With a stunning voice and a sparkling personality, Carole Gordon has been wowing audiences up and down Britain with her wonderful production “Voice of the Heart – Karen Carpenter”.
For eight years Carole and her husband Bob were voted “Britain’s Most Popular Act” by The British Country Music Association, and ahead of her visit to The Elgiva next month, we chatted to Carole about her life in song and what draws her to the music of the late Karen Carpenter.
Carole has had a rather varied career; one of her particular highlights is the time she and her late husband Bob spent supporting Tammy Wynette on many of her sell-out tours in the UK.
“Also, we were proud to represent Great Britain in Nashville USA at The International Fanfare,” recalls Carole.
“Singing live on BBC Breakfast Time and hearing our music feature on Radio 2 was also very memorable. We were also part of the popular Sing Country show on BBC2 and sang live at The International Wembley Festival.”
Carole and Bob set up Full House Productions in the early 1990s to run both “The Carpenters – Voice Of The Heart” & “Forever In Blue Jeans”.
Touring these productions as well as starring in them gave them a real insight into the industry, and they ran every aspect of the company together.
Sadly, Bob is no longer with us, having passed away 7 years ago from cancer of the oesophagus, but his presence is still felt in the shows.
“As well as running our production company together for over 20 years, we had worked on stage both as an act plus running the business for 30 + years,” says Carole. “In The Carpenters show Bob was both producer and bass player.
“Leading up to his death Bob played in the shows until he could no longer stand there on stage, but he insisted I carry on with the tour. I wasn’t keen on working without him as I felt I couldn’t handle it on my own. However, he insisted I carry on throughout his illness and ultimately his passing… His actual words were that if I stopped singing, or indeed running the business, he would come back and haunt me! He meant it in the nicest possible way of course!”
Post pandemic, Carole says she is loving performing again, although it is bittersweet.
“I have to admit that many of the sad songs in the Carpenters production now reflect my own experience in the words and the melancholy, “Particularly Yesterday Once More” and “Goodbye To Love”,” she tells us.
“However, I also now find hope in such songs as “We’ve Only just Begun” and hope that I may be lucky enough to find love again.
“I’m definitely not a sad person; thanks in part to the courage and strength of Bob in his last couple of months, I have resolved that life is too short not to enjoy and be thankful for every day we have in this exciting world of ours.”
Karen Carpenter died in 1983 at the age of just 32, having succumbed to heart failure due to complications from anorexia nervosa.
Carole is committed to doing justice to Karen’s legacy in her show, and says that her music will continue to live on.
She says: “Karen has been gone such a long time but her music continues to live on forever more.
Sir Paul McCartney has said that Karen had “the best female voice in the world: melodic, tuneful and distinctive” and Sir Elton John called her “one of the greatest voices of our lifetime.”
And Carole agrees. “Her product was timeless and I guess that’s why she’s still played on the radio today,” she says. “Their harmonies were way ahead of their time. I’m sure she’d be just as popular today if she were still around.”