Composed by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis, and fiirst released in 1972 on the “Close to You: Remembering the Carpenters” documentary; the song was ispired by a visit to London, where Richard saw an old Bing Crosby 1940 film called Rhythm on the River, where he noticed that they kept referring to the struggling songwriter’s greatest composition, “Goodbye to Love”.
He says `You never hear it in the movie, they just keep referring to it,’ and he immediately envisioned the tune, and lyrics starting with:
I’ll say goodbye to love
No one ever cared if I should live or die.
Time and time again the chance for
Love has passed me by…
He said that while the melody in his head kept going, the lyrics stopped “because I’m not a lyricist“, and he completed the rest of his arrangement upon his return to the US.
Karen Carpenter called guitarist Tony Peluso herself to get him to play on the track. Tony remembers: “At first I didn’t believe that it was actually Karen Carpenter on the phone but she repeated her name again. … It was at this point that I realized it was really her and that I was speaking to one of my idols.” She told him that she and Richard were working on a song called “Goodbye To Love” and they were both familiar with his work with another band (called Instant Joy), and that he’d be perfect for the sound they were looking for.
Peluso first played something soft and sweet, but then Richard Carpenter said
“No, no, no! Play the melody for five bars and then burn it up! Soar off into the stratosphere! Go ahead! It’ll be great!“
Peluso insists this was one of the first, if not THE first, love ballads to have a fuzz guitar solo.
Funny enough, The Carpenters did receive hate mail; claiming that The Carpenters had sold out and gone hard-rock because of Richard’s idea for a fuzz guitar solo in a love ballad! And even some Adult Contemporary oriented radio stations refused to play the song because of it.
Regardless of the controversy, many Carpenters fans today still admire the song for its unique power.