Only Yesterday: The Carpenters' Story (2007) Movie Script

Karen and Richard Carpenter looked like well-scrubbed youngsters from middle America
who've come up with a sound the public likes - lightning striking a fortunate pair.
# Don't you remember you told me you loved me, baby... #
There was something magical about the way Richard and Karen worked together.
That's the beginning.
# Sharing horizons that are new to us... #
Karen Carpenter could sing the phonebook and it would sound good!
Her voice was like a piece of silk.
Patsy Cline was the closest to me. Both of them shared the same emotion.
And it was struggle and depression.
# I'm on the top of the world... #
When she was forced out from behind the drums to the front,
she didn't enjoy it at all.
# ..I can find... #
I think that Richard and Karen both could have extremely viable careers today,
had some different decisions been reached then.
# Every... #
All of our success came from the records.
You don't forget the records and go touring around the world.
She was the most truthful person I think I've ever met.
But she lied like a trooper about the anorexia situation.
# Only yesterday... #
Every now and then, we throw that word around - "it". That person has it.
Well, she had the "it" whatever the "it" is! She had it.
# And it's the way Only yesterday... #
The story began in New Haven, Connecticut,
with Richard and Karen being born into a typical suburban middle-class family.
I was born with an interest in music.
By the time I was two-and-a-half or three, I was
interested in the records that my dad was playing.
He had quite an extensive and eclectic collection of 78s which I wanted to get at.
# Here's what a world
# Is waiting for this summer... #
Les Paul and Mary Ford probably had the biggest impact on me...
well, with anybody,
because of the over-dubbed sound.
With these four switches, I can take Mary's voice and multiply it.
And with this switch right here, I can take the one guitar and multiply it into an orchestra.
Right there, by the time I was four years old - left such an impression on me.
And I couldn't figure... I knew it was Mary Ford.
Mary's voice...
# All alone... #
Two voices...
# Of you I'm dreaming... #
So I asked my mother, "How do you do that?"
What's my mother going to say? Nobody knew, except at that time,
Les and Mary and a couple of people in the business!
So it was like, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Practice. My mother said, "She practises."
# All night long... #
So I'm going around the house at four or five years old going...
# Mm-mm-mm... # ..trying to get all these voices to come out.
And later I learned.
# All night long... #
Karen, when I think back on it, would be downstairs and she'd sing it.
And, boy, did we take to it - Karen and I! The whole multi-track thing.
# And all the stars there never were
# Are parking cars and pumping gas... #
My mom wanted me to have piano lessons and I just didn't like it!
So, after a year, it was mutually agreed between my folks and the teacher -
"He really doesn't seem to have much talent or interest in..."
But several years later, all of a sudden, I'm picking things up by ear and I found I could...
- this kind of stuff
all on my own and play by ear. And so by now, my parents said, "We need to find him another teacher."
I think Agnes was a great mom. I think she knew what she wanted for her children.
I think she had insight for Richard.
And I think she loved her children dearly.
During the summer, the windows are open, everybody's outside playing in the street,
and Richard would be playing his musical scales up and down the piano.
At that time, I really didn't have any ideas of where I was going.
But he had always wanted to be exactly where he is.
He had ideas but I didn't know I could do anything.
I think Richard's parents, Agnes and Harold, were beginning to
feel that Richard really had talent, and there's two places you should go if you have musical talent -
either New York or California.
# If everybody had an ocean across the USA... #
So, in 1963, the Carpenter family took off in search
of the American dream...
# Californ-i-a... # a land that was fast becoming a place of free spirits, open hearts and a vibrant music scene.
TV: 'Their parents brought them to California years ago to have them near the centre of show business.'
There, they saw it in him, like you'd imagine, but...
- I didn't do anything!
- Till she got to California, two years after we got there.
The story is that they moved here to further my career,
but the number one reason was my Dad wanted to get the hell out of the cold.
And I was right with him!
# Everybody's gone surfin'... #
We never regretted making this move but Karen wasn't so happy.
She had a bunch of friends back there. It turned out there was a heatwave the first Christmas,
so she didn't like that.
But she got over it.
Richard soon established himself as a local talent,
and joined the college choir playing piano.
It was in my first year of college, that I'd gotten to know a fella named Wes Jacobs,
who turns out to be a tuba major,
but I found out he could play upright bass.
I was just taken immediately by his talent.
And we got together shortly after that,
me with my bass, and Richard on the piano.
And we experimented to see what we could do together.
Karen was fascinated with the drumming,
cos I said, "You can get out of phys-ed if you're in the marching band."
Karen did not want to be in phys-ed.
And I wanted also to get out of geometry cos I just don't get it!
And when I got into marching band, I immediately fell in love with the drums.
Richard mentioned that his sister, who was still in high school at the time,
was learning to play the drums, and perhaps we could form a trio.
'The Carpenter Trio...'
The Richard Carpenter Trio went on to win the prestigious Battle Of The Bands Contest at the Hollywood Bowl.
And an RCA talent scout intrigued by their rock-tuba sound,
offered them a record deal.
I was a budding A&R man myself, and I knew damn well rock tuba was going nowhere!
And we cut the four sides and - a committee, you know, a committee listened to them,
and of course said, "Erhhh!"
And that was it for our deal with RCA.
# We'll be in Denver
# Dancin' in the street... #
Every now and again I'd ask Karen to sing.
And she'd do it almost under duress.
# Oh, it doesn't matter what you wear
# Just as long as you are there... #
Karen was a little hesitant actually about singing,
and I think for some period of time, she really wanted to play the drums.
The breakthrough, in a way, this is the key I wrote it in,
was one called You'll Love Me.
- The melody was...
# They say we're too young to ever know a love... #
- It happens to be right...
And out came that sound.
# And I'll know you'll stay-ay-ay
# And I know you'll love me... #
And I heard it... Oh!
There's something here. There is something here!
Karen started singing by then.
And we added some people we had met at college, and started this group called Spectrum.
Spectrum's line-up included Richard's college friend, John Bettis.
And a creative partnership soon developed.
Richard was so noticeable because of his talent, for one thing.
He was an amazing pianist then as he is now.
So everybody knew who Richard was.
# Yesterday I thought you'd stay... #
Karen was having a whale of a good time. It was really play-time, in a way.
A lot of hard work, but we were all together, there was a lot of laughs, a lot of fun, a lot of music.
Renowned West Coast musician Joe Osborne had long supported Richard and Karen,
letting them record in his garage studio and helping them refine their sound.
He was also a very important studio bass player and also close friends with The Mamas & Papas.
# All the leaves are brown
# All the leaves are brown
# And the sky is grey... #
And so he, for some reason, had access to The Mamas & Papas' equipment.
And we got a possibility to do an audition for a private club in Los Angeles called The Factory.
And so we were very excited, and we didn't really have proper equipment.
So Joe allowed us to borrow The Mamas & Papas' equipment.
It had white-stencilled on it "Mamas & Papas"!
Mamas & Papas! Mamas & Papas!
So we were on stage doing our best to stand in front of it!
And who walked in, but Cass Elliot?!
We were so busted!
# California dreamin'... #
By mid-1968, a string of rejections had taken their toll on Spectrum.
And tensions started to build.
I mean, the guys quit because we couldn't get a recording contract.
We went around for about a year trying to get someplace.
And zero, so everybody went their own way.
So Richard formed The Carpenters with sister Karen.
# Don't be afraid to love and get loved... #
In mid-'68 we made this demo. It ended up on Herb Alpert's desk.
And he heard the potential and that was it. We signed with A&M in April 1969.
# It knows how to make you sing... #
Usually I just close my eyes when listening to a new tape,
and I did on this occasion,
and all of a sudden this amazing voice came out of my speakers.
And it seemed like it was sitting next to me on the couch.
It was a real special...
God-given, you know, instrument that I had never heard quite like that before.
# You need cooling, baby I'm not fooling... #
You have to understand that at that time, the world was turning into serious rock'n'roll.
And here were these amazing kids
doing this incredible pop material.
Some say, "I think you kids are out of sync with your time, with the soft sound..."
Oh, sure.
- "..the rock noises were at their highest."
- Yeah, yeah.
We were in the era of Stones, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, whatever.
That was the problem. We had a whole bunch of people who were hairy rock fans.
And if their mum liked The Carpenters, then you weren't going to like them.
Most of the people at A&M didn't want us there.
And they were trying to talk Herb into cutting his losses and just letting them go.
But I always felt that they had that special ingredient,
because they were so unique in what they were doing.
They were so honest about what they were doing.
I thought it was just a matter of time before before the audience would catch up to them.
I was 22 and Karen was 19.
And we were given carte blanche.
# I think I'm gonna be sad
# I think it's today... #
The first album yielded the ballad version of Ticket To Ride
which is mighty good and got on the charts at least.
A&M was going through a rough period in 1969,
probably the worst year in their history.
# He's got a ticket to ride... #
It sold substantially enough and got enough airplay,
that it definitely deserved another shot.
# He's got a ticket to ride
# And he don't care... #
What they obviously needed was a great song,
and an arrangement, a production that would really present them in a great way.
The search was on for the next song, and Herb Alpert turned to A&M song writer, Burt Bacharach,
for that crucial chart-topping hit.
Herbie said I have a record, but I don't want you to hear it, I don't want anything to influence
your arrangement except, after the first bridge, there are two quintuplets - piano.
One octave and then down an octave.
So in our key, which turned out to be G, it would be...
# Why do birds suddenly appear
# Every time you are near
# Just like me they long to be
# Close to you... #
This thing took shape.
And we started adding things to it. People were doing what they weren't supposed to do -
studio protocol, and etiquette and all of that -
you were not supposed to push open a door and walk in the recording studio!
But people were - they'd push open the door and say, "What is this?
"I've never heard anything like this! This is sensational!"
# On the day that you were born The angels got together
# And decided to create a dream come true
# So they sprinkled moondust in your hair
# Of gold and starlight in your eyes of blue... #
When it's done, Herb plays it down the phone to Burt,
and...well, smash!
# ..all around
# Just like me
# They long to be close to you... #
It came in at 56, 37, 14, 7, 3, 1.
Then it stayed there for a month.
It was just one of those things you hear, and you say, "What did I do to deserve this?"
# Wah-ah-ha-ah
# Close to you... #
When the wah came on, they went, "OK, that works."
# Wah-ah-ha-ah... #
I was driving along on a street in Connecticut, had the radio on,
and I heard them singing Close To You - their first big hit.
I almost hit the telephone pole.
Wow, that's Karen and Richard. Oh, it's beautiful.
The nominees are...
Simon and Garfunkel for Bridge Over Troubled Water,
Carpenters for Close To You,
The Beatles for Let It Be.
It's all of your dreams coming true. You can't put it into words. It's so exciting.
It's Close To You!
Er...We still can't believe we even had a record out!
You go from having time on your hands to not having enough time in the day.
Wait, wait, wait!
That's enough. These days with The Carpenters, nobody can afford the overtime!
Looking for a follow-up to Close To You, Richard knew of an A&M writing team -
Roger Nichols and Paul Williams - whom he particularly admired.
Paul would drop by and sing with us when we were rehearsing in the sound stage,
so I was well aware of his voice.
# We've only just begun
# To live... #
This really good commercial comes on.
I knew it was Paul immediately, which means it's a Nichols/Williams song.
And I'm thinking, "This sounds like a hit record to me."
A bank commercial fell out of television set.
# We've only just begun... #
Richard just heard it and he was on the phone, probably before the programme went back on, saying,
"Is that a whole song? Please tell me that's a whole song!"
So I saw Paul and I said, "This song - We've Only Just Begun - does it have a bridge in the third verse."
"Yes, it does."
# We start our walking and learn to run... #
I mean, "Oh, I can't wait to get this out. This is a hit."
# We've only just begun
# To live
# White lace and promises
# A kiss for luck and we're on our way
# We've only begun
# Before the rising sun we fly... #
That was the sky-diving moment for Richard.
That was like, when he got... When he caught that, it was like, "Great!"
Because that was a gift from the gods to have We've Only Just Begun laying there.
# And yes we've just begun... #
Well, as soon as Close To You was on its way down,
Begun... And that became the wedding song for a generation.
As the records continued to sell, A&M struggled with marketing the wholesome brother-and-sister duo.
Richard always said he liked the phrase, "Goody-four-shoes!"
Not goody-two-shoes,
even though it was indeed making fun of how squeaky clean their image was.
They did wear sweaters, they did have schoolboy haircuts,
they did sing nice songs.
And she did do needle-point, you know!
It ain't very rock'n'roll.
And A&M records, not to their credit, played that up even more with the artwork and the album covers.
They just didn't know how to package us.
I really put up a fuss over the Close To You one,
because it was a rush-job.
And management said nothing about it and to this day,
that thing is still in print, thankfully,
because it's a good album but it is one crappy cover.
Their image on the album covers was not the only problem.
They realised Karen's own presentation needed some work.
# Love, look at the two of us
# Strangers in many ways... #
Richard and I tried desperately to get her away from the drums.
And that's something, early on, we had to work on,
because she wanted to drum and sing.
People did not want to see her behind the drums.
She was only 5'4", she had this huge drum kit
and it was tough to see her.
# Aaaaahhhhhh... #
She was very, very happy being Richard's sister
and not being the star of the group.
She had no desire to stand up and be out in front.
Very shy
and she found her ground, literally, behind that drum set.
And when they finally said,
"You're gonna go out front and hold that microphone,"
I think she was terrified the first few times.
# ..I knew you well
# For only time... #
So I made a deal with her.
For the ballads, she would stand up.
# ..And love may grow for all we know... #
You sat at the drums all the time, now you're standing more.
Do you miss sitting back?
Yeah, they finally got the message across to me
that they wanted me to get up.
I was the only girl in the group so they were looking at me.
I've never felt it was a coincidence that Karen played the drums.
So when she was forced out from behind the drums to the front,
she didn't enjoy it at all.
But it was a must.
She couldn't... she HAD to be out front,
that's where people wanted to see her.
This was the voice.
# Talking to myself and feeling old
# Sometimes I'd like to quit... #
There's so many singers that you turn to one another and say,
"Was that so and so?"
Karen Carpenter sang two notes and you knew exactly who it was.
# ..Rainy days and Mondays always get me down... #
She'd be rehearsing a song in the car
and you could barely hear her voice.
# ..What I've got they used to call the blues... #
But then you'd do into the studio
and you'd hear her sing it on a microphone
and the microphone loved Karen Carpenter's voice.
It was like velvet.
It was like something I've never, ever heard before.
# ..Rainy days and Mondays always get me down... #
She had an incredible tone in her voice,
it was rich and full and it was barely a whisper
but it sounded really strong.
# Long ago
# And oh so far away... #
You cannot touch that emotion today. There's no way. There's nobody.
There's nobody out there that's touching that.
Patsy Cline was the closest. To me, both of them shared the same emotion.
And it was struggle and depression.
# Your guitar... #
You saw this fabulous girl out front singing the songs with such emotion,
but, again, through her vulnerability,
she really felt those lyrics.
And so to watch The Carpenters, that's what you were getting -
the most incredible interpretation of wonderful songs.
# Don't you remember you told me you loved me, baby
# You said you'd be coming back this way again, baby
# Baby, baby, baby, baby Oh, baby
# I love you
# I really do
I can't sit here after all these years
and tell you she actually lost herself in it.
Karen could walk in and sing a lot of these things just in one take.
I feel that there was something bigger going on,
that we probably will never know what was going on
because that voice had too much soul, too much heartbreak, too much pain in it
to be just an insecurity.
# Loneliness
# Is such a sad affair... #
Karen and I were at a restaurant in Los Angeles
and Karen and I were walking out having had dinner
and John Lennon was walking in
and as he drew up to us, he stopped
and just looked at her and said, "I wanna tell you, love, you've got a fabulous voice,"
and just walked on.
She was absolutely incredulous about it.
She couldn't believe it. "He couldn't have meant it. Did he mean it?"
I said, "Well, of course he meant it.
"This was Lennon. Why on Earth would he stop to tell you you've got a great voice if he didn't think so?"
But she had a problem believing it, she really did.
We would ask her to come and sing at a charity event a cappella.
She was never comfortable doing that
and that's because she wanted Richard's arrangements and Richard there
and I feel like I don't think she knew just what a raw, beautiful, melodic voice she possessed.
She wanted to have it surrounded by the expertise of her brother.
For all the beauty of Karen's voice,
ultimately Richard was the key behind The Carpenters' unique sound.
# After long enough of being alone... #
There are many songs that they did that I thought were quite amazing.
I think it comes down to the way they were arranged.
Richard had a lot to do with the way the orchestration worked.
# The pain I was going through... #
Richard was and is an astonishing instrumentalist.
A great tune-writer.
Richard had this magic gift of not only WRITING great songs,
but knowing where to find great songs and how to pick them out.
# Maybe you can't see how much you mean to me... #
Richard kind of ranks right up there with Brian Wilson to me.
He had the same kind of perfectionism
and really did some interesting things with the productions and the arrangements he put together.
# And when I hold you
# baby, baby, feels like maybe things will be all right... #
Are the songs technically... Can I sit down and play them?
Yes, they are easy-breezy.
But could you match it and beat them? Absolutely not.
# Only yesterday when I was sad and I was lonely... #
As the hits kept coming, the demand for new material was high
and Richard asked A&M Records to find his old college friend and music partner,
whom he'd not seen since the Spectrum days.
I knew I'd see them again, you know what I mean?
I was very proud of and for them and I just had this instinct
that we would do lots of stuff together.
The first single and a hit that he and I put together was Goodbye To love.
# When you hear a real hepcat... #
Late at night, we were home from the studio and they were running an old Bing Crosby film
and Bing played a ghostwriter to the successful Basil Rathbone, who was going through a dry spell.
Nothing will ever quite come up to Goodbye To Love.
Ah, I wrote that myself...
I mean, er... That really came from my heart.
Rathbone's most famous song is called Goodbye To Love.
You never hear it, they just refer to it. "Oh, he wrote Goodbye To Love."
It's no use, Willy. I haven't been able to write a good song on my own since Goodbye To Love.
And I heard that title and pictured...
..the opening, "I'll say goodbye to love, no-one should ever care if I live or die."
That's all the lyrics I came up with but I like the...
# And all I know of love is how to live without it
# I just can't seem to find it
# So I've made my mind up I must live my life alone... #
Constructing the arrangement to Goodbye To Love,
I, er, pictured something that was a little off the beaten path,
two things that ordinarily don't go together, which would be a melodic fuzz guitar solo.
I didn't think it was a good idea but what do I know?
It's a soft ballad
and nobody had ever put rock'n'roll guitars on a ballad.
We heard it on the radio and we were all up in Richard's room listening
and then the DJ said, "And there's The Carpenters doing a Jimi Hendrix song."
They just had to make cracks about it.
The DJs couldn't help themselves cos it was so odd.
Richard actually got hate mail
based on the fact that he'd sullied The Carpenters by using a fuzz tone electric guitar.
We actually wrote Goodbye To Love on one day and Top Of The World on the other.
It was a good two-day period!
# On top of the world looking down... #
It was 1973 and The Carpenters were "on top of the world"
while America was in turmoil, with troops being pulled out of Vietnam
and President Nixon was on the road to impeachment.
# Your love's put me at the top of the world... #
Being asked to perform at the White House is not only a thrill but indeed an honour.
Their success was not only domestic.
They were now truly international superstars.
To come to a foreign country,
it's really hard for you to think
that somebody who's never seen you ever
can automatically spot you, you know?
But with the strain of being in the spotlight and a relentless schedule,
the cracks were beginning to show.
She definitely, as she was a little older,
began to worry about the weight thing.
I can remember Karen reading and being hurt by quotes.
I don't know if they said "Cherubic", "plump". I said, "Why does that bother you?"
And she said, "But it never leaves me."
And it became a real monument for her.
Karen stayed so basic.
She wanted the white picket fence.
She just wanted to get married, have children, be cooking Thanksgiving dinners
and that was her real goal in life.
But then she got into this early success
and then you're driven and you want more success
and you have to perform and you have to keep on the merry-go-round
and I think that took its toll on her eventually.
You're on the road a lot. You work, what, six out of seven days most of the time?
- Just about, yeah.
- When we go out on tour, it's seven days a week.
The amount of touring in '74 was nuts.
It wasn't only all of Vegas and Tahoe,
it was also the UK and it was Japan and it was nutty.
When the hell you gonna make an album?
Richard, I think to this day, feels like he toured too much.
Test one, two, test. Richard Carpenter.
Somebody listen to me.
I think it was partly their own desire
to realise upon this great opportunity that they had.
They'd been working towards this for so many years.
We had been so laser-focused on success
and once it came, we knew that you could not let it go.
And, er, our personal lives were kinda over there
and that left a huge hole.
They had a manager and an agent who frankly profited greatly from booking them.
It wasn't very smart.
All of our success sprang from the records
so you don't forget the records and go touring around the world.
I don't think he was ever truly happy on the road
because once there was an audience,
the audience obviously loved and adored Karen.
There was tremendous love and respect between the two of them,
but I think Richard was jealous.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Richard Carpenter.
'You couldn't go and explain to the thousands of people every night'
who were sitting out in the audience, "I wrote this. I produced it."
What they came and they saw is, "She's singing it."
He looks like a piano player back there,
even though we had lights on him and all of that.
# Learning all the latest records From the radio by ear
# And I was dreaming I'd be famous when the big surprise appeared
# She was a five foot four tornado
# A pair of drumsticks in her hand... #
I think it bothered Richard that his contribution wasn't recognised
as much as it should have been.
Because he really was the force.
They did go around the roses at times but I think the relationship was really sweet. It was tender.
I think they admired each other.
You never saw such support in your life between artist and producer
back and forth as you did with those two. And it paid off.
# Stop! Oh, yes Wait a minute, Mr Postman
- # Wait
- Wait a minute, Mr Postman
# Please, Mr Postman Look and see... #
Where earlier I said I was tripping over the songs,
I wasn't tripping over them so much any more.
It was getting harder and harder to find really good ones.
# There must be some word today
# From my boyfriend so far away... #
To be honest, Richard procrastinated writing.
He'd have ideas but wouldn't force himself to sit down and flesh them out.
I didn't feel comfortable saying, "We've gotta write a song!"
# If there's a letter in your bag for me... #
And of course we were human and the bloom was off the rose.
It wasn't as exciting as it was when it all first happened.
It wouldn't be for anybody.
By 1975, the constant touring and studio work
had taken their toll on Karen's health with visible effect.
I hadn't seen them in a while. I was away for the summer
and when I got back to the States, I went to Las Vegas to go see them
and I was quite appalled at what her appearance was.
She had lost considerable weight.
She was normally loaded with energy
and in Vegas, she was having to have a lie down between shows, which is not like her,
and of course she was too thin
and she'd come out in what she thought she looked great in
and the audience would gasp.
- It's The Carpenters!
- # Stop
- Oh yes, wait a minute, Mr Postman
- # Wait
- Wai-ai-ai-ait, Mr Postman
- # Mr Postman, look and see
- Oh yeah... #
Usually it was Richard or I, Richard mostly,
who would convince her not to go out without putting on a jacket
because she had gotten so thin, there were truthfully people who came up to me
and were convinced that she had cancer.
# If there's a letter A letter for me... #
We just thought she was being compulsive in her dieting and in her exercising.
We would always encourage her to eat and if we were all out to dinner,
she would have a habit of saying, "This is delicious. Taste this."
And she'd put it on your plate. Before you knew it, she had put food on other people's plates
and she wasn't eating very much.
# Stop! #
We all knew that something was wrong,
but we just didn't know what we were dealing with.
They were supposed to then go immediately to Japan
and I really didn't see how she could even survive such a trip, you know.
Literally, it was bad. She was rather gaunt.
Our secretary of many a year, Evelyn Wallace, happened to read an article on eating disorders.
It mentioned anorexia nervosa. She brought it to our attention,
we looked at it and said, "This looks like it."
# There's a kind of hush
# All over the world tonight
# All over the world
# You can hear the sound of lovers in love
# You know what I mean
# Just the two of us... #
You had two people in The Carpenters -
Karen Carpenter, who was killing herself with anorexia
that no-one in her family would recognise or do anything about
and Richard Carpenter, falling further and further into a world of Quaaludes.
# Whisper in your ear "I love you"... #
There was a sleeping pill at the time.
Not being a party animal, I didn't know it was being used recreationally.
It was prescribed by my doctor and taken properly, it was damn good,
but it had a side effect of making you a little bit high is what it did
and I kind of enjoyed that at the end of the day
and it got out of hand after a few years,
certainly by '76/'77, I was in trouble.
# It isn't a dream
# The only sound that you will hear
# Is when I whisper in your ear
# I love you... #
It didn't help that that was going on at the same time Karen was experiencing her problems.
That meant both of them in their own way were chaotic.
Instead of getting a little bit annoyed that somebody did this thing
you'd be raging because somebody did that thing.
Things came to a head between Richard and his manager
while on tour.
# You can shout 'We're all brothers'
# And even pretend... #
They were playing in Las Vegas. Neil Sedaka was the opening act,
The Carpenters came on afterward.
And Tom Jones had come from the hotel he was working in to see the show.
# ..For love is surrender You must surrender if you care... #
When there's a big entertainer who comes to the show,
the headliner - in this case, The Carpenters -
would introduce them.
Well, stupidly, Neil Sedaka, the opening act, introduced Tom Jones.
Because of that, I'm fired, he fired Neil Sedaka that night,
and subsequently Neil Sedaka fired me for putting him together with The Carpenters!
In need of a new manager,
The Carpenters turned to impresario Jerry Weintraub.
Jerry's plan was to take the duo in a different direction, with their own television special.
People are always asking why Karen plays the drums.
I can answer that in two words -
why not?!
But Richard still wasn't happy.
Mentally, I wasn't in the mood to be doing these things once we finally got one.
# And we'll have fun, fun, fun Now that daddy took the T-Bird away... #
And, secondly, I didn't want anything with skits, I didn't want canned laughter. I hate that.
Karen, on the other hand, just loved all of this stuff and... so she took to them.
By this point in time, when it came to the specials,
they really should have been Karen specials, because what do you do with me?
I'm a behind-the-scenes guy.
He was so nice about it, Richard was.
It didn't bother him how much screen time I gave her,
because he knew, by that time, that she was the star.
As I was walking to my car in the parking lot after the show,
Mrs Carpenter sidled up to me and said, "Bob, wasn't Richard wonderful?"
I had to stop a minute because...
for MY two cents' worth, that show would be remembered
for Karen Carpenter's vocalising.
# Are we really happy
# With this lonely game we play?
# Looking for the right words to say... #
I think Richard had been "the favourite" or the golden boy
while they were growing up
and, as a result,
she developed these feelings of low self-esteem and self-doubt.
# My funny valentine... #
Despite Karen's insecurities, the shows were a huge success.
But, for Richard, the sleeping tablets were causing serious problems.
I was getting to a point I couldn't even sign my name,
I couldn't play the piano worth a damn...
It was do something or die, is what it was.
So, with great support from family and friends,
I went off to a rehab.
January 10th 1979.
- How is he?
- Well, he's coming along. I talked to him last night.
He feels a little better. What actually happened, seriously,
two days before we were going to come over, he caught himself a real nice case of the flu...
I said to her, "Karen, I don't know why all of this has happened and it doesn't much matter.
"But I'm here taking care of my problem -
"it's time you face up to yours."
And I remember saying, "We can go into the '80s the same way we went into the '70s.
"We have our talent, our record know, we can set the world on fire again."
Ignoring Richard's pleas, Karen would not be deterred from her plan to record a solo album.
When she called, she wanted my blessing. "I can't go do this unless I know that you're behind it."
I said, "Other than the fact that I don't think you're well enough to do certainly have my blessing!
"I know this is something you want. Not that it's any of my business,
"but do me one favour - do not do disco!"
Disco was hot. "You are not cut out to do disco. This is not you."
Top New York record producer Phil Ramone took on the challenge of producing Karen's solo album.
It was an interesting challenge.
I did not want to go down the road of having an outside Carpenter producer,
which would be ridiculous for her and for me,
and tackle things that she really was too comfortable in.
# My body keeps changing my mind Keeps changing my heart... #
Well, they played it for the powers that be in A&M.
Both Gerry Moss and Herb Alpert - and Richard - were in the control room.
And it was quite silent... the end of like three or four cuts,
and she's looking at me and I'm ready to bite my nails and I'm not sure what's going on...
It was rather negative, shall we say.
We didn't think it would get a really great reaction and...
we didn't want to have Karen go through that.
It's been reported through the years that I put the stake through it...
or our mother came in and said, "Absolutely not."
It's all poppycock!
It was all up to Karen and she listened to all the people whose opinions she respected
and it was her decision...and she said, "We're not putting it out."
And that was the end of that.
If there was this lack of support and it wasn't the right move,
she would rather be known as The Carpenters, and it was easier to put on the shelf.
Work finally began on the next Carpenters' album.
But for Karen, a new distraction was just around the corner.
# As a child I was known for... #
Well, we'd hardly gotten started on that in 1980, when she meets...this fellow...
Tom Burris.
# ..Like a child... #
He was a dashing real estate man and he had lots of personality and she was so happy.
# ..Finding answers to my prayer... #
I never dreamed that two months later, they'd be married.
It was a whirlwind romance
and they got married on August 31st of 1980.
# ..It's a new day for those good old dreams
# And it's all because of you... #
She was very anxious to be married, but she picked the wrong guy.
It was the first time I'd been attracted on the first date.
Usually, you open the door and you go, "Argh!"
- But from then on, it...
- Degenerated.
I was worried about it and discussed with her the fact that there was some issues,
but she was determined.
I know that Karen's mom Agnes, and Harold, tried to counsel her that, you know...
you do have to be careful when you are in the arena that you're in,
that you marry someone that's not just after money or fame.
He had a jet plane and he had a boat and, er, lived lavishly.
At the end of the day, there was really nothing of financial substance left.
Even like the influence that her family had or that I had...
And he didn't treat her too well.
Ultimately, I think he reached the conclusion that the marriage was not successful
and wanted it terminated. And she agreed with that.
It was obviously a tough time for her
because with the marriage not working out and...
her being painfully thin, she had to know by this time that something was wrong.
# Such a feeling's coming over me... #
Richard talked to her about it. She went to New York to be in the care of a self-styled doctor.
TV: 'Steven Levenkron treated Karen Carpenter for anorexia...'
He said, "For all you know..." in so many words, "..when we get to the bottom of what this is,
"Karen may find out that she doesn't even enjoy being a singer."
And I'm thinking, "Bull-shit!"
# ..Is the love that I've found
# Ever since you've been around
# Your love's put me at the top of the world... #
I think the idea that she would never sing again was an exaggeration.
The sentiment was that she would like to be able to choose what she does.
But she probably would have loved to sing to some extent,
she just needed more say in who she was and how it all happened.
# Play us a song we can slow dance on
# We wanna hold each other... #
She came back out in April for a visit.
I mean, so thin!
She wanted to cut a few songs. She sounded marvellous - it didn't matter what shape she was in!
# ..Touch me when we're dancing
# You know you've got that loving touch... #
Karen headed back to New York, but her condition deteriorated
and she was admitted to hospital weighing just 5 stone.
Here she is and I'm saying, "Karen, this is crap! Don't you understand?!
"You're going about this all the wrong way.
"This guy isn't getting anything accomplished cos you're in the hospital!"
When you don't know what's wrong with someone you love, usually, your reaction is to become afraid
and, when we get afraid, we quite often cover it with anger.
Unfortunately, putting her on the defensive would not have helped.
It doesn't usually help obsessionals.
There were rumours that you were suffering from anorexia nervosa.
No, I was just pooped. I was tired out.
She was the most truthful person I've ever met about almost everything.
But she lied like a trooper about the anorexia situation.
- You went down to about six stone in weight, didn't you?
- I have no idea what six stone in weight is!
- It's very difficult to work out! About 84lb...
- No.
- No?
- No.
The doctors said to be more physical, grab Karen and tell her you love her.
Maybe, you know, she needs to hear that more.
And her mother was very hurt by that.
She loved Karen very deeply
and it just was very hurtful to hear doctors say, "Show her love."
By Thanksgiving, she's decided she wants to - of '82 -
she wants to come home.
We were just so glad to have her back, but we didn't feel that she was in any way a lot better.
We really differed with the doctor, I guess, on that point.
She had marvellous eyes. The eyes are the window to the soul.
I could see in her eyes that she was not well.
I reported this to our long-term financial advisor, who is still with me today,
and it got back to Karen who found out where I was - shopping, one particular evening.
When I walked out of the department store,
here's my Jaguar and here's her Jaguar. Oh-oh!
This is trouble! If she sought out where I am, then there's trouble!
And, oh, she read me the riot act!
"I supported you and you should support me!" And so on.
I said, "Karen, I'd support you through anything if I felt you were doing the right thing,
"but I can look right into your eyes and tell that you are not well!
"The only reason that I am raising red flags to the folks
"is because I believe you are still sick and I love you."
And am I glad I said that! Within weeks...
she was dead.
The last time I saw her, it was actually two days before she died,
she had come to my office
to review her divorce agreement...
from her husband.
And, er, it had to be revised in a couple of respects
so we made a date to sign it on Friday which was the day she died.
Karen Carpenter died today of cardiac arrest. She was just 32 years old.
A spokesman for the family said that Miss Carpenter had battled anorexia nervosa for years.
Anorexics are compulsive dieters, sometimes to the point of starvation.
No-one actually dies from anorexia nervosa -
it's complications due to. But it doesn't much matter in my book.
She wasn't treated properly and that's all there is to it.
An autopsy failed to determine the cause of death of Karen Carpenter.
She died in California today at the age of 32 of cardiac arrest.
A coroner says it could take weeks to find out why she died.
I don't think we'll ever know what killed Karen.
I do agree with everything I've read that she didn't want to die. She wanted to stop the way things were
and I think she desperately wanted time for herself to think about
what she wanted out of her life. She felt she didn't have what she wanted.
But I do wish Karen had been here now because we know so much more now.
It wasn't that she had bad treatment, there wasn't enough knowledge.
# When I was young I'd listen to the radio
# Waiting for my favourite song... #
She was and will always be well loved and well remembered.
I will always love her voice.
Her legacy is going to be around for a long, long time.
# ..Those were such happy times
# And not so long ago How I wondered... #
I was picking up a gift this morning at the mall and heard a song that she was recording while we were dating
and just... I just got goosebumps.
It's still difficult after all this time.
# ..Every sha-la-la-la Every woh-oh-oh
# Still shines... #
To me, nobody can touch Karen Carpenter's emotion.
That was from another... that was another place, another time.
# ..Starting to sing... #
This is a very sad day and, at the same time, a very special and beautiful day for my family and I.
My only regret is that Karen is not physically here to share it with us.
However, I know that she is very much alive in our minds and in our hearts.
# ..It's yesterday once more... #
I certainly miss her.
We all do. The whole world does.
She's the greatest singer that ever lived and I got to play with her!
# ..Every sha-la-la-la... #
There's no stigma about liking them now. There's no stigma
about saying the Carpenters are fabulous. It's such a shame that Karen's not around to see that.
# ..Every shing-a-ling a-ling... #
To me, they are musically so superb,
they deserve to be a major part of the history of our industry..
# ..All my best memories... #
I get chills. I still do. Their music is so beautiful and what I love is that, er,
Richard is still able to have that success today
and impart it to his children and enjoy life.
I just wish that Karen were able to be in that position as well.
# ..Every sha-la-la-la
# Every woh-oh-oh
# Still shines
# Every shing-a-ling a-ling
# That they're starting to sing's so fine
# Every sha-la-la-la
# Every woh-oh-oh
# Still shines
# Every shing-a-ling a-ling
# That they're starting to sing's so fine... #