Monday, May 23, 2011

My Music Monday

I struggled with the song today.  Not the artist, just which song to pick.

I'm going way back in time, thanks to a suggestion a few weeks back from Mike over at his Short Attention Span Theater.

I think I would have eventually gotten around to the Carpenters, as their self-titled disk was the first full LP I ever purchased.  Yes, I was a geek, and a gay one, even back in first grade.   Nurture v Nature, my ass!

But even then I realized how cool and great Karen Carpenter's voice was - and that her brother was somewhat of a repressed homo.   Ok "acting".   He might not be gay.   There.  I think I avoided that lawsuit.

I also realized how cool it was for a girl to play the drums.  Granted, I was in first grade, so I didn't have a lot of experiences with bands, but I knew the Monkees, the Beatles and the Partridge Family did not have female drummers.  Sure, Tracy Partridge was, at the time, the hardest working woman in rock, but..........

Keep in mind, even when Karen died in 1982-83, videos were just coming around.  So finding one that was even remotely decent helped drive my song selection.  I believe this one, "We've Only Just Begun", came from a totally forgotten show (other than possibly by me), called Make Your Own Kind of Music.

Bands would be on weekly to lip-synch their music and Karen & Richard were frequent, if not weekly guests.

I totally wanted to put in "Goodbye to Love" because it has such an out of place, but incredibly long guitar solo, but the YouTubes for that song are horrendous.  ...and poor Karen is dressed like a sister-wife in most of them, which I suppose was the style at the time.  It would have drove me to drink but not purge.

Oh oh oh, and I'm very excited.  A friend of mine, who was a director of an international film fest, has a copy of Todd Haynes, Superstar.  For those who are unfamiliar with it, it was a movie acted out with Barbies and to the music of the Carpenters.   Richard got a cease & desist order and it was never released.  Of course, now we have to find a VHS player to view it.

I had all their albums until they started singing about "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft." Personally, I blame Spielberg and Close Encounters for that bandwagon.  Maybe having to sing that would have driven me to bulimia.

Still, there is no denying she had a great voice.


A Lewis said...

Such a great time in music. I loved loved loved the Carpenters! Perhaps you remember this little gem from a few years back:

Anonymous said...

Great blog Blobby! I also love this group.
Richard wasn’t above buying the rights to other people’s songs so that Karen could sing them. He recognized music styling’s that Karen could make work and pursued the ones he wanted to record with her. “We’ve Only Just Begun” debuted in 1970 in a commercial for Crocker Bank. Supposedly Richard immediately knew Karen could make it a huge hit and bought the rights. Of course he was correct.

“Calling Occupants…” was a similar situation. Originally performed by a group called Klaatu, Richard saw a potential to expand the Carpenter’s sound. I wouldn’t blame Steven Spielberg as much as the music glam movement (that was actually dying) around the time The Carpenters tried to sell this song. Space travel had become a big theme in pop and rock music. The Rocket Man thought it was going to be a long long time – Major Tom was lost and not coming back, and Todd Rundgren didn’t have to write about space. He just acted like an alien. Haha 

anne marie in philly said...

I was in high school when this song was big. yes, karen's dress was THE style back then; I had several of that style dress - "granny dresses" they were called.

richard and her parents must have tormented the poor girl unmercifully; she died way too young.

Greg said...

Nice choice. If you ever make it to Long Beach, CSULB's theater is The Carpenter Center (since Karen and Richard both attended). They have her drum set, his piano, and a number of Grammys and Gold record on display.

Ur-spo said...

I confess; I loved calling occupants!
worse; I would perform it ala a drag queen
oh the pain.