Archive for the ‘60’s Bands’ Category

The Carpenters 1978/1980

Richard sought treatment for his addiction to Quaaludes at a Topeka, Kansas, facility for six weeks starting in January 1979. He then decided to take the rest of the year off for relaxation and rehabilitation. Karen, at this point neither wanting to take a break from singing nor seek help for her anorexia, decided to pursue a solo album project with renowned producer Phil Ramone in New York. The choice of Ramone and more adult-oriented and disco/dance-tempo material represented an effort to retool her image. The album was finished by Spring 1980, but Richard and A&M executives voted to reject it which reportedly devastated Karen. The album was finally released 13 years after Karen’s death, in 1996.

The Carpenters 1976/1978

The disco craze was in full swing by 1977, and adult-appeal “easy listening” artists like the Carpenters were getting less airplay. Their experimental album, Passage, released in 1977, marked an attempt to broaden their appeal by venturing into other musical genres. The album featured an unlikely mix of jazz fusion (“B’wana She No Home”), calypso (“Man Smart, Woman Smarter”), and orchestrated balladry (“I Just Fall in Love Again”, “Two Sides”), and included the hits, “All You Get from Love Is a Love Song”, “Sweet, Sweet Smile”, and “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft”. “Calling Occupants” was supported with the TV special Space Encounters, which aired May 17, 1978. Although the single release of “Calling Occupants” became a significant Top 10 hit in the United Kingdom and reached No. 1 in Ireland, it only peaked at number 32 on the U.S. pop charts, and for the first time a Carpenters album did not reach the gold threshold of 500,000 copies shipped in the United States. In early 1978, they scored a surprise Top 10 country hit with the up-tempo, fiddle-sweetened “Sweet, Sweet Smile”, written by country-pop singer Juice Newton and her longtime musical partner Otha Young.

The Carpenters 1974/1976

The Carpenters did not record a new album in 1974. The group had been touring extensively and the principals were exhausted. In Richard’s words, “there was simply no time to make one. Nor was I in the mood.” During this period, the pair released just one Hot 100 single, a Paul Williams/Roger Nichols composition called “I Won’t Last a Day Without You”. Taken from their 1972 LP A Song for You, the Carpenters finally decided to release their original two years after its original LP release and some months after Maureen McGovern’s 1973 cover. In March 1974, the single version became the fifth and final selection from that album project to chart in the Top 20, reaching No. 11 on the Hot 100 on May 25, 1974. Since “Top of the World” was at No. 11 and falling in 1974’s first week and “Please Mr. Postman” was at No. 11 and rising in 1974’s last week, the Carpenters failed all three times, by one position each time, that year to reach the top 10.
In place of the new album for 1974, their first greatest hits package was released, featuring new remixes of their prior hit singles, some with a newly recorded lead, and including newly recorded bridges and transition material so that each side of the album would play through with no breaks, something that Richard would come to regret. This compilation was entitled The Singles: 1969–1973, and topped the charts in the U.S. for one week, on January 5, 1974. It also topped the United Kingdom chart for 17 weeks (non-consecutive) and became one of the best-selling albums of the decade, ultimately selling more than 7 million copies in the U.S. alone.
In 1975, the Carpenters gained another hit with a remake of the Marvelettes’ chart-topping Motown classic from 1961, “Please Mr. Postman”. Released in late 1974, the song soared to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1975, becoming the duo’s third and final No. 1 pop single. It also earned Karen and Richard their record-setting twelfth million-selling gold single in America.
The Carpenter/Bettis composition “Only Yesterday” followed “Please Mr. Postman” as the duo’s last Hot 100 top 10 hit, reaching No. 4.
Both singles appeared on their 1975 LP Horizon, which also included covers of The Eagles’ “Desperado” and Neil Sedaka’s “Solitaire”, which became a moderate hit for the duo that year. Horizon was certified platinum, but owing to the disc’s late release (after the second single was already dropping off the charts), it was their first album to fall short of multi-platinum status.
The Carpenters were among the first American recording acts to produce music videos to promote their records.[citation needed] In early 1975, they filmed a performance of “Please Mr. Postman” at Disneyland as well as “Only Yesterday” at the Huntington Gardens.

Their subsequent album A Kind of Hush, released on June 11, 1976, achieved gold status, but again owing to its late release, became the first Carpenters’ album not to become a platinum certified record since Ticket to Ride seven years earlier. Their singles releases in 1976 were successful, but at this time, contemporary hit radio was moving forward with changing musical styles, which ultimately caused the careers of most “soft” groups like the Carpenters to suffer.[citation needed] The duo’s biggest pop single that year was a cover of Herman’s Hermits’ “There’s a Kind of Hush (All Over the World)”, which peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. “I Need to Be in Love” (Karen’s favorite song by the Carpenters)charted at No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, it followed “There’s a Kind of Hush” to the top spot on the Adult Contemporary charts and became the duo’s 14th No. 1 Adult Contemporary hit, far and away more than any other act in the history of the chart.
The Carpenters’ Very First Television Specialaired on December 8, 1976, and went to No. 6 on the Nielsens. Another television special, The Carpenters at Christmas, aired on December 9, 1977.

The Carpenters 1972/1974

The duo rounded out the year with the holiday release of “Merry Christmas, Darling”. The single scored high on the holiday charts and would repeatedly return to the holiday charts in subsequent years. In 1978, feeling she could give a more mature treatment to the tune, Karen re-cut the vocal for their Christmas TV special; this remake also became a hit.

A string of hit singles and albums kept the Carpenters on the charts through the early 1970s. Their 1971 hit “For All We Know” was originally recorded in 1970, by Larry Meredith, for a wedding scene in the movie Lovers and Other Strangers. Upon hearing it in the movie theater, Richard saw potential in it and subsequently recorded it in the autumn of 1970. The track became the Carpenters’ third gold single.
The duo’s fourth gold single “Rainy Days and Mondays” became Williams’ and Nichols’ second major single with the Carpenters, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, kept from the top slot by Carole King’s “It’s Too Late”.
“Superstar”, written by Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell, became the duo’s third No. 2 single on the Billboard Hot 100. Their third eponymous album, Carpenters, was released in 1971. It became one of their best sellers, earning RIAA certification for platinum four times, and rising to No. 2 on Billboard’s pop album chart for two weeks, staying on the top 40 chart for 39 weeks. It won a Grammy Award for Carpenters, as well as three other nominations.
A Song for You was the fourth album, released on June 13, 1972. The album contained “Goodbye to Love”, a Carpenter/Bettis original with a gritty guitar solo by Tony Peluso which set it apart from most Carpenters songs, became their third 1972 hit single, peaking at #7. Peluso would continue to work with Carpenters until their end in 1983.
Another Carpenter/Bettis composition, “Top of the World”, was originally intended as strictly an album cut, but when Lynn Anderson scored a hit with the song in early 1973, the Carpenters opted to record their own single version. It was released in September 1973 and became the Carpenters’ second Billboard No. 1 hit in December 1973.

Their Now & Then album from 1973 was named by mother Agnes Carpenter. It contained the popular Sesame Street song “Sing” and the ambitious “Yesterday Once More”, a side-long tribute to oldies radio which incorporated renditions of eight hit songs from previous decades into a faux oldies radio program. The single version of the track became their biggest hit in the United Kingdom, holding the number 2 spot for two weeks; it was kept off the top first by Gary Glitter’s “I’m the Leader of the Gang (I Am)” and then by Donny Osmond’s version of “Young Love”.
In 1974, the Carpenters achieved a sizable international hit with an up-tempo remake of Hank Williams’s “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)”. While the song was not released as a single in the U.S., it reached the top 30 in Japan, number 12 in the United Kingdom (as part of a double A-side with “Mr. Guder”), and number 3 in the Netherlands. In late 1974, a Christmas single followed, a jazz-influenced rendition of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”.

The Carpenters 1970/1972

Despite the poor showing of the Carpenters’ initial album, A&M stayed with them and had them develop songs for a second album. Herb Alpert asked Richard to re-work a Burt Bacharach/Hal David song titled “(They Long to Be) Close to You”. The Carpenters’ version was released as a 45 RPM record single. It debuted at No. 56, the highest debut of the week ending June 20, 1970. Over the next five weeks it vaulted to No. 1, reaching that perch on July 25, and staying there for the next four weeks. Burt Bacharach said, “The arrangement of ‘Close to You’ that Richard did compared to the arrangement that I did for myself and for Dionne (Warwick) and the original record with Richard Chamberlain I’d say is twenty times better, Richard’s arrangement than my arrangement. I really missed and he really nailed it. He just got a great feel, a great loop, the dotted eighth and sixteenth feel. It’s great.”
Their next hit was with a song Richard had seen in a television commercial for Crocker National Bank, “We’ve Only Just Begun”, which was written by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols. Three months after “(They Long to Be) Close to You” reached No. 1, the Carpenters’ version of “We’ve Only Just Begun” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first of their eventual five No. 2 hits (it wasn’t able to get past “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5 & “I Think I Love You” by The Partridge Family during its four-week stay). The song became the first hit single for Williams and Nichols and is considered by Richard Carpenter to be the group’s signature tune.
“Close to You” and “We’ve Only Just Begun” became RIAA certified Gold singles and were featured on the best-selling album Close to You, which placed No. 175 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list in 2003.

The Carpenters 1968/1970

Richard and Karen Carpenter signed to A&M Records on April 22, 1969, under the name “Carpenters”. Since Karen was technically underage (she was 19 at the time), her parents had to co-sign for her. Richard and Karen had decided to sign as “Carpenters”, without the definite article. Karen said they had been influenced in the name by the pop music group Bread. In the album notes for their 2004 release, Carpenters Gold: 35th Anniversary Edition, Richard stated: After much thought, we decided to name the act “Carpenters” (No “The”; we thought it sounded hipper without it, like Buffalo Springfield or Jefferson Airplane.)
When Richard and Karen Carpenter signed to A&M Records, they were given free rein in the recording studio to create an album in their distinctive style. Their debut album, entitled Offering, was released in October 1969, and featured a number of songs that Richard had written or co-written during their Spectrum period. A ballad rendition of “Ticket to Ride” was released as a single and became a minor hit for the Carpenters, peaking at No. 54 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Top 20 of the Adult Contemporary chart. The album itself sold poorly initially. However, after the Carpenters’ subsequent breakthrough the album was repackaged and reissued internationally under the name Ticket to Ride and sold moderately.

The Carpenters 1966/1968

Later in 1966, Karen tagged along at a late-night session in the garage studio of Los Angeles bassist Joe Osborn, and joined future Carpenters collaborator and lyricist John Bettis at a demo session where Richard was to accompany an auditioning trumpet player. Asked to sing, Karen performed for Osborn, who said “Never mind the trumpet player; this chubby little girl can sing.”
Osborn signed Karen by herself as a singer to his fledgling label, Magic Lamp Records, and the label put out a single featuring two of Richard’s compositions, “Looking for Love” and “I’ll Be Yours”. The single was not a hit, and the label soon became defunct. However, Osborn let Karen and Richard continue to use his studio to record demo tapes.
In 1967, Richard and Karen teamed up with four other student musicians from Long Beach Stateto form a band called “Spectrum”. The group often performed at the Whisky a Go Go. Spectrum member John Bettis worked with the Carpenters until Karen’s death in 1983, composing many songs with Richard.

In 1968, Spectrum disbanded, and Wes Jacobs of the Richard Carpenter Trio left for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Richard and Karen received an offer to be on the television program Your All American College Show in mid-1968. Their performance of June 22, 1968 was Richard’s and Karen’s first television appearance. During this time Richard and Karen continued to refine their craft and produced demo tapes in Joe Osborn’s garage. One of these was heard by A&M Records’ Herb Alpert, who was intrigued by Karen’s voice. The A&M co-owner signed them to a record contract. Said Richard: “We signed with A&M. In came Herb and he shook our hands and said in so many words ‘It was a pleasure to meet you. Let’s hope we have some hits.’ “

The Carpenters 1964/1966

By 1965, Karen had been practicing the drums for a year, and Richard was refining his piano techniques with Pooler as his teacher. In late 1965 Richard teamed up with classmate and friend Wes Jacobs, who played tuba and stand-up bass. With his sister playing drums, the three formed a jazz trio.
In mid-1966 the Richard Carpenter Trio entered the Hollywood Bowl annual Battle of the Bands. They played an instrumental version of “The Girl from Ipanema” and their own piece titled “Iced Tea”. The trio won the Battle of the Bands on June 24, 1966, and were signed up by RCA Records. They recorded songs such as The Beatles’ “Every Little Thing” and Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night” for RCA. An RCA committee reviewed their recordings and chose not to produce them, and the Richard Carpenter Trio were released from RCA. In 1991, some twenty-five years later, a couple of these recordings were released as part of a “From The Top” boxed set of Carpenters material.

The Carpenters 1962/1964

In June 1963, the Carpenter family moved to the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, California. In the fall of 1964, Richard enrolled at California State College at Long Beach where he met future songwriting partner John Bettis; Wesley Jacobs, a friend who played the bass and tuba for the Richard Carpenter Trio; and Frank Pooler, with whom Richard would collaborate to create the Christmas standard “Merry Christmas Darling” in 1966.
That same fall, Karen enrolled at Downey High School, where she found she had a knack for playing the drums.
Friend and fellow band member Frankie Chavez inspired Karen to play the drums. She would often borrow Chavez’s drum kit when he taught her. “She and Frankie … must have worked down the rudiments, the cadences, and the press-rolls for hours”, recalls Richard. When Karen finally got a Ludwig drum kit from her parents in late 1964, she was able to play it professionally, in what Richard had described in their documentary, Close to You: Remembering the Carpenters, as “exotic time signatures”.

The Carpenters 1960/1962

By 1960-1962, they were 16-18 and they were playing their instruments. Richard on the guitar, which teenager trys to be like their famous performers and Karen tried, to be different, by being a female drummer, which is rare, even for today standards. However Karen was unique in many ways. Her voice was  crystal clear and had arange that made The Carpenters what it will be as a band !!!

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