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Official Review [Single]: 7. "SUPERSTAR"/"BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN" (1289-S)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, May 22, 2016.

Which side is your favorite?

  1. Side A: "SUPERSTAR"

    39 vote(s)

    7 vote(s)
  1. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I like them both equally! I feel the newer one has a more 'up-to-date' pattern but I like the original too.
  2. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    I would agree. Additionally, Hal mentioned some time back that they were in the studio for about 6 hours working on those (Superstar, Bless, Begun) and crying all the way through it.
  3. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I've heard that story before, wouldn't that have been the first time they'd reunited since Karen's passing to work on all the old tracks from the heyday? Hal didn't feature on any of the new studio material released between 1983 and the 1985 remix sessions that I can recall. Must have been pretty emotional.
  4. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    That's right. However he was at the opening of CPAC in Long Beach and played that show. A funny side note to that one as well: Joe was also invited (of course) to feature on bass and he declined. Richard didn't speak to him for some time. I don't remember the reason he declined, but nonetheless it's kind of humorous! :D
    K.C. Jr likes this.
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    For the most part, I do not mind the 1985 mix of Bless The Beasts And Children.....but,
    the manner in which the song, now, ends (as if it is 'cut' off at the flute, no extended fade)
    has forever bugged me.
    One story has it that the opening of CPAC had videos of Karen drumming, on songs such as
    Close To You, where it is actually Hal Blaine's drumming that is being heard---and, that Hal
    was reportedly ticked off that he was not--at that time--acknowledged to the audience,
    as the drummer on the song.
    I do not know if the story has any authenticity;
  6. I bought this record shortly after it came out and it was in the positive picture sleeve. Still have it as I can't part with anything, let alone anything related to the very best song the Carpenters ever recorded ("Superstar"). But what an amazing B side. I'd say one of the best A/B side combos in recording history.
  7. natureaker

    natureaker Active Member

    Superstar most definitely! The arrangements, Karen's vocals, backing vocals, and just about everything else about the song is superior! (See what I did there? :D)

    As for Bless The Beasts And Children, it's a very beautiful song, and I can easily say that after just discovering it a little while ago. Absolutely fabulous vocals, great song meaning, and generally just an amazing song! But I gotta say that Superstar is much better over Bless The Beasts And Children.
  8. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    BLESS is set to be played at my memorial SOMEDAY. I love the message and apply it daily since release.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I dearly adore
    Bless The Beasts And the Children,
    I simply wish it had not been altered from its soundtrack arrangement.
  10. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    buy the soundtrack it's magical.
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    For our amusement,
    here is one listener/writer who hasn't a clue regarding great music !

    "by Witney Seibold Feb 23rd, 2017"
    "About 70% of the Oscar-nominated songs stink. These songs stink the most."
    “Bless the Beasts and the Children” from Bless the Beasts & Children
    "Another largely forgotten film, 1971’s Bless the Beasts & Children is about a group outsider kids,
    all attending the same summer camp, who band together to save a pen full of bison.
    The tone of the film is actually somewhat edgy and rebellious (as kid-friendly films from the 1970s go),
    but the title song, performed by The Carpenters –
    and all the cloying balladeering therein – describes something much more uninteresting."

    The Worst Oscar-Nominated Songs Ever - CraveOnline
    Carpe diem likes this.
  12. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    Choosing between these two songs is like being forced to choose between apple pie and pumpkin pie. But for purposes of the thread and intent, I must go with Superstar, my 2nd favorite C's song. As many have alluded to in this thread, Karen's voice and delivery is just...what's the word? Stunning? I'm not sure any set of adjectives adequately describe how her voice, in this song, cuts through me like the proverbial hot knife through butter.

    Her vocal performance on 'Bless the Beasts' is powerful and emotive, but I don't connect as well with the song itself.
    Carpe diem likes this.
  13. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Superstar is a masterpiece of "pop music". That french horn intro and the simple bass line laid down by Joe Osborn is sublime. And of course, the not-of-this-world vocals from Miss Carpenter. If they are ever selected for the RRHOF this is the song that will accompany them. Bless The Beasts; what kills me on this song is the hook, where Karen kicks up that voice of hers to a controlled hysteria...similar to the hook on Won't Last A Day Without You. I chose Superstar.
    Mary Beth and David A like this.
  14. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    Well that's about the dumbest review of a song ever. The song describes the tone and underlying theme of the movie EXACTLY, if a person actually pays attention to the movie and doesn't just give the story a one-line glance-over.

    It's actually a pretty good movie, but dated now. It'd be a good candidate for a remake, especially in this environmentally-conscious age.
  15. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    I have always been interested by what Karen's "contemporaries" had to say about her. I came across an interview of Rita Coolidge a few weeks back concerning the song Superstar and how it came about. She had some nice things to say about Karen:

    Rita Coolidge
    : I watch some of these shows; I’ll watch The Voice and I’ve seen some of American Idol, you know, some of the singers on those shows do vocal gymnastics. Those are not always, to me, the best singers. To me the best singers are the people that choose the notes that break your heart. I don’t know any other way to say it. It’s not about technique, it’s not about any of that, it’s really about understanding a lyric and being able to communicate that through your voice and touch people’s hearts.

    Rita Coolidge
    : I adored Karen Carpenter. I loved her voice; she had one of those voices, It was like Tammy Wynette; there was so much feeling and so much emotion in Karen’s voice. So I loved loved loved it.

    I wondered what it was about Karen's singing that establishes such an emotional impact on its listeners. I think Rita summed it up pretty well in that first paragraph.

    Rita, like Karen, seems to be a very down-to-earth person and never got the over-blown ego. It whole interview is pretty interesting. She has had a facinating life. Here is the link for it: The ‘Delta Lady’ Speaks: Q&A with Rita Coolidge |

    and Happy Birthday Karen!
    theninjarabbit, David A and CraigGA like this.
  16. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    This I agree with. It seemed that in the case of this song, perfection was achieved with the soundtrack version, and it didn't need all that was done to it over the years. Even the initial A SONG FOR YOU version wasn't quite up to the standard of the soundtrack version. Karen's voice became more buried behind the louder orchestrations, and that trend continued with the 85 remix and the 90 remix which really emphasized the bass - something not needed on this track.
  17. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I can see your point. But the voicing heard here is not heard in the original. From about 1:43-1:50 - light their way when the darkness surrounds them! Now add this to the original and leave out the booming drums in the remix and then perfection!
  18. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    The only thing I love in the remixes is the little cymbal figure as the song winds down. It would be at about 2:40 in the 1990 remix.
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Regards the Audio/Video for Bless The Beasts:
    Yes, it sounds fantastic, but, remember, according to the
    Interpretations DVD June 2003 Notes:
    "All have been digitally enhanced and feature remastered stereo audio."

    So, I suppose that would have a sonic impact !
    A Great song, though !
    CraigGA likes this.
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I forgot to ask.... in the video, doesn't the initial flute--oboe, or whatever it is......comes in (at 1 sec during piano open)
    quite a few seconds earlier than other vinyl recordings of the song ?
  21. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I’ll relisten at home and report back. Sometimes, some instruments cover others in the mix down and compression and then add YouTube issues.
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Good spot. I think the remix intro was edited down for inclusion on the Interpretations video compilation (the last of the three below). There’s no mention of this edit on the Complete Resource.

    Can anyone dig out their DVD and verify this? I would but mine is currently in storage.

    Movie version

    1991 Remix (no intake breaths on “the children” as the song ends)

    1985 Remix EDIT (with intake breaths audible on “the children” as the song ends)

    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
    Carpe diem and GaryAlan like this.
  23. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I’ve just done the next best thing and looked up the runtime of the DVD tracks online. As I thought, the DVD version is 3:06 - which matches the above Remix Edit - as opposed to 3:15 on the later remix versions.

    Carpenters - Interpretations
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  24. This may have been addressed elsewhere in the forum: So, is it available on-line to stream anywhere, or have any of you actually viewed, Bette Midler's The Tonight Show performance of the song in August, 1970 (I believe) that Richard infamously watched and subsequently hatched this classic? If so, please share location/availability! I'd love to see it since it's legendary with us fans.
  25. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I found the below link, which has the following information from a forum poster:

    “I have been researching Barry Manilow's early musical career and noted that there are quite a few Bette Midler television appearances that are missing. The most notables are Midler's Johnny Carson's Tonight Show appearences from August, 1970 through April, 1972.

    According to the Johnny Carson estate, these episodes were wiped when the show moved to Los Angeles in May, 1972”.

    I suppose that means unless someone taped it at the time and had posted it online, it’s unlikely to surface. I’ve checked YouTube and it’s not there.

    Bette Midler / Tonight Show appearences | www.missing-episodes.com

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