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Would they ever have topped the chart again?

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paul.ashurst

New Member
Thread Starter
I can't remember if this has ever been discussed before but just in case it hasn't, does anyone think the Carpenters would ever have topped the singles chart again, had Karen still been alive?
 

Captaindave

Well-Known Member
With the likes of Diana Krall and Norah Jones out there today, I think the "Karen sound" and the "Karen voice" could be commercially popular. I think it could be an alternative/competitor to the sounds that these two singers are making.

But, I do not think the Carpenters per se, or their music would top the charts today. No more than I think that Herb Alpert and the TJB would get on the charts today. ( I would qualify that by saying that certain songs of the TJB might see the light of day with some Smooth Jazz airplay. ) Radio and Top 40 pop has changed tremendously since the the Carpenters debut on the charts.

But as mainstream pop Top 40 as was the case when these artists first appeared years ago? I'm not even sure what kinds of radio stations would be playing the music of the Carpenters (or TJB) these days in order for these artists to top the "singles" charts again...

Nope...
 

PJ

Member
Probably a qualified yes ....

In Japan , UK , Europe and worldwide ....more likely to achieve chart toppers in both Singles & Albums through the 1980's and into mid 1990's :)

However in United States -given the major changes in radio formats , music genres and Carpenters image issues that dogged them from mid 1976 onwards ....less likely to match their remarkable chart run .....unless Karen & Richard had performed , composed , arranged either a film song from a top film or commercial box office smash or TV theme song / track used in successful advert campaign :shock:

Richard has always viewed Carpenters singles success and achievements as key to their legacy and longevity -even in 1996 with the huge success of reissued I Need T Be In Love -in Japan & Asia ....this was important to Richard and from interviews ....equally to Karen :D

So any future singles success with either radio or download singles tracks will be just as important to Richard in 2004 /2005 & 2006 :shock:

Peter
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
Hello all,

Every artist has a shelf life. If you look at Elton John he flagged, then came back gangbusters in the eighties with "I'm still standing" though he pretty much finished with original stuff (leaving aside his hip revival with the likes of blue, for God's sake sense the irony in that staement) in '90 with Sacrifice.

I reckon the same would have happened with the Carpenters.

I reckon they were ready for a return to the top ten in '83 after an eight year drought.

A) By '83, disco was dead, leaving a gap in the marcket for adult contemporary.

B)By this time the press' obsession with the image was waning. They were in their mid-30's for God's sake.

C)They were in the public mind with their first top 20, Touch Me in '81, since '76.

D)The content and style of their last tracks was quality. Ambitious songs, mature arrangements, and a deep resonant voice from Karen that seemed slightly less polished and more vulnerable than the previous couple of years.

E)I honestly believe "In LOve Alone" and "I'm Still Not Over You" were top 5 material.

F)And let's not forget the publicity that would have accompanied Karen's therapy in New York, and "conquering" of her Anorexia, with the healthy duo back in action.

Of course with the high run that could then have happened with the new album, the next couple would also have done well, but then, as always happens, the hits would probably have ended by the late eighties, after 20 years of success, and then each album and single would probably have settled into mildly successful territory, the odd top twenty single, the odd top 30 album.

Completely my fantasy here, but possible I think. None of the charts matters of course. Some of my favourite groups at the moment, GOD SPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR, BRIGHT EYES, never chart, but their quality and musicianship is superb.

One of my favourite cuts is Those Good Old Dreams. It got to 63. In my world it should have been No 1, but really, who cares.

Anyway, get back with your thoughts.

Neil
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Neil, your thoughts are probably close to what might have happened. If they had ever charted again, it would be because of some outstanding recorded work that somehow cut through the noise of the usual chart fare and gotten past that old image problem. It would have to be an innovative record, perhaps one that didn't sound so much like their past recordings. Think "Say Yeah" from Richard's solo effort. Though I don't think that particular recording ever had much of a chance, it was different enough that if people liked it, they wouldn't necessarily have associated it with Carpenters. It would have taken people by surprise, liking it, and then realizing, "Oh - that's Karen and Richard Carpenter. Holy Cow."

Harry
...projecting a timeline that never happened, online...
 

Rudy

ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ
Staff member
Site Admin
That's the key: their old sound wouldn't even "bubble under" today, IMHO...but if they had recorded something off-the-wall, new and different that broke the old mold, it could have been a hit.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
They did that in '77 with "Calling Occupants"- and it sounded trended and like they were striving for a hit.

Maybe a 40s album or something of that kind- or just Karens vocals and Richard on the piano, but no more trendy stuff, please...

Mark
 

SwimAMile

New Member
I've often thought that if the Carpenter's had been able to do some of the now-famous movie title tracks or some original creation, they could have easily landed at the top of the charts. Bette Midler is a good example with "Wind Beneath My Wings." Or even look at Whiney Houston...most of her biggest hits were from a soundtrack.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Honolulu City Lights
Look at Barry Manilow, he still has a huge following and until recently due to his health problem, he was still touring very heavily, still putting out Cd's and has a huge fan base. He's still proud of the old songs that made him famous & also does new material too. I'd like to think that is what the Carpenters could have done.

As long as were "make believin"....I still think Karen could have made it solo, not that she would have abandoned the Carpenters sound, she could always do a Carpenters album every couple years, Richard could have explored other possibilites such as writing for musicals or film scores.

I truly believe that Karen had alot of bright ideas for her future, doing her solo album was evidence that she was looking for other ways to keep the music alive, so was always thinking of down the road, what is next. If Karen had lived, she would have made it & she would have been stronger as a person & grown more as a singer. Didn't I read in the Coleman book that she reached out to Cherry Boone for help, I think Karen knew she needed help & toward the end she may have been at the point where she could have publically acknowledged her problem with weight & that would have been a turning point. But unfortunately it was too late.

This is why it is so hard to think "what might have been" because of what happen to Karen.

But I think they would have survived musically. They were seasoned artists at a very young age, way ahead of their time & they had a God given gift for the music of the heart.
 

kennyv

New Member
If I were Madonna or Shania Twain, I would have Karen as a guest artist for any shows or concerts (had she lived today). I bet she'd be surrounded with many talented group of individuals. "American Idol" would have picked her songs for their contestants to cover.

FM98.5 in Bangkok recented played "Superstar and I won't last a day without you" on the air consecutively a few days ago. It made me happier than listening on my own 'cause you know someone else might be humming the tune (while getting caught in traffic!!)

Kenny
 

PJ

Member
Was Calling Occupants trendy ?.....surely a prime example of Karen & Richard developing / expanding their sound successfully just as in the case of Goodbye To Love -despite some USA fans writing in complaining about Carpenters selling out ! :shock:

Every major artist / group has to expand and these were 2 key tracks & singles for Carpenters :)

Peter
 

PJ

Member
mstaft said:
Id say it was trendy- it played on the popularity of star wars.
Well this is with hindsight -CO was recorded just before USA release of Star Wars and film execs were not particuarly confident about that film being successful ....let alone a smash box office hit ..... :shock:

CO being recorded owes more to Richard's keen interest in Sci -Fi and classic Hollywood films and wanting to find less obvious Carpenters -type material after the luke warm reception towards Hush album :o

CO is IMHO -Carpenters classic with moving Karen vocals , great arrangement / production from Richard and fine choir / orchestra / group playing throughout this track :)

Peter
 

jfiedler17

Active Member
PJ said:
CO being recorded owes more to Richard's keen interest in Sci -Fi and classic Hollywood films and wanting to find less obvious Carpenters -type material after the luke warm reception towards Hush album
And cover-material can't get any LESS obvious than covering a song by Klaatu :tongue: .
Now THERE'S a band for the "whatever happened to ...?" files!
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Peter,
I could be wrong but I vaguely remember there being alot of industry buzz about Star Wars, well before it premiered.

Mark
 

Marty TX

Member
I always associated Calling Occupants with the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This despite the fact that Passage came out a month before the movie. I used to listen to the record while I'll colored the Close Encounters color-by-number poster I got for Christmas that year. Man, time flies.

I think Karen would have been approached by Disney to sing a single/pop version of one their soundtrack songs. I always thought she would have been perfect for the song "Someone's Waiting for You" from the movie "The Rescuers." I hate whatiffing about Karen sometimes....makes me sad. :sad:
 

PJ

Member
Strangely enough -Richard was approached by Disney to compose the title song / film score for "The Rescuers" in 1977 -which still stands up as a good 1970's Disney production :o

Due to Carpenters commitments and their health issues -Disney's offer was declined :shame that Carpenters did not record the main song for the film -even if more film work was beyond them :sad:

Peter
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
I realted a similar thought that they'd have been perfect for Someone's Waiting (a Sammy Kahn song who also did the music for 51's Alice in Wonderland and 53's Peter Pan. Rescuers was a massive smash as well. Someone's Waiting would have gone No.1 probably, and it would have been included on Passage, which would have pushed that into the top 5, probably. Hey-ho, all dreams.

Neil
 

PJ

Member
Not sure if Richard would have included a film theme on Passage unless released before album issue and been a top 20 chart hit minimum ? :confused:

Carpenters were offered "You Light Up My Life" -which topped USA charts for 10 weeks and Dolly Parton's atypical pop hit "Here You Come Again "-both were very commercial and would have restored Carpenters chart run in 1977 .....but then again Richard & Karen were focusing on other music & projects :o

Peter
 

Bruno

Member
Chris, in your posting you are referring to Barry Manilow's health problem.

Do you know anything more about this? As a big Manilow fan, I'm very interested in it.

Thanks a lot! :)

Bruno
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
Whether or not C's topped the chart is sort of irelevant. I imagine their fan base would have swarmed to gather the class act offerings. Karen and Richard had clearly proven the pop success thing. There are other genres to explore. They would've evolved and come into their own. A rock solid place in music history. Too often the references pertain to tragedy. Many people relate to the group this way. Maybe it's an introduction by way of curiosity? What was all the hoopla about kinda thing.

Jeff
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Honolulu City Lights
Bruno, sorry I just saw your post.

I saw a recent interview on TV, MSNBC maybe I can't remember, But it was Barry talking about the time he was hospitalized & almost died from his heart condition. This is why he is not touring anymore & only doing some rare shows through the year. This is really unusual for him cause he is always touring big time.

...heading out to the pool under the 95 degree sun....
 

Bruno

Member
Thank you, Chris! :)

I read about the heart problems, but I didn't know, that it was so serious.

Bruno
 

jfiedler17

Active Member
PJ said:
Carpenters were offered "You Light Up My Life" -which topped USA charts for 10 weeks ... both were very commercial and would have restored Carpenters chart run in 1977 ...
Yeah, but, considering the public backlash they were already going through, would recording "You Light Up My Life" really have been the best of moves? I mean, it may have been a gigantic hit [I still haven't figured out WHY, but ...], but when was the last time you ever saw a "worst records ever made" list that DIDN'T have "You Light Up My Life" on it? Granted, Richard would have done an infinitely better production job than Joe Brooks did with Debby Boone's version, but they STILL never would have heard the end of it. Let's be honest - it's a really sappy song.

Jeff F.
 

PJ

Member
Well both would have featured Richard arrangements / production far better than well known versions and would probably have been top 10 singles hits -even with image backlash & changes in radio plays etc :)

Neither were recorded as Carpenters were seeking to develop their sound aka eventual Passage despite Karen's reported later regret that as a duo they had missed out on these smash hits :confused:

At this time even with the developing eating disorders -Karen was still very competitive and wanted more top 10 singles & albums ....whereas Richard understood most acts have high & low points during their careers :o

Peter
 
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