Why Karen Carpenter Songs Should be Banned from Karaoke Bars in the Philippines

Call it “writer’s block,” call it old age, call it what you want. But occasionally I draw a blank when it comes to posting new articles for this website, “Philippines Plus.” Listen, I’ve started three posts already this morning on my Word Press platform and I’ve sent them all to the trash. “Justified” comes on in one hour and I’m stymied. So don’t be surprised by the title of this particular offering: “Why Karen Carpenter Songs Should be Banned from Karaoke Bars in the Philippines.” 


photo source:fanpop.com

Regular readers of this website will not be shocked by this title. I’ve been known to publish an offbeat post a time or two (or three.) This comes naturally to a person who admittedly doesn’t always follow the PC Police or the  WWJD, What Would Jesus Do?, crowd. I don’t know it for a fact, but I’m pretty sure that my Savior wouldn’t approve of banning anyone’s songs from a karaoke bar, unless those tunes belonged to Justin Bieber (and isn’t it swell that Selena Gomez and “The Bieber” are back together again?)

OK, in full disclosure, I have to admit I never liked The Carpenters.  I grew up in the radical decade of The Sixties and worshipped Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison of The Doors, and Janis Joplin.  

Yeah, I know they’re all dead now, along with Karen Carpenter (brother Richard’s still kicking around.) Karen passed away at the age of 32 from heart failure due to complications with her anorexia.  But I never could stomach (no pun intended) the sickening sweet lyrics of this group, a personal favorite of President Nixon (side note: If Mr. Nixon would have been a politician in the Philippines, he never would have had to resign in disgrace. He could have just lived in some plush hospital suite, be hand fed grapes by gorgeous Filipinas in skimpy outfits and occasionally don a neck brace for public appearances.)


Photo source: www.musicradar.com

I have never gone with my buddy, The Tom Cat, now back in the States,  Papa Duck, or my asawa to sing karaoke in Guimaras, our island provincial home, without someone belting out one or two (or more!) songs by The Carpenters. Alas, The Tom Cat’s true love, LenLen, was guilty of this. Sweet girl but, The Carpenters, come on!

In fact, if memory serves me correct, Papa Duck’s Asawa Anne sang a Karen Carpenter song during their visit to Guimaras in May. Nice lady, but again, The Carpenters?

And you can bet that when my wife got together with her Filipina friends back in the States and cranked up the ol’ Magic Sing, I would be subjected to a ton of songs by the saccharine sweet duo. 

What is this fascination with The Carpenters in the Philippines? Why the obsession? Is it because many Filipinos are themselves so thin and can relate to the singer (I’m not including the beefy kids supported by OFW relatives, Overseas Filipino Workers,  stuffing their pie hole with a Champ Burger at the local Jollibee while checking their Facebook accounts on their smart phones.)  

I don’t know. I just wish Karen Carpenter songs would be banned from karaoke bars in the Philippines because no matter how many bottles of San Miguel Pale Pilsen I consume, whenever I hear “On Top of the World,” it still irritates me.

Won’t happen? You never know. Maybe I could start an online petition on Facebook and get her songs banned. Look,  Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” has been banned in some KTV’s in the Philippines.  It’s reported that at least six people have been killed in karaoke bars after singing Frank’s signature song. Some got snuffed because their attacker said they sang off key. And you thought I was harsh. 

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

18 thoughts on “Why Karen Carpenter Songs Should be Banned from Karaoke Bars in the Philippines

  1. I feel your pain Dave. We were the Hermano y Hermana for our town fiesta not to long ago and had one of those Filipino food fests at our house. (kind of a thanksgiving for our retirement and the house being done etc.) To include a Videoke machine. It might be just me but is seems that Filipinos just love only songs that have at least a three octave change in the melody that would challenge Mariah Carey. Thank goodness I kept a pair of ear plugs from the army. 😉

    1. Your musical knowledge far exceeds mine, Scotth H: “three octave change” Good thing you kept the ear plugs. Why in the world I didn’t bring mine from the States, I don’t know. Wouldn’t have taken up much space in our balikbayan boxes we shipped. ❗

  2. Journey – Don’t stop Believing…. It’s still the number 1 played karaoke song here… Help! Stop believing now and end the torture 🙂

  3. Dave,
    Luckily Anne doesn’t sing Karen Carpenter on the Karaoke I got her at SM or I may have regretted it. Nothing like listening to Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath or Boston while drinking some cold SMB. Enough said lol.

  4. Top of the World is one of my favorite songs to sing and one of the even fewer I’ve been known to sing (more or less) Karaoke. I didn’t really follow The Carpenters, I was listening The Statler Brothers, Marty Robbins, George Jones, Barbara Mandrell, Loretta Lynn .. well you get the gist.
    Here at home they still sing “My Way”. No fights yet. For some reason these relatives like a lot of that era music.

    1. Songs from that era are popular here, also, John J. Not many folks will pick out country music songs but if I can find “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down” on the playlist, I always give it a whirl. I listened to country music five years straight as I had a part-time job as a DJ on a country station in Springfield, Il. Got to know all those classics pretty well. My favorite? No contest. Johnny Cash

  5. I know what you mean as I went to see Boston years ago in California.
    Every party we go to here has a lot of food and way too much singing. When I was last in the Philippines we were always singing the house of the rising sun–the song of every garage band when I was a teenager in Northern California. For fun we have been having garage sales–sold most of my power tools and lots of there junk from the garage. 120 volts would not do too well plugged into 250 volts. Still too much junk left over where did it all come to be in my house.. You thought your thought process was on a ramble how about me..lol.

    1. Don M, I always sing “House of the Rising Sun,” also. It’s one of the songs I remember from my high school years many, many decades ago.

      I wish I would have brought my 18.2 Craftsman Cordless drill and the two batteries, however, because I could have recharged the batteries with my automatic voltage regulator I purchased a couple of weeks after we arrived in the Philippines. That drill would have come in really handy here.

  6. I kept the drills (sold the drill press) but sold the old skill saws and my trouble light on a cord–hope to sell a lot more junk over the next two years even sold a smoker that I got from work and never used. Two people and a 2000 sq. ft. house which is loaded with junk which I don’t want to pay 80 dollars a box to ship. Just hope the neighbors don’t freak over all the sales–lol!!

  7. A few ridiculously detailed items about all this.

    First, Mozart wrote opera parts for true contralto voice and could never find one. They are quite rare. Contralto in its purest form is a female voice of extremely low pitch. The applause for female voice range is usually limited to the upper registers, like Julie Andrews. Wide range soprano. Karen Carpenter was a wide ranged contralto. This is a very rare instrument and the orchestral music people knew it for what it was.

    Another tidbit . . . A&M Records was the label that thru its history produced huge names in music that frankly might not ever have bee heard otherwise (check their wiki to see list). A&M would never have survived without The Carpenters. They were teetering in the late 60’s and then along came the amazing cash cow that those two were.

    So . . . if you like The Police, thank Karen.

        1. Thanks for the links, Owen. I did check them out and quite a difference between the first and the last. There is no doubt that Karen Carpenter had an exceptional voice. I noted the Baldwin piano in the first video. My Grandmother, who passed away many years ago, taught piano (including yours truly) and violin. Grandma had a Baldwin piano and that shot brought back some memories. My lessons? I started at age 8 and the lessons continued for a year until my Grandmother was stricken with her many bouts of cancer. She hung on for 30 more years but I, regretfully, did not continue the piano lessons.

  8. When I think The Carpenters I always remember the movie Tommy Boy because in one part of the movie they sing one of their songs cause they don’t want to change the station. Karaoke on the other hand not really my thing, but with a little liquid courage I could see myself serenading the ladies With Odin On Our Side by Amon Amarth. I have until April to nail it,hahaha.

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