We’ve Only Just Begun

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Something for the weekend.  We’ve Only Just Begun (1970) sung by the brother and sister duo of Richard and Karen Carpenter.  It was the second million dollar single by the Carpenters and was considered by them to be their signature song.  It was played endlessly on the radio in the Seventies but I never tired of hearing it.  It has been said that personal suffering can lead to great art.  I don’t buy that, but Karen Carpenter could be put forward as an example by a proponent of the theory, although I suspect that Miss Carpenter would have had a much happier, and much longer, life if she had never sung a note in public.  Art sometimes demands far too much from an artist and that was certainly true in her case.

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11 Comments

  1. Karen Carpenter was also a very skilled drummer.

    What an audience usually doesn’t understand is that performers make many mistakes. The mark of a good musician is his ability to hide his mistakes.

  2. Something for the weekend. We’ve Only Just Begun (1970) sung by the brother and sister duo of Richard and Karen Carpenter. It was the second million dollar single by the Carpenters and was considered by them to be their signature song. It was played endlessly on the radio in the Seventies but I never tired of hearing it.

    IMO, 1970s adult contemporary is agreeable compared to much of what came after, but can’t say as I liked it at the time. Lynn Anderson and Vicki Lawrence cadged more interesting songs.

    I don’t buy that, but Karen Carpenter could be put forward as an example by a proponent of the theory, although I suspect that Miss Carpenter would have had a much happier, and much longer, life if she had never sung a note in public. Art sometimes demands far too much from an artist and that was certainly true in her case.

    A performing career has odd rhythms and some unattractive side features (though careful performers – e.g Joe DiMaggio and Johnny Carson – have been able to avoid certain disagreeable aspects of fame). That may have injured her. Then again, I suspect creativity is correlated with certain personal shortcomings, and that even if she’d never performed, she’d have had to tangle with those shortcomings and attempt to defeat them. (And, yes, I’ve seen slow motion suicides up close and personal, by women who had no such creativity and more reason than she did to stay alive).

  3. “Art sometimes demands far too much from an artist and that was certainly true in her case.” DM

    I wondered about the agent and his/her self seeking interests at the physical and mental expense of the performer. Not necessarily the Carpenter’s, however Elvis and his non stop road to mega stardom. Ending of course in self implosion. It seems that the schedules that are hatched to secure fame and fortune come at an incredible price.

    btw…..the brother and sister team wrote some incredible songs and scores.
    Endless play on the radio stations…I remember listening in on a transistor radio, battery powered and 18 inches of antenna. Hand strap came with it. Not an option.
    🙂

  4. Elvis and his non stop road to mega stardom. Ending of course in self implosion. It seems that the schedules that are hatched to secure fame and fortune come at an incredible price.

    Not sure at what time, in the interval between 1955 and 1977, Elvis Presley had sufficient interest and dividend income to fix his work schedule to what was optimal for his well-being, but I’d wager it arrived well in advance of his death. A modest two bdrm townhouse in Nashville could have done passably for a man who was unmarried for all but about six years of his adult life, instead the 10,000 sq ft. mansion with fourteen acres of grounds on which he splurged at age 22.

    As for Karen Carpenter, her gross interest and dividend income ca. 1980 would have been $200,000 a year or more. Steely Dan managed to make a passable living as studio musicians who did not tour, don’t imagine she did not have that option. And she certainly could have gotten by without quaffing ipecac and laxatives.

  5. A PBS offering for donations spotlighted Elvis throughout his career. He loved to preform. His warm up’s with his back up singers was moving. Gospel hymns.
    His beginnings, his talent wasn’t his but on loan to him from his Lord. That’s what I took away from the short segment.

    Graceland. (?)

    I’m not sure what to make of it.
    He had a deep love for his mother.
    Maybe it was for her.

    Regardless. He lived his life sharing that talent. He’s still showing up after all these years! Funny following.

  6. A PBS offering for donations spotlighted Elvis throughout his career. He loved to preform.

    Wayne Newton also loves to perform and is still doing it at age 77. He’s had his pratfalls in life (divorce-and-remarriage, financial mess worked out in Chapter 11), but he’s managed to maintain himself in passable health. Carrot Top also loves to perform. He’s led a truncated life (childless bachelor), but hasn’t generated any scandals and remains phenomenally energetic at age 54.

  7. Carrot Top. (?)

    I didn’t realize he was still working in show business. It’s true..we don’t get out much. Nature lovers. Our backyard is National Parkland. Sleeping Bear Dunes.

    Carrot Top is welcomed. Many Indian casinos to choose from. Wayne Newton probably has another ten years to go. He does love to preform and is incredibly talented. Facelifts are amazing.

  8. Carrot Top is welcomed. Many Indian casinos to choose from.

    He does tour part of the year, but mostly works one particular hotel in Las Vegas – six or seven performances a week. He builds his own props and has collected a warehouse full of them over 35 years. He also makes time for a demanding physical fitness regimen. But, no family.

  9. I don’t think there’s any comparison between Bobby Darin and Elvis. The former was, at least at his best, a crooner, while the latter was a rockabilly and a gospel singer. Both were great within their respective genres.

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