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Official Review [Single]: 3. "WE'VE ONLY JUST BEGUN"/"ALL OF MY LIFE" (1217)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, May 8, 2016.

Which side is your favorite?


    36 vote(s)
  2. Side B: "ALL OF MY LIFE"

    6 vote(s)
  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter


    WOJB.png AM-1217-Begun-All-Life.jpg AllOfMyLife.png
    Side A: We've Only Just Begun 3:04 (Williams/Nichols)
    Side B: All Of My Life 3:00 (Carpenter)

    Catalogue Number: A&M 1217
    Monarch Δ82131 / Δ82131-X
    Date of Release: 8/21/70
    Format: 7" Single
    Speed: 45 RPM
    Country: US
    Chart Position: #2

    Arranged by: Richard Carpenter
    Produced by Jack Daugherty
    Taken from A&M SP-4271 album "Close To You" / Side B taken from A&M SP-4205 album "Ticket To Ride"

    For more definitive information regarding each single, you can visit our Carpenters - The Complete Singles page in our Carpenters Resource.
  2. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Tough choice but the A-side wins it for me. Just a beautiful song, the story of its 'discovery' by Richard is so great and it became the wedding song for a generation. What more needs to be said? I loved how its conception as a Carpenters track was portrayed in The Karen Carpenter Story, as it segued from the TV advert into them recording it in the studio. We briefly get to hear Karen's lead without all the backing vocals (27:12 onwards in the below video).

    The B-side is also one of my favourite early Carpenters tracks, I know so many friends and family that absolutely love it, having only heard it in the movie or when I've played it. I'm surprised it didn't make it onto some of the mainstream compilations such as 'Love Songs'.
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  3. K.C. Jr

    K.C. Jr Well-Known Member

    Such a beautiful, timeless song. I love that Karen's voice is really showing on this record. It's a bit rougher (but still just as pure) on the B-side. A good example of the earlier days.
  4. Shalom

    Shalom New Member

    I heard All of My Life for the first time only relatively recently. It immediately became one of my favorites, very emotionally touching. I too don't understand why it does not appear on almost any of the compilations (except Reflections). I would not be able to choose between them.
  5. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    I wish Richard would have released the Spectrum 1967 demo version of "All Of My Life" when Karen would have been what 17? I have a mp3 of it taken directly off the Japan video broadcast (and the only place it's ever been heard from) it cues right from the opening start and ends properly so my capture is the entire song is 2:54 yet it contains some Japanese broadcaster and then Richard talks but the 2nd half of the song is uninterrupted. Richard says it was recorded in 1967 on a portable tape machine (which was capable of recording 2 tracks) with 6 members. He says track one was taped in the living room and then they took the machine into the bathroom shower to record track 2 to get the echo sound.
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  6. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I didn't buy this single back when it was popular. My rationale then was that I already had the track, in full stereo, on the CLOSE TO YOU album, so a single would have been an unnecessary redundancy. The a-side is the winner here for me. I particularly like the "more stereo" placement of the instruments on this version with Richard's piano off to the left and the oboe coming in on the right. This is also the mix with the more prominent tambourine on the bridge.

    Don Malcolm likes this.
  7. K.C. Jr

    K.C. Jr Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum! :)
  8. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    WOJB- the one that started it all for me. Still one of my favorites. By any artist.
  9. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    Darn the options are hard this time -- for the last two, the favorite side was relatively easy to pick. I would probably go with "We've Only Just Begun" for its sheer sentimentality. Brilliant song, brilliant discovery (he found it on a bank commercial!). I love the trumpet stabs and the piano, plus the remix wins me over with the drums. Richard's "And yes we've just begun"....
    "All Of My Life" has been a beloved track of mine since I discovered it -- a soft, tender ballad indicative of the great ballads to come. I love the fact Karen plays bass, just one of those unique little things about it.
  10. Thanks!

    I first discovered the Carpenters back in 1972, maybe even 1971, and then of course around 1976, when I went off to college, they were being heard less on the radio. I do remember hearing of Karen's sudden death. I never forgot them, but suddenly around about 5 years ago, it occurred to me that I might find them on YouTube. Stupid that I never thought of that before. Now I have a bunch of disks and discovered and fell in love with a bunch of songs that I did not know of in the earlier years.
  11. I enjoy 'All of My Life', but to me that one is a 'deeper groove' more for true fans than the average listener, but the A-side - wow! this song cemented their reputation and image. Great song, great arrangement,
    perfect vocal. If 'Close to You' was like your first date with the C's, then 'We've Only Just Begun' you're ready to go steady!
    theninjarabbit likes this.
  12. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I like both songs, and "Begun" is a classic for sure, but it's one of those tunes I wouldn't put in my top ten Carpenters tunes anymore -- not because I like it any less, but because I've heard it so very often. There are only a few songs that can stand up to that "I crank it up everytime" rule, and that's not one of them for me. I like it, and the story behind it is great but that's where it ends for me, for now. I'm sure it'll rotate back into my favorites after a time. I think my favorite version of it is the one from Singles 69-73 where it starts out with the "Close To You" intro and then segues into "Begun."

    The flip side is one of the many semi-undiscovered treasures from their first album that about 75% of casual fans would love, but probably haven't heard. Too bad, it's a nice song, one of my faves on that album.
  13. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    This is also one of the reasons I don't listen to the song Close To You.
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Wow, the more I listen to We've Only Just Begun,
    the more I love it !
    Absolutely a masterpiece of arranging, lead and background vocals.
    As I have oft repeated, this is an instance---for me--where everything fits.
    Cynical as I am prone to be--this is a song which never ceases to amaze me.
    If ever I wanted to say "Thank You", both Karen and Richard.....this song is it.
    David A, Don Malcolm and Chris May like this.
  15. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I could have brought this up in any of the single review threads but I'll mention it here as it's relevant to this song.

    Having only discovered them in 1990 once Richard had completed tinkering with many of the songs, those are the versions I'm most used to. I listen to the original singles mixes and then the remixes and the originals nearly always pale in comparison for me. Richard re-centered some of the vocals and instrumentation that were panned left or right in the originals (which always drives me nuts) and Karen's leads in the remixes sound clearer and stronger and the songs themselves sound much more polished and majestic, benefitting for the most part from the additional orchestration and instrumentation. This song and Yesterday Once More are perfect examples of that.
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Your insight is quite well taken, Newvillefan !
    I can only append that I only listened to the 45-Vinyl when arriving at my assessment for this song.
    I rarely endear myself to the remixes, but there are occasions---Yesterday Once More---where I do
    prefer a later mix to the earlier release. Some of the technical particulars ("panned left or right") are
    actually lost on my ears (due to a physical issue with my hearing).

    But, great to read these viewpoints !
  17. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    The other thing I'd add on the subject of remixes is that for any new listeners (as opposed to die hards who go after this or that Classic CD containing the original vinyl mixes), these are the versions which are going to be indelibly etched in their minds and for generations to come now, because they're the ones now most widely available to the masses. And I think Richard has specifically engineered it that way. I think that's his adieu as far as the Carpenters' legacy is concerned:

    "I'm done".
  18. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    Yet I think this does an injustice to the Carpenters music legacy, while the remixes are great, they shouldn't be considered the "originals" and for the new Carpenters fans or any new fan yet to be, the originals should always be readily available. I don't think they should ever be forgotten as theses are the tracks that essentially made them Superstars.
    David A likes this.
  19. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    True, but everybody's "original albums" disappear eventually. It's just a factor of time. This is one of the things that bugs me about the online version of XM radio. They'll play a song, but the album that's displayed will be some cheesy compilation, not the original LP the song came from.

    Maybe all those compilations should have been "limited time only," and the original albums should be kept in print for all eternity.
    Don Malcolm and Guitarmutt like this.
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    As Paul Grein reminded me (in the Liner Notes to Yesterday Once More 1998 CD),
    We've Only Just Begun
    received a Grammy Nomination for Song of the Year.
    Interesting, it did not 'win' that title , yet, in many ways became the
    Wedding Song of the Decade !
    Jamesj75 and Don Malcolm like this.
  21. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    And beyond!
    GaryAlan likes this.
  22. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I think it's the number 1 song adapted from a television commercial with I Like to Teach The World to Sing as number 2. At least that was once the record, not sure if it still stands, but I would think it does. It did cover the 70's as a top wedding song of choice. Each time I hear it, I get warm fuzzies inside-especially on the last verse. Again, it's a song no one can duplicate. If anyone thinks this song is easy to sing, give it a try. It will never top this version. It's a work of art that this song found this group for the perfect receipe of musical sensation.
  23. Eyewire

    Eyewire Well-Known Member

    I voted for We've Only Just Begun. Both songs are amazing, but the Carpenters really hit it out of the park with Begun. I never get tired of hearing it.

    I know it's a song about optimism, starting a new life with someone, etc. But is it just me or does anyone else detect a touch of sadness in Karen's voice in some parts of the song?
    Jarred, David A and Don Malcolm like this.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Recounting with....
    Paul Williams, We've Only Just Begun (1:57 &4:25 ):

    CraigGA, A&M Retro and theninjarabbit like this.
  25. Don Malcolm

    Don Malcolm Well-Known Member

    I think this captures just what is so unique and compelling about Karen...she captures the anxiety within the joy of young love, which combines with yearning in the verses to give the song its double identity as a ballad and as a bouncy sing-along (in the chorus-middle 8, which gets gloriously repeated and IMO is what made the song such a big hit as a followup to "Close To You"). Richard's genius at this time was to know how to make the listener get into the track more and more with each new listening, waiting for the dynamite stuff (all that perfectly synced instrumental/backing vocal magic behind Karen in the "Sharing horizons that are new to us..." section).

    The best C's songs always cover a wide range of emotion within them, and tie those feelings together for/within the listener. "Begun" seems to be the song that crystallized Richard's ability to bring all these elements together in an arrangement, and from this point on, he kept that streak gloriously alive for longer than just about anyone else.
    CraigGA, David A, song4u and 3 others like this.

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