I agree Craig, 1973 seems to be the pinnacle for the duo. What an incredible run! By the close of business of that year they had taken the pop music world by storm. Karen at just 23 yrs of age and Richard at 27; who would've not believed that the magic would continue through the end of the decade and beyond? And in 1974 a musical act that had only been relevant in the business for 3 years releases essentially a "Greatest Hits" LP that sells an astronomical amount of units. At that point in time the world was truly their oyster. But then, 1975 rolls around...I think Please Mr. Postman is a magical song that grabs you. Carpenters perfected it. You can’t help but move when it plays. Karen sounds perfect singing it and playing the drums in it. Richard laid out a great orchestration. It fit the times and soared to the top. I remember the first time I heard it and the excitement I felt then I can still feel today upon listening. I wore out the 45 and constantly played it from mid December 74 to Feb. ‘75. The grooves looked white by the time I was done with it. I simply wore it out!
This Masquerade was a great song and it is one I usually played for my snooty friends who only listened to singer/songwriters. Even though it was Leon Russell it is clearly a Carpenters arrangement and fit Karen just as well. Plus, by 1974 it was done by several pop and easy artists. I was surprised when it was a hit 2 years later for George Benson but he put a signature on it that penetrated most of his hits and although I liked the Carpenters version better the public liked George Benson’s. Now back in 1973, friends of my parents thought it was the best song on Now and Then, kinda like I feel about A Song For You on the album of the same name. I guess it’s all timing. I think the best shot for it was when Sing was popular, but I don’t think it would have faired as well as Sing did. Sing had that Postman value and everyone was singing Sing in 1973 and it was the perfect year for that song as 1973 was perfect for the Carpenters. Who could beat what they had accomplished in and by that year!