Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Sep 10, 2016.
a comment about the video, I was part of the 70's and NO ONE wore anything like that hideous dress.
Harry: in the MFSL version the liner notes from Richard say it is the single version on the CD, and it obviously is not. Maybe the vocals are, but Tony's guitar additions are not there. Do you know why?
Yes. It's a mistake.
In an interview I saw, Paul Williams said that Richard changed the key of the bridge in 'I Won't Last a Day Without You', ("Touch me and I end up singing...", etc). Paul said that if Richard hadn't done this, he feels Carpenters' version would have been a bigger hit. However, I have versions by Diana Ross, Maureen McGovern, Paul Williams and others who keep the song as originally written and I feel that Richard made the verses, choruses and bridge fit together much more harmoniously. In short, Carpenters' unique and altered arrangement is the best.
Karen's lowest note on this recording is very low, but she sings it with such ease that you don't realise how low it actually is.
I think that Karen's voice sounds incredibly rich and warm in the verses and the bridge but sounds harsh in the choruses. I think it was 'The Untold Story' that revealed that she had laringitis while she was recording the song. Last time I heard 'I Wont Last a Day Without You', I thought that Karen didn't sound too good in the choruses. A bit grating, actually.
I love the stacked vocals at the end of the song, where K&R sing, "Won't last a day without you, without you".
I agree. That phrase sounds clunky on Paul Williams' version but heavenly on Carpenters' version. Then again, most lines sound clunky, the way Paul Williams records them(!) Seeing as Paul Williams is focused upon as the genius out of him and Roger Nichols, I always assumed that he wrote the music for the pair's collaborations. I recently found out that was Roger Nichols. Certainly, the lyrics of their songs are great, but I feel that the music is greater. Maybe Roger Nichols didn't want to be in the lime-light, whereas Paul Williams was more heavily into the entertainment business, as a song writer, recording artist and actor, so was probably happier to step forward for interviews, etc. I'm not negating his contributions, btw. 'We've Only Just Begun', 'Rainy Days and Monday's', 'Let Me Be the One' and 'I Won't Last a Day Without You' are wholly magnificent songs. And I've always loved 'I Kept on Loving You', too - one of the few Richard lead vocals that I like. I love all of the Paul Williams-related Carpenters songs but 'Ordinary Fool' - and 'Ordinary Fool' is even OK. I just don't think it's anything special at all - probably why K&R left it off their albums, initially. But 'I Won't Last a Day Without You' is a classic.
Can't pick one on this 45, both are excellent. The former even got some country crossover airplay!
It's pretty bad. The producers of MYOKOM must of had a "zero" budget for providing any kind of wardrobe for Karen. Looks like something Judy Garland wore in the "Wizard Of Oz".
Have to go with side A, and yes, that dress in the video - probably the worst of all the bad garments they seemed to put her in, early on.
Love this clip.... Love the piano interlude... but that dress!
I'll add - how disappointed I was as a fan to have yet another Song 4 You throwback single released, when the Singles 1969-1973 already sealed the deal on the earlier albums.
Don't get me wrong, I love the song, & agree that it should have been a single - but felt it should have taken the place of It's Going to Take Some Time...
I know they were touring their socks off - but if the label needed a song, someone somehow some way should have convinced TPTB to let these two in the studio for some recording after The Singles 1969-73 went to number one, along with Top Of The World. Quite possibly the largest and most critical mistake made in the grand scheme of things - career-wise.
That clip of Karen singing "It's Impossible" is about the most beautiful thing I ever heard... That was her 1974 self - and it was magnificent.
If they'd recorded those Como songs as full length Carpenters covers we'd have an even richer legacy to look back on. She couldn't have done those songs any more justice than she did and her voice (to say nothing of how hot she looked!) was at its absolute peak when she laid down the pre-recorded vocals for that medley. Why they didn't think to go on and record It's Impossible as a Carpenters track is beyond me.
It's an absolute tragedy there wasn't a 1974 album because I think it would have been bigger than Now And Then and Horizon.
But, I truly believe that the $$ made on the European Tours in 1974, on top of
the $$ coming in from LP The Singles 1969-1973 obviated the need (or desire) for the duo
to record an Album in 1974. They missed the presentation of their American Music Awards
Award due to the Tours; and I do believe a new album, as well as being present at that Show,
would have done wonders for the duo in America.
A 1974 LP would have been a sure-fire hit;
yet, someone decided that it was not a priority.
After all, wasn't an album per year a contract stipulation ? (?).
Perhaps the Live In Japan Album satisfied that stipulation.
Duo on the Cover of The Rolling Stone without an Album in release ? Absurd.
Richard commented in an interview about the
"obscene amount of money they were making on those European Tours"
(Melody Maker) and he commented on the amount that sales of the recordings brought in from overseas.
There's a reason so many different Japanese Pressings (compilations) were done--lots of dough !
In any event, those Como songs--pure Gold !
It's Impossible should have been Possible !
Toss in a Bacharach number and some new compositions by Richard to round it out- amazing.
Is there a reason why Live In Japan wasn't released worldwide in 1974? Given how popular the Carpenters were at the time, it could potentially have sold millions in North America and Europe.
Richard was never happy with either Live album.
But with 74 I think there's a little misnomer going around that the Carpenters didn't record anything in 74. "Carol Of The Bells" from Christmas Portrait was recorded in 74 for the Como special, "Sleep Well Little Children" was recorded for the first time.
My sister had One Love sung at her wedding in Aug of 1972. I was 7 and was ring bearer.
The touring did give them the adoration that kept import sales selling high through the rest of the 70's and probably to today, so they did carry a purpose. If a single had been in the oven while making the Singles LP, maybe it would have helped things. Helen Reddy sang the Paul Williams song You And Me Against the World, but if memory serves it barely made it into the top 10, and Let Me Be The One was still not a single, but I Won't Last A Day Without You just played. Maybe This Masquerade or a summer release of Please Mr. Postman would have been good? Had Trying To Get The Feeling but submitted yet? We can't go back, I think it was just in the cards. Even Only Yesterday, once it reached number 4 just dropped off the charts in a few weeks. It may have done better if there were television appearances for promotion. They had a great run and I do believe had Karen lived, there would have been a movie theme song for her as a solo artist that would have given one more hit. I think it was time for them to explore Movie and TV options separately after the '76 tour while keeping their Las Vegas and Tahoe shows as a team. Had there not been health issues in the way, perhaps what they began with Weintraub would have continued. But we have Christmas Potrait and Passage and beautiful work leads for the '79 album that became others through the years, but possibly would have been released if Richard had not cancelled the '78 tour, so all the different paths may have still been there if time had not run out.
As an aside, since the band never played together after the '78 tour cancellation that it was probably questionable as to the next career step and it is probably why Karen was given encouragement to try a solo album and her commitment to the family kept her interest in it and that same interest in the family shelved it once Richard was well. It's no one's fault, they just ran out of time. I feel that eventually career shifts would have happened once both of them had successful marriages and children. I think it was in Randy's YOM book that Richard said something in the form of Karen would have loved her nieces and nephew and I feel that the love of their family units is where we should focus. There is actually no blame or missed opportunity, it's just life. Even in our own families there are life issues but everyone loves each other regardless. There is a reason in heaven Karen sang with the introspective of a 40 year old at the age of 20 and again I feel that encouragement to focus on the positive is the only way not to focus on the unleveled tragedy that fell upon all of them. Our support in Richard's efforts to support Karen's legacy is our best Offering!
Awesome comment, Craig! And so true.
I heard all three versions of the song today. Never been able to figure out why it doesn't grab me- until today. I thinks the way her vocals are produced, pushed in the background in a strange way. Maybe I'm not explaining it well. Particularly in the chorus.
I think it's because the vocals are double-tracked on the chorus, which may give a fuller sound but creates something of a distancing effect compared to a single vocal and as such rather blunts the emotional impact. I don't much like this 'doubling' on any of the tracks where it was used, as I think it generally detracts from the overall result. Other than that, it's a great song though!
I know you probably have better equipment than I do, but here is what I do:
The SACD version is best! It’s better than the single version, the A Song For You album version actually two of those counting the Mobile Fidelity one) and the Gold Version, which is my second favorite. I find that my center speaker needs turned up higher with some of the remixes. With the SACD version (using my Sony Blueray) it locks my choices and only allows the channel volume as intended (with my Sony STR-DG1000 receiver), unless I use the analog connections. It’s designed for 7 speakers but It still pushes the 9 I have connected with 2 additional for additional surrounds). Richard must have spent hours on the mixdown of this CD. It is perfect and has special gifts on each song that gives us yet another perspective of the songs created by our beloved duo.
As an aside, I bought my stuff for listening nearly 20 years ago and added a few things and changed a few things about 10 years ago. What I have learned, as most with turntables, is that you can never through enough money towards fidelity. $600-$1000 on each piece and each speaker is average and the more the merrier because it opens more options. I wish I could update it all and walk into a Hi Fi store with a blank check but I have to budget. In today’s world everything fits in your hand for the average listener but at least this average listener is bathed in the sound surrounding me.
A purist would have Tube Amplifiers with Stereo sound and that would cost even more with a good setup. (Some back in the 50’s used this and even today some are still superior with a few edits.)
All this to say, I understand the mix to some songs leaves challenges, but there are options. However, Karen was sick while recording this song, and it is more of a challenge. I wish there was a full live version for this song for the one in the medley is great!
I was just thinking that with my most favorite songs I would yearn for any type of playback. It may not be your most favorite? I know that we on the forum analyze extensively, so these are just some of mine. The remixes close to the mid 90’s through the 2000’s sound better as a whole to me, but that could have something to do with the use of Pro Tools. (Pro Tools has tools that can even take a vowel and change its shape in the mouth and move it as if it’s in the back of the throat or move it to the front of the mouth, and that’s just the beginning.) A Song For You was made on the cusp of the first Dolby tape use, so maybe that has something to do with the songs remixed using sources between 1969-1972.
If there was an opportunity for you to like the song, I hope the above inspires something in your own setup to discover the greatness in this song. It is a very difficult song to sing well.
You guys are probably right on that. It is the chorus. The stanzas are pretty good. I love the way she sings "strangers".
I'll go on record as loving the doubling effect. If one Karen is good, two Karen's are twice as good! I've never understood any dislike for the a-side. It's an excellent Roger Nichols-Paul Williams song and Karen & Richard made it their own. When I first heard it, I thought it had single potential and was happy when it finally did get a release.
To me, "One Love" is a really good song, but it always sounded like a pleasant album track to me.
Played the mono-vinyl 45 this morning,
I Won't Last A Day Without You
still holds a special place in my heart.
Great song, imho.
Especially that final ending,
Interesting it is that two Singles from the Album,
A Song For You,
were released as singles by others, before Carpenters' released their respective (successful)
Single versions. Although, as we know, the songs were released already in Album versions.
I Won't Last A Day Without You (Single)
Maureen McGovern, Chart Peak date: October 27, 1973
Carpenters' Single, release date : March 25, 1974
Top Of The World (Single)
Lynn Anderson Peak date: August 25, 1973 (ten weeks on chart)
Carpenters' release date: September 17, 1973
Released approximately in synchronization,
The Boone Family's Single version of
Please Mr. Postman did not Chart on Billboard,
while Carpenters' Single version soared to #1.
(Although, it not yet released on an album !).
I liked "I Won't Last A Day...". I was a young teen when it was released as a single. I owned A Song For You and realized the beefed-up single was an effort to "buy time"; they obviously didn't have time to record a new song. I recall being pleasantly surprised it was accepted as a radio hit. "One Love" never was a favorite of mine. When I heard it on the Carpenters album, to my ears it sounded "old fashioned" (with its swirling strings and poetic lyrics). I was probably (unknowingly) hearing the "1967" in it! LOL