Tennis, the husband and wife duo of Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore, pay tribute to Karen Carpenter with a cover of the Carpenters’ ode to shacking up with itinerant musicians, “Superstar.” The pair reworked “Superstar” as a slow-moving synthesizer-driven track. Moore’s vocals are mixed with a heavy amount of echo, giving it the feel of a ‘70s disco ballad, like a lost deep cut from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
Regular readers of this site, or music history geeks, are surely aware that the Carpenters’ 1971 version of “Superstar” is itself a cover. The track was first recorded by the husband and wife duo Delaney & Bonnie and originally titled “Groupie (Superstar).” As Patrick Robbins detailed in this 2019 article, the song was subsequently covered by Rita Coolidge, Cher and Bette Midler. It was Midler’s rendition on The Tonight Show that inspired The Carpenters to put their own spin on the song.
“Our goal with “Superstar” was to re-cast [Carpenter’s] voice in the context of a different band in a different era,” Moore said in a statement. “This led us to take a lot of liberties, including writing a bridge that doesn’t exist in the original. The result is something that doesn’t really sound like Tennis or the Carpenters, which we really liked.” We dug it too!
Click here to listen to more covers by Tennis.