Mike Ragogna: Do you remember exactly what happened on April 22nd, 1969?
Richard Carpenter: A fellow who had been representing us as a manager in his off hours, Eddie Sulzer, worked his tail off pushing our demos. Through him, and quite a convoluted trail, the tape went from one person to another to another…then, finally, to Herb Alpert. After a few months had passed, when we heard it was a “go,” we were handed a contract with the instructions, “Please take this to a lawyer,” and it was your basic, standard record contract. We did, and finally had our appointment. We drove over in Eddie’s car–his ’61 Ford–and met in Jerry’s office. They called the graphics department, Jim McCrary came over with his camera, and we took the picture. Then Eddie said something like, “You think we could meet Herb?” So Jerry arranged it, and Herbie came out and said, “Hi. Let’s hope we have some hits.”
MR: What do you feel was your contribution to music through your records?
RC: Along with the gift of Karen [Carpenter]’s voice, musical and impeccably made examples of American pop.
MR: And Karen’s vocals, especially on tracks like “Superstar,” were unusually intimate for the era.
RC: So many people have said to us, “We can understand every word to your songs,” which, with all the pop and rock records at the time, was difficult to do. When we were mixing, I remember saying, at least once, “Just a little more lead.” The engineer looked at me and said, “More lead?” I made it a point to really feature Karen’s voice. She was born to be recorded.