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

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Nov 13, 2014.


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  1. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member


    It seems you didn't read my entire post of which you quoted but picked out what you wanted.....
    my quote: "I say all this because the premise is the same"

    of course their music and buying markets were different, the premise is that no one told Olivia, stop you can't make something like Grease that will tarnish your good girl appeal with a bad Sandy? Oh my gosh or worse launch a Totally Hot or animal Physical that might abandon your fan base, we don't know how the fans will react that have been following you through the 70's, these things are too daring and we can't gauge the reaction. No, Olivia was free to move as an artist, Karen was free to spend $100K of A&M's money yet when the time had come to finally release her magic....after everything was complete according to Karen...the brakes were placed.
  2. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Olivia only had to worry about hurting herself though. Karen had to worry about hurting a whole brand. A&M had far more to lose with the sinking of Carpenters than MCA did with the sinking of Olivia. I wish she could have flown free but A&M wasn't gonna stand for that.

  3. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member


    Well, if the weight was that strong why let Karen do what she wanted with no guidance from anyone other than Phil Ramone of who they put her in contact with in the first place. Karen was a new to working solo, what did they think she was going to make another Carpenters album in the same vein? It makes no sense, A&M had months and months during her project to think about that idea of possibly hurting the brand....regardless of what the material was going to become. Why did they wait till the very end to pull the plug? I'm just trying to get clarity yet the window remain frosted.
    Jeff likes this.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    You are absolutely correct, Chris, in reflecting upon the issue, "Why did A&M wait so long to pull-the-plug."
    A&M knew from the very inception the direction that Phil Ramone was taking Karen's solo album. (Billboard, May 1979--above).
    The same Billboard article echoes the sentiment ('quoted as saying') by Herb Alpert, that Carpenters would still continue recording.
    Initial playbacks: A&M asked Mr. Derek Green to fly in from London to New York to listen to Karen's material. (How does that make sense?).
    In 1978, if Coleman is to be believed: Karen was befuddled as to the lack of promotion (by A&M) for Christmas Portrait--especially when she flew to
    London to do the Forsythe TV Show on December 24th--and,also, Richard refused to accompany her. (The Singles 1974-1978 was promoted,though).
    At the time that Karen Carpenter's solo album was nearly complete, Carpenters as a brand were already in deep trouble. It did take some time for
    Christmas Portrait to go Gold, and I Believe You (and,this not arranged by Richard) barely made a dent as a single in 1978--as two examples).
    By that time (early 1980) Richard had taken a lot of time off of their career :
    Let's enumerate a bit--a few of the choices Richard made for their career,from mid-1975 onward--:
    1. he fired Sedaka for upstaging them,
    2. fired Sherwin Bash for teaming them with Sedaka,
    3. could/would not not complete the entire Long Beach Christmas Show,
    4. abruptly cancelled the remaining Las Vegas Shows, indeed all concerts ended.
    5. he did very little on the Christmas Portrait LP, has stated that A&M would not have given Karen solo billing on it, anyway!
    6. was not actively composing new material for the duo (Because We Are In Love-mid 1980, Look to Your Dreams-1974).
    7. did not go to the UK with Karen to promote anything--let alone do the show-which was a smash without him.
    8. took all of 1979 off, though he has stated it only took some weeks to become rehab-ed.
    9. Recall: Radio Station visits were not being done, either. (Karen quoted in Carpenters' Reader),
    The trend is clear, the evidence is there. Carpenters--Richard and Karen--were not happening.
    It is not that Karen Carpenter was Cold, commercially. Karen was always happening.
    Richard Carpenter had done enough damage to Carpenters commercially, up to that point.
    True enough, as Richard never fails to indicate, Karen's health was poor. But, if that were the sole reason,
    he never would have jumped right into the studio-- and the Worldwide promotional tour-- for Made In America.
    The evidence, scattered as it is across many print, audio and video sources, clearly indicates that Richard Carpenter pulled this plug.
    Karen Carpenter was never going to have a solo career, whether that 1979 album was great or horrible.
    Neither Richard, nor A&M, would ever allow that to happen.
    aaflyer98, Murray, Jeff and 2 others like this.
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    As far as the 'timing' of Richard Carpenter's Time LP,
    all indications are that A&M was not having a very good year(s) in the recording industry around this 'time'.
    (Likely, Richard Carpenter's album never had the chance to make a dent on the charts,regardless of its merits.)

    NY Times
    , September 1989:
    "Also, there had been some expectation among industry experts that A&M would be sold.
    One industry expert estimated that A&M's worldwide revenues were about $250 million.
    A music industry executive who declined to be named said A&M had perhaps not invested as
    much in acquiring new talent as some of its competitors but that, with Polygram's capital, it was likely to expand its roster.
    A&M's market share is about 2 percent

    LA Times, September 1989:
    "Polygram already distributes A&M's records in Europe. RCA Records is the U.S. distributor of A&M Records, which has only a 2% market share and has long been rumored to be up for sale.A&M currently has just one album in the top 100."

    N.B. Also, the July 10,1999 Issue of Billboard (page:cool: has a nice exposition of the "Label Integrity Clause" and the sale of A&M Records.
  6. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I know it was released with an A&M label on it. My point was that in 1996-1997, A&M was a very different place from when TIME was recorded and released. Yes, the Lot was still there, but it was under PolyGram ownership, and Richard didn't even record PACC at A&M Studios - it was recorded at Capitol Studios.

  7. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Phil Ramone was a monster in this business. He was tremendously successful with just about everything he worked on. A&M likely just put them together and let them do what they do. They likely thought she was going to do what Lionel Richie did with his first solo record: make a record that stood on it's own but didn't stray too far from the Commodores sound. They were very wrong. Richie released his first solo record and it did extremely well because his record was reminiscent enough of the stuff he did with the Commodores that it wasn't a shock to anyone's system. Karen and Phil decided to experiment but they took it way too far. In their efforts to be as different as possible, they didn't give A&M anything familiar to grab on to. That's likely what killed the record. By the time they heard the record and asked her go back in to the studio to fix it, Richard (who knew what a successful Karen solo album would mean for his own career) was out of treatment and wanted to do another Carpenters album. Karen likely knew that if she put more work into her solo album, it would have hurt her relationship with Richard and so she caved - hence her "decision" to shelve the album. She was essentially between a rock and a hard place.

  8. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    This is becoming a fascinating read! Kinda edge of my seat. So many great views melding for that clarity that eludes us. Great thoughts and detective work Corner team!

    And as a former Rah Rah Boy...you go Gary! Chris you're rockin! Ed lovin your input!

  9. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    That happens here often. One post will have a POV and when melded with others, you get one really interesting take. That's what makes this such a great place to hang out in.

    Jeff likes this.
  10. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Ed, the like I placed above was basically only for your last sentence, which yes I believe that Karen thought at that point she had to shelve it as she was placed in time constraints between wanting it released and Richard being ready to move on. It's too bad Karen didn't have the strength to say Rich you may be ready but this solo thing is going to happen one way or another. I understand her view though because she always wanted to please everyone around her. If it had been released, Olivia's special would have been good marketing for the single.

    I don't agree with the first part...if Karen had done an album as you mentioned somewhat like Lionel did that closer matched what she did with Carpenters...I just don't believe that on that final playback if the album had been every thing A&M wanted would they have changed their mind and said yes Karen this is going to press, let's market this. Can you really see that happening? I can't. I think their minds were made up well before the playback (regardless what type material Karen was singing) maybe A&M thought this was just a "good experience for Karen" but nothing more. Richard still would have been waiting in the wings for Karen to finish her solo launch and well how would that have gone? I've also always wondered why Richard was involved in the playback of Karen's solo album, I'm sure Karen probably wanted him there but really her solo album had nothing to do with Richard other than his feedback of which he should have kept private between him and Karen and not had any influence on others in the room such as A&M exec's.
    Jeff likes this.
  11. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I wonder if at many point in the solo disc fiasco Karen felt betrayed by Richard and by A&M, especially Herb.
    aaflyer98 and Jeff like this.
  12. FreddieB

    FreddieB Member

    I like Phil Ramone, but it seems to me like he was playing around with her career. Who in their right mind gives a great established singer that kind of lame material? He wouldn't try that with someone like Linda Ronstadt or even his friend Phoebe Snow. I like how he asked the musicians not to curse around her when Karen could keep up with any truck driver in that department...so silly. It is almost like he was a playing mind games with Karen. There was nothing wrong with her...give her some current good rock/pop material and let her do her thang. Karen was always cool and sexy...too bad Mr Ramone didn't think so.

    Ever notice how much in style Karen was dressed than Mr Ramone lol.....

    I can see both sides of this. As J Bettis said...great driver....wrong car.

    I still think Karen should have went to Nashville and recorded a country record.

    I like 'Time'. Well done Richard!!!

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014
    Geographer likes this.
  13. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    Gary-where did you get the idea that K&R were in "deep trouble" in 1980?

    To the contrary,K&R's entire catalog was doing very well in 1980-and K&R were pretty much "carrying" the label in that late 70's/early 80's time period.

    It was because of K&R's massive-selling catalog that A&M was able to finance the signing of several new artists to the label in the late 70's/early 80's.
  14. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    A&M was a record company. I doubt they would have parted with $100,000 of the company cash for a "good experience for Karen". They spent the money with the intention of releasing the album. Nothing else makes sense, really.

    As to why Richard was there, you said she likely wanted him there and I agree with you. She clearly held his opinion in high regard, hence his presence. He must have been quite relieved when the project was rejected.

  15. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I don't think A&M would have turned Karen over to Phil Ramone thinking he'd make a record similar to what the Carpenters' produced. That was the last thing on everyone's mind. Imagine if she'd presented them with an album of Paul Williams' and Burt Bacharach love songs all overdubbed with KC backing vocals? Where would that have left Richard? 'Completely redundant' is the answer. A&M allowing an album like that to be released would have proved Karen didn't need him and that was never going to be allowed.
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Mr. J.,
    As always, thanks for the opportunity for me to clarify my line that "... Carpenters as a brand were already in deep trouble by 1980."
    Although you presented me with two of your reasons for the alternative, I must stand by my original contention. But, I will
    offer one concession to that blanket statement : Overseas they were doing better, in the United States they were not.
    As examples:
    (1). The January 1977 Tonight Show appearance whereby a joke is made in reference to Carpenters having to 'win their crown'
    back from the Captain and Tennille. (Also, did the duo's 1980 Music,Music,Music do well in the ratings? Not at all.)
    (2) The single I Believe You reached #68 in 1978, and I am unable to locate if the song stayed on the hot 100 charts for more than a week.
    That is a far cry from the duo's previous singles' successes. (And, even the three singles from Passage barely cracked the USA top 40).
    (3). A&M was having some type of financial problem in 1979, as documented in the 25th Anniversary publication. Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss
    had to secure a rather large loan from their bank as a short-term fix. So, while Carpenters' catalog was obviously still selling, it was not
    carrying A&M at that particular time, otherwise why bother with the loan?
    (The book is rather scarce, but I can transcribe the appropriate passages regarding that situation, if requested).
    (4). January 6, 1979: After five weeks on the charts, Christmas Portrait--which peaked at #145-- is at #155.
    (5). Karen and Richard:Radio Report 1978--"If someone would just let us know what the problem is..." Karen-"The last three years there has
    been a definite resistance to our product, and I don't know why." (Page 224,
    Carpenters Reader)

    And, of course, my observations are applicable to the period which I specifically reference: 1975-1980, although 1981 and 1982 follow the same pattern.
    So, in response to 'Where did I get the idea?"......that Carpenters as a brand were in deep trouble by 1980, I offer the above--partial--list.
  17. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Gary, if I may add something and we have talked about this before on another thread. I recall the discussion that radio stations were not playing the singles from MIA and Harold Carpenter was actually calling the stations to find out why. That sounds disparate when earlier in the game DJs were playing all their hits. A sign of trouble? I know that's after 80 but the pattern continued.
  18. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    I should imagine Richard felt pretty betrayed by Karen and Herb in Jan-May '79. Then Karen felt pretty betrayed by Richard and Herb a year later. Luckily their mutual respect and love for each other blew the bad feeling out the water in time for MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC.
  19. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    Karen stated she wanted to act...
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    And, if the great John Wayne was so taken with Karen, that he wanted her for 'True Grit', imagine those possibilities!
    But, back to Richard--I am still irritated at his ambivalence in the Postman Video.
    Here we have a #1 hit, Karen having a blast--and, yet, he felt foolish and did not want to be there (Disneyland)--and, it shows.
    How about doing some acting, try to look excited in the video, and make the best of it. To wit, what was bothering him
    so badly in late 1974 ,when they were the top act in the US and the world ? If not ,then, for a better video, do it for Karen's sake !
    His commentary for the video mentions motion sickness, but, that did not seem to prevent his flying in the Lear jet.
    He mentions the lack of an album for 1974 as a poor business decision--but, I fail to understand why he did not have the clout to
    demand (to management) that they take the three months to get an album done.
    1974 was very much a turning point, for him, for Karen , and their career.
    But, exactly what precipitated the turmoil--that contrary to belief that it was Karen's anorexia--has not really seen the light of day.
    Jeff likes this.
  21. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    You provided some interesting reference material here-I can see that you've been doing your homework!

    I think what you are really trying to say is that A&M was in "deep trouble" in 1980-is that it?

    K&R's catalog was a cash cow for A&M since Close To You hit the stores in 1970.At the time of Karen's death,K&R were the only veteran A&M artists whose entire catalog was still in print-an indicator that their catalog was selling well in the early 80's.

    I would probably say that the value of the Carpenters Catalog in 1980,along with projected estimates of future sales,was one of the main factors in A&M's ability to secure that big loan.

    Most of the articles you mentioned are regarding their later singles & have nothing to do with album sales.
  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Regarding Albums:
    In the aforementioned A&M 25th Anniversary Publication,
    there is a list (on pages 67-68) of RIAA Certified Platinum Albums, up to 1987.
    In the period which I reference --in my post, for 1975-1980, there is one Carpenters' album, for 1975 , Horizon, listed .
    Between April 1976 until December 1981 there are no certified Platinum Carpenters Albums (among the 22 listed there).
    Thus, while the 'back-catalog' of Carpenters' albums was still selling; obviously, between 1976-1981 they were not selling as they once did.
    (say, compared to the period 1970-1975--when they were the dominant force at A&M Records.
    Christmas Portrait 'certified Gold' on January 16,1981. (Released October 13, 1978---thus, it took approx. 2.25 years to sell 500,000 units)
    Between 1975-1982 there are 58 total A&M Gold Album Certifications, of which three (5%) are Carpenters: Horizon, Kind of Hush,Christmas Portrait.
    (Gold=500,000 units post January 1st,1976, before that it was a million dollars worth of units. Platinum=1 million copies).

    And, ultimately, Richard Carpenter himself has drawn attention to the poor sales of Passage and Hush as due to no 'sell-through' top-5 singles.
    And, in comparison to previous certifications, Christmas Portrait took quite a while to achieve its sales (and its iconic status; recall A&M was
    not keen on the idea of a Christmas album, and did precious little for its promotion).
    The specific time frame, 1975-1980, in America, shows a distinct lack of chart action and sales achievement;
    And, while Jerry Weintraub felt that '..every artist goes through that sales drop-off..",
    and he thus kept Carpenters on the television screen--that, in itself, did little to spark album (or single) sales.
    If Richard Carpenter--as he time and again reiterates--felt they were primarily a recording duo, then why
    did he not take steps to maintain product for the record-buying public--instead of spending so much time on television specials.
    Had Carpenters' sales and momentum been as prevalent in the later half of the decade as the first-half , no need would have arisen for the television
    specials to keep them "..in the public eye.."
    Also, there is little doubt that lack of touring in America contributed to the 1975-1980 sales decline, here.
    Had the television specials been absent from our living-rooms during that period, Carpenters would have been out- of -sight, and out-of-mind, for
    the average record-buying public.

    Apologies for the protracted post.
    I still believe that the quantitative data speaks for itself.
    Carpenters, as a brand, were in deep trouble in the later half of the 1970s.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  23. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I usually don't leave one worded posts but "Wow" to ^^
    Gary, where were you when I needed MY homework done? :laugh:
    newvillefan, Jeff and Jamesj75 like this.
  24. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    Go to :50 on the first song here.

    I thought back in the day - and also today - that if you close your eyes, squint and gargle saltwater at the same time - it sounded a wee bit like Karen.

    I rather liked this album - for the sheer fact that one can hear Richard's pristine arrangements throughout. I really miss hearing them. And even though this is dripping in all it's synthesized 80's splendor, there are snippets of the same vocal arrangements, and certainly a glimpse of what could have been - had Karen lived and new music was being released during this era.

    That decade is like a time capsule! It all has those overtones... so in retrospect, I think Time and this release deserve to be cut a little slack.

    Now - as for Karen's solo... there are numerous songs on there that - IMHO stand the test of time - even today. But that's another thread!!
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  25. Dutch

    Dutch Member

    I personally think Richard's 'Time' album is a good album in the main, the only problem I have with it is there isn't enough Richard. He should have recorded the songs by Dionne and Dusty as duets and got rid of Scott Grimes. But it's certainly better than the dog's dinner of Karen's solo album. Even John Bettis says its not a good album in his radio interviews. I don't know why people keep saying is good, everything is wrong with it. Why she didn't record a country/pop album in Nashville instead is beyond me. After all Crystal Gayle was huge in 1979 and just listen to 'Miss the Mississippi', the sound would have been perfect for Karen, and Allen Reynolds would have been a better producer than Phil Ramone who basically can't produce women, look at Anne Murray's final duets album, it has some dreadful productions on it! I really wish Unniversal would reissue Richards 'Time' as my cd was stolen years ago. And I think Richard has been producing others and doing soundtracks since hasn't he?

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