Single by The Carpenters
from the album Carpenters

Front cover scan of The Carpenters' single, "Superstar".

B-side "Bless the Beasts and Children"
Recorded 1971
Released August 12, 1971
Length 3:46
Genre(s) Pop
Producer(s) Jack Daugherty, The Carpenters
Record label A&M Records
Letter (Make Your Own Kind of Music) K, for Karen Carpenter
Tracks from Carpenters

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"For All We Know" (5)

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"Druscilla Penny" (7)

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Singles by The Carpenters

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"Rainy Days and Mondays" (1971)

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"Hurting Each Other" (1971)

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Screenshot from Gold: Greatest Hits (1985)
Superstar - Gold
A screen capture of Karen singing "Superstar" on a promo video

"Superstar" is a song composed by Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell in 1969. Released in 1971, The Carpenters's version of "Superstar" peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at #2, and it became one of their signature songs.

Song HistoryEdit

The song was originally recorded by Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett and Mad Dogs and Englishmen, in the works under the titles "Groupie (Superstar)" and just "Superstar," but neither version came to prominence.

Similar to the origins of "We've Only Just Begun," Richard had found inspiration for "Superstar" on the television: Bette Midler had been performing the song during her appearance on The Tonight Show in 1970. With "Superstar" eagerly arranged and recorded, it was featured on the Carpenters's "Tan Album," Carpenters, in May 1971.

Richard described how he was unsure of whether to release "Superstar" as a single:

I was vascillating between "Superstar" and "Let Me Be the One," being concerned that the lyrics to the former were a little unconventional for a Carpenters record. Jerry Moss,[1] who strongly believed in "Superstar," felt I was worrying needlessly, and made up my mind for me.

The line in the second verse, "And I can hardly wait to be with you again," originally read, "And I can hardly wait to sleep with you again." The lyric change in the song turned "Superstar" into a standard, allowing more artists to record it more comfortably; however, the change has also provoked some criticism as a "bowdlerization" that caused the loss of the song's original, much more risque and racy, meaning. Nevertheless, Karen's powerful vocals and Richard's melancholic arrangement kept it a classic piece.


  • Karen recorded the vocals for "Superstar" in one take, with Richard having purportedly scribbled the lyrics on a napkin.
  • Luther Vandross, Usher Raymond IV, and Ruben Studdard subsequently recorded versions of "Superstar," as did Sonic Youth, which last has always drawn rather unlikely inspiration from Karen's and Richard's materiel.

References Edit

  1. Jerry Moss was Herb Alpert's business partner in founding the A&M Records label, to which the Carpenters had been signed.