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Top Ten when Carpenters Peaked

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
What are your opinions of each of the songs in the Top 10 when each of Carpenters’ singles peaked?

The Top 10 doesn’t have to be the Billboard Top 10. It can be any Top 10 from any chart - any country, state or territory.

There’s a high chance we won’t agree with each other in our opinions about songs and artists, but our different views might stimulate discussion.

Even observations about the general flavour of the Top 10 or the types of music popular at each time might be interesting.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Billboard Hot 100 Top 10, week ending August 15th, 1970.

1. (They Long to Be) Close to You - Carpenters.

2. Make It With You - Bread.

3. Signed, Sealed, Delivered - Stevie Wonder

4. Spill the Wine - Eric Burdon and War

5. In the Summertime - Mungo Jerry

6. War - Edwin Starr

7. Band of Gold - Freda Payne

8. Mama Told Me (Not to Come) - Three Dog Night

9. Tighter, Tighter - Alive & Kicking

10. Ball Of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today) - Temptations

Although a few of these songs deal with serious subject matter, my first reaction is, ‘What a great bunch of classic, feel-good songs!’

I love the larrikin story-telling of ‘Spill the Wine’ with the exuberant, abandoned vocals and the brilliant jazz-rock background.

What about the anger in the power-house vocals of Edwin Starr in ‘War’? What energy! A real statement.

Temptations’ ‘Ball of Confusion’ (That’s what the World Is Today) is a really interesting fusion of sounds and styles. As James Brown often began with a repeated bass line - a groove that sounded like the band was jamming - ‘Ball of Confusion’ has a repeated bass phrase running through it with other instruments layered on top, sometimes seeming to contrast in style. Mixed in, there’s a rock sound and horns, with soulful vocals. At the beginning, you almost feel like the song is going to be reggae and there are small sections of echoes of Desmond Dekker. Temptations sing about lots of the worries of the world on this one - unemployment, tax evasion, suicide... and some of the vocals have the power of Edwin Starr. (Some lines are sung in the lighter voice of Eddie Kendricks).

Then there’s ‘In the Summertime’, a shimmering meander in the sun by Mungo Jerry that surely nobody could hate. One of the biggest-selling singles of all time, I believe.

‘Band of Gold’ is a delicious tale of girl-done-wrong with strong lead vocals and satisfying girl-group style backgrounds.

Three Dog Night - what a group. Three amazingly strong lead vocalists. ‘Mama Told Me Not to Come’ is just as good as all their other great songs. It’s like every one of their hits is as good as their very best.

‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ by Stevie Wonder - funky, powerful, irresistible.

Then there’s the other end of the scale - ‘Make It with You’, by Bread - a delectable pop marvel. The song begins with acoustic guitar and then there’s that magic sort of glissando sound. What is that? A steel slide guitar? An early synth? Next, the heavenly voice of David Gates and later, the beautiful electric guitar solo. This recording is close to pop perfection. I’m sure I’ll never get tired of this sound.

‘Tighter, Tighter’ - I can’t remember that one.

I really can’t find much at all wrong with this top 10. These songs seem as great now as they must have back then.

What are your memories of the songs and period? What are your opinions of the artists? Did you own any of these records? See any of the artists in concert? Do you listen to any of these songs today? What are your thoughts?
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
I couldn’t remember Tighter, Tighter either. I went to iTunes to listen, and went oh yeah, great song! Just forgot the name. Their only hit?
Anyway those are all really nice and mostly classic titles for that week.
 

Don Malcolm

Well-Known Member
Fabulous idea, Another Son--I hope you'll continue with this up to, say, "Only Yesterday" so we'll really see how things changed over those five years...

It's been years since I'd heard "Tighter, Tighter"--so great! Now there's a track that would've made one of the great unexpected B-sides in Carpenters history, with Tony P. doing his version of the fuzz freak-out. Perhaps it could've been the (missing) B-side to "Top of the World," as a kind of preview of what was coming a few years later with "Bwana." Karen could (of course) totally nail the lead vocal; the trick would be how Richard handled the backing (and "response") vocals. Many doubters here regarding that, I know, but don't count him out before he hits the canvas! :cool:

The list is a reminder of just how integrated AM radio was in 1970. But the rock critics were freaking out with the emergence of the soft sound, and the battle lines were swiftly drawn. The subsequent lists should reveal some interesting changes.

A book that might be useful to draw from as this thread moves forward is David Hepworth's NEVER A DULL MOMENT, which chronicles what was going on in rock/pop in 1971.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
"Signed Sealed Delivered" is probably my favorite Motown song- and one of my all time favorites of anything ever released. And who doesn't have a make out memory to "Make It With You"? :wink:
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I couldn’t remember Tighter, Tighter either. I went to iTunes to listen, and went oh yeah, great song! Just forgot the name. Their only hit?
Anyway those are all really nice and mostly classic titles for that week.
I, too, found ‘Tighter, Tighter’ after posting and recognised it straight away, GDB2LV. Yes, great song! Different from all the others in the Top 10. It appears to have been Alive & Kicking’s only hit. In fact, they seem to have only released a few records.

By coincidence, Pepe Cardona, the male lead singer, appears to have died about two months ago.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Fabulous idea, Another Son--I hope you'll continue with this up to, say, "Only Yesterday" so we'll really see how things changed over those five years...

It's been years since I'd heard "Tighter, Tighter"--so great! Now there's a track that would've made one of the great unexpected B-sides in Carpenters history, with Tony P. doing his version of the fuzz freak-out. Perhaps it could've been the (missing) B-side to "Top of the World," as a kind of preview of what was coming a few years later with "Bwana." Karen could (of course) totally nail the lead vocal; the trick would be how Richard handled the backing (and "response") vocals. Many doubters here regarding that, I know, but don't count him out before he hits the canvas! :cool:

The list is a reminder of just how integrated AM radio was in 1970. But the rock critics were freaking out with the emergence of the soft sound, and the battle lines were swiftly drawn. The subsequent lists should reveal some interesting changes.

A book that might be useful to draw from as this thread moves forward is David Hepworth's NEVER A DULL MOMENT, which chronicles what was going on in rock/pop in 1971.
I hadn’t heard of ‘Never a Dull Moment’, Don. I’ll have to track that one down!

Good point about the charts and radio play. Yes, there are elements of all styles and backgrounds in these songs, (sometimes, all in the one song!) That’s probably why the Top 10 seems so brilliant overall, and every song a winner.

I’m a great fan of Richard and his talents. I love his arrangements and sound, (and other contributions). It’s likely that he would have done a stellar job with anything he arranged.

Thanks for your comment about the thread, Don. My idea is that anyone can post any Top 10 where a Carpenters song was peaking from any country from any period, at any time. :)
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
"Signed Sealed Delivered" is probably my favorite Motown song- and one of my all time favorites of anything ever released. And who doesn't have a make out memory to "Make It With You"? :wink:
Stevie Wonder had so many great songs!

Like so many songs in this Top 10, there are a range of styles inherent in ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’. That’s why I didn’t even try to describe it - not that it needs my description, anyway.

As we know, Stevie Wonder and Carpenters were immensely popular on the Billboard Hot 100 throughout the 70s, ( well, Carpenters until mid-1976), so both their names are almost constantly on the charts through those years.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
Ending week 26th June, 1971:

1 1 IT’S TOO LATE / I FEEL THE EARTH MOVE –•– Carole King (Ode)-8 (2 weeks at #1) (1)
2 2 RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS –•– The Carpenters (A&M)-7 (2)
3 3 WANT ADS –•– The Honey Cone (Hot Wax)-12 (1)
4 7 INDIAN RESERVATION (The Lament Of the Cherokee Reservation Indian) –•– The Raiders (Columbia)-12 (4)
5 6 TREAT HER LIKE A LADY –•– Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose (United Artists)-12 (5)
6 4 BROWN SUGAR –•– The Rolling Stones (Rolling Stones)-9 (1)
7 5 IT DON’T COME EASY –•– Ringo Starr (Apple)-9 (4)
8 19 DON’T PULL YOUR LOVE –•– Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds (Dunhill)-6 (8)
9 12 WHEN YOU’RE HOT, YOU’RE HOT –•– Jerry Reed (RCA)-8 (9)
10 10 SWEET AND INNOCENT –•– Donny Osmond of the Osmonds (MGM)-14 (7)

What a menagerie of songs! Carole King's amazing "It's Too Late" which ultimately kept the C's from number one with "Rainy Days". A great song, in my view, the only one on this list that I feel would have deserved to keep "Rainy Days" from the top.

2 - Our beloved "Rainy Days & Mondays", one of my all-time favorite Carpenters songs, one I enjoy every time I hear it. Karen's singing on this one always melts me.

3 - "Want Ads" light pop fare, followed by

4 - the socially conscious "Indian Reservation". For its time, an interesting song I was luke-warm towards.

5 - "Treat Her Like a Lady", a fun, but oh-so-dated soulful pop song about how to "handle your woman" :wink: I liked it then, not so much now.

6 - Rolling Stones with another song with some controversy - "Brown Sugar", a straightforward rocker of a song, and a classic.

7 - Ringo Starr's "It Don't Come Easy", loved that song, even though he can't sing worth a darn :wink:

8 - Back to pure pop with "Don't Pull Your Love", not sure if this band had any other hits of significance but my memory is telling me yes, at least one other hit?

At 9 we have a "When Your Hot Your Hot", and I'm going to guess some of us love this, some hated it - count me in the latter group. Never cared for it, sounds almost like a novelty song to me

And finally, at 10, Donny Osmond. I actually _had_ to see the Osmonds in concert; my mother made me take my younger sister! Her bedroom was wallpapered with Donny Osmond posters, etc...Yes they were talented, but even I have my limits in terms of how much sugar I can take with my pop, and the Osmonds were over the line for me :wink:
 

Alan71

Member
A slightly different take on it. This was the UK top 10 for Carpenters last ever week in it (November 1977). Numbers 1 to 6 I’ve always been very familiar with and remember from the time (even though I was only 6), but numbers 7, 8 and 10 I don’t recall (but might if I heard them). I confess I only know number 9 through getting into Carpenters in 1988. Prior to then I’m pretty sure I’d never heard the song before.

ABBA’s song is the first one of theirs that I truly remember from the time. I’d say it’s one of their best, and quite heartbreaking. The second verse lines “I have no friends, no one to see, and I am never invited” pointed towards their later rawness of songs such as The Winner Takes It All or When All Is Said and Done. The Name of the Game (and earlier Knowing Me, Knowing You) illustrated ABBA’s increasingly more serious side.

1 NAME OF THE GAME
ABBA
EPIC

2 YES SIR I CAN BOOGIE
BACCARA
RCA

3 YOU'RE IN MY HEART
ROD STEWART
RIVA

4 ROCKIN' ALL OVER THE WORLD
STATUS QUO
VERTIGO

5 2-4-6-8 MOTORWAY
TOM ROBINSON
EMI

6 WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS
QUEEN
EMI

7 BLACK IS BLACK
LA BELLE EPOQUE
HARVEST

8 BLACK BETTY
RAM JAM
EPIC

9 CALLING OCCUPANTS OF INTERPLANETARY CRAFT
THE CARPENTERS
A&M

10 NEEDLES AND PINS
SMOKIE
RAK
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
I, too, found ‘Tighter, Tighter’ after posting and recognised it straight away, GDB2LV. Yes, great song! Different from all the others in the Top 10. It appears to have been Alive & Kicking’s only hit. In fact, they seem to have only released a few records.

By coincidence, Pepe Cardona, the male lead singer, appears to have died about two months ago.
"Tighter, Tighter" was written and produced by Tommy James after he left the Shondells. Really, if the Shondells were still together, that would have been a Shondells record.

The next two Alive & Kicking singles, not written or produced by Tommy, stiffed. He was already onto his solo career ("Draggin' The Line" was his 1971 hit), and A&K broke up.
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
8 - Back to pure pop with "Don't Pull Your Love", not sure if this band had any other hits of significance but my memory is telling me yes, at least one other hit?
David: Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds waited four years to have another hit---and it was bigger than "Don't Pull Your Love". "Fallin' In Love" hit number one the week of August 23, 1975, and spent three weeks at number two after losing the top spot to KC and the Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight" and then to Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy:

 
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GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
Ladies in their late 20’s to early 30’s would come in the record store all the time looking for their records and or tapes, and there was nothing to sell them much after 1977. They left Dunhill for Playboy Records, and quickly disappeared from the scene without any distribution. Dunhill got absorbed by MCA, and Playboy Records folded. Nice singles, too bad they weren’t more successful.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
David: Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds waited four years to have another hit---and it was bigger than "Don't Pull Your Love". "Fallin' In Love" hit number one the week of August 23, 1975, and spent three weeks at number two after losing the top spot to KC and the Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight" and then to Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy:

Yes, that was a HUGE hit, and I liked this song a lot at the time. My brain was telling me there was another one (after "Don't Pull Your Love") but I thought it would be more fun to let someone here (thank you Sir) clue me in, than just Google it.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Ending week 26th June, 1971:

1 1 IT’S TOO LATE / I FEEL THE EARTH MOVE –•– Carole King (Ode)-8 (2 weeks at #1) (1)
2 2 RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS –•– The Carpenters (A&M)-7 (2)
3 3 WANT ADS –•– The Honey Cone (Hot Wax)-12 (1)
4 7 INDIAN RESERVATION (The Lament Of the Cherokee Reservation Indian) –•– The Raiders (Columbia)-12 (4)
5 6 TREAT HER LIKE A LADY –•– Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose (United Artists)-12 (5)
6 4 BROWN SUGAR –•– The Rolling Stones (Rolling Stones)-9 (1)
7 5 IT DON’T COME EASY –•– Ringo Starr (Apple)-9 (4)
8 19 DON’T PULL YOUR LOVE –•– Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds (Dunhill)-6 (8)
9 12 WHEN YOU’RE HOT, YOU’RE HOT –•– Jerry Reed (RCA)-8 (9)
10 10 SWEET AND INNOCENT –•– Donny Osmond of the Osmonds (MGM)-14 (7)

What a menagerie of songs! Carole King's amazing "It's Too Late" which ultimately kept the C's from number one with "Rainy Days". A great song, in my view, the only one on this list that I feel would have deserved to keep "Rainy Days" from the top.

2 - Our beloved "Rainy Days & Mondays", one of my all-time favorite Carpenters songs, one I enjoy every time I hear it. Karen's singing on this one always melts me.

3 - "Want Ads" light pop fare, followed by

4 - the socially conscious "Indian Reservation". For its time, an interesting song I was luke-warm towards.

5 - "Treat Her Like a Lady", a fun, but oh-so-dated soulful pop song about how to "handle your woman" :wink: I liked it then, not so much now.

6 - Rolling Stones with another song with some controversy - "Brown Sugar", a straightforward rocker of a song, and a classic.

7 - Ringo Starr's "It Don't Come Easy", loved that song, even though he can't sing worth a darn :wink:

8 - Back to pure pop with "Don't Pull Your Love", not sure if this band had any other hits of significance but my memory is telling me yes, at least one other hit?

At 9 we have a "When Your Hot Your Hot", and I'm going to guess some of us love this, some hated it - count me in the latter group. Never cared for it, sounds almost like a novelty song to me

And finally, at 10, Donny Osmond. I actually _had_ to see the Osmonds in concert; my mother made me take my younger sister! Her bedroom was wallpapered with Donny Osmond posters, etc...Yes they were talented, but even I have my limits in terms of how much sugar I can take with my pop, and the Osmonds were over the line for me :wink:
Some good songs here and some that I don’t like as much.

I agree that ‘Rainy Days and Mondays’ is an excellent composition, arrangement, production and performance. It’s another Carpenters song that is pretty much perfect.

I actually don’t think ‘It’s Too Late’ is as strong a song or performance, but the Top 10 isn’t about that - it’s about sales and airplay.

‘Want Ads’ is lacking in a number of areas, I believe, and I find some of the vocal sounds annoying.

It’s good to hear a song with meaning and purpose in ‘Indian Reservation’. Some songs written by native Americans to express their perspectives were banned for being too ‘controversial’ and presenting a contradictory point of view from the history books, I understand. (‘We Were All Wounded at Wounded Knee’ by Redbone, for example). ‘Indian Reservation’ was not written by a Native American and it seems that there were some inaccuracies in the lyrics in some versions but it may have raised awareness and interest in culture. It’s a good song that I recognised when it got to the chorus.

I like ‘It Don’t Come Easy’, (Ringo Starr had a few very catchy songs around this era), and ‘Don’t Pull your Love Out’ is a great, strong song and performance.

I really dislike ‘When You’re Hot, You’re Hot’ and don’t go for Donny Osmond’s sound at all, although I did buy ‘Soul and Inspiration’ in my early teens, partly because it was a Righteous Brothers song and Donny had developed a deeper, stronger voice by then. (I liked your story about having to take your sister to the Donny Osmond concert, David. :) How did you stand all the screaming??)

‘Brown Sugar’ is a classic and could easily have vied for the top position on the charts.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
I actually don’t think ‘It’s Too Late’ is as strong a song or performance, but the Top 10 isn’t about that - it’s about sales and airplay.
I recall hearing "It's Too Late" play on the soft-rock FM that I listened to. It sounded to me like another nice song that they played like something from Vikki Carr, a good song to listen to, but not something to run out and buy.

Then one day, I was eating a slice of pizza in one of those pizza shops that gave you a slice and a soda for a buck or two. Their radio was tuned to the powerhouse AM station in town that played all the big top-40 hits, and what should come on but Carole King's "It's Too Late." Just the fact that it was deemed airworthy by the big hit station in town raised it in my estimation, and once the follow-up, "So Far Away" became a hit, I was off to the record store to haul down my own copy of TAPESTRY.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
This was the UK top 10 for Carpenters last ever week in it (November 1977).
1 NAME OF THE GAME. ABBA. 2 YES SIR I CAN BOOGIE BACCARA
3 YOU'RE IN MY HEART. ROD STEWART. 4 ROCKIN' ALL OVER THE WORLD STATUS QUO 5 2-4-6-8 MOTORWAY TOM ROBINSON. 6 WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS. QUEEN
7 BLACK IS BLACK
LA BELLE EPOQUE. 8 BLACK BETTY
RAM JAM. 9 CALLING OCCUPANTS OF INTERPLANETARY CRAFT. CARPENTERS. 10 NEEDLES AND PINS SMOKIE
RAK
Different country and two months later but we had a couple of the same songs in the Top 10 when ‘Calling Occupants’ peaked.

This is the 5KA Top 10 State Chart from 20th of January 1978:-

1. Mull of Kintyre by Wings.

2. We Will Rock You by Queen.

3. Black Betty by Ram Jam.

4. Surfin’ USA by Leif Garrett.

5. Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft by Carpenters.

6. Belfast by Boney M.

7. April Sun in Cuba by Dragon.

8. Emotions by Samantha Sang.

9. Stop In the Name of Love by Andy Upton.

10. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood by Santa Esmerelda.

About your chart - all of those songs were big hits here, too. Euro-disco was quite big and the La Belle Époque and Baccara songs were smashes. The Baccara song, like ‘In the Summertime’ by Mungo Jerry, is listed as one of the biggest-selling worldwide hits of all time. The accents of the singers on those two records are amusing to listen to - ‘Yes Sir, I can Boogie’ is comical, in a good way.

I never liked the Tom Robinson song. I don’t like the basic, repetitive four-bar guitar part.

‘Black Betty’ is a great rock song. ‘You’re in my heart’ is good and ‘We are the Champions’ of course, is an unbeatable classic.

On my chart, we’ve got the flip side of ‘We Are the Champions’, the equally brilliant and unbeatable ‘We Will Rock You’.

‘Mull of Kintyre’ is a pleasant singalong song that was Number One here for about ten weeks, only to be outdone by ‘Fernando’ by ABBA a couple of years before. I think that all the kids, parents AND grandparents bought ‘Mull of Kintyre’.

‘Belfast’ has a different vocalist, (Marcia Barrett) from the usual Boney M lead singer, (Liz Mitchell) and she turns in a stronger performance than the usual lead vocalist. Boney M is yet another act on this thread to have a couple of the biggest-selling worldwide singles of all time.

Dragon was a brilliant New Zealander band and ‘April Sun in Cuba’ is one of their fantastic songs that sounds as good today as it did back then.

Australian TV presenter Andy Upton has his only hit with a remake of the Supremes song, ‘Stop In the Name of Love’.

Another Australian, Samantha Sang, otherwise known as Cheryl Gray, allows herself to be drowned out by the Bee Gees when she actually could belt and could have blasted them out of the studio. I preferred her song, ‘You Keep Me Dancing’, which I bought at the time.

‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ was another impressive Eurodisco recording - a remake of The Animals’ / Nina Simone’s (etc) classic.

I was excited to see Carpenters rise to the Top 5 at this time and used to wait eagerly for the next chart, hoping that they’d climb higher than No. 5.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
And the flip side of It’s Too Late is I Feel The Earth Move, which was being played at the same time. It was a huge hit that launched the biggest selling album of all time back then. It was loaded with great songs including her version of You've Got A Friend, Natural Woman, and Smackwater Jack. All got some top 40 or FM airplay in 1971-72. I received mind as a Christmas gift that year. I was hooked, and bought pretty much every album she released afterwards. My favorite is her fourth Ode álbum, “Rhymes and Reasons”. Then Carole King “Music” which was the follow up to Tapestry, which contains Sweet Seasons and It’s Going To Take Some Time.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
[SNIP] (I liked your story about having to take your sister to the Donny Osmond concert, David. :) How did you stand all the screaming??)
Thanks! It was in Pittsburgh PA. There was a row of those wooden "horses" out about 6 feet from the stage, with a handful of security guards there, to keep the kids away from the actual very front of the stage.

HAH! About the 3rd song in, the kids over-ran that area, of course, screaming like banshees. I took my sister from our seats to try and get her into that area (she was crying and screaming, of course), but just as we got to that area, the lights came up and the concert was halted while more security moved in and slowly got the kids back behind the wooden horses. I read later that there were wires along the front of the stage that could have, if messed with, cause someone to get shocked. As an adult I look back and wonder what they were thinking; that the kids wouldn't overwhelm those few security guys in their fervor for Donny :wink:
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Then one day, I was eating a slice of pizza in one of those pizza shops that gave you a slice and a soda for a buck or two. Their radio was tuned to the powerhouse AM station in town that played all the big top-40 hits, and what should come on but Carole King's "It's Too Late." Just the fact that it was deemed airworthy by the big hit station in town raised it in my estimation, and once the follow-up, "So Far Away" became a hit, I was off to the record store to haul down my own copy of TAPESTRY.
Good story, Harry. :)
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I took my sister from our seats to try and get her into that area (she was crying and screaming, of course), but just as we got to that area, the lights came up and the concert was halted while more security moved in and slowly got the kids back behind the wooden horses. I read later that there were wires along the front of the stage that could have, if messed with, cause someone to get shocked. As an adult I look back and wonder what they were thinking; that the kids wouldn't overwhelm those few security guys in their fervor for Donny :wink:
:) I like the way you took your sister to try to get her to run the stage, lol.
A good thing they didn’t get barbecued kids on those wires, I suppose.
You see sometimes in concert footage how rough the security guards used to be with kids. Sometimes you see them pick young girls up bodily and just throw them off the edge of the stage. No wonder they used to have ambulances around.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Here’s the Billboard Top 10 for week ending November 21st, 1970.

1. I Think I Love You - The Partridge Family.

2. We’ve Only Just Begun - Carpenters.

3. I’ll Be There - Jackson 5

4. The Tears Of a Clown - Smokey Robinson

5. Fire and Rain - James Taylor

6. Indiana Wants Me - R. Dean Taylor

7. Green-Eyed Lady - Sugarloaf

8. Somebody’s Been Sleeping - 100 Proof Aged in Soul

9. Gypsy Woman - Brian Hyland

10. Montego Bay - Bobby Bloom

Richard was smart to choose a song that could be played at weddings, parties, anything to ensure that extra emotional connection with the song all over the world. The song isn’t related to weddings, in my mind, though. I’ve always liked it just as a song. It’s another Carpenters recording that really couldn’t be improved upon.

Half of the songs on this Top 10 are forever burnt in my brain and half of them I didn’t know or had forgotten.

Like or dislike The Partridge Family, they did have a number of very catchy songs, as they would have, being a created-for-television band with a few different companies behind them. David Cassidy had a passable voice, quite pleasant, and the TV exposure ensured ongoing promotion. ‘I Think I Love You’ had the ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba vocal intro that emblazoned itself into the public’s consciousness. Sad what happened to David Cassidy at the end of his life.

‘I’ll Be There’ is an authoritative performance for a child vocalist. Michael Jackson brings emotion and sensitivity to the quieter parts of the song.

‘The Tears of a Clown’ by Smokey Robinson - a classic. What can you say? Fantastic arrangement, performance and energy. This one vies with Carpenters for best song on the Top 10, with ‘Montego Bay’ just a little bit behind.

‘Fire and Rain’ by James Taylor - I’ve never been able to recognise actual genius in James Taylor or in this song. He spent a lot of the 70s droning away in a monotone on the Hot 100, often in the Top 10. He had some quite pleasant songs - nothing too exciting. His version of ‘Fire and Rain’ never did it for me, although I did rush out and buy Marcia Hines’ soul-tinged version the minute it was released in 1975.

Speaking of Montego Bay by Bobby Bloom, that’s a song that evokes 1970 for me. Although I was only a little tacker, I was very aware of this song, at the time. For me, it’s a happy, summery song. Bobby Bloom came to a sad end in his 20s, after writing songs for a number of acts. I have his album on CD.

I only became aware of ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ a number of years later, as I approached my teens. I don’t think it had been played on the radio much over the ensuing years - neither had ‘Superstar’ or ‘Close to You’ - at least, I’d never really noticed them - although, well before my teens, I knew all Carpenters’ other hits quite well, including smaller hits like ‘It’s Going to Take Some Time’ and ‘I Won’t Last a Day Without You’. Actually, here, ‘Superstar’ only just scratched the bottom end of the Top 40, which is probably why I didn’t know it until later.

Upon seeing this particular chart, I didn’t remember the songs from Number 6 to 9 and, upon investigating on YouTube, only ‘Gypsy Woman’ stirred any memories.

‘Indiana Wants Me’ is an average song about a man on the run. Jazz pop / rock a bit like what Carpenters explored on ‘Offering’ was still in vogue, as it would be for a few years yet. I would describe ‘Green-Eyed Woman’ as a good jazz-rock song, although I did nearly get bored and stop listening during the long intro. ‘Somebody’s Been Sleeping’ turned me off with the line suggesting that somebody’s been sleeping in his silk pyjamas. Yuck! It’s sort of got a ‘Fee Fi Fo Fum, Somebody’s been sleeping in my bed’ fairytale premise. ‘Gypsy Woman’ is light and breezy. Quite pleasant.

Some of these songs have an appealing, uncomplicated home-written-and-produced feel but don’t really sound like Top 10 material.
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Here’s the Billboard Top 10 for week ending November 21st, 1970.

1. I Think I Love You - The Partridge Family.

2. We’ve Only Just Begun - Carpenters.

3. I’ll Be There - Jackson 5

4. The Tears Of a Clown - Smokey Robinson

5. Fire and Rain - James Taylor

6. Indiana Wants Me - R. Dean Taylor

7. Green-Eyed Lady - Sugarloaf

8. Somebody’s Been Sleeping - 100 Proof Aged in Soul

9. Gypsy Woman - Brian Hyland

10. Montego Bay - Bobby Bloom

Richard was smart to choose a song that could be played at weddings, parties, anything to ensure that extra emotional connection with the song all over the world. The song isn’t related to weddings, in my mind, though. I’ve always liked it just as a song. It’s another Carpenters recording that really couldn’t be improved upon.

Half of the songs on this Top 10 are forever burnt in my brain and half of them I didn’t know or had forgotten.

Like or dislike The Partridge Family, they did have a number of very catchy songs, as they would have, being a created-for-television band with a few different companies behind them. David Cassidy had a passable voice, quite pleasant, and the TV exposure ensured ongoing promotion. ‘I Think I Love You’ had the ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba vocal intro that emblazoned itself into the public’s consciousness. Sad what happened to David Cassidy at the end of his life.

‘I’ll Be There’ is an authoritative performance for a child vocalist. Michael Jackson brings emotion and sensitivity to the quieter parts of the song.

‘The Tears of a Clown’ by Smokey Robinson - a classic. What can you say? Fantastic arrangement, performance and energy. This one vies with Carpenters for best song on the Top 10, with ‘Montego Bay’ just a little bit behind.

‘Fire and Rain’ by James Taylor - I’ve never been able to recognise actual genius in James Taylor or in this song. He spent a lot of the 70s droning away in a monotone on the Hot 100, often in the Top 10. He had some quite pleasant songs - nothing too exciting. His version of ‘Fire and Rain’ never did it for me, although I did rush out and buy Marcia Hines’ soul-tinged version the minute it was released in 1975.

Speaking of Montego Bay by Bobby Bloom, that’s a song that evokes 1970 for me. Although I was only a little tacker, I was very aware of this song, at the time. For me, it’s a happy, summery song. Bobby Bloom came to a sad end in his 20s, after writing songs for a number of acts. I have his album on CD.

I only became aware of ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ a number of years later, as I approached my teens. I don’t think it had been played on the radio much over the ensuing years - neither had ‘Superstar’ or ‘Close to You’ - at least, I’d never really noticed them - although, well before my teens, I knew all Carpenters’ other hits quite well, including smaller hits like ‘It’s Going to Take Some Time’ and ‘I Won’t Last a Day Without You’. Actually, here, ‘Superstar’ only just scratched the bottom end of the Top 40, which is probably why I didn’t know it until later.

Upon seeing this particular chart, I didn’t remember the songs from Number 6 to 9 and, upon investigating on YouTube, only ‘Gypsy Woman’ stirred any memories.

‘Indiana Wants Me’ is an average song about a man on the run. Jazz pop / rock a bit like what Carpenters explored on ‘Offering’ was still in vogue, as it would be for a few years yet. I would describe ‘Green-Eyed Woman’ as a good jazz-rock song, although I did nearly get bored and stop listening during the long intro. ‘Somebody’s Been Sleeping’ turned me off with the line suggesting that somebody’s been sleeping in his silk pyjamas. Yuck! It’s sort of got a ‘Fee Fi Fo Fum, Somebody’s been sleeping in my bed’ fairytale premise. ‘Gypsy Woman’ is light and breezy. Quite pleasant.

Some of these songs have an appealing, uncomplicated home-written-and-produced feel but don’t really sound like Top 10 material.
Another Son:

Those of us who grew up in California will always associate "We've Only Just Begun" with weddings, because that's how we saw it---months before the Carpenters recorded and released it:



Yep, that's fellow A&M artist Paul Williams (though I think he was still under contract to Warner Bros. at the time). Crocker Bank was a California institution---founded by a major California family.

I don't know how to describe the effect that commercial had fifty years later. First of all, it was revolutionary---a commercial without a narration---just video and a song---and words on the screen for the pitch in the final seven or so seconds. That just wasn't done.

People LOVED it---wanted to hear "the whole song". Called radio stations to request that they play the commercial, just to hear the song. And of course, living in California, Richard Carpenter heard it. As Paul Williams tells the story, Richard called him and asked if there was more to the song---if so, he'd be interested in recording it. Paul said there was---and said in the interview "if there hadn't been, I would have said yes, then run to the piano and written more."



Other notes---the singles don't do James Taylor justice. As counter-intuitive as it seems, given that you're not a fan, you should listen to an album or two. He's far more diverse and upbeat than his 70s hits indicate.

"Tears of a Clown" was a filler track on a 1967 Smokey Robinson and the Miracles album. It was released in the UK in early 1970 as a single, became a hit, and then was remixed and sped up a bit for a single release in the U.S.

As for "Green-Eyed Lady", the album version is twice as long as the single that was the hit. Try the 45:

 
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Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds waited four years to have another hit---and it was bigger than "Don't Pull Your Love". "Fallin' In Love" hit number one the week of August 23, 1975, and spent three weeks at number two after losing the top spot to KC and the Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight" and then to Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy:
They had a single after "Fallin' in Love" called "Winners and Losers" that I really liked a lot, but sadly it didn't set the charts afire.

Then they changed their name to Hamilton, Joe Frank & Dennison (because Reynolds had been gone for some time) and released a single called "Light Up the World with Sunshine" which was a nice record too, but it also was a flop - I don't think it made the top 50 sad to say.
 
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