• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline for October 2021! The new book Carpenter: The Musical Legacy will be available on October 19 and can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is being released October 22, and is available for ordering here.

THE OFFICIAL REVIEW: "A SONG FOR YOU" (SP-3511)

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 22 78.6%
  • ****

    Votes: 4 14.3%
  • ***

    Votes: 1 3.6%
  • **

    Votes: 1 3.6%
  • *

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    28
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Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
“A SONG FOR YOU”

sp3511.jpg

Catalogue Number: A&M SP-3511
Date of Release: 06/13/72
Chart Position- U.S.: #4; U.K.: #13; JAPAN: #5
Album Singles: "Hurting Each Other"/"Maybe It's You"
"It's Going To Take Some Time"/"Flat Baroque"
"Goodbye To Love"/"Crystal Lullaby"
"Top Of The World"/"Heather"
"I Won't Last A Day Without You"/"One Love"
Medium: Reel/Vinyl/8-track/Cassette/CD


Track Listing:

1.) A Song For You 4:42 (Russell)
2.) Top Of The World 2:56 (Carpenter/Bettis)
3.) Hurting Each Other 2:46 (Udell/Geld)
4.) It's Going To Take Some Time 2:54 (King/Stern)
5.) Goodbye To Love 3:50 (Carpenter/Bettis)
6.) Intermission 0:22 (Carpenter)
7.) Bless The Beasts And The Children 3:07 (De Vorzon/Botkin, Jr.)
8.) Flat Baroque 1:45 (Carpenter)
9.) Piano Picker 1:59 (Edelman)
10.) I Won't Last A Day Without You 3:47 (Williams/Nichols)
11.) Crystal Lullaby 3:58 (Carpenter/Bettis)
12.) Road Ode 3:50 (Sims/Woodhams)
13.) A Song For You [Reprise] 0:53 (Russell)

Album Credits:

Arranged and Orchestrated by: Richard Carpenter
All vocals: Karen and Richard Carpenter
Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
Bass: Joe Osborn
Drums: Hal Blaine and Karen Carpenter
Tenor Sax, Flute and Alto Flute: Bob Messenger
Bass Flute: Tim Weisberg
Guitar: Louie Shelton
Lead Guitar: Tony Peluso
Steel Guitar: Red Rhodes
Oboe and English Horn: Earl Dumler
Bassoon: Norm Herzberg
Engineered by Ray Gerhardt, Assistant: Roger Young
Special Thanks to Ron Gorow
Intermission inspired by Crucifixus - Antonio Lotti ca. 1667-1740
Baldwin Piano, Ludwig Drums, Wurlitzer Electric Piano
Art Direction: Roland Young
Photography: Front Cover, Jim McCrary; Sleeve, Bill Hennigar
Produced by Jack Daugherty Productions

Additional Notes:

Shortly following the release of this album, the cover art was changed ever so slightly, much to the dismay of Richard Carpenter. It was then changed back to the original per his request. It is also notable that this album made the cut for Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab's "Original Master Recording" series in 1989, available on 24-karat gold CD format, with the 2-channel mixes having been taken from the original source, thus improving the playback quality. Several of the tracks on that release were actually remixes, however the overall quality on the whole was superior to that of the previous
release(s).

 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
This was the first ever Carpenters original album I came across and listened to back to back. My discovery of it has a nice little story behind it which I'd like to share if you'd care to read on...:)

I'd heard the song 'Only Yesterday' in the spring of 1990 on the radio and thought it was a current single by some artist or other. What mesmerised me was Karen's voice. When I asked my mother, she told me who they were and Karen's story and I remember being so disillusioned to hear she was no longer with us, but had to find out more. I went out and bought 'Their Greatest Hits' on CD, cassette (and VHS) and just listened to the tunes repeatedly, over and over for weeks on end. I remember the Hits album topping the UK charts around the same time, which thinking back now was obviously the reason I'd heard them on the radio.

I read the song credits from the Hits collection inner booklet and noticed the songs were copyrighted from years spanning 1969 to 1981, so I knew for each of those years there must have been an album. Not long afterwards, I was babysitting our next door neighbour's son one night and lo and behold, there in the music cabinet was this album on vinyl. I nearly passed out but put it on and gave it a spin. I can't remember hearing any other album in my life that gave me the feeling this one did. From the opening bluesy 'A Song For You', through the singles I'd heard already to the gorgeous 'Crystal Lullaby' and 'Road Ode'. It was innocent, fun but also had a timeless quality to it at the same time.

For me, what struck me was the sound of their harmonies. The little interlude at the end of Side 1 always makes me smile as it's such a throwaway little thing, but even in those thirty seconds, I couldn't believe how big and awesome the vocal sound was. Bookending it with the opening song was a great idea, but I remember playing it with headphones in and marvelling at the ghostly, eery sound of Karen's voice starting in the distance and opening up into all of its full, rich, amazing glory.

A classic and the one which gives me lots of happy memories of teenage years spent trawling through their back catalogue and marvelling at every new discovery I found. By the time I found Horizon, and put it chronologically into order and perspective as far as their career goes, I found myself preferring this album for all its sheer innocence and fun. By Horizon, they'd 'grown up' and some of that innocence and fun had been replaced by more mature material and readings. Not a criticism, more an observation. For that reason, I'd give this album the same score as Horizon - top marks!
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Nice story, Stephen. It's interesting to find out how people came to a certain album. Those of us who were there at release time have a very different perspective from someone who is coming at the group in more recent times.

Like most others of the time, we learned of the new album from the radio. You'd hear a new tune from your favorite artist and head to the nearest record store to buy it. As I recall, "Hurting Each Other" preceded the album as a single, which was often the case back then. A single would appear, go up and down the charts, and then the album from which it would come from was released in conjunction with the second single, in this case, "It's Going To Take Some Time," which appeared just before the album release.

I remember waking to the radio one Sunday morning and hearing a cover version of the familiar Carole King tune and thinking, "Why is someone already remaking this song from TAPESTRY? Isn't Carole King's original version good enough?" Then after a few bars, it hit me that this was the Carpenters new version of the song - suddenly it was OK!

But that was the signal to head for a record store. As it turned out, the album was still a few weeks away, so I'd have to be patient. Back then I was into recording songs from the radio, so I probably waited out getting "It's Going To Take Some Time" to go with "Hurting Each Other" in the waiting-for-the-album game. Once the album WAS released, I was already intimately familiar with two of the tracks right away - and the rest of it was truly just wonderful. Every song almost sounded like hit-single material, at least on side one, and it darned near was. I still think that the title song could have been a hit.

I've probably purchased more copies of this album than any other. I have the original vinyl which served for years, then the A&M CD, the MFSL CD, the Remastered Classic CD, a copy in that Chronicles pack of three albums, and the 35th anniversary version in the box set.

I never noticed the front cover switch, since I only bought one album originally, but once it was pointed out to me, I realized that the A&M CD cover used the fatter-heart/skewed logo version, whereas the MFSL and Remastered Classic used the smaller heart/straighter logo.

In any case, it's a great album, probably the pinnacle of their career.

Harry
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I remember waking to the radio one Sunday morning and hearing a cover version of the familiar Carole King tune and thinking, "Why is someone already remaking this song from TAPESTRY? Isn't Carole King's original version good enough?" Then after a few bars, it hit me that this was the Carpenters new version of the song - suddenly it was OK!

I always thought it a pretty song, but nowhere near good enough as a single, for Carpenters or anyone else. It's just not a standout, 'grab you' kind of song to be commercial enough to top the charts. Why did they put it ahead of the other singles that followed?
I still think that the title song could have been a hit.

Completely agree. The applause they got from the Bob Hope Show (and for an edited version of the song!) was amazing.

In any case, it's a great album, probably the pinnacle of their career.

I'm with you on that one!
 

Toolman

Simple Man, Simple Dream
This was the first and only Carpenters album that I bought in a hardware store. Went with my dad on one of his trips to the local True Value. They had LP kiosks in the center of the store, and I immediately spotted this bright red cover with the heart in the middle and went running for it. The look on my dad's face was not pride. "Put down the valentine, son! We're in a hardware store!"

In retrospect, I would have loved to experience this record without the image of that big-arse heart in front of my eyes. As Richard has said, it does scream "Enclosed you'll find shallow love ditties" when the album is much more than that. The design strengthens the branding of the logo, but that's about the only good thing I can find in it. OK, I'll also give it a point for being the first Carpenters LP to include a nice inner sleeve with lyrics, but even the illustrations on that sleeve were a bit precious.

"A Song for You" would have been a great single. During a Chicago radio interview a few years later, I remember Karen and Richard beating themselves up for the choice of "It's Going to Take Some Time" -- went something like:

DJ: "It's Going to Take Some Time"...that one kinda laid back for you...
KAREN: We heard it on the radio and thought, "We goofed."
RICHARD: But Carole King liked it!
DJ: A lot of people liked it...

Funny that by then, they already considered #12 as failing.

Personal favorite track has always been "Goodbye to Love"...such a different, quirky song, with that a capella opening, vocal lines that never seem to end and the fuzz guitar break. Love it, one of three Carpenters songs that trade places in my head as their very best. Also thought "Piano Picker" was one of Richard's better solos. Never quite sure about "Intermission". Makes more sense as originally intended, at the end of a vinyl side, than planted in the center of a continuous play CD. Well, they seemed to be having fun here, and as Harry said, a consistently strong collection of material.

Overall, great LP, probably my favorite of theirs. 'Cept for the artwork.

Wally
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
This was the first and only Carpenters album that I bought in a hardware store.

Well - they were "Carpenters" - what better place to find them than a hardware store!? :laugh:

Harry
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
I still think that the title song could have been a hit.

I've often thought the same thing. Leon Russell was/is one helluva songwrighter and I often wondered what would have happened had it been released...I guess we'll never know...
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
The first song I heard from this album was "Hurting Each Other," which I saw them perform on the Tonight Show. By that time I'd already been kind of a fringe fan -- the Carpenters were still kind of un-cool to me because my sisters loved them....but I couldn't deny that they were really good. Plus there was the A&M Records connection.

When the album came out I bought it right away and from then on I was a full-fledged fan. I've always thought this was their best album due to the inventiveness, variety and humor that is in it. After this, they would never quite hit that magic combination for me. They had lots of great songs after this, and Horizon is better from a technical standpoint, but for being a sheer fun listen, this one tops it in my book.

I was always kind of surprised that Richard didn't think of "Top of the World" as a hit. It was never my favorite song (I'm not really a country fan) but from the first time I heard it, I thought that tune sounded like a massive country hit. I was pretty good at picking what would be the "next single" from albums in those days. Should have worked for a record company I guess.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Thanks for that story! I really do love ASFY album- it is one of their best.
In any case, it's a great album, probably the pinnacle of their career.

I consider it their best LP, very definitive of their career and sound. Like mentioned earlier, so many songs sounded like hits--their songwriting was in top form across the board. The teams of Carpenter/Bettis and Nichols/Williams both hit their stride with this one. The trademark harmonies are all in place. And it was just enough over the hump to be taken seriously as pop/rock music as opposed to the easy listening/MOR trend of their prior albums. Heck, "Goodbye To Love" has to be one of the first, if not the first, power ballads recorded. This album nailed it. If I ever have to recommend one album of theirs, this is the one without question.
 

Dave

Well-Known Member
Definitely a conceptual "Song Fest" of ambitious compositions & a miraculous tour-de-force of a most creative peak & proud array of their best sound!

And who else could think of an "intermission" to divide the two sides????

(Yes, count me among the many to give this Five Stars!)


-- Dave
 

Chris Mills

That was funny....like the dark vomited up
This album is a masterpiece, a perfect balance displaying the talents of both Richard & Karen at their very best. From the opening track, you realise that something has changed, Karen's vocals are confident and subtle at the same time, Richard's arrangements are just beautiful. I love the artwork on this album, you just could not miss that album cover when you walked into the record store, it just stood out. I thought the inner record sleeve was great, all the lyrics and illustrations, I loved it.

This album was recorded for vinyl, it was 1972 after all, and "Intermission" just worked wonderfully, it made you laugh, and you couldn't turn the record over quick enough to listen to Side 2.

I wonder if Karen & Richard realised at the time that they were creating a gem, even if you weren't a fan of the Carpenters, there is no denying that this album is a classic.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
If there were any one Carpenters album I could recommend to anyone, this would be it.
 

Toolman

Simple Man, Simple Dream
Searched "Carpenters 40 40" on Amazon and this came up. Interesting ripoff of the "A Song for You" cover art (and not a Carpenters track on the collection).
closetoyou.jpg
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Track listing of that compilation:

1. [Disc 1] THEY LONG TO BE CLOSE TO YOU/ Richard Chamberlain
2. [Disc 1] HURTING EACH OTHER/ Ruby & The Romantics
3. [Disc 1] PLEASE MR. POSTMAN/ The Marvelettes
4. [Disc 1] BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO/ Neil Sedaka
5. [Disc 1] JAMBALAYA (ON THE BAYOU)/ Hank Williams
6. [Disc 1] THERE'S A KIND OF HUSH (ALL OVER THE WORLD)/ Herman's Hermits
7. [Disc 1] REASON TO BELIEVE/ Tim Hardin
8. [Disc 1] A SONG FOR YOU/ Leon Russell
9. [Disc 1] OUR DAY WILL COME/ Ruby & The Romantics
10. [Disc 1] YOU/ Randy Edelman
11. [Disc 1] I CAN DREAM. CAN'T I?/ The Andrews Sisters
12. [Disc 1] LITTLE HONDA/ The Hondells
13. [Disc 1] LEADER OF THE PACK/ The Shangri-Las
14. [Disc 1] BOOK OF LOVE/ The Monotones
15. [Disc 1] JOHNNY B. GOODE/ Chuck Berry
16. [Disc 1] BEECHWOOD 4-5789/ The Marvelettes
17. [Disc 1] CALIFORNIA DREAMIN'/ The Mamas & The Papas
18. [Disc 1] DANCING IN THE STREET/ Martha & The Vandellas
19. [Disc 1] YOUR BABY DOESN'T LOVE YOU ANYMORE/ Ruby & The Romantics
20. [Disc 1] THIS MASQUERADE/ Leon Russell
21. [Disc 2] (THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU/ Dusty Springfield
22. [Disc 2] WE'VE ONLY JUST BEGUN/ The Baja Marimba Band
23. [Disc 2] LET ME BE THE ONE/ Diana Ross
24. [Disc 2] MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF/ The Walker Brothers
25. [Disc 2] I'LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN/ Burt Bacharach
26. [Disc 2] A SONG FOR YOU/ The Temptations
27. [Disc 2] WALK ON BY/ We Five
28. [Disc 2] WE'VE ONLY JUST BEGUN/ Bill Medley
29. [Disc 2] BABY IT'S YOU/ Smith
30. [Disc 2] LITTLE GIRL BLUE/ Brenda Lee
31. [Disc 2] KNOWING WHEN TO LEAVE/ Burt Bacharach
32. [Disc 2] I WON'T LAST A DAY WITHOUT YOU/ Diana Ross
33. [Disc 2] A SONG FOR YOU/ Dusty Springfield
34. [Disc 2] NOWADAYS CLANCY CAN'T EVEN SING/ Fever Tree
35. [Disc 2] I KEPT ON LOVING YOU/ Heaven Bound with Tony Scotti
36. [Disc 2] THERE'S A KIND OF HUSH (ALL OVER THE WORLD)/ Engelbert Humperdinck
37. [Disc 2] A SONG FOR YOU/ Bill Medley
38. [Disc 2] I WON'T LAST A DAY WITHOUT YOU/ Maureen McGovern
39. [Disc 2] REASON TO BELIEVE/ Rod Stewart
40. [Disc 2] THE RAINBOW CONNECTION/ Willie Nelson
 

Toolman

Simple Man, Simple Dream
Amazon didn't have a track listing, or at least I missed it. So, a collection of other artists' versions of songs recorded by the Carpenters or included in their stage show. Makes more sense now that it turned up in a Carpenters search.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
No, Amazon didn't. They usually don't with imports. That list came from CD Japan.

Harry
 

Song4uman

Well-Known Member
I always list this as my favorite album. Actually, this and Horizon are pretty close (Horizon might even be a little higher). I love all of the songs on this album, but the song that pushes this over the top for being a favorite is the title track. I feel much like many other fans who would love to have seen "A Song for You" released as a single....LOVE that song!!
Jonathan
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I feel much like many other fans who would love to have seen "A Song for You" released as a single....LOVE that song!!

I think Richard made a mistake not releasing that song as a single, I know he thought it was too long to pull as a 45 for radio, but in my book it's forgiven that simply because it's such a beautiful, mesmerising song. It would have done infinitely better than 'It's Going To Take Some Time'. He also wavered for the same reason when considering 'I Just Fall In Love Again' as a single, yet ironically both songs are around the same length as Goodbye To Love.

Any thoughts from anyone as to where 'A Song For You' would have actually charted had they gone with it?
 

cam89

Well-Known Member
Not my favorite album at all. Karen of course sings fabulously!
I do like TOP OF THE WORLD but the 1973 version. I do like ROAD ODE. A SONG FOR YOU is sung nicely...but it just does not seem to flow at all. Whereas the CLOSE TO YOU, A KIND OF HUSH, CARPENTERS and VOICE OF THE HEART are fabulously done and flow, for me, seamlessly from one song to another. I know that the A SONG FOR YOU is considered one of their greatest album masterpieces it just doesn't do anything for me....I do like I WON'T LAST A DAY WITHOUT YOU but for me, it's always the song that left them out of their run of Top 10 hits...

I do remember, in Winnipeg, where I lived...going to Sam The Record Man music store and staring at the great Carpenters collection they had....and looking at all the songs and wondering what they sounded like. The first album I had bought was CLOSE TO YOU, followed by A KIND OF HUSH and VOICE OF THE HEART and then Carpenters. A SONG FOR YOU i bought in Edmonton about 4 years later and one of the last albums so maybe that is not my favorite album!
 

RainyDays

Active Member
This feels like their most "complete" album, and might just be there best! They even have a freakin' bAhhhthroom break! Great songs, singles, album cuts...and I'll never understand people's beef with the cover; as if a big heart is the worst thing! It's a Valentine FOR YOU! Its attractive and colorful -- just like the album. Of course I understand how it was a problem with their image in 1972, but now I don't see a problem, as it just makes them more distinctive.
 
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