As usual I have had my head stuck in a book. Reading when I should be doing so many other things like finishing the re-write of my bio, learning a new song, or planting the flowers I bought last week that are still sitting patiently on my front porch. My latest distraction is Randy Schmidt’s Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter. I’m about a quarter of the way through it and I’m finding it quite fascinating. I don’t read books like this as cautionary tales, or to “learn” anything about the music business. I read them because I love to hear people’s stories, to find out how someone becomes who and what they are. Karen Carpenter was an extraordinary talent who managed to make a lasting impression on popular music while fighting to overcome her own personal demons.
Her voice was distinctive, there was not and is not another singer that could be mistaken for Karen Carpenter. Sherwin Bash who was involved in managing the Carpenters is quoted in the book about the first time he heard Karen …there was one thing that I thought was very, very special. It was a girl’s voice that I’d never heard anything like before and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything like since…This was an exceptional voice that was totally identifiable. Listening to that voice for the first time, I knew that radio could never submerge it, camouflage it, or confuse [it for] anybody. That voice coming out of that radio would be immediately identified for the ages. Yet, singing came accidentally. She was a drummer first and had to be forced to take center stage as a vocalist.
I don’t remember consciously the first time I heard her voice; it seemed it was always around. I do remember my parents had the Close to YouAlbum and I spent more than a little time dancing around the living room and singing along to it hair brush in hand. I also remember that Crescent Noon was my favorite song on the album. Apparently even at ten my penchant for dark ballads was well established.
Needless to say that today my inner DJ has been stuck on Crescent Noon and Superstar. It is nice to have something so wonderful lodged in my brain for a change!