Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Channeling Karen Carpenter

Truly incredible! I started the video and after about 15 seconds I asked my wife to come take a look at this Japanese girl channeling Karen Carpenter. Her immediate reply was "I thought it *was* Karen Carpenter."
David Lewis
Frannie did the exact same thing. I started playing the clip while she was in the other room ... I then began to describe what I was watching and she had to come in here to see it for herself. Nothing short of amazing! (kk)   

Enjoyed the video of the singer doing the Carpenter's tune.

Keiko Toge is simply amazing! With the exception of "Goodbye to Love" and maybe a couple of others, the Carpenter' songs are not among my favorites, but this made my eyes water.
"Goodbye To Love" is my all-time favorite Carpenters song, too ... we covered it quite extensively a while back in FH. Keiko Toge definitely has a talent in mimicking Karen Carpenter's voice ... but she'll have to prove she can do more than that to make a dent in this crazy business. That being said, it was quite remarkable to hear ... that's why I just HAD to share it! (kk)   

You'll find her official website here:  
Click here: OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

Richard Carpenter ought to snatch her up and present a program showcasing "The Music of The Carpenters" ... then all her fans could enjoy hearing these songs performed again they way they were meant to sound, with Richard's lush arrangements.  It would give him new purpose and give Carpenters fans worldwide the chance to experience that "sound" again.
Jo Ann
I think Carpenters fans (and perhaps even Richard) might find that just a little bit creepy.  There's really no replacing Karen, no matter how incredible this girl's voice sounds.  However, we DID find a pretty remarkable clip of Keiko meeting Richard Carpenter, performing what Richard says was Karen's favorite Carpenters song. Pretty amazing ... when you watch her talk before the song starts, you cannot help but wonder if she even understands what she's singing ... or if she's simply singing phonetically ... yet whatever the real case may be, she still nails it perfectly!  
Click here: Keiko Toge imitating Karen Carpenter with Richard's blessing | Video Youtube - NMETV Latest Music Videos and Clips
It's REALLY sad when Richard mentions that some of the younger Japanese fans buying The Carpenters' "22 Greatest Hits" album may not even be aware that Karen has passed on ... and that some are even hopeful that they'll come back to Japan and tour.  It truly was a unique and magical sound.  (kk)    

When I asked Karen Carpenter about their song "Sweet Sweet Smile" (which had sadly only climbed to 44 on the Hot 100 a few months earlier in 1978), her eyes lit up as she told me with great delight how she had found the song and considered it's writer a bright new talent with a very hopeful future. That writer turned out to be Juice Newton, whose career as a hitmaker in her own right did not take off until 1981 -- two years before we lost Karen.
Gary Theroux
It's a Forgotten Hit to be sure ... but one of my favorite up-tempo tunes by the pop duo.  Honestly, it sounded good hearing it again.  (As we recently discussed, when K-Hits counted down The Top 40 Artists of the '70's a few weeks ago, they removed The Carpenters from the list!  Why kind of "truth in broadcasting" is THAT?!?!?)
Like 'em or not, The Carpenters scored TWENTY Top 40 Billboard Hits!  Add the Cash Box and Record World charts into the mix and The Carpenters had an incredible SEVEN #1 National Hits:  "Close To You", 
"We've Only Just Begun", "Superstar", "Hurting Each Other", "Yesterday Once More", "Top Of The World" and "Please Mr. Postman".  How the heck do you take THEM off the list ... and pretend like they never happened?!?!?  More genius broadcasting!  (kk)  

When I found the Japanese Karen Carpenter sound-alike I also found this interesting story about the origins of The Carpenters' most famous Christmas song, "Merry Christmas Darling" ..

Richard Carpenter composed the music for this song in 1966 when he was 19 years old. Frank Pooler wrote the lyrics twenty years earlier, in 1946, when he also was only 19 years old. The song Pooler had written was to be a Christmas gift for his girlriend, whom he was missing while being away from her during a visit with his parents at Christmas time. Sadly, their relationship ended before he could present it to her.
Twenty years later, Pooler was the choir director at California State University in Long Beach, when both Karen and Richard Carpenter were members of the choir. Richard and Karen were performing locally and had tired of playing the usual Christmas fare. Richard asked Pooler, their favorite professor, if he had any ideas for different songs.
Pooler remembered the Christmas song he had written many years before and mentioned it to Richard, adding that he didn't think much of the melody anymore. Richard said he would try his hand at writing new music for the lyrics. Within about 15 minutes he was finished creating a song, written by two teenagers who were a generation apart, that was destined to become a Christmas classic.
The song was first released as a single (yes, a 45) on November 20,1970, and earned gold record status. This song sparked the idea of a Christmas album by The Carpenters, and on October 13, 1978, "Christmas Portrait" was released with this newly recorded version of the song. Karen re-recorded her vocals for the album version as she felt that she could give the vocals a more mature treatment. This newly recorded version was presented on their TV Christmas special in 1978, as seen here, and became a hit all over again.  

Radio programmers today have taught us that Carly Simon was a One Hit Wonder. Now granted, her chart-topping "You're So Vain" was a MONSTER hit ... but how do you ignore her other eleven Top 40 Hits?
Even before many of us were bringing her "No Secrets" album into the bathroom with us ... ya know, to read the liner notes ... Carly had scored with "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" (#7, 1971) and "Anticipation" (#10, 1972), which is probably now best remembered as a ketchup commercial instead of the sizeable pop hit it was.
Other hits followed "You're So Vain" up the charts:  "The Right Thing To Do" (#10, 1973); "Mockingbird" (#3, 1974, a duet with husband James Taylor); "Haven't Got Time For The Pain" (#7, 1974); "Attitude Dancing" (#21, 1975); "Nobody Does It Better" (her James Bond Movie Theme that peaked at #2 in 1977); "You Belong To Me" (#6, 1978); "Devoted To You" (another James Taylor duet that reached #34); "Jesse" (#6, 1980) and "Coming Around Again" (#18, 1987) were all radio staples back in the day ... but today have been completely forgotten.
To make matters worse, "You're So Vain" falls into the "over-played" category.  (We actually got sick of this song in 1973 because it was played so often, wringing every last drop of creativity out of it even then!  Yes, it's a great song ... but NOT one we need to hear four or five times a day ... for nearly 40 years!)
So today we're going to feature another Top Ten Hit that deserves a spin once in awhile.  (kk)