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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. John Tkacik

    John Tkacik Active Member

    I was watching the PBS special on the Carpenters last night and something Paul Williams said about "We've Only Just Begun" sounded a little strange. He said that when Richard called him to ask about the song, "he (Paul) would have lied through his teeth because getting a Carpenters record would have been a big deal." According to "Little Girl Blue", this conversation happened before the release of the single "Close To You". Were Richard and Karen that highly regarded in the Spring of 1970 based only on the results of "Offering" and "Ticket To Ride"? Was Paul more confident than Richard was that "Close To You" would be a monster hit?
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Interesting observation, John !
    This is a timeline for which I will have to do some digging.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Richard Carpenter 2009:
    Right around the time we finished recording “Close To You,”
    I heard “We’ve Only Just Begun,” and created the arrangement.
    We were now putting together the album, and I was having serious thoughts about holding up “Close To You” and putting out “We’ve Only Just Begun.”
    Close To You” was just so different and understated for Top Forty radio that I worried.
    That track...we had to revert to a “click” because it was just so deliberate. (Bassist) Joe Osborn and Karen were like metronomes,
    (drummer) Hal Blaine and I tended to rush a little.
    But I remember Hal Blaine saying, “That’s the one,” about “We’ve Only Just Begun.”
    It turns out both of them were the ones."

    HuffPost Exclusive: The 40th Anniversary of Carpenters / Interview with Richard Carpenter »
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    "The Carpenters hit song that was originally written for a bank commercial"
    Big Joe Henry
    October 8, 2016 10:12 AM

    "Thirty-six years ago this week, The Carpenters were at No. 2 on the singles chart with
    “We’ve Only Just Begun.”
    Sure, lots of people remember that, but did you know that song was originally written for a bank advertisement?"

    "The story doesn’t end here, in fact It comes full circle as it was used this year in a commercial for
    Lowes Home Improvement. Featuring a cover by Taiwanese-American singer-songwriter Joanna Wang."

    WATCH THIS: The Carpenters hit song that was originally written for a bank commercial |
    WATCH THIS: The Carpenters hit song that was originally written for a bank commercial »
  5. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    Uh, I think they mean fourty-six years ago! Imagine "Begun" in 1980 :biglaugh:
    Jamesj75, natureaker and GaryAlan like this.
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    When I pause to ponder the brilliance of Richard Carpenter,
    this is the song that cements it for me !
    Everything is here:
    Vocal arrangement and harmonies,
    Instrumental arrangement and placement,
    Karen's lead vocals up front, powerful,
    the tempo, the rhythm, the lyric.....
  7. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    One of my favorites- and THE ONE that started it all for me.
    Carpe diem and Jamesj75 like this.
  8. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Thanks for digging up this thread! Since I am here, I vote for Side A. One of the "definitive" Carpenters songs. I love how Karen sings the lyrics "we fly" coming out of that first stanza. Goosebumps! Beautiful arrangement from Richard. I like Side B also. A lovely little song, beautiful vocals from KC. When I hear it I think of that scene in The Karen Carpenter Story where the character who plays Joe Osborn realizes he has discovered "The Voice".
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Forgot to mention, each time I listen to (one of my favorites)
    All Of My Life,
    that darn snippet of music used on The CBS-TV Karen Carpenter Story
    creeps into my head.....that sequence where actress Gibb starts singing
    in the very high-off-key performance following which is the
    Karen Carpenter performance we all know and love.

    I wonder who sang that off-key/high note part ?
  10. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    It was Cynthia Gibb :laugh:
  11. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    That "touch of sadness" is one of the things that in my view, defines Karen's singing. It's part of what Herb felt from day one, when he first heard her voice (as he has publicly stated). There's a rich melancholy in many of her vocal performances, and yet it is subtle enough that the songs don't become depressing or outright "sad". I think this is why many people describe listening to Karen's vocal performances as "as if she was singing to me personally".

    Hats off to Richard for song selections and framing her voice musically in a way that accentuated that strength.

    For me, A-side in a landslide. WOJB has it's rightful place as one of the best songs the Carpenters ever recorded.
    Jarred and Mark-T like this.
  12. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    If more of these 'live' performances were circulating--instead of lip-synching performances--
    it would be of inestimable help to the duo's legacy...
    Here, 1973, and a stellar performance of We've Only Just Begun:
    David A likes this.
  13. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    That’s an ultra rare example of Karen not singing the first line entirely in one breath.
  14. I heard this hit on the radio just this morning and once again was struck what a magnificent recording it truly is for all the reasons described. I stopped to wonder if the Carpenters' hot streak would've been ignited so strongly after "Close to You" if Richard had not found "WOJB" and worked his magic to release as a follow-up single? Just wondering...
  15. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    Many say that the second big hit is as important as the first, as it carries the artist away from the dreaded "one-hit-wonder" fear, and builds legitimacy. No doubt WOJB was a great choice by Richard, and he worked his magic with it, as you say.
  16. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    David A likes this.
  17. David A likes this.
  18. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    Harry did. :laugh:
    David A likes this.
  19. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    They hit a magic streak of songs and through the next five years they were in sync with each other making golden records and breaking all kinds of chart history. It wasn’t just a few hits, but they created a winning streak that surpassed most achievements in the record book. The TV show Make Your Own Kind Of Music helped put them in every home in 1971 and most likely helped the sales of the ‘envelope” album titled Carpenters. Possibly the constant touring helped mold the dependence they seemed to have in each other as their own life was set aside in order to ride the wave. With the exception of the Christmas project, Horizon seemed to cement Karen as an world renown vocalist opening horizons of song venues yet untouched in their career. It seemed that everything they could have done together was accomplished by 1975. Then, they surprised us with television and concerts of musical conquests, as well as, the Christmas album. So much recording happened after 1975 that we celebrated the next group of albums and heard newly discovered songs up to 2003 with a few more still to be heard, if they are still preserved. Even though we may have already heard all the golden nuggets, we can never forget the first two. A wedding song that shaped pop culture and endured through the decade and song that still gives starlight!
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Listening to
    We've Only Just Begun,
    as heard on the 1975 3-LP UK Compilation: Carpenters Collection (CARP-1000).
    (Enclosed in Black Box).

    Does anyone else have this so-called "limited-edition" ?
    If so, does this 'mix' of WOJB sound as if the drums are muted on the song ?
    Top Of The World sounds as if the 1972 Lead Vocal is surrounded by 1973 background vocals.
  21. AM Matt

    AM Matt Well-Known Member

    The song "All Of My Life" was also done by Roger Whittaker but that's a different song!! Matt Clark Sanford, MI
  22. John Adam

    John Adam Well-Known Member

    "Begun" is my #6 song for the singles by the Carpenters. To me this is also their signature song, as it is to many. I don't think it is their best single, the best was yet to come. But I think this is more radio-friendly than Close To You, and a stronger song. It was the right song to cement the beginning of their career. The vocals are great and arranged perfectly, and their Grammy win for "song of the year" was well earned by the duo. They didn't need a kiss for luck, as they were on their way!

  23. Kaisu

    Kaisu Member

    We've Only Just Begun will always be one of my favourites...
    MorningOpensQuietly likes this.
  24. adam

    adam Active Member

    Weve only just begun.chart facts

    Australia 6
    Brazil. 3
    Malaysia .6
    Spain. 26
    UK. 28
  25. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    For some unknown reason I had to see this video today;

    What a great live performance by our beloved Karen. To see her little dance is good for the soul! I especially love the way she stylizes the lyric "comes" at 2:14. Those little nuances... 21 yr old mega-talent!:love:
    Kaisu, GDB2LV, David A and 1 other person like this.

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