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Official Review [Album]: "PASSAGE" (SP-4703)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Aug 6, 2013.

How Would You Rate This Album?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    7 vote(s)
  2. ****

    42 vote(s)
  3. ***

    25 vote(s)
  4. **

    5 vote(s)
  5. *

    0 vote(s)
  1. byline

    byline Active Member

    Is it the "whirring" sound that you hear? If so, then I think it's produced by a percussion instrument called a ratchet.
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I suppose, since I have offered my reflections, lately, on career choices when it comes to
    Carpenters and A&M records......
    One has but to see the lunacy of the marketing of the "Sweet, Sweet Smile" , Passage LP, single:
    Here we have a Country #8 hit, backed in the USA by the song "I Have You" (Kind of Hush LP!) ....Uhm...Why not backed by
    the Mac Davis' penned , country-tinged "Two Sides"? (In japan, the flip side was "Can't Smile Without You"---Hush, again.)
    Recall Richard's comment to an interviewer: "Well, I think they (A&M) may have hired an outside marketing agency" (see:The Reader).
    Karen Carpenter chose, if not found, the best- selling single off of Passage, by all accounts. (Perhaps she should have done more of that?).
    Obviously, because it is Richard's composition, there was more (for him) money to be made with choosing the flip side as "I Have You".
    Still, 'picking' the 'right' flip-song may well have pushed "Sweet,Sweet Smile" higher on both pop and country charts. (Who knows?).
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Billboard Magazine,
    for the week ending November 19th, 1977, Passage at #56 after five weeks on the Top 100.
    It would peak at#49 for the week ending December 3rd, after seven weeks on the chart.
    The album was prominently featured in the Close-Up section of Billboard ,October 8, 1977.
  4. Dutch

    Dutch Member

    I think the album was sequenced wrong and not much thought went into how it should be presented and what the fans would think. If the standard Carpenters songs: All you get from love is a love song, I just fall in Love again, sweet sweet smile, two sides and 'You're the one' was added to side one to make 5 tracks. And the remaining 4 were on side two with Tony Peluso redoing his DJ and the beginning to 'Don't cry for me Argentina' cut (it's dreadful!), then this would have been a much better album, and I'm sure the critics would have been kinder thinking they had tried something different while giving the fans what they expected on side 1.

    I don't know why Richard still loves the album, it's a bit of a scrambled mess style wise. And the Carpenters version of calling occupants' is a carbon copy of Klaatu's other than the Carpenters used a full orchestra and Klaatu used synths on that recording, but they used a full orchestra on their following album. And I hope Richard is still not telling people there was no real world contact day....errr 15th March 1953.

    Actual message:

    Calling occupants of interplanetary craft! Calling occupants of interplanetary craft that have been observing our planet EARTH. We of IFSB wish to make contact with you. We are your friends, and would like you to make an appearance here on EARTH. Your presence before us will be welcomed with the utmost friendship. We will do all in our power to promote mutual understanding between your people and the people of EARTH. Please come in peace and help us in our EARTHLY problems. Give us some sign that you have received our message. Be responsible for creating a miracle here on our planet to wake up the ignorant ones to reality. Let us hear from you. We are your friends.
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Juice Newton, 2012 Interview:
    ‘Sweet, Sweet Smile,’ that you wrote with Otha Young, how significant was it for you, when The Carpenters recorded that?

    It was really huge. One of the reasons was that, very rarely did Karen Carpenter choose the material. And I mean, very rarely. Almost never. Her brother [Richard] pretty much did everything like that. So I was actually quite flattered, when she chose that. And I recently recorded that song. I’d never recorded it. And then I put it on this greatest hits package that I did last year with Fuel Records. It’s very different. They were very, very pop, The Carpenters. And that wasn’t really the way I wrote the tune. But it didn’t matter. I was flattered that they did it... bought my first new car.
    Aaron Moyer and goodjeans like this.
  6. adam

    adam Active Member

    Is the Passage Album not in print anymore?How will it eventually achieve Gold status if you can not buy it?.Same goes for Made in America.
  7. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    It's still in print in Japan on SHM-CD, but not on CD in the US. You can still buy the tracks in mp3 format, for what that's worth.

  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Billboard Magazine, November 19, 1977 Page 82:
    " King Records reports that the initial order for the Carpenters' latest album, Passage,
    has exceeded 150,000."
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    May 14, 1977 Billboard's Top Singles Picks:
    "All You Get From Love is a Love Song"

    " A catchy midtempo ballad with a melodic structure as hook-laden as the clever title.
    Flute and horn fills enliven a crescendo arrangement under Karen Carpenter's ruefully
    good humored vocal delivery.The chart sounds a bit as if Richard Carpenter is doing a
    take off on big band arrangements."
  10. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    From the Vinyl LP Inner Notes, it reads:
    Two Sides...."Richard's personal almost-favorite on the album..."
    And, it is one of my All-Time favorites.
    What a fantastic song, vocals, and arrangement.

    My question:
    Why, It's relative scarcity on Compilations ?
    Don Malcolm and Jamesj75 like this.
  11. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    I'm with you, Gary. "Two Sides" is one of my favorites, too. With Richard's comments, you would expect an appearance of "Two Sides" on compilations. But there are plenty of other great songs that haven't made the cut onto compilations...

    I also think that this song was a missed opportunity. I like your idea of backing "Sweet Sweet Smile" with "Two Sides." Further, given the success (on the country charts especially) of "Sweet Sweet Smile," why not follow that up with a single release of "Two Sides?" They could easily have had two back-to-back country top 10 singles, which would have helped overall sales of both singles as well as Passage.

    It's fun playing Monday morning quarterback... or, should I say, "38 years later quarterback?!"
    BarryT60 and Aaron Moyer like this.
  12. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Two Sides has appeared on 3 comps, the UK Readers Digest set (don't have that one) but I do own the other 2.... Treasures 2 cd set from Japan and the massive Sweet Memory set from Japan.

    I love the song too but don't think its as strong as some other album cuts that have made it to more comps.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Chris, it seems to me--for whatever the reasoning-- that Mr. Guder has appeared on more Compilations.
    And, then, it ( Two Sides ) was one of Richard Carpenter's favorites--maybe he has since changed his mind.
    Saturday and Druscilla Penny get about as much inclusion as Two Sides.
    And, since the Sweet Memory set was a Japanese Mail-Order item, and the other CD Sets are imports,
    the USA Consumer is missing out on a beautiful Carpenters' song. (IMHO)
    That ending, when Karen sings "....goodbye..." gets to me every time !
    Aaron Moyer likes this.
  14. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Jamesj75 likes this.
  15. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Here is it, I didn't know about the reference to the city in Ecuador in the song, B'wana, did you?

    Jamesj75 and GaryAlan like this.
  16. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I did Chris only because that's where A&M Corner Mafer is from, she pointed it out to me many years ago :)
  17. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    It's interesting how A&M really went for the 'space' aspect of the album, when in reality there was only the one sci-fi song on there and the rest was country, ballad and pop material. Same with the TV special. I guess it was a very obvious nod to 'Star Wars' which had recently been a box office smash. I still think it was the wrong marketing ploy for them. Carpenters and spaceships...eh? The 'Space Encounters' TV special was also a dreadful mistake theme-wise.

    While we're on the subject of Passage, I was always puzzled how the singles 'All You Get From Love Is A Love Song' and 'Sweet Sweet Smile' (both released in the US) had the same B-side - 'I Have You'.
    Jeff likes this.
  18. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    Might have been a royalties thing as it's a Carpenter/Bettis track and Passage didn't contain any Carpenter/Bettis compositions.

    Strangely, in the UK, 'Sweet Sweet Smile' got two B-sides. Most copies have 'B'Wana She No Home' on the B-side, but some have 'Two Sides'. Seems strange for a single that wasn't a big hit.
  19. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    One pattern I did notice with many of the singles is that the B-side was a track pulled from a previous album rather than the current release...probably a marketing ploy to get buyers to go back and purchase the previous albums if they didn't already have them.

    "We've Only Just Begun" / "All of My Life"
    "For All We Know" / "Don't Be Afraid"
    "Hurting Each Other" / "Maybe It's You"
    "Sing" / "Druscilla Penny"
    "Yesterday Once More" / "Road Ode"
    "I Won't Last A Day Without You" / "One Love"
    "Please Mr Postman" / "This Masquerade"
    "There's A Kind Of Hush" / "(I'm Caught Between) Goodbye and I Love You"
    "All You Get From Love Is A Love Song" / "I Have You"
    "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft" / "Can't Smile Without You"
    "Sweet Sweet Smile" / "I Have You"
    "I Believe You" / "B'wana, She No Home"
    "Beechwood 4-5789" / "Two Sides"

    Clever :)
    song4u likes this.
  20. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    A lot of these were first singles released ahead of their parent albums though, so at the time of their release, there weren't any other 'new' tracks to use as B-sides. And most of the B-sides are Carpenter/Bettis tracks too!
  21. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    It's a rather common practice in the recording industry to pick a b-side from in-house composers and publishing companies so that royalties can optimized. It's also common for the selected track to be from a prior album so as not to "spoil" the current album.

    But leave it Carpenters to totally change that around. Their singles "Superstar" and "Top Of The World" both contained b-sides from FOLLOWING albums. "Bless The Beasts And Children" was treated as a double-a-sided single and didn't get an album appearance until A SONG FOR YOU. Meanwhile, "Top Of The World" lagged so far behind in the chronology, that it's b-side, "Heather" came from the next album.

  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I recall a video interview, where Paul Williams commented
    about his luck to be on the 'flip' side of a hit single.
    Words to the effects that he got the same royalties as if his song were the 'B'-side being sold---
    it is all the 'same' piece of vinyl. The other side is along for the ride and if the 'A' side
    is a successfully selling single, then you get the same money from the other side.
  23. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    The same thing happened with Queen in 1975 - when they released 'Bohemian Rhapsody', there was some dissention in the band when the Roger Taylor-penned 'I'm In Love With My Car' was chosen as the B-side. Because of the success of the single, he got a nice free ride (no pun intended) and made a pretty penny from the royalties (the song went on to sell something like 7.5 million singles worldwide).
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  24. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    That would have been a perfect scenario, James....
    Jetward97 and Jamesj75 like this.
  25. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

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