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An Old-Fashioned Christmas Favorite Song

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by tomswift2002, Dec 4, 2017.

What Are Your 3 Favorite Tracks?

  1. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

  2. Overture

  3. An Old-Fashioned Christmas

  4. O Holy Night

  5. Home For The Holidays

  6. Medley

    0 vote(s)
  7. Little Altar Boy

  8. Do You Hear What I Hear?

  9. My Favorite Things

  10. He Came Here For Me

  11. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

  12. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

  13. The Nutcracker

    0 vote(s)
  14. I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    I don't think this is unreasonable. although there publicity surrounding the release, it was still an album of Christmas music. although it probably didn't help the quarterly statement, I expect a&m has resoundedly recouped their investment.
  2. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Just like movies, there have been albums over the years that stiffed upon release, but later blossomed into at least a cult following. A great A&M example is ROGER NICHOLS & THE SMALL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS. It was a poor-seller and was dropped from the catalog rather quickly, but over the years it has grown in stature, particularly in Japan. And it's a great album for Carpenters fans to sink their teeth into as we know that Roger Nichols composed some great Carpenters tunes, particularly in the early years. It's always in and out of print in Japan, yet has never been re-released in the States. The UK even had a CD release of it from Cherry Red.

    CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT though, has not only a cult following, but is generally a perennial best-seller during the holiday season.
    Chris May and ars nova like this.
  3. leadmister

    leadmister Well-Known Member

    I wonder how much of Christmas Portrait's success at this point stems from it being the Special Edition on CD as opposed to the original 17 tracks from the LP.
  4. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    does anyone know of a realistic sales figure for the Christmas releases?
  5. leadmister

    leadmister Well-Known Member

    Christmas Portrait has sold a reported 3 million in the US, with ~1 million sold before 1991 and ~ 2 million sold after, according to Soundscan data. It's been certified platinum by the RIAA in 1998. Worldwide sales figures are around 14 million total. An Old Fashioned Christmas was certified gold by the RIAA in 1998 with approximately 500k sold. The Soundscan data to accompany that is around another 500k, for a total of 1 million in the US. Not sure about worldwide.
    CraigGA likes this.
  6. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I don't know where it came from, as it's been mentioned on this board before, but the 14 million worldwide sales figure for Christmas Portrait is inaccurate. Christmas albums traditionally aren't big sellers in markets outside the US (for instance, the album is one of their lowest sellers in the UK), so it's not feasible that it could have racked up 11 million sales outside its strongest market.

    At most, I'd reckon Christmas Portrait may have sold up to 1 million outside of the US (although even that figure may be too high), which would give a rough total of 4 million worldwide. I would imagine the sales figures for An Old Fashioned Christmas outside of the US would be even lower.
  7. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    From all the chart posts about “Christmas Portrait” on iTunes and Billboard it is the Special Edition that continues to chart in the US as, even as a digital download it is the only seperate CP whereas the 1978 CP is only available in the Christmas Collection. And the 1978 CP and 1984 AOFC were last available by themselves on cassette in the late-90’s. So 2015’s peak of #93 on Billboard comes from the Special Edition, not the original.
    leadmister likes this.
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    It is an interesting creature, this cd: Christmas Portrait Special Edition.
    I bought the original LP Christmas Portrait in 1978, and I love it.
    I bought the LP An Old Fashioned Christmas in 1984, and love the Karen Carpenter vocals.
    But....I have had The Special Edition upon since its release and I rarely play it.

    The cd-success of The Special Edition is nice,
    yet, has little to do with the brilliance of the initial LP
    or, the shimmering vocals on the later LP.
    It seems to have a life all its own--this, I attribute to 'the digital age.'
    I do not much care for it, but I am not really its target market.
    Jarred likes this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Of course, adding to my personal dilemma,
    I adore the original Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,
    I consider it to be a pinnacle of both Richard's (arrangement)
    and Karen's (lead vocal) talents. It is a "Carpenters" staple for me.
    Now, try selling me on the new (1984 vs. 1974) sax-solo, and I am not as 'sold.'
    Still, thankfully the song appeared on An Old Fashioned Christmas LP.
  10. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    The Special Edition isn't as good as the original 1978 LP (and it fails to even act as a decent 'best of' the Christmas albums due to its omission of the original 'Santa Claus in Coming to Town') but it's been on the market for years now and has, for better or worse, become the go-to Christmas album for casual buyers (the Christmas Collection was released too late to ever supplant it from that position). I'd imagine most of those who've bought it in recent years would have no idea that it's actually quite different from the original 1978 release.

    At least we have the good fortune of the West German 1984 CD version having slipped through the net. Once I got hold of a copy of that, I sold my copy of the Special Edition CD as I knew I'd never go back to it.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  11. leadmister

    leadmister Well-Known Member

    I agree that the original LP is far better, and I have even gone so far as to include the LP rip in the MP3 collection on my phone, along with the SE CD rip, so I can enjoy either one depending on my mood at the time. I also mix the single version of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town into the Christmas playlist. The arrangement is pure joy.
  12. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I believe that I read in Billboard that Christmas Potrait is in the Top 20 of best selling Christmas albums. And, after all these years, it is currently moving up in this years’ Top 20 Christmas Albums. It seems that this year I am hearing more of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas on XM and FM radio.
    I know that most people and the charts track all of these individually, but I consider them one package as the Carpenters Christmas Collection.
  13. leadmister

    leadmister Well-Known Member

    The first time I heard Little Altar Boy it brought me to my knees. Karen put so much depth and feeling into it. Really got into the song with her soul. There was something magical about those Christmas tracks. It's no doubt that these cuts were very much a labor of love for her, and songs like Little Altar Boy and Christmas Waltz, for me, epitomize that joy and depth of love for the holidays. So much so that it's made me love the holidays as well.
  14. Someday

    Someday Active Member

    It may be interesting to note that, over the years, here in the UK I have never met anyone who had heard of either Christmas album, except real fans. People don't seem to be aware Carpenters recorded festive music at all.
  15. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    That's one of the puzzling features in their legacy. In the US, it seems it's largely the Christmas music rather than the hits that has kept them in the public consciousness, whereas it's the reverse situation in the UK (albeit that 'Merry Christmas Darling' now gets occasional radio play in the run-up to Christmas these days).
  16. leadmister

    leadmister Well-Known Member

    They have way different tastes in Christmas music in the UK as opposed to the US.

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