by Lawrence J. J. Leonard
How much fun is it to point at the TV and say, “There’s my boyfriend/ girlfriend.” We see people in the malls, driving by, and even in our schools and can instantly fall in love. Sometimes there are chance meetings at clubs and shows or concerts. What happens if we meet a rock star and they are nice enough to make us feel special?
If a girl or a boy ‘falls in love’ in this way we call them silly. If an adult does this, we call her/ him a groupie. Even if we fall in love with a famous musician who we meet by chance, it is usually not a long term thing, We might think less of that musician if they break someone’s heart. This seems to be the theme for a 1969 song written by Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell and Delaney Bramlett.
This was the same year that Karen Carpenter (1950-1983) formed The Carpenters soft rock band with her brother Richard Carpenter. She was the drummer and lead vocalist while he was a pianist and arranger. The band released hit songs that touched on all manner of hopeful relationships. Their star power generated five #2 singles and three #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song, originally called the ‘Groupie song,‘ became one of the most famous melodies by The Carpenters and also an international sensation. The way Richard arranged the orchestra seemed to showcase sobbing horns, a broken beat, and a rainy piano accompaniment. Fans said it really felt as if you were someone who was “in love” with a popular itinerant musician. It is not always easy to accept that the one we love is ready to move on and not as invested as we are.
The song “Superstar” was released just three months after the May 1971 album “Carpenters” was in the stores. It was their third studio album and reached Number 2 as an album. The song hit #2 on the Billboard charts. It was a Top 40 hit in Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and the UK. Fans applauded the sad nature of the melody and Karen’s mournful rendition.
Unfortunately, critics of her pioneering nature focused on Karen’s weight and bullied her into an anorexic state. She died in 1983 from heart failure due to complications of her eating disorder. So, in a way it is ironic that we sing along with her about her loss when we lost her in the end. Letting go of the grief we have while mourning a loss is a sign that we are mentally strong enough to accept our lives as they are and get stronger.
Lyrics written by: Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell and Delaney Bramlett
Long ago and oh so far away
I fell in love with you before the second show
Your guitar, it sounds so sweet and clear
But you’re not really here
It’s just the radio
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
Loneliness is such a sad affair
And I can hardly wait to be with you again
What to say to make you come again
Come back to me again
And play your sad guitar
Copyright © 1960-2017 Lawrence J. J. Leonard All rights reserved.