1. The new Carpenters recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is now available for preorder! Use this link to preorder, and help us out at the same time. Thank you!

The Karen Carpenter Story Music

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Simon KC1950, Apr 16, 2017.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Simon KC1950

    Simon KC1950 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    As you all probably know, Richard regrets having involvement in "the Karen Carpenter Story", made for TV movie.
    In the opening of that film, whilst Karen is being taken in to the ambulance, a credit comes up on the bottom of the screen saying "Music by Richard Carpenter".
    The movie features many Carpenters hits, album Cuts and previously unreleased songs.. But, there's something different about the songs. The vocals seem to have more of a "watery" sound (if that makes sense). They sound "tweaked", a bit more "sweet"

    It's almost as if Richard reworked / remixed songs for the movie, remixes that haven't appeared anywhere else. So this suggests that Richard was strongly behind this until it was released. This got me thinking.. Could Richard have been planning to release these songs from the movie perhaps as a soundtrack album. I could just picture it as an album.

    Here's the track list (in order of appearance and only the songs sung by the actual Karen not Cynthia Gibb):

    -Rainy Days And Mondays
    -Iced Tea
    -All Of My Life
    -You'll Love Me
    -Don't Be Afraid
    -(They Long To Be) Close To You
    -We've Only Just Begun (this one sounds really stripped back, perhaps even an alternative version than was not the final released take)
    -Love Is Surrender
    -A Song For You
    -Karen's Theme
    -Fun, Fun, Fun
    -You're The One
    -instrumental song I do not recognize whilst Karen exercises
    -Top Of The World
    -For All We Know
    -This Masquerade
    -Where Do I Go From Here?
    -A Song For You (Reprise)

    Any Thoughts?
    Don Malcolm and Jamesj75 like this.
  2. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Great thread.

    Many of the songs were remixed for the movie only, including added reverb on the lead vocals, new instrumentation and other segues linking one piece of music to another. I don't think We've Only Just Begun was a remix, Richard removed Karen's doubled lead in the clip where they are recording it in the studio so it sounds more raw, as it would have done at the time. The way Richard linked the original advert track by Paul Williams to their studio version with the flute and key change was genius.

    All Of My Life is a good example where there is added orchestration such as the flute/reed that comes in just after Karen sings the line "And I've found a whole new world/Has opened for me". That's not present on the album version or remix.

    I loved the moment late in the film where they are discussing releasing Karen from hospital and for a few seconds Karen's lead on Where Do I Go From Here? is lifted, revealing the gorgeous string pattern in the chorus.

    Many of the songs sound speeded up and compressed to me, in particular Rainy Days And Mondays. I know we've discussed that here before and others don't hear it, but I do.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
    Don Malcolm and Simon KC1950 like this.
  3. Simon KC1950

    Simon KC1950 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Newvillefan you're right it is sped up.
    why would Richard go to all that effort ? It sounds to me like he intended to release them on album before he hated it after seeing it. We may never know.
  4. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I'm curious to know the source of the movie that you guys are listening to. For years I only had my original VHS recording from CBS here in the States. At the time, CBS was still not broadcasting much in true stereo. They'd send out a mono network feed and the local stations would add a fake stereo generator and that's what my video recording had.

    In the past couple of years, I've found a Japanese LaserDisc of the movie in true stereo. Newvillefan is correct about the additional instrumentation. It's noticeable immediately when the movie starts with a high synth/string addition to the opening of "Rainy Days & Mondays".

    Everything musical in that movie sounds like it was mixed especially for the film medium, and knowing of Richard's penchant for doing so, it's not surprising.
    Don Malcolm and Simon KC1950 like this.
  5. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    ...AND...As for the speed issue, if you guys are watching it on YouTube, I can tell you that that's sped-up, probably a result of a 4% PAL speed-up somewhere along the way. The film was made at the standard 24 FPS speed and all of the songs are at the correct speed on US broadcasts and on the Japanese LaserDisc (where they also use NTSC).
  6. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    ...AND...As for the unidentified instrumental, that's simply a piece of incidental music that Richard composed and played for that scene. Here it is:

  7. Simon KC1950

    Simon KC1950 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I got mine from eBay, it came with the interpretations cd and a bonus of the first tv special on a seperate DVD. I've seen that seller a few times on eBay selling different Carpenters CDs with the 2 DVDs as a bonus. I don't know where he sourced them from but they are both in their entirety and in fairly good quality.
  8. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    You can hear Joe Osborne's bass all over that. I wouldn't mistake him for anyone.
  9. Carl

    Carl "you are one of the few things worth remembering"

    I got my copy of the Karen Carpenter story on DVD from eBay too. I agree about the songs sounding different. The movie was made in 1989 so could be due to that. On my copy the songs do sound different but still good quality as in I could hear what was being sung. I didn't realise that after I watched it a few times that Karen's Theme is used for the scene where Karen's solo album is being discussed. It's cool that we have a sample here for the music where Karen is exercising. I enjoyed the movie and read that some parts were fictionalised ( so I read in an interview with Richard about the film ). I think it would make a good soundtrack album especially as the movie has not had an official DVD release ( yet )
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  10. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I really hate the fact that so many fans have had to purchase wonky bootleg videos of this movie.
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  11. Simon KC1950

    Simon KC1950 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    i wish there was a way i could have got mine officially but of course it doesn't have an official release on DVD and i really can't imagine it ever having one sadly.
  12. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    Yes, and I concur with Harry that the original score was all at standard speed. I have an authorized VHS print that is immaculate, and everything is pitched correctly at A440. Many of the bootlegs floating around are multi-generational copies, including the crap up on YouTube, so this is what most folks are hearing unfortunately. :sad:
    Simon KC1950 and Harry like this.
  13. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    This was the best cue in the entire movie! I probably played this segment of the film where Karen is jogging through the park more than just about any other back in the day!
  14. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I wonder if the reason some fans seem to dislike Cynthia Gibbs' performance is because her already high-pitched voice would be even higher with the speed-up. That YouTube version is virtually unwatchable to me because of the faster speed and higher pitch.
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  15. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I didn't even know it was on YouTube to hear until it was posted here. Hearing it took me right back to 1990 when it was first aired in the U.K.
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  16. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    That's because it wasn't there until I put it there the other day.
    Don Malcolm and Simon KC1950 like this.
  17. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I didn't realise, thanks for posting it.

    The more I hear it the more I want it to be a full length song. It's beautiful.
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  18. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Wow! Thanks for adding this, Harry. I've heard it a number of times while watching the movie, but never stopped to really listen. It's beautiful and just another example of why Richard should be doing movie scores.
    David A, newvillefan and Simon KC1950 like this.
  19. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    That was exactly my thought when I heard it again after so long. His talents have been wasted over the years simply touching up existing Carpenters recordings.
    David A and Simon KC1950 like this.
  20. ScottyB

    ScottyB Active Member

    I had actually created a personal soundtrack when this movie was originally aired. I had recorded the movie on VHS and the soundtrack had been done on cassette. However, I was unable to create the soundtrack properly until Lovelines was released (for "Where Do I Go From Here" & "You're The One" inclusion). Both tapes have long been gone, and I never replaced them. I had no interest in regaining the film after hearing of Richard's dissatisfaction, and also finding that much that was in the film was fabricated. I much prefer the documentaries. Maybe, someday, a proper biographical film will be made.
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  21. Don Malcolm

    Don Malcolm Well-Known Member

    I think we all realize the sequence of events in the late 80s that really forced Richard to be involved with this project. The cognitive dissonance for him, with Karen's death still so recent, must have been immense. The film was made in order to marginalize Todd Haynes' Superstar and to prevent a more invidious version of the story from appearing in a major network context. As with any project, once Richard is committed he gives it his all--but there were so many impediments at that time to telling the story that the end result just couldn't help leaving him dissatisfied and without any additional closure for all of his hard work.

    The problem is that there really is no closure for such a devastating public and personal tragedy--even a full accounting of the psychological dynamics involved in it all can't provide any real means for a remedy. We all suffer from this as well, but from a great remove compared to Richard: the pain we feel at Karen's loss, while both palpable and heartfelt, is negligible compared to his. That's why I will always give Richard infinite kudos for making the effort with THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY: IMO he made the best he could from a miserable, no-win situation.
  22. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    Just for reference sake, I did a more thorough search on YouTube (short of simply uploading my own copy!) and here's what the soundtrack originally sounded like in terms of pitch (ditching the spanish voiceovers of course LOL)


  23. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I had no idea the wrong speed version was out there. The person who posted it should take it down. Thanks for pointing everyone to the correct one!
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  24. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    Actually it was in fact remixed for the movie in order to create the effect for the scene. When individual parts of the actual recording itself are being manipulated, of course that can't be done with an existing 2-channel mix, but only through remixing. In the case of We've Only Just Begun, the fully mixed bridge on the record not only consists of an additional vocal overdub from Karen, creating the "doubled" effect, but 3-part horn section, percussion, Wurlitzer electric piano and 4-part backing vocals that were also left out of the mix in order to recreate this scene.

    I've recreated that mix of the same segment here from a safety copy of the original master I have in order to demonstrate in better quality:

  25. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    Why is it that Karen's voice sounds deeper when everything else around it is stripped away? I love hearing it like this.
    GaryAlan, Jarred and Simon KC1950 like this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Users Viewing Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 0)