• The new Carpenters recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is now available. Use this link to order, and help us out at the same time. Thank you!

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

Which side is your favorite?

  • Side A: "Top Of The World"

    Votes: 44 91.7%
  • Side B: "Heather"

    Votes: 4 8.3%

  • Total voters
    48

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
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 ?
To my knowledge that’s never been uploaded online anywhere.
 

will1966

New Member
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).
OK, this brings up something that has bothered me for over 40 years. Why are there two separate pronunciations of "world" in this song? In the first chorus, "world" has a definite "British" sounding pronunciation with a rounded "R" sound, and in the next chorus the R is a more hardened American pronunciation. I remember noticing this when I was 8 years old and trying to figure it out.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
And, 'food for thought'....
Karen drums Top Of The World--1973 White House Performance--
although, Hal Blaine does those duties on 1972's Song For You Lp.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
Top of the World, of course. I say 'of course' because an instrumental can be pleasant but without Karen's voice I lose interest quickly.

Some here have talked about Karen's vocal inflections and accents; she does seem to choose differing pronunciations at times - sometimes in the same song, on the same word(s). I've often wondered if these were conscious choices, or Karen just singing and whatever came out, came out.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
Wow! And OJ is in the lineup (pardon the pun)...

I never understood the phenomenon of Cher being considered a top vocalist. She has no range and her vocals are all kind of singsongy with a weird twang on the lyrics. Vastly overrated, IMHO. Their show, however, was very popular in the US and garnered huge ratings.
"OJ in the lineup" bad :rolleyes::laugh: Agreed with this, and she has a fast vibrato which I don't care for with any singer. I think Cher had a personality that drew many to her, though.
 

Brian

Well-Known Member
Heather, written by Pearson in 1968 as a piece of library music, made for TV, film and commercial producers looking for low-cost, ready-made background music."
Source:
Johnny Pearson obituary »
'Heather' was used to great effect in the late 1970s in the UK TV series, 'All Creatures Great and Small'. Johnny Pearson's version played in the scene as vet, James Herriot, frantically searched for his beloved, elderly dog and found him lying, dead, in the heather. Then, for the first time, I was touched by the tune and saw its value. Until then, having heard it only on 'Now and Then', I had always thought, 'What a waste of space'.

Johnny Pearson provided other music for 'All Creatures Great and Small' and was involved with The Carpenters in other capacities.
 

Brian

Well-Known Member
Like what? I’ve never heard of him until now.
Johnny Pearson co-produced the 1971 'Carpenters Live at the BBC' special, apparently.

He was a British composer and orchestra leader. One of his best-known roles was composing music for the immensely popular long-running TV series, 'All Creatures Great and Small'.

He was in touch with Richard Carpenter before the recording of 'Heather' and allowed the name change suggested by John Bettis. The piece was previously called 'Autumn Reverie'.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I did notice that the credits (as they rolled) from the 1971 BBC TV Special
state Johnny Pearson: Musical Director.
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
This is probably the Carpenters song I have heard (most) publicly from over the years. "Top Of The World" is my #8 favorite singles by the duo. The single remix is basically a perfect 70's pop song and it rightly brought them back to the TOP of the charts. Plus it's from my favorite R&K album, The Singles: 1969-1973. The album like the single is utter perfection! It's a sunny, breezy sing-a-long song that is timeless, beautiful production and remix made for a big radio hit.

10/10
 

adam

Active Member
Hi
Top of the world. chart facts.

Australia. 1
Belgium. 27
Canada. 1
Germany. 38
Ireland. 3
Israel. 1
Japan. 21
New zealand. 2
Netherlands. 12
UK.5
USA.1
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Hi
Top of the world. chart facts.

Australia. 1
Belgium. 27
Canada. 1
Germany. 38
Ireland. 3
Israel. 1
Japan. 21
New zealand. 2
Netherlands. 12
UK.5
USA.1
I always find it surprising and quite sad that they never had a UK number one single.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I always find it surprising and quite sad that they never had a UK number one single.
It's true, but they had two #2s (compared to their five #2s in the US - that was pretty unlucky!) and although these were kept off the top by two pretty forgettable tracks ('I'm the Leader of the Gang' by the egregious Gary Glitter and 'January' by Pilot), that's just the way it goes sometimes.

They did much better on the album charts - a massive combined total of 29 weeks at #1 for The Singles 1969-1973, Horizon and the Only Yesterday compilation - which far trumped their single week on top of the US album chart.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Excerpt from an amusing read,
The Carpenters – “Top Of The World”
HIT #1
: December 1, 1973
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks
Conclusion:
"Almost everything about “Top Of The World” speaks to a basic, surface-level idea of sophistication. But Karen Carpenter’s vocal work is what ultimately saves “Top Of The World” from simper status. She’s what gives the song its richness. She doesn’t turn it into a masterpiece or anything, but she does what she can. GRADE: 6/10"
Much more:
www.stereogum.com/2041482/the-number-ones-the-carpenters-top-of-the-world/franchises/the-number-ones/
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
I voted for Top of the world the single version was the first version I ever heard as a kid hearing it on the radio I liked the album version too but the single version had more "punch" to it ( for lack of a better term) but regardless of which version both are to be appreciated equally
 

Greg

Member
Top of the World always makes me remember the idea that very simple sounding songs can brim with sheer sophistication and Richard's mixes are honed to absolute perfection. It's interesting as the track is mellow but uplifting, and while it dissects the feeling of pure joy and contentment, both the music and lyrics have an abject surrealism, which along with Karen's crystal smooth delivery, create a dream like world almost bordering on something deeper and weirdly subversive.

It's also one of the rare pop songs that could be played just about anywhere, from a church congregation to a group of college kids getting stoned. If it has a problem, it must be that sometimes it's cultural omnipresence make it almost impossible to hear it objectively, but it's surely one of the most timeless pop songs ever crafted.

Comparisons to Heather therefore feel a little unfair. Though I always liked this track, especially the strings and oboe. I even wrote a lyric for it when I was a poetic teenager, haha - something for which I can only apologise :banjo:
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I, for one, have always loved ‘Heather’. It’s totally different from anything else they recorded, and Karen’s drumming is impeccable (as always).
 
Top Bottom