1. The new Carpenters recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is now available for preorder! Use this link to preorder, and help us out at the same time. Thank you!

Anyone read this?

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by ullalume, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    They are the top duo! And even at number 5 it is a great achievement any way you slice it! I think that in 10 years the voice will overpass the public perception and the radio will reflect that in future listening.
    Don Malcolm and Carpe diem like this.
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I note that once upon a time I created a graph which detailed time-charted for the duo.
    This list contains this: Weeks charted, 297. That is a bit over five and a half-years !
    So, essentially, the duo was continuously charting (in America) for half the decade.
    I would venture to say, if you tallied the "time-spent" charting, inclusive for Non-USA charts,
    that would take up the remaining five years of the decade.
    No matter how you slice it, those numbers indicate a duo that dominated the landscape of 1970's music.
    So, as James rightly remarks, it is historically askew not to include Carpenters predominantly
    in these 70's radio program broadcasts.
  3. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    How is/was this music testing done? I ask because often times, those most vocal in their distaste for something are a "loud minority", and depending upon test format can be much more likely to respond given their passion about (in this case) their music preferences.

    To wit: slack-jawed, stoned rockers smashing disco albums in Chicago stadium. Not likely you'd see big fans of the Carpenters, Bread, ABBA, et al., holding such an event and smashing KISS records :wink:
    Carpe diem likes this.
  4. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    It is amazing what they achieved (especially in the first half of the decade) despite of so much negativity from the pop music media.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
    goodjeans and David A like this.
  5. When I worked in radio, they would hold music testing maybe four times a year. They'd use direct response mail to gather together members of the target demographic, rent a large hall, and play "hook tapes" of songs that they thought should be favored by that target audience. (A "hook" is the most recognizable part of a record, usually the main chorus.)

    Respondents would listen to these tapes and record their reactions, sometimes as simple as "dislike", "no opinion", and "like". Scores for each song were then tabulated and sent back to the radio station for decisions on what songs to play and how often.

    As computers developed, so did music testing, and reactions were captured with greater precision. But through it all, so I've been told, Carpenters have never tested well. In fact, they always tested poorly, getting the most "dislike" reactions, which tells programmers that if they play a Carpenters song, many people will tune out.

    The problem with "in 10 years" is that the age of people listening will have crept up another ten years. Music of the '70s will be fifty years old or more, so people who were in their 20s throughout the 70s will be in the age of 70+. Now think back to living in the 70s, those of you who were there. Do you recall at that time hearing ANY radio station playing pop music from the 1920s? I think not.

    As it is now, how many radio stations are playing music from the '60s? Other than the dedicated station on Sirius/XM and a few Mom & Pop AM stations, not many radio stations are touching the music of the 60s. And forget the '50s. It's because of the age of the audience that wants to listen to that music.

    And all of this applies to the US only. Other country's radio stations have a lot of different criteria for the music they play. You'll hear artists there that NEVER get played in the US.

    We have threads here called "Heard Carpenters" and "Heard Herb" that get updated every now and then because hearing those artists happen relatively infrequently here in the US.
    Carpe diem likes this.
  6. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    It's all just another version of revisionist history and political correctness.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Another issue with these lists--the concentration centers upon The "hit" Singles--
    and, yet, there are many fantastic album cuts by The Carpenters.
    Songs that to this day, remain unfamiliar to the general public and critics alike.
    So, for instance, Passage has a song such as Two Sides and,
    An Old-Fashioned Christmas
    has Little Altar Boy...no real chart-time, but,
    And, each album contains such gems.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  8. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Thanks Harry for your response, very informative. I didn't know that radio stations back in the day did "music testing" in that way, but it makes sense. It all boils down to ratings and the advertising revenue and they needed to know their "demographic".

    "In fact, they always tested poorly, getting the most "dislike" reactions, which tells programmers that if they play a Carpenters song, many people will tune out."

    The above statement kind of shocked me considering how many millions of albums and singles the duo sold in the US during their heyday. You would think that just by sheer odds there would've been a good percentage of test subjects that would've voted "like". This tells me that the testing pool might have been polluted (young long-haired stoners, maybe?).
  9. Carpenters were always polarizing, with apparently many people who vehemently disliked them, calling their stuff too sugary, sickening sweet, and sleepy. They were not seen as hip at all. Instead they were seen as throwbacks to a Doris Day era, surviving in the midst of the rock, soul, and disco explosion in the 70s.

    Yes, they sold plenty of records - both to some kids AND many parents. Now, imagine how old those parents are - if they are still with us!
    And every unfamiliar song leads to a tune-out - or so programmers believe. Ask any radio professional about the idea of "educating" the audience into what they SHOULD like and you'll get an earful of stories about how it's been tried and the results are instant tune-out.
    David A and Carpe diem like this.
  10. John Tkacik

    John Tkacik Active Member

    I'll bet this list doesn't even include the chart positions of their Holiday singles.
  11. Speaking for myself, I'm one of the oldest living Carpenters fans alive!
  12. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I can see Harry’s point, it is factual and most likely climaxes mine. There is just a part of me that says the Carpenters will have periods of resurrange. Our strongest fans are those who learned of Karen after her passing. I think that will continue to happen. I once watched the Helen Morgan Story and was mezmorized by her in a similar fashion. But it is difficult to find a Helen Morgan record. Where Harry’s point rings true is how many today even know who she is unless you have Barbara Striesand’s First Album and see her name start the history of fine singers. What I was hoping is that there are things played today that are 50 years old that were not played in the 70’s that were 50 years old, but that may just mean that 60 years is the breaking point which still makes Harry’s point logical. All young people today listen to some form of rap and even country music seems more rock influenced. And, in my mind I can’t stand any of the auto tuned music for you can hear the alterizations and they hurt my ear, but most like them for the most popular are influenced by them. It even makes me feel that Folk music died with Peter Paul and Mary, but some of their harmonies needed tuned. But Karen’s never did need tuned and others of that day had similar talents that in my mind I hope will never die. In fact, that tuned professionalism is what attracted me to their overdubbed sound in the beginning. I love it when I hear musicians at their best. One thing is certain, the only Barbara Streisand tune I ever hear today on the radio today is Evergreen. But their albums still sell. Maybe is not only the Carpenters who are overlooked but the entire genre? Maybe people don’t answer truthfully but with a renaissance of what they feel are hip?
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  13. I didn't mean to be such a downer, but these are the realities of the media of radio. Right now, a better place for Carpenters, as we've seen, are specials on Public Television. Those always seem to ignite sales and interest. Write to your local Public Stations, send them some money, and let them know you want more Carpenters. Who knows, maybe they can even unearth the old TV specials!
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Here is A&M Compendium, 1975:
    "They have testing services, now."
    "Have they ever tested a Carpenters' record
    Richard Carpenter:
    "I don't know..."
  15. John Tkacik

    John Tkacik Active Member

    When my membership came up for renewal last Summer, I sent an email to the VP of Membership for my local PBS channel asking if they could re-air the Boston Pops special with the Carpenters.
  16. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    What this doesn’t take into account is how technology massively developed and improved in the decades that followed the 1920s. By the 1950s overdubbing had been invented, in 1968 16 track recorders were introduced, then 24 track recording followed in 1974. All of these technological advances enabled artists to create many amazing bodies of work in that decade which have stood the test of time. With the benefit of 100 years of hindsight, the same cannot be said of music from the 1920s. Now, fifty years on from the seventies, artists like ABBA and Bee Gees are more popular than ever and I’d bet their music, in sparkling, remastered form, will still be played in fifty years from now.
    Don Malcolm and David A like this.
  17. Guaranteed - but just not so much on radio. Whenever you now hear an ABBA song on radio, and it's not that frequently, which one is it? Yep. "Dancing Queen". It doesn't matter how many other songs they did - and did well - "Dancing Queen" is the one that tests well.

    Bee Gees - if they get played on a soft station, it'll probably be "How Deep Is Your Love". If they get played on an oldies-type station, it'll be one of the three biggies from SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER: "Night Fever", "Stayin' Alive" or "More Than A Woman." Again, these all test well.

    The Bee Gees also have such a broad selection from many musical genres and dates that they can fit in a lot of places. And they never had the strong negatives like Carpenters.

    Also Stephen, you're not in the US, and across the pond, Carpenters don't have the big negatives like they do here at home. And yes, I realize that the technological differences wouldn't have allowed songs from the 1920s to have been played in the 1970s. But even the songs from the 40s that were well recorded rarely surfaced in the 1970s. Only specialty shows or stations that featured big bands and Frank Sinatra ever dug back that far.
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  18. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    ^^ Yes, exactly. Was going to post similar yesterday but got sidetracked. In the 1970's it wasn't possible to listen to old music in a format that sounded good.

    Certainly time will lessen the number of listeners as the years/decades go by, but I agree with @newvillefan that people will be listening to (mostly) post-60's music for a long time to come, unless some new technology creates a brand new listening experience that cannot be applied to older music (unlikely), or music itself transforms so radically that the traditional hooks and lyrics that connect people to music across generations, no longer connect with them.
    Don Malcolm and newvillefan like this.
  19. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    LOL. Victrola Transfers?
  20. It was good enough for the Crawley family in Downton Abbey!
    newvillefan and Jeff S like this.
  21. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    Hmm. Ones perspective does alter perception! I think I like your home system 45rpm recordings on YouTube better! Besides there is a romance between a turntable and 45’s on a good system.
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Gotta love Downton Abbey!
  23. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    Having thought about this for a bit, and considering that the C's were - by total weeks on the charts - the 5th most popular act of the 70's, it seems clear to me that the Carpenters would test poorly for the same reason people "smuggled" Carpenters records out of the store sandwiched between the Eagles, Elton John and Fleetwood Mac; it wasn't cool to admit liking them. Many Carpenters fans also enjoyed bands like the aforementioned, and would have tested favorably for them, but then sat on their hands when the C's were tested.

    What this likely told radio stations is that if they don't play much Carpenters, they won't lose the Carpenters listeners, but would lose the haters, so no upside in playing them often.
  24. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    It’s so strange and also sad that there is such a big difference in how they are regarded in the US compared to countries like the UK and Japan. They’re perennially popular here, especially on BBC Radio 2 and others stations like Magic and Smooth (all national stations). That “tune out” effect that Harry mentioned above certainly doesn’t exist in the UK when it comes to airplay.
    David A likes this.

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