UK Version (1994): Catalog number: 540 251-2 (also Canada)

1. Without a Song (a capella version)
2. Sing (1994 remix)
3. Bless the Beasts and Children (1985 remix)
4. This Masquerade (1990 remix)
5. Solitaire
6. When I Fall In Love (1990 remix)
7. From This Moment On
8. Tryin’ To Get the Feeling Again
9. When It’s Gone (It’s Just Gone)
10. Where Do I Go From Here?
11. Desperado (1994 remix)
12. Superstar (1991 remix)
13. Rainy Days and Mondays (1991 remix)
14. Ticket to Ride (1973 version – reversed)
15. If I Had You (1989 remix)
16. Please Mr. Postman (1991 remix)
17. We’ve Only Just Begun (1985 remix)
18. Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (1989 remix)
19. Little Girl Blue
20. You’re the One
21. (They Long to Be) Close to You (1991 remix)


US Version (1995): Catalog number: 31454 0312-2

1. Without a Song (a capella version)
2. Superstar (1991 remix)
3. Rainy Days and Mondays (1991 remix)
4. Bless the Beasts and Children (1985 remix)
5. This Masquerade (1990 remix)
6. Solitaire
7. When I Fall In Love (1990 remix)
8. From This Moment On (1994 remix)
9. Tryin’ To Get the Feeling Again (1995 cleanup)
10. When It’s Gone (It’s Just Gone)
11. I Believe You
12. Reason to Believe (1987 remix)
13. (They Long to Be) Close to You (1991 remix)
14. Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (1989 remix)
15. Little Girl Blue
16. We’ve Only Just Begun (1985 remix)


INTERPRETATIONS’ main theme is a collection of songs not home-brewed by Richard Carpenter, but rather the group’s interpretation of others’ material.  Initially released in the UK and Canada in October of 1994, the album was re-worked for a US release in 1995, both claiming to be part of a 25th anniversary celebration.  The reason for Carpenters fans to rejoice with this release is the inclusion of three “new” tracks.  “Without A Song”, an a capella performance from the TV show MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC,  “From This Moment On”, a studio recording from the same TV show (this arrangement heard earlier on the live Palladium release), and a finished-off recording of a long-forgotten work-lead from Karen of “Tryin’ To Get the Feeling Again,” originally recorded for the HORIZON sessions, mislabeled, thought lost, and found on the “Only Yesterday” multi-track master tape being used for the karaoke release.

The “Without A Song” segment is nice, but sounds unfinished, which it is. As part of the TV special, Karen & Rich performed this a capella introduction which was then completed by guests Ella Fitzgerald and John Davidson. A completed version, recorded entirely by Karen & Richard singing the others’ parts was apparently done in the studio at the time, but saved for release on AS TIME GOES BY.

The real treat here is the recording of “Tryin’ To Get The Feeling Again,” the David Pomeranz song familiar as a Barry Manilow release.  The Carpenters’ arrangement uses the full version of the song as originally written by Pomeranz. A close listen will reveal the sound of a page turning between verses, as this was only a work lead. It remains a mystery as to why this excellent song and arrangement wasn’t chosen for HORIZON. It has been pointed out that for the 1995 version of INTERPRETATIONS, further work was done on Karen’s lead (demo) vocal, eliminating some mouth sounds inherent with close microphone techniques.

The UK/Canada release of the album (540 251-20), arrived in stores in 1994 featured 21 tracks, as opposed to the now-common US version with 16 tracks.  The longer track list includes “Sing”, “Where Do I Go From Here”, “Desperado”, “Ticket To Ride”, “If I Had You”, “Please Mr. Postman”, and “You’re The One” while not including “”I Believe You” and “Reason To Believe.” In 1999, for the 30th Anniversary on the A&M label, the UK released INTERPRETATIONS in the Remastered Classics series (as “Digitally Remastered”). Though it had the black label with the red printing like others in the series, there’s no sonic difference between it and the 1994 version.

One other difference between the two releases is that “From This Moment On” was remixed for the US release with a re-recording of Richard’s piano part in stereo. The earlier version was taken straight from the mono recording for the TV special (although never used in the show).

Most of the other tracks here appear in remixed form.  Exceptions are “Solitaire”, “When It’s Gone”, “I Believe You”, and “Little Girl Blue” which are the original mixes.

Two “improvements” happened between the original UK/Canada release and the US release. Richard re-did his piano part for “From This Moment On” in stereo for the US release. There was also a bit of tweaking of “Tryin’ To Get The Feelin’ Again” where some of Karen’s close-mic’ed mouth sounds were eliminated.

The UK also got to hear the improvements on “Tryin’…” as their CD single and 45, released later in 1994 (December), used the new updated tweaks.

INTERPRETATIONS also served as the title to a video release the same year, which featured somewhat different titles from the album.


Liner notes by Richard Carpenter (transcribed by A&M Corner’s newvillefan, aka Stephen)

Without A Song (a capella version)
Karen and I recorded this 1929 standard in February, 1980 for the opening segment of our fifth ABC Television Special: “Music, Music, Music”, which aired the following March. If it seems a little short, well…it is; the complete version used in the special continued with guests Ella Fitzgerald, John Davidson and accompaniment by the Nelson Riddle Orchestra and Chorus. Remixed on June 9, 1994. Engineer: Roger Young.

In early 1973, Karen and I were guesting on an ABC television special: “Robert Young with the Young”. Also guesting were Arte Johnson, Sandy Duncan and a group of the “young”. One of the songs featuring the cast was “Sing”, originally written for “Sesame Street”. Karen and I thought the song could be a hit (most of our associates thought we were nuts) and selected it as the debut single from our Now And Then album. Remixed on June 9, 1994. Engineer: Roger Young.

Bless The Beasts And Children
Producer/Director Stanley Cramer contacted us in early 1971 regarding the possibility of our recording the title song of his new film. We met with him in Las Vegas – where we were appearing – and after listening to the demo, agreed to record this beautiful song. Originally released on the “flip side” of “Superstar”. Additional recording and remix done in 1985. Engineer: Roger Young.

This Masquerade
A great Leon Russell song that has become a modern day standard. I originally heard it on Leon’s Carney album and felt it was a natural for Karen. Remixed in 1990. Engineer: Roger Young

Originally heard on Neil Sedaka’s album of the same name and a hit for Andy Williams in England. One of Karen’s finest performances.

When I Fall In Love
One of the greatest songs ever written. Victor Young’s melody to “When I Fall In Love” was introduced in the 1951 war film One Minute to Zero. The timeless lyric was added by Edward Heyman and the song first became a hit when released by Nat “King” Cole. This version was recorded in 1978 along with “Little Girl Blue” for our third ABC TV special: “Space Encounters”. Only one ballad could be used for a particular scene and “Little Girl Blue” provided the more suitable of the two. We subsequently featured “When I Fall In Love” in “Music, Music, Music”. Remixed in 1990. Engineer: Roger Young.

From This Moment On
J.S. Bach’s Prelude No. 2 from “The Well Tempered Clavier” somewhat interpolated to accept this Cole Porter classic. This clever treatment is the work of Ken Welch, who with his wife Mitzi, re-vamped our stage show in 1976. Recorded in February 1980 (but not included in) “Music, Music, Music”. Remixed June 9, 1994. Engineer: Roger Young.

Tryin’ To Get The Feeling Again
Karen and I recorded this track in January 1975, during the Horizon sessions. We did not include it in that album release, as we felt that set ultimately featured an adequate amount of ballads. For some unknown reason, the title was never catalogued, and over the years Karen, Roger and I assumed it had been inadvertently discarded. On November 29, 1991, while remixing tracks for the Japanese “Karaoke” album, we found the title on the multi-track tape containing “Only Yesterday”. The impending release of Interpretations provided an excellent reason for me to orchestrate and complete the production. Strings were recorded on the 31st of May 1994. Roger and I mixed the selection on June 6. Karen’s flawless performance of the song is a “work lead”, solely intended to familiarize bassist Joe Osborn and drummer Jim Gordon with the melody. (One can hear the lyric sheet being turned over by Karen as she segues from the end of the first chorus into the second verse). For this reason alone the lead would have been re-recorded had we decided to complete production in 1975. Certain sections of the lead would also have been “doubled” hence the “effect” used in the mix. Karen sings the lyrics as originally written by David Pomeranz. Barry Manilow, who subsequently had a hit with this song, asked that some words be changed for his interpretation. I continue to marvel at the talents of Karen and engineer Roger Young. This track sounds as though it was recorded yesterday. I find it hard to believe that nineteen years have passed since we first began recording on this song.

When It’s Gone
I was “hooked” on this haunting song upon one listening of Randy Handley’s demo. An ideal song for Karen’ style, and an arranger’s dream.

Where Do I Go From Here?
A lovely Parker McGee ballad. Recorded in 1978. Mixed in 1989. Engineer: Robert De La Garza.

When this timeless ballad was “pitched” to me by a publishing representative, I hesitated, as two fine versions were already in release (by the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt, respectively). After listening to Karen sing it however, I changed my initial thinking. Remixed on June 9, 1994 for reasons that would bore the listener. Engineer: Roger Young.

Late one evening during the period in which we were recording our third album, I happened to tune in the “Tonight Show”. Bette Midler, then relatively unknown, was guesting on this particular show and sang “Superstar”. I felt the song could be a hit and was a natural for Karen. Remixed in 1991. Engineer: Roger Young.

Rainy Days and Mondays
“Rainy Days” was submitted to me in a stack of demos from Almo/Irving, two of A&M’s former publishing concerns. Two of the songs impressed me: “Let Me Be The One” and “Rainy Days and Mondays”. Both were recorded and the latter was selected as our fifth single. Additional recording done in 1985. Remixed in 1991. Engineer: Roger Young.

Ticket To Ride
I happened to hear the Beatles’ “Ticket To Ride” being played as an “oldie” one day early in 1969 and upon hearing it this particular time, decided the tune would make a nice ballad. We chose the resulting recording as our debut single. Released in October of 1969, it remains one of my favorite Carpenters’ recordings. In 1973 Karen re-recorded her drums and lead vocal on the track for its inclusion in the Singles 1969-1973 album. (Karen was not satisfied with her original performances). Guitars were added at the same time. This is the 1973 version.

If I Had You
For personal reasons, I decided to go on hiatus for most of 1979. Karen, not wishing to remain idle during this period, chose to record a solo album with producer Phil Ramone. As Phil is based in New York, much of the recording was done there, with the remaining work done in Los Angeles. To make a long story short, the album, completed in early 1980, was not released. “If I Had You” is my favorite from the solo album. I remember Karen calling me from New York and relating how much effort was required to perform this imaginative vocal arrangement. As the listener can hear, it was worth it. Remixed by Richard Carpenter and Robert De La Garza in 1989. Engineer: Robert De La Garza.

Please Mr Postman
“Please Mr Postman”, a Motown classic, was originally a number one hit for the Marvelettes in 1961. It was subsequently recorded by the Beatles. Karen and I had always liked it and considered recording it for some time. Listening to the basic track of this song can be a fairly boring experience, as it consists of only four chords repeating themselves. Our engineer, Ray Gerhardt, upon first hearing the track, hated it and thought we had taken leave of our senses. Of course as more was added to it, the recording took shape and Ray ultimately just disliked it. Released in the fall of 1974, “Postman” was a smash worldwide. A simple but magical song. Remixed in 1991. Engineer: Roger Young.

We’ve Only Just Begun
This title has become our “signature” song. Karen and I had met Roger Nichols and Paul Williams (the co-writers) around the time we signed with A&M. Already familiar with their work, we came to know them, and Paul’s singing, as he would occasionally stop in and sing with us while we rehearsed on the A&M Sound Stage. Around the time we were recording the Close To You album, I took notice of a TV commercial for the Crocker Citizens Bank. A “soft sell” campaign, it featured a young couple getting married and driving into the sunset. The song, expressly written for the commercial, was “We’ve Only Just Begun”. It caught my ear immediately. As the commercial featured Paul’s singing, I assumed it was a Nichols/Williams song and spoke with Paul on the A&M lot shortly thereafter. Paul informed me that I was correct and that the song did indeed have both a bridge and a third verse (I was curious as the “ads” contained only one or two verses). Upon hearing the demo I was convinced the song could be a hit and went into the sound stage – where we were rehearsing, to work out the arrangement. The single was released in August of 1970. Additional recording and remix done in 1985. Engineer: Roger Young.

Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft
I heard this song on the debut album of KLAATU – a talented group of Canadian studio musicians who were heavily inspired by the Beatles and named after the purposeful alien in the “sci-fi” thriller The Day The Earth Stood Still. Always looking for something novel, we decided on it for our Passage album and ended up immersing ourselves – and 160 musicians and singers – in the biggest “single” recording we ever attempted. Incidentally, there was no actual “World Contact Day”, as we have been asked many times. Maybe in the future… Remixed in 1989. Engineer: Robert De La Garza.

Little Girl Blue
Written by Rodgers and Hart for the musical “Jumbo” (1935), this poignant standard was one of arranger Peter Knight’s favorite songs. He was particularly delighted to pen this arrangement for Karen, who interprets the song as if to the genre born. Remixed in 1989. Engineer: Robert De La Garza.

You’re The One
This beautiful Steve Ferguson ballad was recorded (sans bridge) by Jennifer Warnes. Our version was recorded in 1977 during the Passage sessions, but not included in that album. Mixed in 1989. Engineer: Robert De La Garza.

(They Long To Be) Close To You
Burt Bacharach had heard our version of “Ticket To Ride” not long after its release and had mentioned to Jerry Moss that he liked it. Jerry told Burt that the artists also recorded for A&M. This led to our being asked by Burt to arrange a medley of some of his tunes and open the show at a benefit for which he would be performing. The performance – for the Reiss-David Clinic – took place on February 26th of 1970. During the time I was selecting tunes for the medley, Herb Alpert asked me if I was familiar with a little-known Bacharach/David song named “They Long To Be Close To You”. I was not. Herb gave me a lead sheet of the song and after working up an arrangement, I decided against it for the medley. With some subsequent “urging” from Herb, however, we decided to record the song on its own. Several recordings were made until everyone concerned (especially Herb) felt it was right. Prior to its release on May 15th of 1970, Herb asked us how we thought the recording would “go over”. I remember answering it would either hit number one or “stiff” completely. No in-between. (“Ticket” had peaked nationally at 54). Thankfully the former proved to be true and the release of “Close To You” (I had presumptuously taken it upon myself to shorten the original title) marked the turning point in our career. Remixed in 1991. Engineer: Roger Young.

Additional Tracks (US 1995 Version):

I Believe You
In addition to recording Christmas Portrait in 1978, Karen and I recorded several other selections, including this lovely song written by the Addrisi Brothers.

Reason To Believe
Karen and I recorded this Tim Hardin classic in 1970 for our Close To You album. It remains one of my favorite Carpenters recordings. Remixed in 1987. Engineer: Roger Young.