885 Greatest Songs By Women: #4, Carpenters - Goodbye To Love (1972)

It has been written here several times before about the love-hate relationship I have with the Carpenters, the brother and sister duo who achieved great commercial success in the 1970s. While I recognized the rare beauty of Karen Carpenter's voice I also lamented the outright dreck the duo often recorded - especially "Sing," a children's song originally featured on Sesame Street. It didn't complement their more sophisticated work at all - hits such as "Superstar," and album tracks like "A Song For You," and "This Masquerade," both composed by Leon Russell.

The young siblings greatest moment came when they woke up and realized they were making music during what would eventually become the first great era of classic rock. The result was their #7 hit, "Goodbye To Love," released off of their finest album, A Song For You in 1972.

According to the DVD documentary, Close To You: Remembering The Carpenters, their late guitarist, Tony Peluso, said that Richard Carpenter decided to include two fuzz guitar solos in the song that the sideman believed were influential in the creation of power ballads. I believe it's a dubious boast - at best. The late Peluso only took a small amount of credit for playing the notes on the record. He made sure Carpenter received proper accolades because the older sibling was the one with the great idea.

Richard Carpenter - the duo's arranger and keyboard player - said his inspiration for the song came to him while watching the movie Rhythm On The River on TV. It's a 1940 Bing Crosby flick in which he played the part of a composer who wrote a song called "Goodbye To Love." Carpenter said, "You never hear "Goodbye To Love" in the movie, they just keep referring to it."  He wrote the melody and the first four lines, then he gave it to lyricist John Bettis to complete. 

Carpenter said that Karen and he received hate mail for including electric, rock guitar on a love ballad. Regardless, the song is a work to be proud of and it forced me to respect them more than I ever did previously until they ruined it all the following year with that stupid Sesame Street song.

Below is a video featuring "Goodbye To Love" followed by an exert from the DVD where Carpenter and Peluso discuss its creation.