Song Review by Ed Hogan

Though she may not have known it, Bette Midler was an A&R/music publishing person's dream. Her appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson served as a kind of demo session in the sense that other singers would listen intently to whatever she sang and, in some cases, actually end up recording the songs. The Carpenters' Richard Carpenter was watching when she sang the Leon Russell/Bonnie Bramlett song "Superstar." He thought that the song would be perfect for his sister Karen Carpenter. He'd found "We've Only Begun" in a bank commercial during another late-night viewing session. Produced by Jack Daugherty and included on the gold LP Carpenters, "Superstar" went gold, going to number two pop and number one adult contemporary in the fall of 1971. Richard received a Grammy nomination for Best Arranging Accompanying Vocalists. The single's B-side was the title theme of the Stanley Kramer movie Bless the Beasts and the Children and charted number 26 adult contemporary and number 67 pop. Midler recorded "Superstar" as the B-side of her "Do You Want to Dance," a Top 20 pop single in late 1972. Other covers included Luther Vandross' 1984 Top Ten R&B/pop-charting medley of "Superstar"/"Until You Come Back to Me" and the Aretha Franklin hit "Until You Come Back to Me." While "Superstar" was climbing the charts, the Carpenters hosted the NBC summer series Make Your Own Kind of Music with Al Hirt and Mark Lindsey.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Carpenters 1971 A&M 3:52
Classics, Vol. 2 1987 A&M 3:46
From the Top 1991 A&M 3:45
Interpretations: A 25th Anniversary Celebration 1995 A&M 3:48
Tommy Boy (Music from the Motion Picture) 1995
Original Soundtrack
Warner Bros. 3:47
Love Songs 1997 A&M 3:50
Singles 1969-1981 2000 A&M 3:46
Gold: Greatest Hits 2000 Import 3:49
The Essential Collection [1965-1997] 2002 A&M / Universal 3:50