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When you first heard the Carpenters...

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Carpenters-in-the-crib, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. Carpenters-in-the-crib

    Carpenters-in-the-crib Member Thread Starter

    Hello, I'm a new member, though I have been reading this blog/forum for years. It is a wonderful place to get information on a musical act that we all love. I have always been very interested in how people became fans of the Carpenters. I enjoy reading the banter that goes on between people on here, about Richard and Karen, and their personal opinions about what happened. Chicago and Carpenters were the first two music entities that I remember hearing. I was around 2 years old, but both bands have stuck with me. So, what was the first song that you heard from the Carpenters and what was your first reaction?
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  2. Hi ! Welcome to the boards !

    I'm in my fourth year of being a Carpenters fan and already feel like I'm in my 40th !
    It was the summer of 2015, just before my 15th birthday I randomly listened to older music and came across the Carpenters "Close To You". I was taken by Karen's voice and Richard's arrangements immediately... I soon got the compilation "40/40". Now, a book case full of Carpenters CDs, Vinyls and collectibles later and I'm 18... I'll still be a huge fan when I'm 80 !
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  3. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I can tell you from experience that once hooked by Karen’s voice it’s for a lifetime! I’m 57 and have been listening since I was 12 in 1973. Yesterday Once More hooked me with Karen’s voice as the song began. Just a few months later the Singles 69-73 hit the charts and I had found a favorite album of hits that began my fan life behavior as an addicted fan to Karen’s miraculous voice.
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  4. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Reposted from an earlier thread:

    1969. I was just an adult of eighteen, still living at home and beginning to find my way in the world. The one constant was the radio that I listened to - a soft rock station that played nicer stuff than the typical Top 40 radio of the day. I didn't care for hard rock sounds and sought the gentler melodies of Herb Alpert, Sergio Mendes, Petula Clark, Dionne Warwick, The Vogues, the songs of Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb, Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, etc.

    In '68, I'd discovered a station in Philly that claimed to play "the nicest music, WFIL-FM", so that's where my fascination led me. I'd spend hours waiting for my favorite songs to come on the radio so I could tape them on my reel-to-reel recorder.

    Sometime in 1969, this station added a song to their rotation called "Ticket To Ride" by "the Carpenters". I had no idea who that "group" was, but the lush harmonies drew me in, especially after hearing it a few times. By the time I decided I wanted to record that song, it had been dropped from the rotation, but I remembered it fondly as a missed opportunity.

    Then in the summer of 1970, "(They Long To Be) Close To You" hit the airwaves, and this time I recognized the name - Carpenters. It was that group who did the "Ticket To Ride" song I liked but never managed to capture.

    Gradually, I learned more about them - that they were a brother-sister act doing all of the harmonies themselves - and that fascinated me even more.

    On a summer trip to the Jersey seashore, we stopped at a shopping center for something or other. I looked in the record department of a discount store and found the 45 of "(They Long To Be) Close To You" in the racks. When I saw that it was on A&M Records, I immediately knew this was a record for me.

    I must have played that 45 over and over - both sides - a couple of zillion times, and when I heard that an album was out, I rushed to get it. I'd hoped that the CLOSE TO YOU album would have their earlier "Ticket To Ride" song on it, but it wasn't, so that continued to elude me.

    In discussing the Carpenters album with my older sister, I told her about the "Ticket To Ride" song that I couldn't find. She informed me that a record store in her neighborhood had a copy of something called OFFERING by Carpenters, and asked me if I wanted it for a Christmas present. Of course I did!

    I liked CLOSE TO YOU a lot - all the lush harmonies were great - and the varied track selections made for a terrific album. But then I heard OFFERING - with even more variety in the types of tunes, and alternating lead vocals by both Karen and Richard, and I really began my fandom at that point.
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  5. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    By 1970 I was listening to the radio a lot -- had a little tan-colored transistor radio that I carried everywhere. I was at an age when I was started to like things beyond the bouncy bubblegum songs, but still preferred lightweight and peppy music. "Close to You" was just too slow, and I did not really get into it, though it was impossible not to hear at least several times a day. But I was intrigued by the overdubs and especially the image, the big brother who played the piano and the sister on the drums. Seemed totally backwards at the time. And a singing drummer, what was up with that? When "Begun" came out, I started to get hooked, and considered myself more and more a fan with each new single. Always taped them off the radio on my cassette radio/recorder, complete with DJ blabber screwing up the intros and outros ("Stop talking!!"), until I could get the money for the records. "Superstar" is the one that nailed it. My brothers enjoyed them, too, and I remember thinking how ridiculous it was that all three of us were living in the same house but we'd all bought our own copies of "The Singles". They cooled on the Carpenters by 1975 but something about Karen's voice wouldn't let go of me. Never has.
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  6. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    I am thoroughly elated to see the wide-ranging ages in Carpenters' fans, here and elsewhere. I'm one of the old-timers, a radio-listener as far back as when "Close to You" was saturating the airwaves. It was an exciting time, every couple of months or so, to hear a new Carpenters's song on the radio and to keep abreast of chart action, as I did by faithfully reading Billboard Magazine, often at newsstands. But even back in the early days, the age of Carpenters' fans was also wide-ranging. Kids as well as their parents enjoyed them. I'm thrilled that that particular legacy has endured...

    Thanks to ALL the fans!
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  7. John Adam

    John Adam Well-Known Member

    (Circa late 1980's)

    On the oldies pop station I heard "Rainy Days And Mondays." I just caught my total attention. The song was so intense, and that voice just reeled me in. Found out they had many hits. The sense of melancholy ran through most of their songs. I was attracted to that sense of loneliness, longing, even at my young age. She sounded like she felt every note she sang, so believable, so beautiful. I didn't realize at the time how impeccable the arrangements were, and the songs so lyrically haunting. I just knew I longed to hear that voice and it woke up something inside of me, whether it was ready to come out or not! My first album was "Singles: 1969-1974." My first CD was the double disc collection "Yesterday Once More." After I heard the Carpenters on CD, I was hooked.

    Partial repost from thread "How Did You Get Into Carpenters?" -John
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  8. Portlander

    Portlander Active Member

    Harry, think you meant summer of 1970 for "Close to You"? I was 13 and living in Bangor, ME when C2Y hit the airwaves and I loved the hit but never paid any attention to who the artist actually was as with most songs. At that age, I could only identify The Beatles, Elvis, The Supremes, The Beach Boys, and maybe The Rolling Stones when I heard them on the radio. It wasn't until "We've Only Just Begun" came out that I finally connected the dots with the Carpenters and "Close To You" and became hooked for life. My mother was going through a hipster rock and roll phase at the time and was into Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and thought the Carpenters were lame and unworthy of TV and a radio time.

    Like Jamesj75, from that point on I became obsessed with the duo and would follow every release and keep up with chart positions via Billboard at the local record store in the Park City Mall in Lancaster, PA by the time "For All We Know" came out. As far as "Ticket To Ride", do not remember ever hearing it on the radio back in 1969 and it wasn't until the album with the same name was released that I finally put it all together. This was very confusing for me due to the massive popularity of the "Close To You" album, I could not understand why they were releasing an "old" album with a photo of Karen and Richard lounging on a sailboat.

    My mother is now 81 and finally admitted years ago that she really admired the Carpenters during their heyday and would turn up the volume on the radio when one of their songs were playing as long as I was not around. This reminded me of some of my "way too cool" friends back in high school and throughout my military career who went out of their way to denounce the Carpenters but they all seemed to have a copy of "The Singles 69-73" in their music collections for some odd reason!
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  9. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Well, at least I know you're paying attention! (It's been fixed).
  10. Portlander

    Portlander Active Member

    Any comments you make are relevant and well worth reading!
  11. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I remember the first track that I heard (I may’ve heard a track on the radio before but I don’t recall and never knew about them) was “Sweet Sweet Smile”, but it was “All You Get From Love Is A Love Song” that really nailed it. My mom and step-dad had just bought their first CD player during Boxing Week 92 and were setting it up one night after my brother, sister and I had gone to bed and were suppose to be sleeping. The first two CD’s the had bought were the Carpenters “Singles 1974-1978” album and Bob Dylan’s “Greatedt Hits”. And the first disc they played was the 74-78 disc and they just let it play from track 1 to the end. I remember finally falling to sleep around the end of “Only Yesterday” and beginning of “Solitaire”.

    Then a few days later or maybe a week later we were at my grand parents house and I was looking through their record collection (they were still listening to LP and cassette, and they stuck with cassette as less and less LPs were released) and I was surprised to find “The Carpenters Collection” (1978) 2-LP. My grandparents were really religious and aside from a few kids secular records, 99% of there LP Collection was Christian Gospel. “The Carpenters Collection” was the only adult secular album in their collection. So that was my first listen to Carpenters vinyl.

    The first Christmas album I heard was “Christmas Portrait Special Edition”, which my parents bought for the 93 Christmas season, so for me the original “Christmas Portrait” sounds kind of weird since for me CP is CPSE.

    The first album that I bought myself was “Interpretations” and I was really hooked on “If I Had You”. The first studio album I bought was was “Lovelines”.
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  12. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    1970, Close to You hit big, I was visiting my Aunt and Uncle in N.E. and saw them perform this song on TV. The first thing that drew me was Karen's looks - I loved the bangs thing :wink: then the voice burned into my mind and heart, and I was hooked forever. I was 12, pushing 13 (and just starting to notice girls as more than an annoyance hah!). Subsequently I purchased all hit 45's and the first 6 albums (all of which, in the early 80's, my mother sold in a garage sale when I was away at college). For a number of years, my first serious "puppy love" and I stayed in touch after my family moved to AZ (from PA), and when we'd talk on the phone we'd play Carpenters songs while we talked.
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  13. Portlander

    Portlander Active Member

    David, I also remember seeing the Carpenters perform on The Ed Sullivan Show and shortly after on the Peggy Fleming Special. At age 13, I can definitely say that Karen was my first (along with Maureen McCormick and Susan Dey) celebrity crush. Beautiful voice, cute bangs, pretty face in addition to playing the drums was a winning combination for me.
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  14. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    You've inspired me to see if I can figure out what it was that I watched on TV back then. I have a vague memory of the setting, and Karen was playing drums of course. Can you - or anyone else - list all of their televised TV appearances that year? If it's out there on video I'll watch and see if it jogs my memory. Thanks in advance to anyone who can provide such a list :)
  15. adam

    adam Active Member

    The Carpenters.1970 TV Appearances.

    The virginia graham show.
    The dating game
    The don knotts show
    The tonight show.
    The david fost show
    The ed sullivan show
    The ed sullivan show
    The tonight show
    American bandstand.
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  16. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Summer 1970 at age 13, (TLTB)CTY. I Recognized immediately that Karen had a uniquely beautiful voice. Then I treated them with complete indifference for the next 45 years. I didn't hate them, I just didn't care. You see, I loved my British metal bands. Really discovered them in the fall of 2015 downloading the 1971 BBC show on YouTube, I have been "hooked" ever since. Then seeing this forum where other Carpenter fans dwell, I just had to join! That being said, I have the utmost admiration and respect for the fans that have been with them from the beginning (a lot of them in this forum).
  17. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    Thanks much!
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  18. Portlander

    Portlander Active Member

    Nice research adam, I think their appearance on the Peggy Fleming Special was early 1971. I remember recording the audio from the TV with my cassette player and it came out terrible. That left me listening to the very first cassettes my mother bought me, Bobby Sherman and the Grand Funk Railroad. Talk about contrast!
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  19. Carpenters-in-the-crib

    Carpenters-in-the-crib Member Thread Starter

  20. Carpenters-in-the-crib

    Carpenters-in-the-crib Member Thread Starter

    Thanks to everyone who replied. It is fantastic reading about the parents, siblings, and friends. Having to work to find a 45 or album was part of the fun back then. It was a journey. The simplicity of the Carpenters story is what makes us all life long fans. Peace!
    John Adam likes this.
  21. Carl

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

    I’ve been a carpenters fan for 13 years and I’m only 29. I became a fan in my last year of secondary school. I didn’t have many albums at that point. I think I had Gold and Carpenters. I found a book on Karen in the school library and that night found out all about her and Richard. Since then I have the original albums , a autographed picture of Karen and Richard signed by Richard. I have bills and various DVDs. My Nan was the inspiration for my love of Carpenters music as she had a cassette of the carpenters album which I don’t have anymore unfortunately as she let me have it. I’m very much looking forward to the album with the royal philomontic orchestra and hearing it.
    John Adam likes this.
  22. Carl

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

    Nice to see another young fan like me simon !
  23. Don Malcolm

    Don Malcolm Well-Known Member

    A great thread, and I hope more folks will share their memories. What is so great to read--and what is so telling--is the singular emotional power that Karen possessed...which makes me remember that "back in the day," so many were so often secretly won over by the music even as they professed to disdain it (tying in with Portlander's observation--a ton of "hip," cynical people had THE SINGLES 1969-73 stashed away in their LP collections, let me tell you!).

    I heard "Close to You" on AM radio shortly before it went to #1 and of course was stunned by Karen's voice. I remember being a little puzzled about the "moon dust" (and for years thought it was "golden starlight," which I was also somewhat quizzical about...) but Karen sang those lines so beautifully that "lyric logic" was completely irrelevant. Repeated listenings made it clear that Richard had devised the perfect "platform" for the song in his arrangement--starting with the intro...played and recorded with such singular perfection that everyone knows what tune it is almost immediately. "Begun" cemented the deal, and upon hearing the rest of the LP it was clear that this was anything but "flash in the pan" talent. And while I love the C's music from all time periods, the CLOSE TO YOU LP still exerts an incredibly powerful hold over me, bringing back a time when the sheer beauty of their music could ease one's troubles no matter what their source might be.

    And it still does, all these years later. Thank God for that--and thank God for Karen and Richard!
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  24. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    There are a few of us young fans around here who only found the Carpenters after Karen died because we were not born when she was alive. When I think of it, besides the solo albums, only 3 of the 4 Posthumous albums were released in my lifetime, with only Richard’s PACC, Karen’s solo and “As Time Goes By” being released when I was old enough to know which group I was listening to and liked.
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  25. adam

    adam Active Member

    Thanks. Yes their appearance on The Peggy fleming show was in February 1971.

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