• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline! The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy will be available on November 16, 2021 and can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is being released January 14, 2022, and is available for ordering here.

⭐ Official Review [Album]: "TIME" (SP 5117/CD 5117/DX 1687)

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 8 13.3%
  • ****

    Votes: 13 21.7%
  • ***

    Votes: 22 36.7%
  • **

    Votes: 11 18.3%
  • *

    Votes: 6 10.0%

  • Total voters
    60

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
As always, mr. j, very interesting input. I'm thankful we got Karen's album. I love it for what it is.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
You've asked a complicated question-I'll try to answer it in three different sections:

1. An album that is commercially viable for one artist isn't necessarily commercial viable for another.The type of album that Karen made with Phil might've been a good album for Cher,Olivia Newton-John or Teena Marie,but not Karen.

2.Albums get cancelled all the time-and for many different reasons.The situation with Karen's album wasn't unique or strange.Rita Coolidge(another veteran A&M artist) recorded a jazz album in 1975-that got turned down by A&M.A&M felt that Rita wasn't an established artist at that point,and didn't have a jazz audience that would buy the album.If that album was recorded by Karen,it would've gotten a surefire release.Conversely,if Rita recorded Karen's solo album in 1975,it might have been released and scored Rita a severely needed hit-single.

I just recently found out that(80's pop diva) Laura Branigan's 1982 debut album wasn't her debut album.She actually recorded her debut album in 1980-and by the time it was ready for release in 1981,Atlantic decided to cancel it.Many of the disco tracks on the album were already "dated" a year after they were recorded.She subsequently recorded a whole new debut album(with "Gloria") that finally came out in 1982.

3. Richard's solo album came into existence only because Karen was gone.And,except for one more forthcoming album(Lovelines) there would be no more new Carpenters albums.Richard's album isn't any better than Karen's-but it came into fruition under totally different circumstances.In all likelihood,the two Christmas albums He recorded were probably turned down by Universal.


^^I don't know, that doesn't answer it for me at all....that basically says Karen chose the wrong material and the material she should have recorded was XYZ....so whose album was it anyway? We keep taking Karen's album away from Karen, I don't get it. Karen's album was Karen's album, if she wanted to make a jazz album she would have done one but she recorded what she wanted and the vocal work she did on it was amazing and intricate. That's the bottom line. We can't say it wasn't commercially viable because the thing never had a chance to see the light of day, the waters were never tested....all we have is how it did 16 yrs later and we make assumptions in 96 (to current day) how it would have gone in 80. How can that be fair to Karen?
 

A&Mguyfromwayback

Well-Known Member
Industry Member
Sheryl Crow and Sheena Easton both recorded entire albums that have never seen the light of day - and there's a ton of others.....
******
Here's a question, getting back to Richard and his career after Karen's passing.....why in the world did he not pursue things like film soundtracks, Broadway musicals, producing established MOR artists....he's a brilliant musician, a great keyboardist and songwriter, and I think we'd all agree, a man of strong musical sensibilities with a very recognizable style. When I listen to his orchestrations on the last few C's albums, they already sound more suited to Broadway and movies than pop radio. It would have been a great fit; does anybody know why he didn't go after those avenues?
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
In all likelihood,the two Christmas albums He recorded were probably turned down by Universal.

That's an interesting observation and would explain why Richard was full of good intentions with the release of his Christmas album (he was even filmed recording it in one Carpenters' documentary, see below from 6m15s) but then nothing came of it...I wonder if it was rejected rather than grinding to a halt of its own accord?

 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Mr J.,
As always, I appreciate your observations, and enjoy their perusal.
May I only make a few observations?
(1) The Billboard Article from May 5,1979 has Phil Ramone ( and, Herb Alpert) describing the direction that the solo album was going to take.
No mistaking the direction that this album was going to take. It is there in Black and White.
Therefore, all on board with this project knew full-well the type of material that Karen was recording for the solo album.
Why, did they--then---not steer Karen Carpenter in another direction, say, Jazz standards,and the like. All involved could have done so at that time.
(2) Carpenters had sold nearly 79 million units at that time--give or take a few million---thus, Karen was a well-established artist at A&M Records,
and, had made them a ton of money--nearly bankrolling the new artists for the UK Branch. Not only was she well-established at A&M, she was
known the world around. Everyone in the world knew who she was.
With such monetary success garnered by A&M Records, due to Carpenters' success, there is no reason to believe--nor am I able to comprehend--
the album's cancellation in May 1980. ( It would have made sense to do so very much earlier in the game.)

Likewise, in November 1983, Richard Carpenter stated precisely what his goals and intentions were for his solo album. No surprises upon its completion.
A&M Records knew from the start what musical direction that album would take.( And, they also knew the same for Karen's project.)
If the opposite had occurred, and Karen was left to do a solo album--because, she had to--would it be cancelled? (No Way.)
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
With such monetary success garnered by A&M Records, due to Carpenters' success, there is no reason to believe--nor am I able to comprehend--the album's cancellation in May 1980. ( It would have made sense to do so very much earlier in the game.)

This comes back to what others have said - if Karen was previewing her material with friends throughout its recording, why weren't any previews given to anyone at A&M until it was fully completed? Maybe it's not the done thing but you'd think someone at the label would have had the sense to ask for a listen to the first batch of completed tracks to test the waters midway through the project, rather than leave Karen to her own devices for almost twelve months before a preview of the finished product. I'm sure we'll never know the full story.
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
It's true that we have a lot to thank A&M for (or least Herb Alpert - apparently Karen and Richard's relationship with Jerry Moss was never that close), particularly in terms of giving them a break, but as with all record companies, it's a two-way street. Their music was massively profitable for A&M over the years (I think they were the biggest act that the label ever produced?) and it's been well documented that at times both Richard and Karen were unhappy with the label in terms of handling of their image and lack of respect shown to them by A&M staff.

It is true that we'll probably never know exactly why the solo album was shelved and why A&M were happy to allow their $100,000 investment to go down the drain, but let's remember that, during the same time period, they were happy to bankroll and release rubbish like The Ethel Merman Disco Album that sold nothing. There was clearly much much more to the decision than just cutting their losses because they thought it wouldn't sell.

In terms of Time, I suspect A&M didn't apply the same standard of appraisal to it as they had Karen's solo album in going ahead with its release as they were happy to give Richard, the custodian of the music of their biggest selling act, a free run as a quid pro quo for all the money they were making from Carpenters sales. Given that it apparently took the best part of two years to record (albeit that some of that delay was due to the refurbishing of the A&M studios) and Richard's perfectionism, I don't imagine that Time was a cheap album was make.
^^I don't know, that doesn't answer it for me at all....that basically says Karen chose the wrong material and the material she should have recorded was XYZ....so whose album was it anyway? We keep taking Karen's album away from Karen, I don't get it. Karen's album was Karen's album, if she wanted to make a jazz album she would have done one but she recorded what she wanted and the vocal work she did on it was amazing and intricate. That's the bottom line. We can't say it wasn't commercially viable because the thing never had a chance to see the light of day, the waters were never tested....all we have is how it did 16 yrs later and we make assumptions in 96 (to current day) how it would have gone in 80. How can that be fair to Karen?

I get what Mr. J is saying. Karen's album isn't what they expected of her and wasn't the kind of record they thought would sell. In truth, it is very different and perhaps they feared it would be hurtful not only to her image but to Carpenters going forward. Carpenters were hardly "on fire" sale-wise at this point and they hadn't had a huge hit in a while. The last thing they needed was (in theory) for Karen to release a solo album that went in a completely different direction. At that point, everyone involved thought Carpenters would be around for many more years and we already know how much Carpenters wanted another hit. "Passage" sort of "went wild" like "Karen Carpenter" did and we know how that turned out. Would "Karen Carpenter" have worked then? That's a question we'll never have the answer to. I suspect it might not have given how different it was. It would have required some excellent marketing to make it work. Also, if "Karen Carpenter" had been released, what would have been the way forward for Carpenters? Would there have been a way forward for Carpenters? Karen was the main draw. Richard likely knew that if that "Karen Carpenter" didn't even have to hit to be a big problem for Carpenters. He is very talented, of course, but he had a problem: his sister was one of the finest female singers that ever lived. He took up residence in her shadow almost immediately and has stayed there for all of his professional life. He's Karen's brother, not Richard, and the release of that solo record would have solidified that even further.

By 1985 (when Richard started recording his album), Karen was gone so no brand could be hurt. I'm also fairly convinced that Herb was, as Rumbahbah said, doing Richard a "solid" for all the years Carpenters had been on the label and all the success they'd generated. They allowed Richard to record this album and, later, "PAC" (maybe "PAC" was part of a renegotiation of some sort). Surely, they couldn't have heard either one and thought they'd be incredible sellers. "Time" is, if I'm correct, A&M's worst-selling album. They went into the "red" on it almost surely. How or if they recouped that loss is a matter for someone on their end as I have no idea. As has been said, Richard likely spent more than $100,000 to complete his album. There's obvious craft going on there and that costs.

Ed
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
This comes back to what others have said - if Karen was previewing her material with friends throughout its recording, why weren't any previews given to anyone at A&M until it was fully completed? Maybe it's not the done thing but you'd think someone at the label would have had the sense to ask for a listen to the first batch of completed tracks to test the waters midway through the project, rather than leave Karen to her own devices for almost twelve months before a preview of the finished product. I'm sure we'll never know the full story.

She was working with Phil Ramone. He was a monster in the business. No reason not to trust him. Surely he wouldn't blow it. They may not have known he's go "renegade" and take her to places she'd never gone to before. Still, leaving them on their own is a tad irresponsible and it would have behooved them to "take a listen" every once in a while.

Ed
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
illboard Magazine, May 5,1979:

MOR Artists go to Funkier Sound
(Paul Grein):
"....The Carpenters made a big departure with their 1977 album Passage....The album received the most favorable reviews of the
Carpenters' career, but was their first in seven years to miss Gold Certification.
Now, Karen Carpenter will cut a solo album for A&M with Phil Ramone producing.
Explains Ramone, "We're going to go a totally different direction with Karen, more into rock and funky stuff."
In recent radio interviews A&M vice chairman Herb Alpert stressed that Richard and Karen will still record as the Carpenters,
but Richard, who had produced the duos LP's for the past six years, wanted to take some time off, leading to Karen's match-up with Ramone.


A&Mguyfromwayback, here is a partial answer from Richard Carpenter:
Q/A from his official website:
Q:Arranger 5 1:
“Richard, you write the most beautiful orchestrations I have ever heard. Do you ever plan or have been asked to write movie scores?”
A:“I don’t plan to write movie scores; I think that is a talent in itself. I consider myself more of a song writer, arranger, producer - a record maker.”
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I get what Mr. J is saying. Karen's album isn't what they expected of her and wasn't the kind of record they thought would sell. In truth, it is very different and perhaps they feared it would be hurtful not only to her image but to Carpenters going forward. Carpenters were hardly "on fire" sale-wise at this point and they hadn't had a huge hit in a while. The last thing they needed was (in theory) for Karen to release a solo album that went in a completely different direction.

If that was the reason A&M didn't release her album because it wasn't what they expected of her then that is like telling an artist you can't grow or try new ideas or be creative, no you can only stay in one genre because that is what you're good at doing. Doesn't that sound a bit controlling to an artist? I always bring this up but it's a great correlation although Olivia was not a duo act the underlying music aspect is the same, in 77 Olivia releases Making a Good Thing Better with tepid sales up to this point she was labeled as white bread, soft mellow and she ventured off into Grease in 78 afraid of taking on a movie role she requested a screen test before committing, then she launches a 180 in her music career and releases Totally Hot (a more sexy grown up Olivia with lyrics to match) then there's Xanadu and then the real change in 81 with Physical, afraid she would lose her fan base to the suggestive lyrics of Physical she panicked so she tried to water it down by bringing in fitness to the song to take off the edge. I say all this because the premise is the same, if someone were to have told Olivia, no Totally Hot is too suggestive and Physical are you kidding you want to tarnish your 70's appeal and lose your fan base would be like clipping her wings and saying you can fly but only at this level. This is what being a solo artist is all about, creating, keeping your appeal fresh and not staying in the same mold album after album. I believe this is what Karen desired in her solo album. Karen said it best that she believed that her and Richard could work separately yet still work together. Karen wanted it all, to be a solo artist and to keep Carpenters. Sometimes I get a feeling from some that we are shaming her for wanting to do what she wanted as an individual artist. Richard got that chance on his solo album Time to be an artist as an individual and to work with other artists yet Karen was not able to move forward. I bet if she had been in better health and stabilized her health she would have re-visited this idea, she now had a taste of what it was like to record on her own and that experience wasn't just going to go away.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
This is what being a solo artist is all about, creating, keeping your appeal fresh and not staying in the same mold album after album.

The root problem in all of this is that A&M - and definitely Richard - never saw her as a solo artist. Once they were launched and successful, they were seen as an inextricable duo. And that was the biggest ball and chain of all for Karen. Forget Richard saying "we should have been doing more songs in the vein of 'I Get Along Without You Very Well'". She should have been out there duetting with some of the biggest names of her generation. But it never happened. We can only wonder why that was, but it doesn't take a genius to work it out.
 

MissK

Active Member
The root problem in all of this is that A&M - and definitely Richard - never saw her as a solo artist. Once they were launched and successful, they were seen as an inextricable duo. And that was the biggest ball and chain of all for Karen. Forget Richard saying "we should have been doing more songs in the vein of 'I Get Along Without You Very Well'". She should have been out there duetting with some of the biggest names of her generation. But it never happened. We can only wonder why that was, but it doesn't take a genius to work it out.

I once read one of those “best female singer”- pissing contests on the web. One person mentioned Karen Carpenter. Another took issue with it saying something like “she doesn’t count because she was part of a duo” (grrr!).

The BBC Singers Hall of Fame is interesting. Most inducted are solo artists. A few groups have been recognized: Everly Bros and the BeeGees, a true vocal duo and true vocal trio whose members were of equal vocal weight. ABBA was mentioned but only the two female singers by name were inducted.

The Carpenters have been nominated (along with Streisand). Now here’s my gripe. Any Singers Hall of Fame that does not include Karen Carpenter (but does include Jimmy Durante of all people) isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. And I do mean KAREN Carpenter, not the Carpenters. Another example of her being swallowed up by this “duo” moniker. For once she should be recognized in her own right. I’m going to put my vote in – for her.

I have worked it out. It starts with Magic Lamp.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
May 18,1985 Billboard Magazine:
"Carpenter recently signed a new management pact with Carman Productions,
He also signed a new Booking deal with Dick Gilmore at the Agency for Performing Arts,
And, he re-signed as a solo artist with A&M records.
He expects to begin recording his first solo album in June, for release no earlier than spring 1986,
Carpenter will produce and arrange, and also sing leads. Carpenter also expects to tour when the album comes out."

Source:
books.google.com/books?id=HCUEAAAAMBAJ
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
"I have worked it out. It starts with Magic Lamp.[/QUOTE]

Excellent Miss K! That and RCA escape me from time to time.
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
If that was the reason A&M didn't release her album because it wasn't what they expected of her then that is like telling an artist you can't grow or try new ideas or be creative, no you can only stay in one genre because that is what you're good at doing. Doesn't that sound a bit controlling to an artist? I always bring this up but it's a great correlation although Olivia was not a duo act the underlying music aspect is the same, in 77 Olivia releases Making a Good Thing Better with tepid sales up to this point she was labeled as white bread, soft mellow and she ventured off into Grease in 78 afraid of taking on a movie role she requested a screen test before committing, then she launches a 180 in her music career and releases Totally Hot (a more sexy grown up Olivia with lyrics to match) then there's Xanadu and then the real change in 81 with Physical, afraid she would lose her fan base to the suggestive lyrics of Physical she panicked so she tried to water it down by bringing in fitness to the song to take off the edge.

Olivia has said that her turn in "Grease" gave her the confidence to move in a new direction. She wouldn't have done it without "Grease" because she didn't think people would have accepted it had she not appeared as "bad Sandy" in the movie. She'd also already had a successful solo career with a number 1 record, "Have You Never Been Mellow" and other hits. When Olivia went sexier, there was precent in it in the form of an incredibly successful movie so her move in that direction wasn't so shocking and therefore more digestible to the public at large. Karen had neither of those luxuries. "Karen Carpenter" would have just appeared there without anything to connect it to. Had "Passage" been a big hit, that might have helped but she still should have recorded at least a few tunes that were more in step with what Carpenters were doing so her fans would have something familiar to hang on to.

I say all this because the premise is the same, if someone were to have told Olivia, no Totally Hot is too suggestive and Physical are you kidding you want to tarnish your 70's appeal and lose your fan base would be like clipping her wings and saying you can fly but only at this level. This is what being a solo artist is all about, creating, keeping your appeal fresh and not staying in the same mold album after album. I believe this is what Karen desired in her solo album. Karen said it best that she believed that her and Richard could work separately yet still work together. Karen wanted it all, to be a solo artist and to keep Carpenters. Sometimes I get a feeling from some that we are shaming her for wanting to do what she wanted as an individual artist. Richard got that chance on his solo album Time to be an artist as an individual and to work with other artists yet Karen was not able to move forward. I bet if she had been in better health and stabilized her health she would have re-visited this idea, she now had a taste of what it was like to record on her own and that experience wasn't just going to go away.

Karen wasn't going to get it all. Richard likely knew that. A Karen solo career would have ended Richard's. It would have become immediately apparent that Karen didn't need him and she would have been pushed to keep it moving on her own. He wasn't successful in any respect after she passed so the fact that his career would have ended is rather obvious. I really wish Karen would have just gone back to the studio with Phil per A&M's request and cut some different material. We likely still would have gotten what we wanted along with some more familiar tunes that would have kept Carpenters fans happy. Likely, it would have been a record that split the difference. After that one, she could have taken the listener anywhere she wanted. The trick is that your first album should be one that people expect. Then, once you've got the listener, they'll go somewhere new with you. Karen's album was utterly different from the first downbeat with nothing to tether to from her past. Everything was different and more intimate, musically and lyrically. She went too far too fast and paid for it, sadly.

Ed
 

moog

Well-Known Member
3. Richard's solo album came into existence only because Karen was gone.And,except for one more forthcoming album(Lovelines) there would be no more new Carpenters albums.Richard's album isn't any better than Karen's-but it came into fruition under totally different circumstances.In all likelihood,the two Christmas albums He recorded were probably turned down by Universal.

I think it's more likely that Richard, being the perfectionist that he is, decided it wasn't "right" yet. Also, perhaps he doesn't feel as confident releasing Christmas-y things without Karen. After all, it wouldn't even have to be through Universal. There are plenty of other companies who'd love to release it.

Also, here's what A&M saw fit to release in 1979....

 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I think it's more likely that Richard, being the perfectionist that he is, decided it wasn't "right" yet. Also, perhaps he doesn't feel as confident releasing Christmas-y things without Karen. After all, it wouldn't even have to be through Universal. There are plenty of other companies who'd love to release it.

Also, here's what A&M saw fit to release in 1979....


Not to be a wet blanket but I think some are vastly overestimating Richard's commercial value. He's commercially cold and there's no reason anything he released would sell. If all of the Carpenters' fans didn't buy "Time" when it was released in 1987, there's no way they'd all buy a Christmas album from him nearly 30 years later.

Ed
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Note:

  • PIANIST, ARRANGER, COMPOSER, CONDUCTOR was never really an A&M album. The label imprint at that time was PolyGram, just before the sale to Universal, so it wasn't exactly the same label that released TIME.
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
Mama Ethel's got my foot a-tappin. I had this lp and had a ball. I have to dig it up on cd or something. Ah yes, they don't make em like that no mo and no less.

Jeff
 

mr J.

Well-Known Member
This comes back to what others have said - if Karen was previewing her material with friends throughout its recording, why weren't any previews given to anyone at A&M until it was fully completed? Maybe it's not the done thing but you'd think someone at the label would have had the sense to ask for a listen to the first batch of completed tracks to test the waters midway through the project, rather than leave Karen to her own devices for almost twelve months before a preview of the finished product. I'm sure we'll never know the full story.
Karen was given "carte blanche" to record the album and spend A&M's allowance the way she wanted to.
 

mr J.

Well-Known Member
Note:

  • PIANIST, ARRANGER, COMPOSER, CONDUCTOR was never really an A&M album. The label imprint at that time was PolyGram, just before the sale to Universal, so it wasn't exactly the same label that released TIME.
Harry-actually "Pianist Arranger" was released on A&M.

A&M was in full operations until Universal took over in January 1999.

A&M ceased being an independent label when Polygram bought the label in 1990,but A&M still operated as a (corporate-owned) label.
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Harry-actually "Pianist Arranger" was released on A&M.

A&M was in full operations until Universal took over in January 1999.

A&M ceased being an independent label when Polygram bought the label in 1990,but A&M still operated as a (corporate-owned) label.

That was part of their deal with Herb when he sold it, wasn't it?

Ed
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Mama Ethel's got my foot a-tappin. I had this lp and had a ball. I have to dig it up on cd or something. Ah yes, they don't make em like that no mo and no less.

Jeff

This was when Disco became an assembly line. It was no longer a form of music but an avenue to commerce. That wouldn't last much after the release of Merman's disco thingee.

Ed
 

mr J.

Well-Known Member
If that was the reason A&M didn't release her album because it wasn't what they expected of her then that is like telling an artist you can't grow or try new ideas or be creative, no you can only stay in one genre because that is what you're good at doing. Doesn't that sound a bit controlling to an artist? I always bring this up but it's a great correlation although Olivia was not a duo act the underlying music aspect is the same, in 77 Olivia releases Making a Good Thing Better with tepid sales up to this point she was labeled as white bread, soft mellow and she ventured off into Grease in 78 afraid of taking on a movie role she requested a screen test before committing, then she launches a 180 in her music career and releases Totally Hot (a more sexy grown up Olivia with lyrics to match) then there's Xanadu and then the real change in 81 with Physical, afraid she would lose her fan base to the suggestive lyrics of Physical she panicked so she tried to water it down by bringing in fitness to the song to take off the edge. I say all this because the premise is the same, if someone were to have told Olivia, no Totally Hot is too suggestive and Physical are you kidding you want to tarnish your 70's appeal and lose your fan base would be like clipping her wings and saying you can fly but only at this level. This is what being a solo artist is all about, creating, keeping your appeal fresh and not staying in the same mold album after album. I believe this is what Karen desired in her solo album. Karen said it best that she believed that her and Richard could work separately yet still work together. Karen wanted it all, to be a solo artist and to keep Carpenters. Sometimes I get a feeling from some that we are shaming her for wanting to do what she wanted as an individual artist. Richard got that chance on his solo album Time to be an artist as an individual and to work with other artists yet Karen was not able to move forward. I bet if she had been in better health and stabilized her health she would have re-visited this idea, she now had a taste of what it was like to record on her own and that experience wasn't just going to go away.
I've addressed this issue in my last post(paragraph 1 & 2).

Again-what is commercially viable for one artist isn't necessarily commercially viable for another.

Karen & Olivia were two totally different types of artists with totally different markets.While they happened to be close friends,they had nothing in common professionally.

We could look at Karen & Olivia's 1978 albums as a case in point-Karen's "Christmas Portrait" and Olivia's "Totally Hot" were as different as night and day.And,both albums were designed for totally different record-buying markets.

We could also look at both of their 1980 TV specials as another case in point: Karen's "Music,Music,Music" and Olivia's "Hollywood Nights" were,again,totally different music presentations that were geared toward totally different TV-viewing audiences.
 
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