ticket To Ride,
    as originally planned.

    Q:Why the change ?
  5. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Another chance to showcase Richard?
  6. K.C. Jr

    K.C. Jr Well-Known Member

    My thoughts? Probably more publicity for Now & Then, since so may people would likely buy the single for "Top of the World" and then wonder "Where's this other song from?"
  7. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    Or I wonder if the original idea was to release the stereo version of Ticket from the 69 album, but then the choice was made to recut the song for the Singles 69-73 album, and more time was needed, so they used "Heather". But it would've been interesting to have seen Ticket advertised on the 45 as being from the forth-coming hits album.
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    China's Trumpchi cars looks forward to the US market

    "Being in an auto plant in Guangzhou located in southern China watching
    SUVs made by among the nation’s top automakers come off of a production line every 57 seconds."
    "Every now and then, the American traditional tune “Top of the World” by The Carpenters roars through the factory–
    an indication, that the robotics on the line have found a possible concern that has to be attended to by among this center’s thousand employees.
    "It’s likewise a reminder– albeit a surreal one– of where some of these automobiles will be headed."

    ".....and China's auto industry might feel they are finally one step closer to being on top of the world."
  9. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    I do like TOP OF THE WORLD. I like the instruments better on the single, but I prefer the original vocal track on A SONG FOR YOU. I felt Karen's twangy vocal and relaxed reading was more in keeping with the light-heartedness of the song. I felt her delivery on the single was rather stiff, especially when she sings " moy mind ".

    I thought HEATHER was perfect. sometimes the ear needs a rest from vocals, most of carpenters songs were not love songs. but out of love songs. I thought the PIANO PICKER / FLAT BAROQUE was terrific, a bit of " tongue in cheek " like INTERMISSION.
    Carpe diem likes this.
  10. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Karen definitely retained her Conn/New England accent for the recording studio. "No need to toke it out" for Rainy Days and her pronunciation of "o" in I Won't Last A Day Without You..."where I don't belong, I'm not that strong..."
  11. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I don't know for sure, but I would wager there are more "out of love" songs than "in love" songs especially in the rock era. It's probably easier to write about being out of love than being in it!
  12. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    It's more "I'm net thet strawwng". Karen's affected pronunciation is one of the reasons I hardly ever listen to the song.
  13. Surprised to hear that! One of my favorites of theirs and love her vocals. To each his own, I suppose!
    David A likes this.
  14. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I feel a little differently over pronunciation and dialect. Let me try to explain.

    ....it's nice to know, that there's someone I can turn to, who will always care, you're always there...
    ...it's nice to know, that you'll be there if I need you, and you'll always smile, it's all worthwhile...

    The way Karen sings the above phrases with perfect rhythmic inflection, using consonants and vowels to make the phrases almost duplicate in simplicity and rhyme in each line is liberating and magical. It happens in many songs and whether it was as natural as the dialect or something achieved, it worked in the songs, and those pronunciations set in the rhythm of the phrase seem to sing to me. But then again, I can listen to an art song or aria in a foreign language and still hear the meaning through the music and the singers gifts of vocalization. In a pop song it is part of the style. I love it! Listen to Tryin To Get The Feeling - it's another example that immediately comes to mind. A Song For You does the same. It's almost like hearing the style used with brushes hitting the drum in a jazz song. It's even in the verses of Top Of The World. (It's part of Karen's style that always seem to be left out of those who try to imitate her when they perform a Carpenters act.). It helps me just close my eyes and drink in and absorb the song through my senses as I hear her perfect tone and phrasing lead the song to my soul to make me feel whole.

    Brian and MorningOpensQuietly like this.
  15. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    No contest, Top Of The World
  16. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    If you're not American, (I'm not), the accent thing doesn't bother you because you don't know which inflections are predominant in which parts of America, anyway.

    I have thought in the past that Karen pronounces some words in what sounds like an English accent. I remember reading that she imitated Matt Monro, one of her favourite vocalists, to a certain extent. He was English. Her Dad was also English, spending part of his childhood in China and then going to an English boarding school until he was 14, then becoming a naturalised American later on, (if my memory serves me correctly). I know Harold Carpenter ended up with a strong American accent, but it's possible that he held on to some English pronunciation and passed a tiny bit of that on to Karen and Richard, (although I've never heard any evidence of this when they speak in interviews).

    Getting back to 'Top of the World', neither of the versions come anywhere near my favourite Carpenters tracks. I used to like them, but I've definitely gone off them. I don't like 'Heather' a huge lot, either. Therefore, I haven't voted for either side in this poll.
  17. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    In my American family, the English accent was lost, but the English words and expressions, my dad still used. My entire childhood I didn't know he was swearing because he used British words. :wink:
    I think you can hear a mixture of accents in Karen's speaking voice. Not much difference in singing between English and American, to my ears, aside from a few words. But Irish, yes.
    Carpe diem and Brian like this.
  18. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I reckon that you can often definitely tell an English singer from their singing accent. I'm thinking of people like Duran Duran, Toyah Willcox, Kate Bush, UK Squeeze, Ian Dury, Madness, etc. I'm listening to Roger Miller at the moment, (of 'King of the Road' fame), and you can definitely hear that he's American! The give-away with performers who don't have such a strong accent is the 'ant' sound as in the insect for 'can't' for America and an 'ar' sound, like 'carnt', for English. Also the 'ask' sound in words is 'arsk' for the stereotypical English accent. And then there's the pronounced 'rrr' sound in the middle or at the end of words in an American accent, which is a give-away - sort of like 'forrevrrr'. At least, that's what you might hear if you're not American.

    I remember my Mum saying once, when I was in my mid-teens, after hearing me play Carpenters songs a million times, "They don't sound American!" And I played "Top of the World" to demonstrate they were, maybe for the 'rr' sound on 'worrld', (as if Mum needed to hear the song for the billionth time). Generally, I think that you could definitely tell that Carpenters are American from their recordings.

    I like your post, Song4U - especially the bit about your Dad's swearing. My Dad was a great swearer himself - and there was definitely no mistaking his swear words!! :)
  19. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    Point taken on the R's. Top of the World sounds very American to me.
    Harriet, British singer, sings much like Karen in style, and I rarely hear an obvious British vowel sound.
    Now the Corrs Closer, sounds like Close-Air. But that's an Irish accent.
    Sorry to digress.
    Brian likes this.
  20. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I agree that Karen's vocal on the original version sounds more natural and joyous, whereas on the re-recorded version, it sounds more contrived. The album version was the Number One here in Australia. The re-recorded version wasn't known here until the Number One album, "Very Best of the Carpenters", came out at the end of 1982. (We previously got two 'Greatest Hits' collections instead of 'The Singles' with the new vocal).

    With regard to all the talk of Karen's singing accent, you would immediately detect that 'Top of the World' was by an American artist if you were hearing it for the first time without knowing anything about Carpenters, but a number of the words that you might expect to be sung with an American accent don't seem to be. Someone said that Karen seems to sing with a mix of accents, and I agree. I like CraigGA's comment above, where he explains his view about pronunciation and dialect.

    On the original version of 'Top of the World', I like the fact that Karen sounds as if she's right in the moment and singing with joy. Whatever comes out of her mouth is coming out as she feels, (and it's mainly those lovely tones we all know, in whatever accent).

    Having said that, I wonder whether Karen instinctively sang with a sort of country accent for 'Top of the World', seeing as the song has a kind of country feel. You would certainly expect her to sing in an American accent, seeing as she's an American artist singing about being overcome with euphoria in the environment she loves, which is America. Words that she sings with a real twang just in the first verse are
    'ar' for 'I', 'Nart' for 'Not', 'Gart' for 'Got', 'warnt' for 'won't', 'surprarsed' for 'surprised', (no matter where those accents are derived from).

    It seems pointless to dissect the song, because this recording, (the original version, that is), comes across as simply as someone with an incredibly unique voice singing ecstatically about being...well... on top of the world.

    I might vote for the 'A' side after all. I enjoyed it much more than I remembered, when I listened to it just then. And the original, 1972 version reminds me of my treasured very first album, "Great Hits of the Carpenters Volume 2, 1969 to 1973", that I was given for my eleventh birthday.
  21. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    On the original, I like that her "softer" singing style matches the gentler arrangement. And on the new version, her crisper upbeat vocal also matches the more energetic arrangement. I would have loved to hear more songs recorded by them in different ways.
    Brian likes this.
  22. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    I prefer the original TOTW off the "Song For You" album as many have previously mentioned. Karen's vocals seem slower in delivery and deeper and richer in tone. Not so bubbly and vivacious as the remake (one might say, "overpowering"). But it turned out to be a genius move, it charted #1!
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    "Top of the World".....artist is Celine Tam & others (second half),
    nice ...
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Forty Four Years Ago The Carpenters Were On Top Of The World (Video) – CASHBOX Magazine
    "Forty Four Years Ago The Carpenters Were On Top Of The World (Video)
    On “American Top 40,” host Casey Kasem pointed out that Carpenters
    overcame having five of their hits reaching #2 in previous years before
    breaking through with “Top Of The World.”
    I had the pleasure of interviewing the drummer for this hit song back in 1991–ex-Mouseketeer Cubby O’Brien.
    Ironically, over on the AC chart, “Top Of The World” reached #2…but the Carpenters had 15 other hits go #1 AC."
    goodjeans likes this.
  25. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Carpenters Fan Club Newsletter, August 1975:
    "Rye Town....Westchester County...Premiere Theater...all shows went well, and,
    NBC-TV came in to tape their performance of Top Of The World, which they aired later
    on local TV."

    Who has seen this airing ?

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