notes for the next media war
so that's the guy

tony peluso

OK, this is a silly thing to write about, because the audience of 12 that I have for this blog has pretty much all heard the story. But I was listening to a song this morning, and ...

Let me get the first thing out of the way: I don't get the Carpenters. When I think of songs like "Rainy Days and Mondays," "Sing," "Close to You," "Top of the World," and "We've Only Just Begun" ... well, thinking of them makes me wanna puke, but that's better than actually listening to them. What a pile of insipid tripe! I have friends, smart friends with good taste in music ... you know who you are, you're nodding your heads in disapproval as you read this ... who seem to have a fondness for the crap that was the Carpenters, a fondness apparently lacking in irony. I don't share that fondness; like I say, I don't get the Carpenters. Explain to me the excellence of this:

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad
Now, one thing about Karen Carpenter, she played the drums, and that ain't as easy as it sounds. Of course, it was Hal Blaine playing on the records ... you probably don't know his name, but you know his drums, if you've ever heard a Phil Spector production, or a Carpenters record for that matter. Or the Beach Boys (Hal sat in for Dennis Wilson just like he did for Karen Carpenter). Or "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis. Or Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. When you hear "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes: that's Hal Blaine.

But the thing here is, that's Hal on the drums for those Carpenters records, not Karen.

The Carpenters made a bunch of crap records, Richard took too many meds, Karen didn't eat, end of story. But one time in all those years, they actually made a good record. The lyric was surprisingly different from the "sing good stuff not bad" pablum the group usually offered. The sound was different enough to inspire hate mail from their fan base, which should be proof enough that this was a better song than their other garbage. It's to Richard and Karen's credit that they knew a good thing when they (finally) heard it ... Richard liked this guitar player named Tony Peluso, he asked Tony to play a solo on a Carpenters' song, the rest is history. Tony joined the touring band, played with the Carpenters for many years, went on to a career producing music from bands like Cafe Tacuba ... and left the world a present, "Goodbye to Love."

Context is everything. Listen to early Elvis today, or "Tutti Frutti" by Little Richard, and you can still hear the excellence and wonder, but our context is different, we don't really hear the revolution anymore. Little Richard makes sense to us now, so his Tutti Frutti tidal wave is decontextualized. But when it came out, in the context of the pop music of the day, well, that was something. Punk rock emerged from the boredom of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Rap music startled an audience tired of the same old same old.

Well, imagine a world where the Carpenters not only existed, but were immensely popular. A world where "sing, sing a song" actually mattered to people. And then imagine having "Goodbye to Love" dropped into the middle of that world. The lyrics were bad enough:

Loneliness and empty days will be my only friend
From this day love is forgotten
I'll go on as best I can
But then Tony Peluso steps in, with a short solo in mid-song, and then a longer blast to close out the record. And if it wasn't for those two solos, I wouldn't even know who Tony Peluso was, but off he goes, with Hal Blaine pounding beneath him ... and the only crime is that there wasn't a place for Tony on the recent Rolling Stone list of the 100 best guitarists of all time.

And I don't care if the above pisses off you Carpenter fans, or if I sound like a snob, but fuckin' A as they used to say, that solo at the end of "Goodbye to Love" is an inspiration, it suggests that anything is possible, it's the most truly uplifting thing that ever appeared on a Carpenters record, it's the artistic truth in opposition to the sap that was the Carpenters. I think I better play the song one more time ...


Henrietta R. Hippo

Say what you want. The Carpenters were musical geniuses and Karen had the voice of an angel. OK, maybe YOU don't like them, but need I remind you that they have sold 120 million records worldwide and are revered by many acts today. Even Alice Cooper, of all people! I've always said that people who dislike those Carpenters records dislike music PERIOD. Tell me ONE good thing about today's "music" (and I use that term loosely). Go back and listen to another Carpenters album, maybe then you'll truly realize what we've lost-and can never get back. Celine Dion has NOTHING on her.

Henrietta R. Hippo

I also don't know how you can listen to Springsteen! The guy is absolutely tone-deaf and CANNOT keep his voice on key. He's good a writer, I'll admit, but he's got no place behind the microphone. Whoever told him he could sing should have a hearing test.


My mum liked The Carpenters and, when I heard Tony's solo aged 9 or so, I knew that I had to learn to play the guitar, a decision that totally changed my life. I can't honestly say that about many other songs.


Heh, I was going to comment with this on the "Best Guitar Solos in Crappy Songs" post, but this is even better, since you mentioned it.

I went and saw Cafe Tacuba in Fresno a couple of weeks ago, and got their new 3-CD live-set they did in front of 170,000 (yes, that's the right amount of zeros) people in Mexico City. And who produced this? Tony Peluso. OK, so there wasn't really any point to this story, but now that I'm here, I'll give you my .02 on the Carpetners.

Like any other pop act, if you can take them for what they are (shallow, catchy, and, overall, boring), they are good at it. If you are looking for those things, the Carpenters rule. If not, puking is probably a good alternative.

Oh, and ...

"Celine Dion has NOTHING on her."

That doesn't really put Karen in exclusive company.


Steven Rubio

I love shallow and catchy. It's the boring part that gets me.


I absolutely love Tony Pelusos solo it brings the record to life .. I actually bought the record when it came out and learned how to play it almost note for note. There are some clever harmony arrangements on Carpenters records but mostly I find the stuff quite bland. TPs solo is a welcome breath of fresh air .. pretty brave of Richard to let him feature to that extent on what became a single release.

dunno whether you're aware - but Guitarist mag in the UK ran a 100 greatest solos - and guess what came in at number 1?


Like the post above, this track was also my inspiration to learn to play the guitar.

Its stange how this one track and excellent solo stood out above all the other great stuff around at that time, although, again like the post above Karen Carpenter did have the voice of an angel which more than made up for some of the more mushier songs, What am I saying !!!, I love the carpenters !!.

Anyway, like I say, Karen had a unique voice rivalled only by Eva Cassidy (in my opinion).

It's a great shame that both of them are no longer with us.

David Randall

The guitar solo in "Goodbye To Love" is a landmark in orchestration.I was always told that a good solo should be able to be sung, hummed, or whistled. This meets all the criteria. I can hear it in my head any time I choose. Well done Tony!!

Cynthia Michaud

Tony Peluso is my best friend. He loved Karen Carpenter - her voice and her person. So you can be a fan of both with his blessing. He is immensely proud of his work with Tacuba. It's great that you all appreciate him so much. Check out Antonio Carmona and Natalia LaFourcade.

Brian Richardson

I was in the music dept at Long Beach State when Karen and Richard Carpenter were students there. Richard was a borderline genius, and the duo's vocal blend concepts were a combination of Les Paul/Mary Ford harmonic stacking along with the concepts taught by Frank Pooler, the Choir guru at Long Beach State in that era. I totally agree that Tony Peluso's solo was a seminal piece of work that helped elevate 'Goodbye To Love' above the mundane. That said, savvy musicians admire the Carpenters recordings for other reasons: the arrangements are actually pretty hip; the studio musicians (listen to the wind playing, french horns, et al) are among the best on the planet, and Hal Blaine skillfully demonstrated how a creative drummer could propel a saccharine sweet pop song without getting in the way....listen to the melodic tuning of his toms on 'Soltaire,' or 'Goodbye To Love,' as prime examples of a master at work.

Steve Richards

Tony Peluso learned to play guitar by listening to Nokie Edwards, the lead guitarist of The Ventures. The Ventures have sold 150 million albums worldwide and though they are now in their early 70's, they still tour and are incredible. Mel Taylor, their drummer passed away 10 years ago but his son Leon learned from his dad and has been playing with The Ventures for almost a dozen years. Many of the worlds top musicians/guitarists from John Lennon to David Gilmour credit Nokie Edwards for their inspiration. The riff at the end of The Carpenters song Mr. Postman is played by Tony Peluso and is definitely a Nokie Edwards riff.

Yutaka Uno

Until today, I didn't know who played that fabulous solo on Jambalaya. (I heared the song for the first time over 30 years ago.) I just knew that there were very few solos that good out there. It's a pleasure and a surprise to know Tony Peluso had an impact on other people as well. Even though I didn't know his name, he's been a major influence for me. After playing for 30 years, it's still my dream to play the guitar like him.

By the way, I don't think the Carpenters' music is crap. On the contrary, it's one of the best. Today's music is ..... not music. It's CRAP, period.


I find it interesting that so many Carpenters fans find it necessary to dismiss contemporary music ... have fun with the dinosaurs, folks!

Lucinda Filpi

I knew Tony's mom most all of my childhood. She gave me singing lessons on Saturday afternoons after she taught catechism class, when I was about twelve or so. I never remember meeting Tony, although I had seen him from a distance on occasion at church. I am actually a big Carpenters fan now in my middle age. I wish I could meet him, mostly to tell him that his mother was one of the most kind and patient people I have ever known! I was such a brat at times, I don't know how she could stand me! I still feel bad about it, but I did really love her! She was my sponsor at my confirmation too. When I was about fifteen. I quit having lessons from her and we drifted apart. I never saw her again. Now, I wonder what Tony is doing. I see him on my Carpenters video. If anyone has any info let me know. Lucinda

Lucinda Filpi

No matter how silly or sappy Carpenters songs may sound, Karen has a beautiful voice, there's no getting away from that! She is the reason they were so famous! It's too bad she's not with us now! There is so much she could have done with that voice. She didn't need her brother or anyone! She would have been successful singing for any band! Besides, I think her wholsomeness is refreshing!

Dave Hepplewhite

Hey, this post has been going some years now - I found it fascinating reading. What it does show is the narrow-mindedness of some so-called music lovers. The thread starts of with it's author having a dig at a few lines from a classic Carpenters track:

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad

and posing the question, "Explain to me the excellence of this"

Well, it's neither clever, nor revealling to pull a few lines at random from the song of an artist/band you don't care for and rubbish them.

For example,

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeahhhh.....

Any better?

Lyrics don't need to have some deep phylisophical meaning to make them 'good' - just in the same way that musical compositions do not need to be written in weird keys with strange time signatures to make them interesting.

Appreciating music is all about enjoying it as a whole, the lyrics, the voice(s), the melody, the harmonies, the story, the era it was written in, the message the context in which it was written......

I grew up with 60s and 70s british rock music and have played in hard rock bands for 4 decades, but when someone asks me what my musical tastes are I can say, hand on heart, that I enjoy everything from Mantovani to Megadeth and everything in between. Neither am I ashamed to admit that a few Carpenters albums take pride of place in my music collection!

john van asch

hello,my name is john,39 young :)

well,I like the guitar solo in Goodbye to love,best solo ever,how did you do it?:)
I wished that I had some of that solo on paper,because I my self also like to play that solo
on my FENDER TELECASTER PINK PAISLEY '86 but it sounds like a harp,can somebody help me with playing that solo !!,its for private only.. tony well done..

Jimmy Iovine

Though Hal Blaine was the Carpenters primary studio drummer, Karen actually played the drums on numerous album tracks. She was also the drummer on some of their most successful hits such as "Yesterday Once More", "Please Mister Postman", "Ticket To Ride", and "Sing". Buddy Rich recognized Karen as one of his favorite drummers, and Hal Blaine himself praised Karen for her technique and overall ability as a drummer.

Richard realized that Karen was a petite woman and could not lay into the drums as well as a career session drummer. So he took A&M's advice in the early days of their career and used Hal on most of their recordings, but not due to the lack of talent on Karen's part. Tony Peluso was talented enough to play with any band, he chose to perform and record with the Carpenters, and was proud of it!

Did you go into therapy once you found out that "Goodbye To Love" was conceived, written, and performed by the Carpenters?


Hi Jimmy ... if it's really you, and there's no reason to think otherwise, let me say before we get into a further discussion of the Carpenters that I've been an admirer of your work since at least Born to Run, which, if you looked around here, you would know is the highest praise possible, Bruce being my favorite artist. I don't doubt the stories you tell, and I'm not going to pretend I know more about producing great records than you do.

But let me ask you something. You worked on Easter, a terrific album. Now, I love Patti Smith and I think she's a great vocalist ... my wife thought so back in the Horses days, when everyone else was talking about the blend of poetry and rock and roll, my wife said "she sings good, ya know." But I think it's safe to say that Karen Carpenter had a "better" voice than Patti Smith. My point is, so what. Easter is a better album than anything the Carpenters ever did. Patti's work is lyrically complex, befitting her status as a poet, and while at times her lyrics are also kinda stupid, they are stupid because they try for too much. The lyrics in Carpenters songs are simple ... I suspect that's part of their appeal ... but I can imagine hearing a Carpenters record in a mall and not even knowing it's there. Can you imagine the same thing happening for "Space Monkey?" No, because Patti Smith's work demands your attention ... it refuses to blend in.

And that's why Tony Peluso's solos in "Goodbye to Love" are so heartstopping. It's as if John the Baptist suddenly showed up in Target and grabbed shoppers by the throat, saying "there's something going on here!"


I came across this post while researching Tony Peluso re his work with Cafe Tacuba (a hugely important band). He and Santaolalla have done exquisite work on the band's new album, Sino.

Besides all that, I just wanted to chime in on the "Sing a Song" thread. The song was important in my life. It was the first song I ever sang in public: I learned it in kindergarten. Maybe that doesn't say much for the complexities of the song - but on the contrary, I think it deserves some credit for its simplicity. As a 5-year-old on stage, I remember feeling really proud that I was up there singing something that sounded nice, was being played on the radio and that I could remember all the words too. I still sing it to my children - who fortunately are young enough still to not find it treachly. There are few songs out there that are sweet and appealing to children yet not musically mind-numbing.

Geoff Waddington

I'm with the author. The only thing I really remember about the Carpenters is Tony Peluso's solo on the way out of 'Goodbye to love'. A nice piece of playing - liked, incidentally, by the two guys left in the original Status Quo. Very seventies tone, but the phrasing was way ahead of that decade.

John Gebhart

My family and I are blessed to have Tony Peluso as a friend. His remarkable musical talent is surpassed only by the immensity of his heart. And I'm sure I won't live long enough to meet anyone with a more hyperactive sense of humor (I write with a huge grin).

His solo on Goodbye to Love is remarkable for any number of reasons. A distorted '58 335 on a Carpenters record? No way! It took amazing insight to even try it and it was executed with a master's touch. Perhaps the overarching thing that made it work, no matter how hard he pushed the envelope that day, and he did push, was that Tony didn't play the instrument, he played the song.

Geoff Waddington

Those are wise words

Eli G Oliveira

I would like to know where is Tony Peluso. Where does he live now a days. Does he still play?


Peluso has worked recently with Cafe Tacuba. I have no inside knowledge on his work, but for some reason, Google likes this particular post, so the comments section has featured many people who know and work with Tony. Perhaps they'll see this and give you an update.

Dave, UK

This page is the first hit if you search for Tony Peluso on Google. Congrats to the blogger!

Like others here, I am and was someone who preferred heavier, rockier, guitar-based music to the easy listening stuff, from about 1970 (when I was 16) and still do.

That said, within every type of music, there are people who are better, classier, more progressive, than others. I was captivated by Karen Carpenter's exceptional voice and Richard Carpenter's arrangements from the moment I heard "Close to You", in a way that no other Easy Listening artist had ever done with me. I found most of them quite awful, but the Carpenters were the "better, classier" ones in that genre. And with "Goodbye To Love" they added "more progressive". Tony Peluso's guitar is one of the stand-out guitar solos of all time. Complete with the rough edges (fret noises etc) that would not have been present if RC had used an experienced studio guitarist.

I know loads of "heavy music" fans who feel the same way about the Carpenters. I still count "A Song For You" as one of my all-time favourite albums.

That said, I can sympathise with the author regarding "Sing". It is awful. But it's not a good example of Carpenters' output. Something like "We've Only Just Begun" is more typical. A great song? No. A bit soppy and pointless? Maybe. But by the time Richard and especially Karen's magic has been applied to it, a wonderful recording.

Ultimately it was the warmth in Karen's voice, an intimate sound that lifted every song above what it was, that gave meaning to the most meaningless of words.

It's hard to explain when their music is at odds with everything else I like, but yes, I loved the Carpenters!!

Chris Joyce

I remember the Saturday rock show BBC Radio one 40 odd years ogo 2 to 5. Fluff at his best and HE introduced me to such greats as Black sabbath, Led zeppelin (oh yeah, Stairway to Heaven still fascinates me to this day) Jethro Tull, The New York Dolls, Fairport convention and among others The Carpenters and the specific track I'll say Goodbye to love. And why did he play this amongst the greats of rock.... because of tony's guitar. Simple really. His playing elevated that track to the heights of a rock great! wow! without that playing it would just be another wishy washy carpenters song ( admittedly with karens superb voice) but with his guitar playing it was awesome!!!

And I am not easy to please when it comes to designating songs as awesome.

Fluff said "(and I may be wrong here as it was over 40 years ago) And heres a little track from the carpenters check out the guitar playing of Tony Peluso.!"

or something like that - itwas a long time ago BUT his guitar playing on that track was AWESOME.

I play it today and it still moves me inside and out.

Rock on tony.

Pity fluffs no longer here though.

Pity they took the Saturday rock show off the air. Bastards at BBC.

ah well

We have memories.


Richard Bell

Tony Peluso:
One of the most overlooked & under-rated guitarists in the history of guitar.

Regardless of how you personally feel about the Carpenters music, we can all agree that Richard and Karen knew music and also employed some of the best musicians in the business to achieve that special sound they developed.

At the top of that list was Tony Peluso and his ability to whip out some of the tastiest solos ever played.

Tony's guitar parts became as much a part of the Carpenters sound as Karen's vocals. The feel and texture of Tony's guitar parts are perfect and they virtually managed to lift the tune up to a new level when it was required. And those magic notes that Tony picked were and still are inspiring for listeners and guitarists alike.

To dissect and try to recreate a Tony Peluso solo is like uncovering a precious treasure. It's a learning journey that leaves you scratching your head in amazement "How the hell did he think of that?"
Once you have the notes getting the sequence, placement and attack for each note is an imperative. Then there's the effects. On many of Tony's parts he used a special compression that allowed you to hear the scratching of the plectrum on the string as it was played. Plus he used flanging and other effects and yet it always sounded like a freshly bathed baby, smooth and clean.

Anyway you slice it Tony's playing is special and The Carpenters knew that and so he became their guitarist exclusively both in the studio and on tour. One cannot say enough about his playing but I'll stop there.

Richard Bell

Carpenters drummers:
Hal Blaine was responsible for the drumming on the majority of the first five Carpenters studio albums from 1969-1973 only.

After 1973 the Carpenters selected from...
From LA:
Jim Gordon
Ed Greene
Ron Tutt
from Nashville:
Larrie London
from England :
Barry Morgan

Then there was Cubby O'Brien from LA who played on many of the albums after 1973 and also became the Carpenters tour drummer. Cubby O'Brien was also a Mouseketeer in his youth.
Cubby O'Brien and Karen Carpenter would share the drumming duties in the Carpenters live show.

Many make the mistake of misjudging Karen's ability as a drummer. Karen Carpenter was almost as good a drummer as Richard Carpenter is a piano player.
Both Richard and Karen were classically trained and knew their instruments well.
The Carpenters didn't just appear out of nowhere and Karen Carpenter had a lot of experience as a gigging drummer as the Carpenters had played in LA area for a lot of years prior to being signed by A & M.
If you were fortunate enough to have seen the Carpenters live act both before and after their fame, you know just how good a drummer Karen Carpenter was. There are some good quality DVDs of their "post fame" live shows available for those who care to check them out.

Who actually played drums on "Goodbye To Love" has been a subject of dispute for sometime.
But I can say this, that the more I listen to "Goodbye To Love" the less convinced I am that it was Hal Blaine playing the drums on that session.
It just doesn't have that Hal Blaine feel or sound.
I guess the only people alive that would know for sure are Hal Blaine and Richard Carpenter.

Richard Bell

Carpenters music, or how not to be a dick head:

In my humble opinion, for someone to dismiss The Carpenters music as trite, simplistic, uninspired pop trash, is the same as an atheist stating with total confidence that "there is no God".
Both statements are completely based on ignorance and pompous arrogance.

The close examination of any Carpenters song is a masterclass in music and production.
After all look at the musicians who played on these sessions.
Hal Blaine, Joe Osborn, Jim Gordon Tom Scott and many other first call musicians. These guys were among the most in-demand session players in the world. Their status allowed them the luxury of picking and choosing the sessions they would play. Ask yourself then "Why would they choose to play a Carpenters session?" Do you think that musicians of this caliber would choose to play a Carpenters session JUST for the money? Not likely. They could probably make just as much money playing simple demo or jingle sessions.

I think we can all agree that Tony Peluso is one outstanding guitarist and those who can understand, respect the music Tony has made.
And just exactly where did Tony chose to make his mark in his career as a guitarist?
Playing with The Carpenters.
How can one say they respect Tony and his playing and yet say they hate the music he played?

Richard Carpenter's String and Orchestral arrangements.
the Vocal arrangements.
The musicians and what they played
The recording and mixing.

Complete perfection, that's what you hear in each and every Carpenters song.
Perfection, played by people.
No machines or sequencers.
No pitch or time correction.
Directly from player to instrument to tape.
A masterclass in music and production.

Perhaps it's this very perfection that many people find irritating about the Carpenters. It's clean and it squeaks and it hurt their ears?
Perhaps people find the melody and lyrics insipid and inane because they figure if they admit to liking it they will appear weak.
But whatever the reason for not liking it, if people take the time to look closer and deeper they will undoubtedly find something in each song they can enjoy.
Then they might come to understand that something that at first appeared simple and trite has many complex layers that went into making it sound so deceptively simple.
This applies whether it's Norwegian Death Metal, Led Zeppelin, Abba, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis or Beethoven. There's always more than what meets the ear.

I'm not saying everyone in the world has to like Carpenters music.
You don't have to like it.
But don't slander it if you don't understand it. Don't trash it just to make yourself look cool because you'll just wind up looking like "Biff" from "Back To The Future". butthead.

I personally am still trying to understand Miles Davis.
I don't like his music.
I know there is a complexity and a deepness to his music that I for some reason just don't get.
But Miles Davis' music has great value for many people. For me to dismiss it as a waste of time would be ignorant and arrogant and make me a colossal dick head.


Richard, your lengthy and detailed comments are much appreciated, and offer some good insight into the Carpenters and their music.

And yet, you haven't convinced me that I'm wrong about the band. But then, according to you, I am ignorant, pompous, and arrogant, a colossal dick head trying only to make myself look cool, so what do I know?

But here's the thing. The music that you describe as "complete perfection"? ... we could agree on that description, and I would still find it a reason to dislike the music, just as you find it a reason to love the music. For one thing, musical perfection applied to insipid lyrics sounds to my ears more insipid than perfect. Your mileage may vary. More importantly, I do not think every work of art should strive for "complete perfection." In fact, endlessly consistent perfection, which you apparently believe is what the Carpenters offer, strikes me as bland, lifeless, a triumph over production over substance. It is an evaluation that could be applied with some justice to "elevator music," which is also an attempt to create a perfect music, perfect in that case meaning "perfectly created to elicit a specific reaction from the listener" (calm, shopper-anxiety, whatever).

This is the reason "Goodbye to Love" stands out. The lyrics take a different, darker stance. And Tony Peluso's solos sound like they are played from the heart ... they are far from bland or lifeless ... they lift "Goodbye to Love" to another level entirely.


Peluso's guitar solo on "Goodbye to Love" is so fantastic that I consider it one of the best solos on any song... ever! The song itself is quite good but when the guitar ends the piece, everything seems to be elevated to a higher plane because of it. Very few guitarists... even the more well-known, can take credit for such an inspiring piece as Tony's. And just today I heard his short solo on "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft", a later Carpenter's song and once again I'm dumbstruck. He pulled it off a second time!! Give COOIC a listen, just for Tony's guitar if for nothing else, it's worth it.

Spike Stewart

I knew Tony when we where both enrolled at "Blessed Sacrament" grade school across the street from Sunset Sound. I later worked with him at C.P.MacGregor Recording Studios after his house-band gig with 'The Abstracts' expired at Bill Gazzari's on the strip. Unfortunately I've misplaced the album long ago, but would love to have another copy sometime. I hope he is doing well and would like to know how David Dinino, Pierre Vigiant, Roland Baston and company are faring. Anyone of these individuals may contact me at Thanks, and the very best to all! PS. What ever happened to Gary Simms? He was also an aquaintance.

Spike Stewart

I remember when 'Melody Maker' stated that Paul McCartney was scouting Tony for WINGS.
I remember when Tony taught me how to crack my neck.
I remember watching Eddy James and the Pacific Ocean (Edward James Olmos) covering Jimi Hendrix at Bill Gazzari's on the strip.
I remember The Abstracts!

Bill Reyes

I would like to contact Tony Many years ago we played a Gazzari's together when he had the Abstract. I anyone know how to contact him please let me know so I can reminise about the old days

Bill Reyes and Gil Mendiaz (The Prophets)


Man, I'm with you Steven on that whole Carpenters thing back in the '70's.
The guitar solo in 'Goodbye to Love' made the hair stand up on the back of my neck when I first heard it.
Still does.

Ray B

Thought you might ? like my tribute to Tony Peluso, i posted on 'You Tube' ........ One of my fav Guitar Solos of ALL TIME !

François Rebelo

I really find interesting most of comments i read, and i'd like to say that Tony Peluso, wouldn't have been as popular as he is today, witout the Carpenter's great popularity...
And as we all know, he is probably one of the greatest guitar player ever on his time...Imagine!!
My point is the music is the work of many poeple not only one person....Get it?
I could say Karen's voice, is the "Sun" shining on over the group...That makes Tony so proud
to play for and showed the world how talented and creative he was...Richard wisely, knew he was what the band needed...So Thank's Richard!...And that's it!


Gregory G. Armento

What is it that Aaron Sorkin scripted in the movie American President? ...[paraphrazing] America is "advanced citizenship", you have to be willing to listen to someone else advocate
(at the top of their lungs) something you have spent your life opposing (at the top of your lungs). It is not easy.

I appreciate good writing and good music; Steve's comments are comprised of both. Although I don't agree with his hatchet job on the Carpenters, he is right when he wrote "context is everything", and, when he praises the guitar solo by Tony Peluso.

Although, I am wondering if the irony is lost on Steve when he writes "well, thinking of them makes me wanna puke"; when one considers the tragic loss of Karen Carpenter. For my money, the best female vocalist of the 70's; I wonder [rhetorically], how many octaves could she sing?

I lived the seventies, one of my all time favorite albums is Black Sabbath's first album Black Sabbath; I owned the 8 track, the cassette, the CD. I mention this to underscore the fact that I also owned The Carpenters Singles album on 8 track, cassette, and CD. These genres of music ARE different, but NOT exclusive in their fan base. Both albums represent the "context" of the time. A time of war, the military draft, and the birth of a new social conscience.

Okay you read this far, so here is a big payoff. I found this page on google because I did not know who played the guitar solo for the Carpenters. (I had heard another guitar being played that speaks volumes like the Peluso anthem.) So I researched the Carpenters song and found this page. Now check out the (free demo) song "Vaughandrix" at chargeworld dot com. Different styles, but both guitars have that rare quality, a voice that speaks to you heart and soul.

andrew coleman

I have been a fan of the carpenters for many years now and Karens voice is superb (what a shame she is no longer withn us!).
With regards to Tony Peluso and Goodbye to love, the song and the guitar solo. The vocal harmony's and the guitar solo blend so well together. Goodbye to love is one of my favourites (as is For all we Know).

Jim Murphy

I'm a Tony Peluso fan too. I've always admired this solo as one of the best of all time. I've never been aware of Tony by name, probably due to the fact that the Carpenters, being business savvy folks, had to please their audience. I understand that. I'll have a go at looking into the Nokie Edwards guy, and the band that Tony sponsored (hopefully played for) and try to find more of his stuff. I was in 8th grade when Goodbye to Love came out. I'm now 51, and I remember the music (if not the time) like it was yesterday. I just bought the song from iTunes after having lost it many years ago. I bought it again for the solo by Tony.


As we speak, Tony is in Houston to attend the Latin Grammys. Here's hoping he'll be a winner for his work with Cafe Tacuba! Go Tony!

Robin is now April 14, 2009, and this blog is alive an kicking! I just finished watching a video of Karen Carpenter jamming with Cubby on the drums, and it made me wonder what Tony Peluso was up to these days, and I found this blog! TOO FUNNY!

Just to add my 2 cents worth, I loved Goodbye to Love, but aside from Tony's solo, my favorite thing in the whole song is the tamborine! I had to buy one just to play along with it! OK, I was about 12 then. I'm 50 next month, and I believe my Mother still has that damn tamborine in a box somewhere...

I was thinking about Karen recently, and thought she would have loved the computer age, and the Internet, and blogging.

Nicky Miller

I know Richard! We talk online all of the time, so be careful of what you say! What the hell are you talking about? Who are you to say anything about the Carpenters. They were only the biggest selling group of the 1970's. I have never met a person that knows good music, that doesn't like them. By the way, if you actually ever looked on the pamphlet inside the cd's or records you would come to find out that Karen did record quite a few songs on the drums, plus Hal Blaine wasn't the only drummer on all the records, Cubby O'brien also played on them! Karen may have had great talent, but without Richard as the brains behind it all, nothing may have come of them! So don't put Rich down...
Before placing stuff on the internet, why don't you get you're facts straight first!

Nicky Miller

I know Richard, we talk online all of the time, so be careful of what you say! What the hell are you talking about? Richard and Karen Carpenter were the biggest selling group of the 1970's. If you ever looked on the pamphlet that comes in a cd or record, you would know that Karen did record the drums on quite a few songs. Plus Hal Blaine wasn't the only person to play with the Carpenters, Cubby O'brien also played in concert and on their recordings. And to all the people on this website that commented and said that Karen would have done great by herself, without Richard are crazy! She may have had a lot of the talent, but he was the brains behind everything! Karen even once admitted to that!
Hey Steven! Before posting anything on the internet, why don't you get your facts straight first!

Rick Henry

I love Carpenters music... but not all of it. I agree that songs like "Sing", "Yesterday Once More" and "Top Of The World" are overly sugary... but then there are great songs like "Goodbye To Love", "Road Ode", "Desperado", "Only Yesterday", "B'wana She No Home", "Another Song" and many others which are spectacular.

Unlike other Carpenters fans I do not dismiss contemporary music as all being rubbish. I agree that most of what is on the top of the charts today needs to be abolished.... such as Britney Spears, Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, Madonna, Eminem... this is all rubbish. But there are some totally innovative and creative bands out there such as Radiohead, Mars Volta, Coldplay, Bjork and others.

Martin Henderson

Goodbye to love reminds of of a girl I was in love with in Cape Town in the late sixties early 70's. I bought a Carpenters LP record for her although I wasn't into their music (Canned Heat/original Fleetwood Mac/Hendix/Joplin)- except when I heard a distinctive guitar sound and solo - the one you are all writing about. I left her in the mid-70's (fool) and it was truly Goodbye to Love. Another song I still can't listen to is Tom Tom by the Sandpipers - tough - you live to regret your rash decisions in old age. Enough said, though, the solo on G T L is as good as it ever gets and I would give a bunch to see The Man play it.

Lou G.

l was never a big fan of the Carpenters throughout their success in the 70's. Being too busy to "derail" my life with drug experimentation and partying, the Carpenters weren't cool to me or the peers I associated with. Goodbye To Love was the only song by them that really struck me.
I have the "A Song For You" CD exclusively for that track. I just found out today that Tony performed the guitar solo. The emotion he infuses when he plays has always moved me. It never fails to uplift me, and now (being 56) that solo has also taken a nostalgic hue to it. Elliot Randall's guitar work on Steely Dan's "Reelin In The Years" is another solo that always sounds fresh and grabs my attention. In closing, props to Richard Carpenter for having such a creative head for music. I was too stubborn and jealous in my youth to ever admit it.


You come to understand the artistic authenticity of the Carpenters when you learn that "We've Only Just Begun" started life as an ad for the Crocker Bank.

And you come to understand the times when the Grammy they won one year was presented by them to the next year's winner - Bette Midler, still semi-fresh from her rise-to-fame gig at the NYC gay baths. The irony was not lost on Bette - "from the Carpenters? what a hooch!". Understandably, said Carpenters were visibly and audibly pissed. Funny, though, how Bette turned out to have had the healthiest lifestyle.

John Gebhart

It breaks my heart to report that Tony Peluso succumbed to a heart attack on Saturday June 5, 2010. He was a wonderfully talented man and a beloved friend.

Steven Rubio

Thank you for passing along that very sad news, John.


What an interesting bunch of posts. I am somewhat stunned that there has been no mention of Tony's work on 'Please Mr Postman'. That solo is the one that haunted me over the years (along with many by Cliff Gallup, James Burton and others). OK I can 'play' both solos thanks to 'Transcribe!' but without the seemingly effortless, creative fluidity that made Tony Peluso's virtuoso gift of melodic invention so extraordinary. A few days ago I read that Tony passed away of 'heart trouble' at age 60, not so long ago. I can only assume this is true and felt suddenly emtional. Music is such a primeval force ...

Do I like the Carpenters? Yes. Do I admire their genius? Yes. Do I play their music? Rarely. Its all a question of taste. It changes through life. I have only ever really remembered them through Tony Pelsuo's guitar work. So we all know which tracks I do play. Same is true of Gene Vincent/Gallup and Ricky Nelson/Burton.

I picked up on an earlier comment that TP 'plays the song'. I thought that an astute comment. Another who has this gift is also a vastly underrated guitarist, in my opinion, and that's Ian Bairnson (Alan Parsons Project, Pilot). His guitar work is highly inventive and melodic and somehow defines the piece being performed, its spirit or musical essence, it you will.

Finally, speaking of 'spirit, the discerning observer will have noted the spiritual/religious undertone in Tony's early life and the Carpenters generally 'squeaky-clean' presentation (and lyrics.) I believe there might have been a shared ethic there. It stands out as different from the godless rebelliousness evident in much of the popular music today and over the years. For me it made Tony Peluso a man I wanted to meet - I liked his self-effacing and joyful spirit. Richard and Karen too. They all seemed decent people. I like decent people, don't you?


I just spotted the earlier post confirming Tony's death. My heart goes out to all his friends and family who must be feeling his loss very much. We share your grief and only wish we could share your joy in having known him. Please tell us more about this man's life when you feel the time is right.


Thank you!! You said everything I was thinking when I came across this article.


Well said and perfectly explained.

Bino Espinoza

I had worked with Tony Peluso on several projects over the years. My very first album credit was Seals & Croft’s ( Taking it Easy ). Tony played guitar and sang on that album. I must say that of the many people in the music industry, ( besides being a successful producer, musician, and business man ), Tony was a total GEM of a human. He might have been the most genuine, kind-hearted, and gentle-spirited person I have encountered during my years of being in the studio. Anyone who knows him would also agree that he had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh as much as he loved to perform. I was sad to have learned of his departure. Nothing but love and respect here.

Steven Rubio

Thank you for those memories.

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