Every day from now until Spring, I will play a song from each year from 1940-2020. I’ll also write a little bit about the song and why I chose it to represent that year.
My brother and I had the same first crush. And we didn’t even know what she looked like. I just remember my mother saying she had such a nice voice, shame she wasn’t very pretty. But her comments just rolled off me like Teflon. I had her voice in my ear so it was all over except the crying. If I had to rank my favorite chartreuse it would be a four-way tie with a huge number of ladies in second place: Aretha, Patsy Cline, Eva Cassidy and of course Karen Carpenter. I got chills just by typing her name. That voice. So warm, tender, innocent and beautiful. As a young child who was too naive to understand the world of the adult, I still felt like if I ever grow up and blessed to experience love, it has to be something like this.
I would be remiss not to mention the talents of the much underrated Richard Carpenter. His gift for writing and arranging gave his muse a rich tapestry of finely crafted songs worthy of her gift. While Richard wrote some of The Carpenter’s biggest hits. My personal favorite of their catalog came from Leon Russell. “Superstar” had been recorded by Russell but there’s something amiss about a man singing about a groupie. Having Karen sing the song, it put a different spin on the song entirely. It became a song about a lost soul who longed for someone they never really ever had. I also like how under Richard’s arrangement the last chord doesn’t resolve but is diffident and discordant. The song doesn’t give the listener a happy ending. Probably because the lady in the song didn’t have one. As you may have deduced, I was a melancholy child but my first crush was there for me. And still is. I wish she were still here. But it’s just the radio.