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 Q&As Edition 7 below

Subject ?# Fans Ask: Richard Answers:
Albums 1 What is the Carpenters best selling Compilation/Album worldwide, in terms of record sales? “The Singles 69-73”
Cars  2 What were some of your favorite cars you owned during the 60s to the 80s? Favorites were 1965 Plymouth Satellite convertible, 1969 Plymouth RR, 19970 Plymouth ‘Cuda,  and 1982 Jaguar XJ-S.
Cars 3 Was Karen at all into automobiles?  What kind of car was her favorite?  What did she enjoy as a hobby in her private life which did not involve music? Karen was into automobiles to a degree. Growing up she knew her Chevys, Fords, Plymouths, Cadillacs, etc, and knew her model years, but not things like engine size and various models. She liked her '72 Mercedes 350SL, got it new and kept it. Along with that in '79 she bought a Jaguar XJS – I had one, she borrowed it while her Mercedes was in the shop, and liked the way it drove. She really liked the '69 Roadrunner that we bought new as a family car. 
Concerts 4 Did Richard and Karen ever perform a concert in Brazil? If so, what was the date? No. We were down there in 1981 in late October, early November doing a promotional bit – promo film, guesting on a pop music program, but no concert.
Other Artists  5 I love your duet with Dusty Springfield, "Something in your Eyes". Have you written songs for other artists since Karen passed away? Three songs: 1. "The Reply" - written with Pamela Phillips Oland for Japanese singing star Akiko Kobayashi, whose "City Of Angels" album I produced in 1988. 2. "All Those Years Ago" - written with Pamela Phillips Oland for French Canadian singing star Veronique Beliveau, whose album I produced for A&M in 1989. Also, recorded later by Petula Clark for a 2-cd retrospective. 3. "What Am I Gonna Say" written with Pamela Phillips Oland for A&M artist Scott Grimes, whose album I produced in 1988.
Other Artists 6 Richard, what is one of your favorite Celebrity encounters?  Like when you met someone famous that you admired… Perry Como, of course, because I thought so much of him, his singing, and all. We were doing a pre-record for his show at RCA Studios in Hollywood and had some time to chat. He was very interesting to speak with, and very much the same as the image we saw.
Other Artists 7 Were you and Karen friends with fellow A&M recording star Rita Coolidge?  What did Karen think of Rita’s style?  I know she was the one who sang "Superstar" on Joe Cocker’s album. We were acquainted with Rita, but didn't know her well. Karen liked the way she sang. We heard a record of hers that I bought in early '69, that didn’t become a hit, so is now a collectors item, called “Turn Around and Love You”, a really nice record. It got limited air play here but didn’t go anywhere, then a little bit later she was signed to A&M. 
Other Artists 8 Did you ever meet Country singers… Mac Davis?  Johnny Cash?  Mac Davis opened the show for us back in 1971 for a while. We met Johnny Cash when we appeared  early 1971, February, as guests on the Johnny Cash Show in Nashville.  
Other Artists 9 Was Karen not comfortable singing with ELLA on the soundstage for the MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC special, and so that is why she recorded her vocals in the studio, or was she not feeling she would sing well LIVE with all these newer songs to her? What did you and Karen think of working with Ella? Ella, Perry, Sinatra, the old school singers, were never really asked to lip-sync, you just didn’t do that back then, and as a result they would not do it, were not comfortable with it, and would always sing live. Karen and I, being raised more as a record act, were very comfortable with recording and lip-syncing. We could listen to what we recorded then lip-sync it perfectly. Since we could do that we always preferred studio sound over live television sound; the sound was better to begin with, the microphones were better in the studio, and we mixed it the way we wanted it, having complete control over it in the studio. Then we would lip-sync it. It had nothing to do with being uncomfortable. Ella was fine to work with, and very sweet. 
Songs 10  Upon first hearing the "Master Karaoke" remixes years ago, I noticed in "Rainy Days and Mondays" that the string line was mixed out during the sax solo. This has also been a common mix on most if not all of the subsequent compilations. What was your reasoning for this? Yes, because as time went on, I felt the string line didn’t really work in the sax solo; it was heard enough under the vocal.
Songs 11  I know you wrote the piano arrangements for "From This Moment On" and "It's Christmas Time". Are they charted and if so, will you ever consider releasing them? No, Ken Welch did “From This Moment On” and Peter Knight did “It’s Christmas Time”. They were charted, but for me, and we will not be releasing them. 
Songs 12 Richard, how could you tell that a song was tailor-made for Karen? One of the most beautiful love songs I've ever heard was " Make Believe It's Your First Time," off her solo LP. It’s really where it would dwell in a particular register, not spend too much of its time upstairs, because Karen had such a marvelous sound in the lower reaches of her voice. How words sing, As, Os and Us are better sounds than Es and Is. That’s one of many reasons why "Superstar" worked so well, for Karen; it's low, it has “long ago”, “far away”,  “second show”, “it’s just the radio”… it’s absolutely perfect. Again, we were family, and a lot of this was intuitive; it would have a nice melody and I knew Karen’s voice would give me chills singing it. 
Songs 13  In the song “YOU”, there is a piano fill (repeated throughout the song) that follows the phrase “…you are one of the few things worth remembering…”. During the [first] fill, there is a rather audible “creaking” sound heard in the track. Can you explain this? There is a noise there. I can't remember what it is, but obviously something we couldn't remove in mixdown. So sorry!
Songs 14 Of the VOICE OF THE HEART collection, what two songs do you think are Karen’s masterpieces? “Now” and “Ordinary Fool”.
Sound System  15 What stereo components does Richard have in his personal audio set-up? Traditional Stereo:  1. Denon DCD 2560; 2. Panasonic SV 3800 DAT; 3. Cedar DCX Declicker; 4. dbx 20/20 Computerized equalizer/analyzer; 5. Samson PL 1602 mixer; 6. Technics SL-1700 MK2 turntable; 7. Bang & Olufsen MMC 20CL pickup; 8. Denon PMA 2000 R Amp; 9. TANNOY "Golds" 12" vintage 1970; 10 Technics 1520 Reel to Reel.
Sound System  16 What components does Richard have in his 5.1 surround sound system? 5.1 Room: 1. Crestron - Professional Media Controller; 2. Denon DVD 2900 SACD player; 3. Maestro 7.1 Pre Amp Surround Processor by Audio Control; 4. Diva Programmable Digital Audio Enhancement System by Audio Control; 5. Audio Control Multi-Channel Theatre Power Amp, vintage 197l; Five 15" TANNOY "Ardens", vintage 1975; 8. TANNOY sub-woofer.
Studio 17 I am very familiar with A&M Studios and it's layout and have heard different theories over the years while recording there as to where you and Karen liked recording certain things. How did you normally select your rooms (i.e. tracking, string dates, vocal overdubs, etc.)? The leads done in C were the best sounding.  Tracks ideally in B, vocals B or C; ….Strings A; "A" is always the largest in any studio complex, and you get a better sound with all the strings in the bigger room. When Studio D was completed in '74 we did quite a bit of recording in there as it wasn't too small or too big, and had quite a warm feel, which Karen liked. But then, we didn’t always get our first choice as the studios might be booked ahead by others.
Technique 18 Regarding your TV appearance when it came to lip synching, did you normally go into the studio and do a take at a new recording for the appearance? Also, when you were on screen performing the song, was the voice later added when editing was done, or could you hear Karen's singing being played back while you were being taped? We heard all being played back, just like playing the record. We would actually sing out, not just move the lips, however, the voice would not be picked up.
Technique 19 With respect to adding strings to an album, did you have a set formula for voicing, as the strings on the first 4 or 5 albums sound similar in dynamic. No – the only thing we did was add more. Originally we used 10 violins, 3 viole, and 3 celli, and starting with Horizon we used 16-4-4. Then when we did things that required more lush sounds, we got a bigger section yet, like 24-8-8 and a couple of bass viols. On the whole, from Offering on, 10-3-3. As far as voicing, that would change depending on the particular chart. 
Technique 20 How often did you utilize “click” tracking for your songs? Was this standard procedure early on or did you begin using the concept later in your career? How did you lay down a click track in those days?  It would depend on the song – a song that seemed simple could actually be very difficult to keep under control, like "Close To You", which took 47 takes to get that "simple" little song to sound the way it did without running away with the tempo. I wish I had used it (click tracking) more!
Technique 21 On your recording of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” I have heard a couple of theories as to why your voice is heard on the lead in the first verse, then switch to Karen. I also understand that this is somehow tied in with the incorrect lyric sung by the choir behind you in verse one. Can you shed some light on this? Karen would sing the work lead while we did the rhythm track and some of the orchestra backing. The beginning – right after the intro and the first part of the first verse, the track is from one take. It was then edited onto the bulk of another take; and, in the bit of track on the beginning of one take, Karen either misplaced her music or she was preoccupied, and ended up singing “hmm, hmm night wind to the little lamb…”, instead of “Said the night wind to the little lamb…. The only way I could do it, because it had “hmm hmm” was for me to sing, “Said the night wind to the little lamb, do you hear what I hear” and then continue it with Karen.
Technique 22 The instrumental remix of “Superstar” heard on the “Master Karaoke” album from Japan has some sort of lead vocal bleed-through. What is the technical explanation for this? As mentioned in numerous liner notes, there is no "master lead" on this. The master lead is the work lead, so musicians like Joe Osborn and Hal Blaine could hear how the song went. It made them feel that they knew the song better, affecting their bass and drum fills. The work lead they had in their head phones, and it went into their mics. It turned out that we liked Karen’s work lead on this and didn’t bother with a master lead. If you left the lead in, you wouldn’t hear…, but, as this is Karaoke, the lead is out and you are left with leakage. 
Vocals 23 Why did you use other background vocalists (besides choirs) on "Passage" and "Made in America?" Were you just looking for a different sound in the backing vocals? Yes, we were looking for a different sound. ("All You Get From Love Is A Love Song", "Strength Of A Woman", "Touch Me When We're Dancing".
Vocals 24  In the song “DEADMAN’S CURVE”, during the phrase “I flew past La Brea down to Crescent Heights…”, there is a subtle group of background vocals behind the lead that are not easily deciphered. What is being sung there? "Ooh, slidin’, slippin’ and slidin', ooh slidin', slippin' and  broadsidin'.” 
Vocals 25  On the tunes “Without a Song”, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and “When Time Was All We Had”, how many vocal overdubs were necessary for you (and Karen on the former) to achieve the sound you did vocally, and how many parts total? Eight parts doubled, resulting, of course, in 16 voices.
Voice 26 On Karen’s solo effort STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, Karen hits a low note at 1:50…is this her lowest note of all time because it sounds really, really low? It's an overdubbed E flat below middle C, same as the opening note of "Only Yesterday". Lowest I had Karen sing was a low D in the song, "A Song For You". 
Voice 27 When you recorded with Karen, what was her highest held note, and on what song? (She had a 4 octave range, right?) High F, tripled on the second “here to remind you” on “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” on the Close To You album. Karen probably had, with her chest and her head voice, a little over three octaves.


Last Updated June 4, 2008
May 2004  © Richard Carpenter

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