Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Jamesj75, May 25, 2015.
Richard needed singers. Karen was dead.
Other singer options are available though...
^^Harry, that goes without saying.
Seriously,though, I stand by my
Query: Why was the O.K. Chorale needed?
The word "....needed..." is the word which I would disagree with.
For instance, the instrumental Carpenters' Hits by Richard Clayderman is largely absent
a "chorale" sound and is a more adventurous undertaking than Richard Carpenter's instrumental offering.
Not to mention, even when Karen was with us, and with him, Richard was providing us with
the O.K. Chorale......
1976 I Need To Be In Love (as the 1978 performance shows, the MOR Chorale is not needed)
1980 Because We Are In Love.
then, I would argue that:
1983's Now ( simply does not need it) and
Look To Your Dreams (does not need the O.K. Chorale).
By the way, I felt the Gregg Smith Singers on I Just Fall In Love Again,
Why purposely choose to cut sales--1997-- by utilizing a "chorale" sound ?
Richard's forte in life is his choral arrangements (it's been expressed numerous times in this thread and others). Without his sister around, the one with whom he did so many stacked vocal arrangements, why wouldn't he want to use other studio singers for those parts of songs that he thought required it. The fact that Artist A doesn't use singers in the same song would have no bearing on what Richard was trying to accomplish in PACC.
Look, I'm no big fan of the PACC album, but I least allow for Richard to utilize whatever he wants to in order to produce the sound he was looking for.
As for why he utilized other singers on older albums, I'm sure there were reasons - health, and time pressures are probably the biggest reasons.
What a song "needs" is purely subjective. For example I never thought "Yesterday Once More" needed those extra electric guitar flourishes that showed up on the single version - yet there they are.
I really doubt that was the idea. "Hey, you know what....this album isn't going to sell much, but to be on the safe side, let's put the OK Chorale on there, so as to guarantee it won't sell." No, I'm sure Richard just heard the arrangements in his head with a choral sound and that's what he recorded.
By the way...I am one of the few who actually listens to PACC on occasion !
Of course, what is "needed" is subjective.
I abhor the added choir (added 1984) on the later Ave Maria mix, for instance,
and Richard Carpenter writes: "to all of us involved, it (choir) was a great addition" (40th Liner).
But, PACC , specifically commissioned as it was (by Polygram) due to massive sales of the
22 Hits of The Carpenters......(see the Keyboard Magazine Interview)...
certainly lost a segment of the population with the "chorale" sound.
Just as I Need To Be In Love lost some market/radio share, in part, due to MOR Choral.
For a recording artist such as Richard, where he attempted commercialization of the records,
it is difficult to believe that he--at least--was not aware that the added Choral music would
render the album with fewer sales....probably fewer than his first effort.
And, by the way, in that 1998 Keyboard interview--he had fully intended to record a third solo album.
I'm not buying that premise at all. Where is the evidence that choral music always results in poor sales?
It's hard to know that for sure but I think you're right. He had a great tune to work with and a lovely Karen vocal to go with it. If he had less tracks to work with, he wouldn't have been able to over-produce it - which I feel he did. The song is an introspective acknowledgement of personal weakness. It didn't need to be so big. Karen gave it the reading it needed. She was intimate and introspective; his production isn't. By the choruses, it's big and busy. The OK Chorale cheesed things out further, not because of the choral sound, but because of the hopelessly "old" sound of the chorale itself.
Keep in mind, Harry, I did not use the term "poor sales,"
I used the term "fewer" sales.
In other words, my opinion (and, I assume we all realize this is simply my opinion)
is that to enhance the marketability of Richard's PACC album the OK Chorale is not needed.
I remember vividly how I called the MOR Radio stations (often)in central Fl trying to get
I Need To Be In Love played---it did not happen.
It is a great song--I only wonder (now) if the Chorale parts did not affect its marketability.
Just my gut feeling--no hard evidence to support that.
Understand. "I Need To Be In Love" got tons of airplay on the radio station I worked for up in Philly. It was in regular rotation and stayed around until Carpenters began to be withdrawn from radio due to the "un-hip" factor. I can scarcely believe that anyone who heard the song was actually turned off by the Chorale backing, save for a few of us die-hard fans who wanted the stacked backing vocals to be done by Karen & Richard.
^^So then, the utilization of the Chorale --on I Need To Be In Love--
wouldn't make them even more "un-hip" ?
Agreed. To my ears, it definitely did.
It was heavily played, hip or not.
Back when the albums first came out I was a big Carpenters fan, but I didn't really give two hoots whether the backing vocals were done by K&R or the OK Chorale. I do remember thinking "OK Chorale" was a fun name for a group....it seemed kind of nerdy, which was the exact image I had of Richard. (Not too far off, I don't think.)
But as a 20-something then, did I think those chorale vocals made the records "less hip?" Not at all. The Carpenters were NEVER hip to start with!
Can’t have been that heavy elsewhere. It was only a #25 hit. Great song with interesting lyrical perspective. Karen blows it out of the water too.
Then again, this was a station that also played Rupert Holmes' "Terminal" rather regularly!
I do confess, the only background vocals I really want to hear,
on any Carpenters' recording, is Karen and Richard harmonizing.
Like I say, OK Chorale, or not, I tried hard to get I Need To Be In Love
played on the radio here in Central Florida--to no avail.
It is the only Carpenters Single I did that much work for--
and, it was all for naught......
More from Interview with Richard Carpenter, in Keyboard Magazine, August 1998:
"We ended up under budget, and it came out all right."
"We did strings separately. The, we brought in brass and wind and separated them.
"The percussion and Harp were done separately--all to make it as clean as could be."
"Karen's Theme was a 40-second cue, written 1988, for the Karen Carpenter Story.
And, that was it. But, when the time came to put this album together, I thought I'd
really like to finish Karen's Theme."
"It's not going to be ten years 'til the next one." (Int: "It was ten years between solo records.").
"Well, recording-wise...I think Bettis and I are more than capable of writing memorable
main-titles for movies, things like that certainly...After that I would start thinking about another album,
because I really enjoyed it after all that time."
Karen was hardly "dead" when they used the Carpettes on MIA. Just saying'!
Will someone PLEASE figure out a way to remove the OK Chorale on some of these recordings. I'd love to hear just KC and RC on these tracks.
I liked the Carpettes myself. It's the OK Chorale I don't like. They just sound old-fashioned.
It added a very bland sound! Plus, it made it more uncool, and less stations available to play their music. The DJ’s where I’m from said those songs were not on their playlist ordered from their program manager.
With PACC, I have to wonder why All Those Years Ago was not ported over from Veronique with Veronique's vocals left intact.
I've been attempting to collate the various choirs and chorale parts.
I must confess, I am not totally against their use--an impression I may have imparted.
So, let us see where I am at....
1969, CSULB Choir, Goodnight.....I like this choir.
1976, The O.K. Chorale, I Need To Be In Love....I'm torn here,
1977, Gregg Smith Singers, Calling Occupants....I very much like the GSS on every Passage Song,
1978, Tom Bahler Chorale, Silent Night and others from Portrait....I very much like TBC,
1980,O.K. Chorale, Medley for Music, Music,Music and Because We Are In Love....tolerable.
1983, O.K. Chorale, Now and others from Voice LP....do not much care for...
1984, O.K. Chorale, Little Altar Boy, Love this song and I do like the chorale here, but...
1984's Ave Maria....hate the addition of OKC, but, love the 1978 original version.
A nice exercise, listening to these selections.
I had forgotten another reason I find the Coleman Biography difficult to utilize as a reference:
the Index is terrible....(for instance, you will not locate Carol Burnett under "B")....
In any event, here is an interesting bit (page 106, we are Mid-1971):
"There was a thirst for new songs to be written--and fast. At this stage Richard did not have a songwriting
partner, Jack Daugherty who was technically named as producer of the albums thus far--suggested
the Richard enlist Paul Williams. But, Richard wanted to get back together with John Bettis....."
After reading the page, it seems odd to me that this "thirst for new songs to be written--fast"
resulted in rather small output from the Carpenter/Bettis partnership.
Also, Who wouldn't want to at least try to write a song or two with Paul Williams ? Odd.....
I wanted to mention another track that I really like Richard’s vocals, The Night Has A Thousand Eyes. Today that song popped up on my iPhone in random and it was my recently ripped original vinyl version and it hit me that I’m not sure I’ve ever given credit to Richard on this one. I like his smooth vocals on this one and it’s easy for me to sing along.