Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Jun 1, 2013.
That being the case, the album is mostly set from around 3pm onwards for me
As I listened to the Vinyl-LP, this morning...for the n-th time in my life,
I am still drawn to this album as I am to no other Carpenters' album.
Especially, compare everything about this album to its predecessor--Now & Then.
Worlds apart, they are...
both in artwork, maturity, vocals, song choice....everything is Carpenters' to the n-th degree.
Still my all-time favorite Carpenters' album.
Did over-saturation of Carpenters' product (i.e., Singles 1969-1973)
doom its full (as in, top 5) potential in the marketplace, and radio ?
Billboard Magazine, October 4, 1975:
Karen Carpenter's exhaustion after a solid summer of
touring has led to the Carpenters' first tour postponement
ever. Put off till March 1976 is a 40- concert
tour of 17 Japanese cities which was sold out two months
in advance. The $1.2 million gross would have set a Japan
record, according to promoter Tats Nagashima. The
Carpenters are rated Japan's biggest -selling record act.
Karen was ordered to bed -rest till mid -October by her
physician in order to recover from internal infection
brought on by exhaustion. Richard Carpenter and the
Carpenters' new manager, Terry Ellis, flew to Japan for
a press conference to apologize to the Japanese people
for the delay and explain the seriousness of Karen's illness....
The Carpenters just got a Dutch gold record for
It didn’t do them any harm in the UK, where both albums shot to #1 on the charts
Good one, Stephen
Chart Comparisons Now & Then versus Horizon
Noting USA differences:
Now & Then
Australia #1 - Sep 1973 (20 weeks),
UK 2 - Jul 1973 (65 weeks),
US /70s #4 - Jul 1973 (2 months),
UK Gold (certified by BPI in Jan 1976),
Norway 12 - Oct 1973 (7 weeks),
Australia (Kent) 12 of 1973 (peak 3),
Billboard #2 - Jun 1973 (41 weeks) (8 weeks in top 10),
CashBox #20 of 1973,
Billboard #32 of 1973,
Radio Caroline 188 (1973)
UK 1 - Jun 1975 (31 weeks),
UK Gold (certified by BPI in Jun 1975),
Norway 5 - Jul 1975 (13 weeks),
Billboard #13 - Jun 1975 (18 weeks),
Billboard# 85 of 1975,
CashBox 86 of 1975,
RYM 193 of 1975
I think any successful follow up to a Greatest Hits album is a tough task. Some people could say, well I’ve already got their best and choose not to buy anymore. Thankfully, Horizon showcased their talents at the top of their popularity. It just needed some television promotion and two more songs. Prices had just inflated on records and tapes while the Singles album was a great deal per song, Horizon fell short in the per song ratio. It was the wrong time in their career not to have a full time manager. I think they also had to cancel a command performance for the Queen that year as part of the cancelled performances. I’m sure they both felt like machines by the summer of 1975, and since Horizon is one of their best, it proves how perfect the surface can look in contrast to life itself. In 1970 they were ready for all the whirlwind of opportunities that were created but by 1975, we know of a contrasting story. I do however, think it shows their love for one another and their health was more important to them than the road, and that love could have transferred into fan support for the record breaking live performances the following year.
Even though Horizon has its slow moments, the entire album is ear candy for Karen sounds like one in a million tacking any style with perfection. If the Singles came after Horizon it may have been the perfect wrap around their career, but as it stands, coming after the Singles, it shows another side of Karen just explored and hence, we have a great follow up.
Reading the March 1975 Compendium Interview gives absolutely no indication
of any reason that the Horizon album should not have performed better (in the USA).
Karen was 25 at the time of the interview, presumably doing alright.
Her voice was certainly never better--i.e., the health issues were not an issue at that (3/75) time.
Richard believed that many of the Horizon songs were single-worthy material:
He was considering Desperado, but that was not to be, in favor of Solitaire.
The bad press regarding the "Sedaka-incident" seems to have played a larger role
in their career, than anyone could have imagined it would.....
I see that Captain and Tennille's fortunes were sky-rocketing.
Disco, too, was a player.
Perhaps the album should have been released earlier in 1975 ?
If Horizion had been released the week Postman was no 1 in the US it would have charted higher.Also a couple of prominent Tv appearances in US would have helped.Noticed Carpenters only made one appearance on US tv and that was on American music awards on 18 February 1975.
^This. At that time, a Greatest Hits album felt, to many, like an end of career move. Though SINGLES 69-73 is a truly spectacular entity in its own right, it may have signaled that Carpenters' best days were behind them.
I wonder how many artists released a hits package only to go on to greater fame and fortune?
Intresting chart status
Now and Then .
Canada no 2
Netherlands no 2
Japan no 1.
Canada no 4
Japan no 1
Australia no 21
Netherlands no 21.
New Zealand no 3.
I think on worldwide scale NOW and Then was biggest seller.P S unable to find out any info if Now and Then charted in New Zealand. Any info anybody.
Maybe it's just me, but I believe any negative effect of the 'Sedaka-incident' is perhaps overblown looking back in perspective. I doubt that the majority of record-buying and radio-listening consumers at that time had any knowledge of such incident (count me as one of those)! Remember it was a different day and time with news dissemination and instant media stories. Their popularity simply just peaked around that time (1975) and never fully recovered. Who's to say they may have built up a second wave of popularity of some sort and a second peak with a modified fan base had things turned out differently on February 4, 1983.
In any event, the Sedaka incident was still beingmentioned as of
July 1976, People Cover Story:
".... the Carpenters fell into another hassle and their first bad press (except from the rock critics) ever.
Seems they fired their opening act at Vegas, Neil Sedaka, who was upstaging them."
Brother & Sister Act
So eloquently stated! I think Horizon represents a "contemporary maturity and sophistication" vs. the old fashioned (though awesome!) style represented in older albums.
Timing of albums with chart singles action has mostly seemed like a misfire in their career. And I agree, two more songs would have helped. But not Tryin' to Get The Feeling. They should have been more in the Only Yesterday vein- instant Carpenters but upbeat, rich, and young.
It's true that there aren't many artists who've bettered their original success following a greatest hits (if only because in order to really release one, you have to rack up a good few years in the business, so chances are you're not going to stay hot on the charts forever), but the slide in the Carpenters' stock post The Singles 1969-1973 was rather more sudden and severe than for most other artists in the same position.
Richard's been quoted as saying that it was really intended as a Greatest Hits Volume 1, so clearly he didn't envisage their hot streak ending within a year or so of its release.
Exactly my point.
...which further compounded the problem.
Actually there was a second volume as we all know - but only in the UK and elsewhere - and it wasn't nearly as successful.
Ironically though, the Carpenters put out a greatest hits quite early on in their career - in fact, the songs on The Singles were the only hits!
I think the bigger problem, which is highlighted by The Singles 1974-1978, is that post 1974 they generally weren't recording such good material. The overall quality of the second singles album is considerably below that of the first one - and it would have been even lower if it had included the other US single, 'Goofus', from that period.
I think I might have considered that the album name was derived from that line of the song upon first listen! Curious though... Has Richard ever mentioned how the title was born?
I like that one - - but for me - my velvety hot buttered rum "go to" tunes are ironically from the same album... Only Yesterday, (the first verse melts me every time), and Solitaire. Honorable mention goes to: The devil and the deep blue sea....
Interesting point. I hadn't really thought about it until now, but yeah, back then when I was buying albums, I did sort of feel that way...the "hits" package was the wrap-up summary of a career. But then there were exceptions -- John Denver's first "Greatest Hits" album basically launched his superstardom, and ABBA's first hits album did the same in the U.S. for them. Noteworthy difference, neither of those packages could really honestly be called "Greatest Hits" at the time they were released, whereas "The Singles" really WAS an exceptionally high-quality package collecting 3+ years of chart-toppers.
I recall that both Elton John and Chicago released their first Greatest Hits albums fairly early in their careers as well in the mid-70s. A&M, Columbia, and MCA knew that they had "hot" performers and wanted to cash in on their popularity.
The Carpenters had an outstanding 5-year streak for the first half of the decade (July 70-July75). They released 12 hits that made the Billboard Top 10 and just missed on 2 more!
"Horizon" and "A Kind of Hush" were more "ballad-filled" than the albums that came before but teenagers were now looking for more danceable songs with the start of the disco craze. I don't recall any other high school classmate in the late seventies say that they were into the Carpenters music.
I'd like to think that the Carpenters started the whole mid-career "Greatest Hits" craze. It turned out to be very successful to A&M and in retrospect was a genius move. Consider what happened later with other artists; The Eagles Greatest Hits released in 1976 is the second best selling album of all time, 29 million units sold (according to Wikipedia) and Linda Ronstadt's Greatest Hits vol 1 at 7 million units sold at the end of 1976 is her best selling album (also, according to Wikipedia). As much as we would love to have a studio album released by the duo in 1974, it most likely would have paled (as far as album sales) in comparison to The Singles 1969-1973.
this point of view is especially strong because, if you were living during that timeframe, carpenters were out of the public eye, they may have been touring, but no new releases. TOP OF THE WORLD was old, I WON'T LAST A DAY WITHOUT YOU was old. there was a gap before PLEASE MR POSTMAN and a gap before ONLY YESTERDAY. although I do regard HORIZON as Richard's masterpiece, from my greedy consumer point of view, it was a letdown. there were 10 tracks on the album. AURORA and EVENTIDE are essentially the same song. by album release, PLEASE MR POSTMAN, ONLY YESTERAY, and HAPPY were old favorites leaving us with five new tracks. I wanted, I WILL ALWAYS WANT MORE !!!
Everything about Horizon is superb! Their masterpiece.
They really gave the "Greatest Hits" compilation idea a totally new treatment and validated the genre for many artists after the end of 1973... It gave a chic quality in every way possible, up to and including the very name of the lp... Certainly the introduction cut was a lovely surprise and set the stage for a spectacular compilation.
By the way. in the very same way, I believe that Richard and Karen also brought Christmas albums back to the popular mainstream. A Christmas album wasn't just for the Ray Conniff singers anymore... And their superb treatment of the assembly of the album set it apart from any popular Holiday themed effort.
IMHO, neither of these were career ending moves.... The lack of new material on the "horizon" in 1974 was a deal breaker, and a career slow-down... Same for directly after Christmas Portrait. Timing of releases worked so well for them early on... And timing was just as influential on the slow-down in sales when the new material was absent at their peak...