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Official Review [Single]: 18. "SOLITAIRE"/"LOVE ME FOR WHAT I AM" (1721-S)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Jan 14, 2017.

Which side is your favorite?

  1. Side A: "Solitaire"

    29 vote(s)
  2. Side B: "Love Me For What I Am"

    13 vote(s)
  1. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    As I recall with Close To You both versions are from the same master and the single was just ended at the first fade out.
  2. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    This may be common knowledge, but I didn't know this. Apparently, Neil Sedaka considered the Carpenters version of 'Solitaire' his favorite. Given the rumored tensions between these 2 acts, I didn't think this likely, but what's copied below would seem to confirm it.

    Anyone have any more details about this subject? Has Neil stated publicly anything about this?

    "Jenny [Sinclair, Karen Carpenter sound-alike] was head hunted and chosen to sing personally for Neil Sedaka his big hit Solitaire at an awards ceremony on 8/10/2010."
  3. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    David A likes this.
  4. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

  5. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Neil has never actually gone as far as naming their version as his favourite, as far as I’m aware. In an official BBC documentary of his life story “King Of Song”, the track was featured and he named Andy Williams’ and Shirley Bassey’s as favoured performances. No mention of Karen by Neil (although a brief snippet of their version was included).

    Footage of that Variety Club event can be seen here. She sounds similar to Karen but doesn’t hit the notes with the same laser-like precision as Karen does.

    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
    Carpe diem likes this.
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Thanks for the link, Stephen.
    I agree with your assessment, the performance has similarities---
    however, a listen to the above performance only serves
    to increase my appreciation for Karen's awesome delivery.
    Karen Carpenter hit that one--Solitaire-- "out of the ballpark"
    Ooh...I just have to get that 45-single and play it again...
    and, again....and, again.....
    David A likes this.
  7. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    Thanks, yes I have seen that video. I think Sinclair does an excellent job, but of course, as always, there's only one Karen Carpenter.

    It's interesting, then, that Sedaka (or the event staff) would pursue a Karen sound-alike to perform that song, as opposed to an Andy Williams or Shirley Bassey sound-alike. I can't imagine they'd be any harder to find.
  8. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Newvillefan, thanks for the post. I liked Ms Sinclair's rendition of the song. She did very well with the low notes. I still believe that Karen's rendition of Solitaire was the greatest vocal performance of her career. There is just nothing so moving to me at least, as hearing Karen sing this song. She just raised the bar to an incredible level IMHO...
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  9. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    This is a bit off-topic I guess, but speaking of Andy Williams...I adore this video of Andy and Karen singing together. Karen is just too cute; the way she closes her eyes and lifts her shoulders on her high notes, and just that beautiful voice and smile. Young and healthy.

    Love it!

    Carpe diem likes this.
  10. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    Jamesj75 likes this.
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    "The Carpenters – The Only Game In Town?"
    By Richard Havers
    July 30, 2016
    "...Richard Carpenter knew both Sedaka’s and Williams’ versions,
    but was apparently not convinced that the song was right for his sister Karen.
    However, once she had recorded, it he described it as "one of [her] greatest,
    " adding the caveat that "she never liked the song [and]...she never changed her opinion.".....
    ‘Solitaire’ was the third single to be taken from Horizon,
    and differed slightly from the album version, as on the single a lead guitar solo was added
    between the first verse and chorus. It entered the Billboard Hot 100 in early August and went
    on to make No.17 on the chart, in so doing it became the Carpenters’ least successful single
    since their pre-stardom A&M debut ‘Ticket to Ride’ in 1969. It only made No.32 in the UK,
    where the duo's singles success was on the wane,
    although there was one further surprising top ten hit there to come in 1977...."

    The Carpenters – The Only Game In Town? - uDiscover
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  12. Did the Carpenters ever perform "Solitaire" live on stage that was captured for us to watch today? I can't recall seeing a video with Karen singing it on stage live in their collection. Maybe I missed it...
    Carpe diem likes this.
  13. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    No they never did perform it live in any of their shows, Karen didn’t like the song.
    Carpe diem likes this.
  14. Thanks - I knew she is quoted as not liking the tune, and I figured that's why I had never seen her sing it live in the archives.
  15. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    continuing in off-topic mode: Love Andy Williams; but in this particular clip, what bugs me is his pronunciation of "ticket". It distracts from a fine Karen appearance.
  16. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Wouldn't it have been great if they had done impromptu versions of songs like Crystal Lullaby, Road Ode, A Song For You, and maybe even something as out of left field as I'll Be Yours with Karen on drums during their concerts. But the content of their concerts were so carefully scripted, they never seemed to deviate at all from show to show. With Karen's sense of humor, natural rhythm (she could be taught to dance well), and personal charisma/likeability, their concerts could've been so much more appealing IMHO. As much as they toured, you would think the band and the duo, would be so bored after a while that they could barely stand it. I mean, how many times can you do Sing with the school children before you want to swat the little brats off stage!
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Here is link to the review in Billboard Magazine (9/6/1975) regarding Sedaka-Carpenters' Concert billing:
    Notice that it is Titled/billed as "Carpenters-Sedaka" but the Review begins--and highlights--Neil Sedaka.
    This had to sting for Richard: "Sedaka...proving his professional ease as both pianist and soloist."

  18. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    ^^Sedaka was a jerk for introducing "celebrities" in the audience. His name was at the bottom of the marquee as I recall. He was the "warm-up" act and if the roles were reversed, he would've been just as pissed as Richard was. Sedaka always backed-away from this with a "what did I do?" attitude. Richard has always been labeled the bad guy in this and it shouldn't be that way. He had a legitimate "beef" with Neil. They should've never been playing Vegas at that stage in their careers anyway - huge mistake.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
  19. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    While I agree that Sedaka made a mistake in introducing Tom Jones, I do think Richard's reaction was way over the top and could have been handled in a more professional way. I'm guessing that his ego, coupled with his issue with Quaalude's, caused him to over-react, in my view.

    Does anyone know if Richard has addressed this issue in more recent times? A "in retrospect, I..." kind of statement?
    Carpe diem likes this.
  20. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    What, "tICKet" heh! Yes an odd pronunciation. And although I try to avoid comments like I'm about to make, I shall make it: Why do I see Agnes watching this video and saying aloud "Wasn't Richard Marvelous!?" :rolleyes:
    Carpe diem likes this.
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    People Magazine, October 27,1975:
    " Already, in 1975, Sedaka has written three No. 1 singles—
    Love Will Keep Us Together for the Captain and Tennille—
    plus two from his own still throbbing tenor pipes, Laughter in the Rain and the current Bad Blood."
    "He and the Carpenters worked together for five weeks as the hottest concert package of the summer, but they recently fired him as their opening act in Vegas. He was getting the notices and the crowds. But he returns next month to the Riviera Hotel as the headliner."

    Neil Sedaka Rebounds Thanks to a Fan Named Elton John
  22. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    In fairness, the review does mention that Billboard had already reviewed the Carpenters' stage show earlier in 1975, so that would perhaps explain the emphasis the review gives to Neil Sedaka's performance. However, its effusiveness about Sedaka, coupled with the fact that he was on a hot streak while they were rapidly coming off one (ironically kickstarted by them releasing a single that he'd written), can't have eased whatever friction was building between them on that tour.

    I think you have to give Richard some leeway on how he handled this. Yes, he clearly over-reacted and shouldn't have done. But they were both probably getting burnt out from all the time on the road, Karen clearly wasn't well, Sherwin Bash was overseas, their chart performance was starting to cool off and Sedaka was being out of order. You can imagine all these issues and pressures building and building over time until he had that moment when he saw red and blew his top. We've all been there!
    no1kandrfan, GaryAlan and David A like this.
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Good points.
    All I can add is:
    If a duo, in their twenties, is unable to cope with being on tour,
    then when in their career trajectory would they be able to handle that ? Never.
    There appears to be a strong correlation between those successful early touring years
    and the duos greatest Record sales.
    If radio stopped playing the records (which happened)
    and, if touring stopped (which, also, happened)
    then, sales take a huge slide (which happened).
  24. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I have been very involved in various programs which develop young leaders. I would say, GaryAlan, that even though they may have been physically strong in their 20s, their emotional maturity at that age was probably not great enough to handle all the stresses associated with touring, fame, etc. My experience with young leaders reminds me they have energy but they don't always has good people skills including self-awareness. Just a thought.
    no1kandrfan, GaryAlan and Carpe diem like this.
  25. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Touring is a completely unnatural thing. It's not really so much about age. It's about mental and physical stamina. Sherwin had them killing themselves on the road and most, regardless of age, would have had trouble with the demands that incessant activity places on them.


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