Brandy Clark Sings the Carpenters' 'Merry Christmas, Darling' - Rolling Stone
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See Brandy Clark’s Wistful Cover of the Carpenters’ ‘Merry Christmas, Darling’

Singer-songwriter offers bittersweet unplugged rendition of the duo’s holiday classic, first recorded in 1970

“Merry Christmas Darling,” first recorded by the Carpenters in 1970, consistently ranks among the perennial Christmas favorites. With the late Karen Carpenter’s dreamy, pristine vocals at the forefront of what is essentially a bummer tune about being separated during this special time of year, the song has become even more popular since it was first released, with Natalie Cole, Amy Grant, Glee star Lea Michele, and country artists Deana Carter and Phil Vassar among those who have covered it.

The latest version is this acoustic one by Brandy Clark, who adds just the right amount of melancholy and the slightest pinch of twang to her beautiful rendition. Watch the informal performance from Clark and guitarist Miles Aubrey above.

“Merry Christmas, Darling” was penned by Karen Carpenter’s brother Richard, who wrote the melody to a set of lyrics by the late Frank Pooler, a former choir director at Cal State Long Beach who mentored the Carpenters as young students. In 1946, the same year Richard Carpenter was born, Pooler was a lovesick 20-year-old who wrote the lyrics to “Merry Christmas, Darling” for his sweetheart, who never received it. Instead, he published it, filed the song away and offered it to the duo when they were looking for Christmas songs to record at the beginning of their phenomenal career as one of the most successful acts of that decade. In 1970, the song topped Billboard‘s Christmas singles chart, doing so again in 1971 and two years later. In 1978, Karen Carpenter recorded a new vocal for the pair’s Christmas Portrait LP. She passed away in 1983 at just 32 years old.

Brandy Clark is also set to perform during a live Facebook event on Thursday, December 14th, at /

In This Article: Brandy Clark


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