Right-Click to Save I would never, ever perform this song. And I wouldn’t play behind a singer who wanted to do this song. So there. It’s the lyrics – actually only one line that ruined it for me, and that is “Baby, baby, baby, baby, oh, baby”. I mean, come on – somebody couldn’t come up with more words than that for a crucial line in the chorus? I made fun of it for years.
Of course, the Carpenters have the best-known version. It was first recorded by Delaney and Bonnie, who did it in a very “bluesy”style – never a hit for them. Then Bette Midler gave it a shot… no good (must have been that “baby” line). Richard Carpenter heard Bette perform it on the “Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and decided he wanted to cover it. Karen Carpenter didn’t like the tune (had to be that line) but, after hearing Richard’s arrangement, she came around.
I didn’t pay much attention to orchestration before I started writing backing tracks for singers. Now I don’t listen to lyrics anymore. “Superstar” has great instrumentation – violins, piano, french horns, harp, oboe, and an entire brass section. Quite a challenge to work all that in and still have a workable piece for a single performer or small combo. Now I’m gonna rewrite that stupid line myself…… baby.