Peter Steward's Web Site

   

Home Page Music Reviews Book Reviews Biography My Writing Sign Guestbook Contact Me

Main Links

My Biography

Who I am and details of  my life from birth to now.

 

Music Links

An index to all my music including CD and concert reviews and general writing

 

Diary

I have written a diary over the past 37 years. You can view entries by using  this link

 

General Writing

An index page to my writing. my novels and my poetry

 

University Work

My dissertation and other work for my MA degree.

 

My Travels

Places I have visited over 30 years of travelling

 

Site Index

Details and links to everything on my site

 

Peter on Twitter 
Peter on Facebook
View My Guestbook     
My Amazon Reviews
Free music - Best of 2009

 

 

 

 

 

The Music of the Carpenters

Click here to see my reviews of the Carpenters' albums

Some people wrestle with their sexuality. I wrestle with my musical tastes.

Back in the late 1960s I was still into horrendous crap by the likes of the Bachelors whilst my friends were into what was then called underground music. They liked Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Al Stewart etc etc. I liked .... well I'm trying to forget those days.

Thankfully I soon saw the error of my ways and began to understand that music meant more than somebody with a decent voice singing ballads. I realised that people who couldn't sing could produce emotional music. People like Dylan, Rod Stewart, Captain Beefheart, Leonard Cohen. These guys could say more in one song than others could say in an entire career.

So gradually I found the antidote to the crooners. Today I am well known amongst friends for listening to "weird experimental music."

But then there were the Carpenters. Whiter than white, purer than pure, a brother and sister act that crossed over the border between my musical past and my musical future.

The first time I heard "(They Long to Be) Close to You", I remember being stunned by Karen's voice.

And over the next few years hit after hit followed all in the same soothing style. And style was something Karen and Richard had in abundance. I loved their music, particularly when they began to record songs by Roger Nicholls and Paul Williams and I listened as Richard Carpenter began to write with John Bettis.

Minor symphonies flew from their pens and above it all there was Karen's perfect voice. I don't think I've ever come across anybody who disliked her voice.

But of course The Carpenters were not always the cleaner than clean combo. Richard fought against and beat a pill addiction but Karen tragically died at the age of 32 after battling the slimming disorder anorexia nervosa for years.

Recently I read the excellent book "The Carpenters - The Untold Story" by Ray Coleman. It brought me back to listen once again to their wonderfully soothing music - music that belied the tragedy of the duo.

Today the duo have something of a cult following. Sadly Karen is no longer with us. Her voice lives on, however, as does my love of the Carpenters' music.

Book Review

The Carpenters - The Untold Story by Ray Coleman

Boxtree Limited 1994

This is much more than just a biography of two pop stars.

With their squeeky clean all American brother and sister, apple pie image, there just had to be something wrong with the Carpenters.

And of course this was true. Karen died from the slimming disease Anorexia Nervosa at a cruelly young age and Richard just prevented himself from a similar fate at the hands of pills.

This is an excellent warts and all book which follows the duo from their middle class American upbringing, through the good times, to the death of Karen.

And it is as much about the struggle of the human spirit as it is about pop music.

Coleman has obviously undertaken a vast work of research in a book which has Richard's blessing.

It never holds back from confronting difficulties, however. One theme running through the book is the dominant character of Karen and Richard's mother which at times seems to be suffocating them as individuals.

The book highlights Karen's insecurity. In the public's eye Karen was the Carpenters. But Karen herself viewed things differently accepting that the guiding light was Richard.

If I have one complaint about the book, it is in the way Coleman seems to skate over a number of issues such as Karen's ill fated marriage. We know it ended acrimoniously but we never know quite why.

Overall it gives an excellent insight into the world of fame and fortune - a world that was to end in disaster.

The fact that the Carpenters' music lives on is a tribute both to Richard's great songwriting and arranging abilities and to that wonderful voice of Karen's which is underlined in the author's simple but touching dedication.


For those who cherish
beautiful music,
And to the memory of an
irreplaceable voice.

ALBUMS

Ticket to Ride: 1969

SONG

Comment

Mark

Invocation

 

 

Your Wonderful Parade

 

 

Someday

 

 

Get Together

 

 

All of My Life

 

 

Turn Away

 

 

Ticket To Ride

Over-sickly version of Beatles number

5

Don't Be Afraid

 

 

What's The Use

 

 

All I can Do

 

 

Eve

 

 

Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing

 

 

Benediction

 

 


Close to You: 1970

We've Only Just Begun

Seminal Carpenters, lush and wonderful

9

Love Is Surrender

 

 

Maybe It's You

 

 

Reason to Believe

 

 

Help

 

 

(They Long To Be) Close To You

 

 

Baby It's You

 

 

I'll Never Fall In Love Again

 

 

Crescent Moon

 

 

Mr Guder

 

 

I Kept On Loving You

 

 

Another Song

 

 



CARPENTERS: 1971

Rainy Days and Mondays

 

 

Saturday

 

 

Let Me Be The One

 

 

(A Place To) Hideaway

 

 

For All We Know

 

 

Superstar

A great Leon Russell song superbly sung

9

Druscilla Penny

 

 

One Love

 

 

Bacharach-David Medley: Knowing When to Leave:Make It Easy On Yourself: (There's Always Something There to Remind Me: I'll Never Fall In Love Again: Walk On By: Do You Know the Way to San Jose: Sometimes

 

 



A SONG FOR YOU: 1972

A Song For You

 

 

Top of the World

 

 

Hurting Each Other

 

 

It's Going to Take Some Time

 

 

Goodbye to Love

 

 

Intermission

 

 

Bless the Beasts and the Children

 

 

Flat Baroque

Pseudo baroque piano solo. For me it's dull and irrelevant

5

Piano Picker

 

 

I Won't Last a Day Without You

 

 

Crystal Lullaby

 

 

Road One

 

 

A Song For You (reprise)

 

 



NOW and THEN: 1973

Sing

 

 

This Masquerade

 

 

Heather

 

 

Jambalaya (On the Bayou)

 

 

I Can't Make Music

 

 

Yesterday Once More

 

 

Medley: Fun Fun Fun: The End of the World: Da Doo Ron Ron: Deadman's Curve: Johnny Angel: The Night Has a Thousand Eyes: Our Day Will Come: One Fine Day

 

 

Yesterday Once More (reprise)

 

 



HORIZON: 1975

Aurora    
Only Yesterday    
Desperado    
Please Mr Postman    
I Can Dream Can't I    
Solitaire    
Happy    
(I'm Caught between) Goodbye and I Love You    
Love Me For What I am    
Eventide    


A KIND OF HUSH: 1976

There's A Kind of Hush    
You    
Sandy    
Goofus    
Can't Smile Without You    
I Need To Be In Love    
One More Time    
Boat To Sail    
I Have You    
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do    


PASSAGE: 1977

B'wana She No Home    
All You Get From Love is a Love Song    
I Just Fall In Love Again    
Don't Cry For Me Argentina    
Sweet, Sweet Smile    
Two Sides    
Man Smart, Woman Smarter    
Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft    


MADE IN AMERICA: 1981

Those Good Old Dreams    
Strength of a Woman    
(Want You) Back In My Life Again    
When You've Got What It Takes    
Somebody's Been Lyin'    
I Believe You    
Touch Me When We're Dancing    
When It's Gone (It's Just Gone)    
Beechwood 4-5789    
Because We Are In Love (The Wedding Song)    


VOICE OF THE HEART: 1983

Now    
Sailing on the Tide    
You're Enough    
Make Believe It's Your First Time    
Two Lives    
At the End of a Song    
Ordinary Fool    
Prime Time Love    
Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore    
Look To Your Dreams    


LOVELINES: 1989

Lovelines    
Where Do I Go From Here    
The Uninvited Guest    
If We Try    
When I Fall In Love    
Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night    
Remember When Lovin' Took All Night    
You're the One    
Honolulu City Lights    
Slow Dance    
If I Had You    
Little Girl Blue    


Albums Year
OFFERING/TICKET TO RIDE 1969
CLOSE TO YOU 1970
CARPENTERS 1971
A SONG FOR YOU 1972
NOW AND THEN 1973
HORIZON 1975
A KIND OF HUSH 1976
PASSAGE 1977
CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT 1978
MADE IN AMERICA 1981
VOICE OF THE HEART 1983
AN OLD FASHIONED CHRISTMAS 1984
LOVELINES 1989
FROM THE TOP 1991
RICHARD CARPENTER, PIANIST, ARRANGER, COMPOSER, CONDUCTOR + 1997


Singles Year
Ticket to Ride 1969
Close to You 1970
We've Only Just Begun 1970
Merry Christmas Darling 1970
For All We Know 1970
Rainy Days and Mondays 1971
Superstar 1971
Hurting Each Other 1971
It's Going to Take Some Time 1972
Goodbye to Love 1972
Sing 1973
Yesterday Once More 1973
Top of the World 1973
I Won't Last a Day Without You 1974
Please Mr Postman 1974
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town 1974
Only Yesterday 1975
Solitaire 1975
There's A Kind of Hush 1976
I Need To Be In Love 1976
Goofus 1976
All You Get From Love is a Love Song 1977
Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft 1977
Sweet, Sweet Smile 1977
I Believe You 1978
Touch Me When We're Dancing 1981
(Want You)Back In My Life Again 1981
Those Good Old Dreams 1981
Beechwood 4-5789 1981
Make Believe It's Your First Time 1983
Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore 1983
Something In Your Eyes + 1987
If I Had You * 1989
You're The One 1990
   

* - Indicates Karen Carpenter solos + - Indicates Richard Carpenter solos