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

Which side is your favorite?

  • Side A: "Solitaire"

    Votes: 30 66.7%
  • Side B: "Love Me For What I Am"

    Votes: 15 33.3%

  • Total voters
    45

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Point understood.
(A) I wonder if we have input from the "roadies", the band, regarding this issue.
In other words, exactly how exhausted were the rest of the band, do we the same complaints from them ?
As of this date in time, I remain unconvinced of the exact nature of "too much touring" and
how it did, or did not, impact the career trajectory of Carpenters.
(B) Karen, and Richard, by many accounts, were in perfectly fine physical and mental condition up to late 1974--
and, the heaviest touring correlated with those years prior to 1975, and during their greatest success.
(C) Television production--those Television Specials--1976-1980,
took 12-16 hr per day to do, that would have been physically and mentally grueling
(I've worked in television studio),especially when added to the time spent in the recording studio.
I read very little regarding that toll on the duo (and, then they were older and in much worse health !),
or, its toll on their later-career.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
^^Point understood.
(A) I wonder if we have input from the "roadies", the band, regarding this issue.
In other words, exactly how exhausted were the rest of the band, do we the same complaints from them ?
As of this date in time, I remain unconvinced of the exact nature of "too much touring" and
how it did, or did not, impact the career trajectory of Carpenters.
(B) Karen, and Richard, by many accounts, were in perfectly fine physical and mental condition up to late 1974--
and, the heaviest touring correlated with those years prior to 1975, and during their greatest success.
(C) Television production--those Television Specials--1976-1980,
took 12-16 hr per day to do, that would have been physically and mentally grueling
(I've worked in television studio),especially when added to the time spent in the recording studio.
I read very little regarding that toll on the duo (and, then they were older and in much worse health !),
or, its toll on their later-career.
I don't know. I buy it, honestly. The quality of the Richard-penned tunes got worse after that, IMHO. There were few memorable tunes after 1974 written by Carpenter/Bettis. Also important to note that while they were incredibly successful prior (as you stated), they were very much yesterday's news by 1975. They weren't doing nearly as well after that. The lack of great material to flesh out "A Kind of Hush" and all albums after may very well have been a product of too much touring. How can you write great tunes when you're always on the road?

Ed
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Thanks for that, Ed !
But, it does seem to me that the Carpenter/Bettis penned work
correlated precisely to the times of heaviest touring:
Goodbye To Love,
Yesterday Once More,
Top of the World,
Only Yesterday,
I Need To Be In Love.

Wile,
the Carpenter/Bettis collaboration penned the fewest tunes during times of least touring.
And, those tunes were less momentful than the earlier work.

 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I suppose Solitaire must have fallen off of Richard's radar by 1999:
Two cd-s neglect to include the song,
Singles 1969-1981 and Singles 1969-1981 SACD.
(although the track-listing between even those two cd's is different).

By the way, the actual Titles of those cd's do not
include the definite article "The".
In other words, they are not two cd's entitled "The Singles 1969-1981."
Simply...
"Singles 1969-1981"
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I suppose Solitaire must have fallen off of Richard's radar by 1999: Two cd-s neglect to include the song, Singles 1969-1981 and Singles 1969-1981 SACD.
I would have loved to hear the single remix of Solitaire in surround sound, especially as it goes into the first chorus where the drums and the added guitar kick in.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Interview with songwriter Phil Cody:
Philip: I think it was certain words that he had trouble saying. But Richard asked me to make some of the word choices a little softer, sonically. And it was okay once I let go of the idea that my lyrics were inviolate. It went rather smoothly. Over the course of time, as the Carpenters did the song, they basically did a mash-up of the old lyric and the new lyric, which actually was better than either of the two, the Andy Williams or Neil's original.
I think the Carpenters' version was the one that I like best.
Songfacts: Did you ever imagine that song sung by a female voice?
Philip: Yeah. I did, actually. But when I heard Karen Carpenter, I had chills down my spine. As a lyricist, you want that thing where an artist owns your lyric. You can measure success by the amount of money you make off a song, but I measure the success of that song by that particular moment, when she made it totally her own. And it's still great. I sat down one day and I listened to all 90 versions of "Solitaire" that people have done, and of all the ones that are out there, Karen Carpenter's is still the one that is the benchmark for all the covers on that song.

Source:
Philip Cody : Songwriter Interviews
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Billboard Magazine, August 28, 1975, top Add-Ons and Break-outs:
Solitaire....
appears to be well received.....not a slam/dunk, but not ignored....
More:
Billboard
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Look at this link that's also on Billboard from the same period. It's a review of the Carpenters/Sedaka show and makes it quite clear that Sedaka's part on the bill was viewed by some reviewers as an equal billing rather than support.

Billboard
 

Jamesj75

Well-Known Member
Interview with songwriter Phil Cody:
Philip: I think it was certain words that he had trouble saying. But Richard asked me to make some of the word choices a little softer, sonically. And it was okay once I let go of the idea that my lyrics were inviolate. It went rather smoothly. Over the course of time, as the Carpenters did the song, they basically did a mash-up of the old lyric and the new lyric, which actually was better than either of the two, the Andy Williams or Neil's original.
I think the Carpenters' version was the one that I like best.
Songfacts
: Did you ever imagine that song sung by a female voice?
Philip: Yeah. I did, actually. But when I heard Karen Carpenter, I had chills down my spine. As a lyricist, you want that thing where an artist owns your lyric. You can measure success by the amount of money you make off a song, but I measure the success of that song by that particular moment, when she made it totally her own. And it's still great. I sat down one day and I listened to all 90 versions of "Solitaire" that people have done, and of all the ones that are out there, Karen Carpenter's is still the one that is the benchmark for all the covers on that song.

Source:
Philip Cody : Songwriter Interviews
In revisiting this thread of my all-time favorite Carpenters' recording, I am struck by the praise given to Karen by songwriter Phil Cody. When you consider that 90+ artists recorded this song, the song itself is clearly a great one. But Cody mentions that, of all 90 versions, Karen's is the best, the "benchmark," the one that gives "chills down my spine." Who am I (are we) to argue with the songwriter?

GaryAlan, I appreciate your diligence in posting excerpts of, and links to, this interview, which I reread. When I read that "Richard asked me to make some of the word choices a little softer, sonically," I naturally assumed Cody was referring to Richard Carpenter, although I don't remember hearing this story before. Yet the "Richard" that Cody was referencing was producer Richard Perry who was working with Andy Williams; it was Andy Williams who wanted a lyric change because of "certain words that he had trouble saying." Cody went on to say: "as the Carpenters did the song, they basically did a mash-up of the old lyric and the new lyric, which actually was better than either of the two, the Andy Williams or Neil's original." Again, high praise from the songwriter on how Carpenters approached the lyrics.

After innumerable listens to "Solitaire," I still get chills down my spine...
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Regards
Solitaire,
I am curious:
Between the album and single mix,
which "mix" is considered the "original mix" ?
Would the instrumental portions for the Single be recorded previous
to the album version, or the other way around ?
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Album mix was original. Richard states in the liner notes to GOLD, "Why I felt that those two additions were worth all the trouble and expense incurred is beyond me now." (emphasis mine)

This tell us that the pipe organ and extra guitar were additions for the single.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Thanks, I had forgotten that Gold Liner Note !
Postman seems out of sorts, for the Single mix being the "original" mix
and the album mix coming later (?).
So, all things considered, Richard--at the time--must have felt the need for those "additions"
when contemplating the song Solitaire for Single release.
Obviously--much later--Richard decided those "additions" were not worth the time and effort.
Still--he felt them to be needed in 1975, and that was a very good decision, imho.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
Album mix was original. Richard states in the liner notes to GOLD, "Why I felt that those two additions were worth all the trouble and expense incurred is beyond me now." (emphasis mine)

This tell us that the pipe organ and extra guitar were additions for the single.
It made all the difference in the world. Trouble was that stations played the album version more.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
With all the talk of Solitaire, I Can Dream Can't I, and the entire album "Horizon" on the threads lately; I recently spun my vinyl (getting away from the digital) of that album, and the goose bump inducing moments cascaded! There is just something with the vinyl sound on that record that makes it magnificent for me.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^I still remember the first time I heard the entire Vinyl LP--sometime in 1976.
Anyway, it floored me then, it still does ! The entire album is a work-of-art.
Inner and outer sleeve photos. The 'envelope' style design. The font chosen for lyric page.
The colors, the logo-design (a bit raised on the cardboard--run your fingers across it).
It is all so very well done.
The ever-so updated silhouette (look bottom-right):
compare to the silhouette on LP A Song For You.
Notice how well the keyboards sound on this album, drums ,too.
It is all "one piece," an excellent ALBUM
(as opposed to an LP of hit-singles -strung- together by the glue of other songs).
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
It made all the difference in the world. Trouble was that stations played the album version more.
Well, considering that the single mix never appeared on any albums until “Gold” in 2005, it would’ve fallen off of radio’s radar, and when stations were upgrading their libraries to CD/digital, unless they had a good sounding 45 that they could transfer themselves, they probably would’ve been using what was found on the 1985 “Yesterday Once More” CD set or another 80’s/90’s CD.

I’ve got a CD-R of a Solid Gold Scrapbook 1990 Christmas radio show (I have the same show on LP, so I can compare the 2) and on Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” you can hear the about 4 skips within the first 30 seconds. Plus, the fidelity of the sound on the CD is not as good on most of the songs compared to the DJ’s voice. It sounded like the CD was mastered from a LP, so songs like Lee’s RATCT, don’t sound as good as the LP version. (Almost like when they got the LP’s back and then had a record player hooked up to a CD recorder and made the CD-R that way rather than going from the tape master to the CD Recorder.)
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
Well, considering that the single mix never appeared on any albums until “Gold” in 2005, it would’ve fallen off of radio’s radar, and when stations were upgrading their libraries to CD/digital, unless they had a good sounding 45 that they could transfer themselves, they probably would’ve been using what was found on the 1985 “Yesterday Once More” CD set or another 80’s/90’s CD.

I’ve got a CD-R of a Solid Gold Scrapbook 1990 Christmas radio show (I have the same show on LP, so I can compare the 2) and on Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” you can hear the about 4 skips within the first 30 seconds. Plus, the fidelity of the sound on the CD is not as good on most of the songs compared to the DJ’s voice. It sounded like the CD was mastered from a LP, so songs like Lee’s RATCT, don’t sound as good as the LP version. (Almost like when they got the LP’s back and then had a record player hooked up to a CD recorder and made the CD-R that way rather than going from the tape master to the CD Recorder.)
I should have been clearer. I was talking about the days of the single release in 1975. But you make valid points. I feel the same about I Won’t Last A Day Without You when it was released in ‘74. It makes The Complete Singles all the more special!
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I should have been clearer. I was talking about the days of the single release in 1975. But you make valid points. I feel the same about I Won’t Last A Day Without You when it was released in ‘74. It makes The Complete Singles all the more special!
But even in 75, if “Solitaire” was released after the album then stations maybe just used the album (and any station switching to Top 40 after 75 may’ve only received 12 inch LPs) Of “Horizon” or in the UK/Canada the 74-78 Singles album.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
But even in 75, if “Solitaire” was released after the album then stations maybe just used the album (and any station switching to Top 40 after 75 may’ve only received 12 inch LPs) Of “Horizon” or in the UK/Canada the 74-78 Singles album.
That’s was my point. Richard went to all the trouble and expense, which was worth it in my book, and radio stations used the album version more often than not. Despite the differences, it is still a song that still rings clear and I believe it would not have been recorded by so many if Karen never recorded it. I can’t even, offhand, think of another Sedaka song that has had so many try to replicate it. Love Will Keep Us Together sold more that year, but I think the longevity of Solitaire has achieved a successful status that few can compare.
 

no1kandrfan

Active Member
Solitaire absolutely! Why? Because there is no song that can consistently "tear me up" than this. Yeah, around Christmas time, she will reduce me to a blubbering mess with I'll Be Home For Christmas; but I feel Solitaire was her "signature" work. I know she never liked the song; but I don't think she ever really liked Superstar, did she? Love Me For What I Am is "OK"; but side A is far superior. Solitaire would be the song I would present to someone who had never heard KC sing before.
I agree. Many of my friends aren't as appreciative of the Carpenters as I am, but Solitaire is the song all of them admire.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
Well, considering that the single mix never appeared on any albums until “Gold” in 2005, it would’ve fallen off of radio’s radar, and when stations were upgrading their libraries to CD/digital, unless they had a good sounding 45 that they could transfer themselves, they probably would’ve been using what was found on the 1985 “Yesterday Once More” CD set or another 80’s/90’s CD.

I’ve got a CD-R of a Solid Gold Scrapbook 1990 Christmas radio show (I have the same show on LP, so I can compare the 2) and on Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” you can hear the about 4 skips within the first 30 seconds. Plus, the fidelity of the sound on the CD is not as good on most of the songs compared to the DJ’s voice. It sounded like the CD was mastered from a LP, so songs like Lee’s RATCT, don’t sound as good as the LP version. (Almost like when they got the LP’s back and then had a record player hooked up to a CD recorder and made the CD-R that way rather than going from the tape master to the CD Recorder.)
Interestingly, ‘Solitaire’ was not included in any form on the US ‘Classics Volume 2’ set (replaced by ‘Yesterday Once More’ sometime after with the addition of ‘I Just Fall In Love Again’). Never could figure out why, but at least Richard added the rare single mix for ‘Gold’, which filled in another piece to the puzzle.
 
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