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Would Can't Smile, Masquerade, I Just Fall in Love been Carpenters hits if released earlier?

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arthowson

Active Member
Thread Starter
Always wondered about this. Was I Just Fall in Love a missed opportunity? Would it have been another monster hit for the Carpenters.
Singles that later became big hits that the C's recorded first were:
Masquerade
I Just Fall in Love
Where Do I Go from Here?
Can't smile..
Tryin' to get the feeling
You're the one (i think a minor hit for someone)
Desperado. I thought I read somewhere in 1975 RC said it was about to be released but he already knew people would call it "too slick."

At the time of recording, the Carpenters were white hot for most of these songs. I wonder if the buying public would have embraced them.
 

Dave

Well-Known Member
How much earlier? Too "slick" for 1975? I think if anytime before 1974, "slick" was just not their thing...

Particularly anything like the Barry Manilow-written stuff, or any of that material, above...!


-- Dave
 

A&Mguyfromwayback

Active Member
Industry Member
imho - although their version of "This Masquerade" is very pretty and very elegant, it just doesn't sound like a pop radio record...the same goes for "Desperado" and "Tryin' To Get The Feeling". That's not meant as a putdown (some would undoubtedly find it a compliment!) but they just don't hit me as single material in their renditions. A lot of elements come into play crafting a record for radio.....Dionne Warwick cut "Never Gonna Let You Go" before Sergio Mendes but it sure doesn't sound like a single in her version....heck, Richard and Karen turned several songs into hits that others couldn't pull off. "Hurting Each Other" is a great example....and then there's "Close To You"!
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
Happened on shmcd PASSAGE day last. In my everlasting determination to fully embrace the album I noted that I JUST FALL IN LIVE AGAIN would've tanked. It worked for Anne but too orchestrated and chorale. Where's RC's r & b influence? This album and beyond needed some Siedah Garrett. Too little...too late. CANT SMILE good album track and fine for Barry. Same with TRYING TO GET....I love Karen's
take. Better fit for me than HORIZON including HAPPY-ish-ish.

Wondering why I CANT MAKE MUSIC wasn't culled from '73 for the '74 release of '72s WON'T LAST A DAY.
I heard some critic say emphatically 'ya right (paraphrase) they CANT MAKE MUSIC. Oh piss thought I in my highly refined grasp of the English language. Screwdally doo doo that
review. CANT MAKE has the owie quotient that prevails thru out RAINY DAYS n ANYDAYS.

Jeff
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Count me one that can't get into Trying to Get the Feeling. It's well done but leads me cold with its clumsy lyric lines and baroque arrangement. I am glad it was left off "Horizon". It would have made the album drag even more than some claim it already does. Is it better than much of what's on the radio? Absolutely. Do I hate it? No, but it is not among their best.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
The one song I thought would have "done better" if it had been released sooner was "I Need to Be In Love." I know it was a chart single but I think if it'd come along during their heyday years (1972-3) it would have done better than it did.

I agree with A&Mguy, the songs on the OP's list don't really sound like singles. There is definitely a combination of art and luck in recording a hit single -- that's one thing that hasn't changed over the years.

Another Dionne Warwick tune that became a hit by a different artist was, of course, "This Girl's In Love With You." If you listen to her version, it's a very similar arrangement by the same arranger (Bacharach) but it just doesn't have it compared to Herb Alpert's version. He just hit that magic button with that one.
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
I NEED TO BE IN LOVE with a distinct K&R backup replete with my resplendent oohs ahhhs n baby babies might've fared better in '76 or at any release date. Plus the lead at chorus sounds doubled, but I would like to hear it beefed further into the soaring anthem to end all. Hells bells (that's XMAS talk) dump the chorale and re-release an album with MAKE BELIEVE, TWO LIVES, and others that sorely need the dissection. Too much aint always too good. I'm learning this as time goes by. Here we go, my latest calls to Universal marketing go like this:

CarpenterS RAW or Showcased or Unmasked. I think RAW sounds edgy and undisturbed.
CarpenterS the Nelson Riddle Sessions
Carpenter Performs Elevator or the Remastered Classics

Jeff
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
INTBIL was too formulated to the style of their older songs. Possibly a bridge before the last chorus would have helped. I also feel the live version of this song is better than the backup chorus we are forced to listen to in the studio version.
ICSWY is a good album version. On TTGTF it is the bulldog simile that kills it. Otherwise it is a great song, great vocals and great orchestration. IJFILA just needed shortened as Anne Murray's version and some reverb in Karen's voice and it would have done better than Sweet Sweet Smile. If Two Sides was not so similar to Torn Beteeen Two Lovers, it could have worked. On the positive side, I like all these songs and I am happy to hear them. Sometimes, the lush orchestration and full chorus sound was too much for pop rock radio stations to support, while the versions from other artists without it did well. Just posting random thoughts...
 

arthowson

Active Member
Thread Starter
I think Where Do I Go From Here is one of Karen's best efforts. I think her voice is gorgeous and effortless. 1978 was a banner year for her vocal quality. Love every word of the Christmas album. They are just amazing. Bravo to Richard for Lovelines. Exquisite.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Honolulu City Lights
Mike, I'm just curious, how come when you quote the person's name that you are quoting does not show up? I think I've seen this happen before.
 

Dave

Well-Known Member
There are really a variety of years that these songs were made or introduced... "Desperado" was really an Eagles song in 1972, and there were basically no covers until at least 1973 or 1974, when Linda Ronstadt introduced the first remake...

As for Barry Manilow, he was pretty much a new discovery, in that year and when his songs came out that the Carpenters covered, he and the public coasted pretty well on the success of them, though we're talking when the Carpenters put out their versions... There was little at the time Manilow had written, that the Carpenters chose to cover, that had even come out...

And to the point, where while they made good Carpenters vehicles, there simply was no better time to really jump on any of them, as any other songwriters' material, than the time they'd chosen, unless they'd had fared better, if released LATER...!

Ditto, for "This Masquerade", and anything from any "searchin' for a hit-man" such as Randy Edelman, that Karen and Richard typically did...

The anachronisms really don't hold much significance... There are simply varying degrees of slickness, or sterility, regardless... So the buying public was just simply prone to displaying its own personal taste...

'Later Dates' may have meant that these songs would have dated themselves, or needed some sort of slickness, in order to sell, and pretty much outside of the Carpentres own realm...

'Earlier' would have meant that these songs would have just come out by their own native writers, and were in need of a fleshing out, if not a toning down, depending on the native tempo of the originals...

Hard to determine the outcome of the public; the fate was simply something undetermined... But for Richard to admit they sounded "too slick", would have yielded a different sort of statement, for anything to have been done differently or put out alternatively... Chances are there would be "words, no better said"...

Kind'a like the "Please, Mr. Postman"/"BE4-5789" debacle (among us)...


-- Dave
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I'm pretty sure 'This Masquerade' would've been a hit had it have been released in 1973. Although it's a little less accessible than the singles that were chosen from Now & Then, it's a lot more substantial than any of them and would have probably done their image more favours in the long term than the 'La la la la la las's on 'Sing' or the 'sha la la la's on 'Yesterday Once More'. George Benson's subsequent hit version is nice but Richard and Karen's version is definitive.

For the others, it's hard to say. The original 'Can't Smile Without You' is a bit flat for a single, but the remixed version that appeared on the B side to 'Occupants' might have seen better results. I doubt 'Desperado' would have been a smash, although I suspect it might have done slightly better than 'Solitaire' did. 'I Just Fall in Love Again' would surely have outperformed 'Sweet Sweet Smile' but it is a little too over-sumptuous in style to really hit big in 1977/78. Likewise 'Where Do I Go From Here?' and 'You're the One' - they just don't sound current enough to have been a hit in 1978.
 

arthowson

Active Member
Thread Starter
what I'm saying is that anything the C's would have released in 1973 would have been a hit. Their public was buying anything they put out. Masquerade or Song for You would have been known as Carpenters songs and not famous by anyone else. Even if they didn't hit #1.
 

Guitarmutt

Active Member
I've always thought Masquerade could have been a hit. I think it could have garnered them a new respect amongst the detractors. Sing was and is kinda sappy. It was a hit, but.... Well, we all know the slow downfall.

Masquerade is beautiful, sophisticated. Gorgeous even. A new angle without all the layered vocals. Intimate. I think the public might have loved it given the chance. Plus, Karen's drumming is amazing. It sounds subtle on the surface, but it is nuanced and full of complexity. Every verse is different (like Neil Peart from Rush).

It adds to the whole in ways that are heard unconsciously by most and understood by a few.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I would have jettisoned Its Going To Take Some Time This Time (This, one of my least favorite of Carpenters' efforts)
instead, releasing A Song For You.
I would have jettisoned I Believe You (My least favorite of all!).
instead, releasing Where Do I Go From Here.
I love Sing,
but,
This Masquerade would have been alright with me.
 

arthowson

Active Member
Thread Starter
I would have jettisoned Its Going To Take Some Time This Time (This, one of my least favorite of Carpenters' efforts)
instead, releasing A Song For You.
I would have jettisoned I Believe You (My least favorite of all!).
instead, releasing Where Do I Go From Here.
I love Sing,
but,
This Masquerade would have been alright with me.
i wish they'd released Can't Smile instead of Goofus. And why in the HELL did they put Goofus on the TV Special after such a chart disappointment.
 

A&Mguyfromwayback

Active Member
Industry Member
Never understood all the dislike of "Going To Take Some Time..."; they'd put out so many ballads as singles by that point, it would seem like a logical choice. I wish they'd found more up-tempo songs to release as singles....especially originals or unknown songs, not just remakes a la "Postman" (which I like - but radio tends to not put them on perpetual rotation as much as the originals, for some weird reason). If you listen to the original "Goofus", it was an up-tempo silly novelty song, but at least it had energy and was fun. Their version feels draggy to me.....and yes, a bizarre choice for a single.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I notice that, as far as sequencing of release dates for singles, It's Going To Take Some Time, was
sandwiched in time between Hurting Each Other and Goodbye To Love.
Also, it occurs that way on Side One of the A Song For You Album.
For me, the song lacks the power of the preceding, or the following effort--
especially when listening to the entire album sequentially.
It is simply not in the same category as Hurting Each Other or Goodbye To Love. (IMHO)
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
If you listen to the original "Goofus", it was an up-tempo silly novelty song, but at least it had energy and was fun. Their version feels draggy to me.....and yes, a bizarre choice for a single.
Reposting this from another thread on the forum which I think sums your comment up:

'A Kind of Hush' is a tired band's tired album. Supposedly Karen Carpenter first-taked "Superstar"; the tracks here all sound like take 30.

http://www.furious.com/perfect/carpenters.html
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
I've posted about Carpenters' "It's Going To Take Some Time" elsewhere, but it feels like the right time to do so again.

At the time A SONG FOR YOU was released, the radio station I listened to had a "Featured Album" segment where, at about 25 after the hour, they'd play a song from that week's albums - there might be two or three in any given week. They'd obtain 25 copies of the album and give one out to winning listeners who sent in postcards. So the upshot of this is that a lot of album tracks got played from albums long before they might become singles.

I still remember waking up one Sunday morning with the FM radio on and lovely stereo sound coming at me, and hearing a female vocal that wasn't Carole King doing Carole's song "It's Going To Take Some Time". In that era of the singer-songwriter, hearing a cover of a familiar song was generally met with some disdain in some circles. The fact that Karen Carpenter's voice was quite familiar to me didn't quite factor in during this sleepy haze that I was in and I thought, "Ugh. Who's trying to do a Carole King song?"

This radio station of course had also featured Carole King's MUSIC album, which I bought and played a lot, so I was already familiar with the song and Carole's rendition of it seemed definitive to me. So hearing another rendition seemed "wrong" - until I realized I was dismissing a Carpenters recording. A very short time later I'd obtained the A SONG FOR YOU album and re-assessed the record to much more favorable status. I'm pretty sure that A SONG FOR YOU got a lot more play from me than MUSIC did, so now Carole's version sounds a lot less impressive - still good, but it feels more like a Carpenters song to me than a Carole King song.

When it was released as it's own single, I remember being happy about the fact.

I think some people have some animus for the record because it broke the string of Top 10 singles, but that could just have been a function of others having a similar reaction to mine. MUSIC sold a lot of copies after the monster TAPESTRY album.

Harry
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I rather like 'It's Going to Take Some Time', but I think it's fair to say that it doesn't pack the commercial punch of most of their other early singles. It also doesn't have the enduring popularity of other singles that charted similarly like 'I Won't Last A Day Without You' - I've never heard it on the radio for instance.

It must have been a surprise to Richard and Karen when it stopped at #12 after so many singles in the Top 3. It's a shame that A Song For You, which is arguably their best album, had a rather patchy performance in terms of its singles, which resulted in lower sales for the album than if they'd managed the usual consistent run of hits.
 

song4u

Well-Known Member
I've always liked "It's Going to Take Some Time". I also borrowed and about wore out my sister's "Tapestry" album, so I loved Carole King as well. I sometimes wished that Carpenters would try another King song as I think her writing lent itself well to Karen's singing style.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
"This Masquerade" isn't a Pop standard for no reason. Absolutely great song and Karen's reading of it is just perfection. How this didn't hit is beyond my comprehension. The others on the OP's list? Well...

Tryin' and Can't Smile belong to Barry Manilow. He had a beat on both and Richard didn't. Barry's arrangements on both are right on the money. Karen's reading of the former is amazing (so are the other set of lyrics she sang) but their versions aren't hits in the slightest bit. Barry's are definitive.

You're the One is sunk by first-draft lyrics. Very clunky. It's a shame too. The soaring melody and the chord changes are first-rate. Karen gives the lyric more weight than it deserves and turns in a fantastic vocal. Had it been released when recorded, it might have hit. Maybe.

I Just Fall is too elevator to work at all. It is "Passage"'s full-on retreat from the other chance-taking stuff on that record. Karen knew what to do but Richard didn't. Radio ignored it and they should have. Anne Murray came along and made a hit out of it by removing the kitchen sink. Right choice...

Desperado is a disaster. Too plodding and even Karen can't save this. It's one of my least favorite tune of theirs. Don Henley is the only suitable voice for those lyrics and Richard cheesed it out badly with the arrangement. It's everything people can point to that's bad about Richard's arranging style.

Ed
 
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