For All We Know (1970 song)

"For All We Know" is a soft rock song written for the 1970 film Lovers and Other Strangers, by Fred Karlin, Robb Wilson (Robb Royer) and Arthur James (Jimmy Griffin). Both Royer and Griffin were founding members of the soft-rock group Bread. It was originally performed by Larry Meredith.[1] It is best known for a cover version by American pop duo Carpenters in 1971, which reached No. 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and No. 1 on the US Billboard Easy Listening chart. The song was also a hit for Shirley Bassey at the same time in the United Kingdom. It has since been covered by a large number of artists.

The song became a Gold record. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1971.[1]

The Carpenters version

"For All We Know"
Single by Carpenters
from the album Carpenters
B-side "Don't Be Afraid"
Released January 15, 1971
Format 7" single
Recorded Late 1970
Genre Soft rock, traditional pop
Length 2:33
Label A&M 1243
Writer(s) Fred Karlin, Robb Wilson,[1] Arthur James
Producer(s) Jack Daugherty
Certification Gold
Carpenters singles chronology
"Merry Christmas Darling"
"For All We Know"
"Rainy Days and Mondays"

Richard Carpenter of Carpenters heard the song during an evening of relaxation at the movies while on tour. He decided it would be ideal for the duo. It became a hit for them in 1971, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and number one for three weeks on the US easy listening chart.[2]

When the original song was nominated for an Academy Award, the Carpenters were not allowed to perform it at the ceremony as they had not appeared in a film. At their request, the song was performed by British singer Petula Clark. (Clark would later perform the song in concert on February 6, 1983, in tribute to Karen Carpenter, who had died two days before.)

According to Richard, the English horn intro was originally played on guitar. They had run into Jose Feliciano in a restaurant, who was a big fan of theirs and wanted to play on one of their records. They went into the studio and the intro was devised by Feliciano, using his nylon string acoustic guitar. The next day, though, Richard got a phone call from Feliciano's manager, demanding that he be removed from the recording. Richard essentially did as requested and replaced Feliciano's guitar intro with that of Earle Dumler's oboe.[3] The other instruments heard on the song were recorded by session musicians later known as the Wrecking Crew.[4][5]

In 1972, Richard and Karen appeared on Tom Jones' Special London Bridge Special, where they performed "For All We Know". This version was not released to the public until 2000, with the release of The Singles: 1969–1981.


Chart performance

Weekly charts

Chart (1971) Peak
Australia 10
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[6] 5
UK Singles Chart[1] 18
US Billboard Hot 100 3
US Billboard Easy Listening 1
US Cash Box Top 100 6

Year-end charts

Chart (1971) Rank
Australia 75
Canada[7] 69
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 35
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[9]
US Cash Box Top 100[10] 36


Shirley Bassey version

The song became a hit in the UK for Dame Shirley Bassey in 1971, at the same time as the Carpenters' version, with the two songs competing for chart strength.[1] Bassey's version peaked at #6 during a 24-week chart run.[11]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 136. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 47.
  3. "Carpenters Fans Ask- Richard Answers, May 2005". Retrieved 2014-05-23.
  4. Hartman, Kent (2012). The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret. Macmillan. p. 263. ISBN 9780312619749.
  5. Blaine, Hal; Goggin, David (2010). Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 20. ISBN 9781888408126.
  6. "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  7. "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  8. "Top 100 Hits of 1971/Top 100 Songs of 1971". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  9. Billboard, December 25, 1971.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  11. "ChartArchive - The Chart Archive". Retrieved 2014-05-23.
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