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. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Tellingly for 1983, it does not appear as if Karen's passing produced much of a "spike" in sales.
    The Singles 1969-1973, at #134 on March 26th, 1983, is not particularly impressive for USA sales.
    If ever more evidence were needed for how far out-of-the-public eye Carpenters had fallen, that
    is yet another indication.

    Here is an August 1975, Billboard article regarding A&M and quadraphonic mixing:
  2. Many thanks, GaryAlan. That was my recollection: radio stations played a few of the biggest hits from the early years the day or so following Karen’s death, and that was pretty much it. I also recall the ghastly People magazine cover (followed by the cynical, cash-in, "part 2” cover issue that followed...), a few “Entertainment Tonight” stories, an American Music Awards tribute, and a few, local Carpenters tribute specials on AC radio that year. Not a lot of recognition of her impact immediately following; it seems like Karen’s legacy has slowly built momentum over the following decades. Thanks again.
  3. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    At the radio station I worked for, at the time Karen's death was announced, we weren't playing any Carpenters records at all. In 1983, they were a relic of the past and didn't fit with the move-forward attitude of the '80s. I wandered back to our Program Director's office to see what he might consider playing, and his reaction was that the station could probably "get away with" playing maybe "We've Only Just Begun" and "Superstar" and that was as much time as he was willing to part with that day. Thereafter - nothing until "Make Believe It's Your First Time", as a posthumous release, got a few spins before disappearing into the dustbin of history.
    Carpe diem likes this.
  4. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Harry, if you "wandered back" into your Program Director's office, to specifically request a Carpenter's tune in tribute to the passing of Karen; you are a true gentleman!
  5. Thanks for that added context, Harry. Unfortunate that fitting the trend was more important for the PD than giving listeners an opportunity to remember and appreciate (especially with the backdrop of early 80’s pop - how refreshing would that have been?). I wonder what might have happened (geez, do we use that phrase a lot on this forum...) if RC had held on to all the recordings until decades later, waiting to release them in the late 1990’s, after greater appreciation and reassessment had taken place? One might argue that the posthumous releases, while we fans treasure them, didn’t have a huge impact on the reassessment that eventually took place, and with the momentum of the 1990’s reassessment, news of a “from the vaults” release in the late 1990’s might have been a big deal to the masses (versus the ravenous - in a good way - fan base).
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^That is a very interesting paragraph !
    I'd add, or to put it another way,
    Can anyone have predicted---based on the reaction to Karen's passing at that time--
    a future re-evaluation/assessment of the duo's entire output ?
    I recall many an instance throughout the 1980s when I believed that the music industry,
    if not the public at large, would forget the monumental impact the duo had had in the 1970s !

    An interesting exercise it is to contemplate exactly when that 'turning point' occurred--
    When the duo were finally elevated to that now-expressed "legendary status."
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Hard not to think of Karen Carpenter while reading this lengthy,interesting, article:

    Making Her Move: Olivia Newton-John's 'Physical' Phenomenon Revisited

    "Olivia Newton-John's best album to date."
    "That's how Rolling Stone described Physical(1981). The magazine's review got it right.
    Different moods ebbed and flowed across the album, reflecting the singer's supple vocal style and the brilliance of producer John Farrar. As a tanned and toned Newton-John splashed in the sea,
    Physical soaked record buyers in waves of pleasure. Released in October 1981,
    Physical would signify the commercial peak of Newton-John's partnership with Farrar."
    "I noticed when I worked on Physical that Olivia had certain different voices that she could use," says Farrar.
    Much more:
    John Adam likes this.
  8. Sue

    Sue Active Member

    I was browsing Carpenters on Amazon U.K. and came across this

    Why Karen Carpenter Matters by Karen Tongson
    • Paperback
    • £12.99
    • This title will be released on June 1, 2019
    I haven’t seen it before so please forgive me if it’s old news!
    Carpe diem, GaryAlan and Jamesj75 like this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Nice catch !

    "Why Karen Carpenter Matters, By Karen Tongson....
    An exploration of Karen Carpenter's enduring ability to transcend cultural differences,
    bridging not only American suburbia and the author's native Philippines but also diverse
    communities and fan cultures worldwide
    Here is the link (with much more information):
    Jamesj75 and Sue like this.
  10. Greg

    Greg Member

    It’s simple, real, but painfully alive. It’s filled with hope and promise, yet totally aware of the dark.
    It’s that mixture that grabs you, holds you and forces you to connect, to engage."

    This is one of the most articulate descriptions of Karen's voice I have ever read. I also wonder in this current age of vocal gymnastic fatigue, where people have been assaulted with souless riffs, runs and trills from every possible pop direction, if the true appreciation for a voice as deep and complex as Karen's is only just beginning.

    I remember a woman once saying to me that she had to stop her car if she heard Karen's voice on the radio as it felt like someone was punching her soul. A little dramatic maybe, but I understood what she meant.

    I also have a dance teacher who plays George Bensons 'This Masquerade' religiously in class and rightly so, its a great version. But when a conversation broke out after class who had performed the greatest version, one woman said 'Karen Carpenter isnt singing heartbreak in her version, her voice is heartbreak.' I cant think of a higher compliment to a singer.
  11. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum, Greg! Great insights!
  12. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    The landscape is so much different now in the entertainment world, and the news world is so much more starved for "content." If Karen had died in 2018 instead of when she did, there would have been a lot more attention given. There just wasn't as much "space" to fill back then as there is now.
  13. I suspect the 1987 Todd Haynes underground Barbie doll film (and it’s rise to prominance via the internet sharing in the mid-90’s) might have been the turning point.
  14. I think your point here has merit.
  15. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    More likely the CBS Telefilm viewed by millions over two runs than the obscure Todd Haynes thing that few saw. People didn't really have access to much in the way of Internet video until speeds picked up in the 2000s. In the 90s, many people could barely download a still picture...
    Geographer likes this.
  16. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    I honestly don't think that ever really happened the way it appears it might have. While people en masse have finally recognized Karen's voice for all that it always was, that's what endures. "If I Were A Carpenter" was far more about Karen's voice than it was about anything else and people reference Karen's voice as a benchmark of perfect female pop singing to this day. Some of the tunes themselves might briefly have become less "guilty pleasure"-esque but that didn't last nearly so long as the appreciation of Karen's voice.

  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Well, in reading the articles (newspaper and People, for instance) from February 1983,
    not one--not one, mentioned Karen Carpenter's singular, distinctive, one-of-a-kind Voice !
    Certainly these articles focused on the hits, Close To You and We've Only just Begun, in particular.
    But, a focus upon Karen Carpenter's absolutely stunning vocals....that I did not find at all (in the 1980s).
    So, I still believe--as I did in the 1980's--that Karen Carpenter, vocally, was woefully underappreciated.
    Likewise, Carpenters as a duo.
    Even today, I wonder--were it not for the continuing radio-play at Christmas (mostly, only then !)
    --how often would Carpenters' music resonate with the public-at-large ?
    We hardcore fans have always held the view--benchmark of perfection--in Karen's voice,
    but, I still do not believe the appreciation is (or ever was) what it should be in general.
    Geographer likes this.
  18. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    There are so many singers - even contemporary ones - who reference Karen as an influence. In the 80's, they were quite passé. We know this given how poor their original album sales were - certainly far removed from their glory days. It wasn't really until "If I Were A Carpenter" that the tide began to turn and she could be recognized for how good she really was. "Close to You", "We've Only Just Begun", "Superstar", and "Rainy Days & Mondays" are evergreens that we'll always hear. They've never gone away and likely never will. It's not terribly uncool to admit to liking those tunes, though it is uncool to say you're a Carpenters' fan (for all that matters).

  19. Fair point about audience reach for both films, but I never had the sense or recall evidence that the TV biopic made any impact on the artistic reappraisal that took place in the following decade (In fact, I suspect the biopic, with the wigs, etc., might have solidified the “goody four-shoes” image in some ways.).

    The Todd Haynes’ film, on the other hand, while not initially seen by as many people, was widely discussed (i.e., I read about it long before I had access to it, to your good point...), but the film did reach the influential taste-makers (e.g., in “hip” media outlets, magazines, etc.) who, in turn, do reach mass audiences with their reviews, articles, and book-mentions.

    In other words, so many of the positive reappraisals note the Haynes film as a watershed moment for viewing the duo’s work through a renewed, rock-credible lens (while most references to the TV biopic are usually added along with continued album sales data to point out ongoing public interest in the duo).
  20. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    History of Rock 1970
    From the Archives of New Musical Express Magazine
    Carpenters Soft Rock

  21. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    History of Rock 1975
    From the Archives of Melody Maker Magazine
    38 Concert Dates Cancelled Due to Karen's Illness (1975)

    Carpe diem likes this.
  22. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    "Introducing... The Carpenters, a brother-sister "love-rock" success story who plan to visit the UK - the land of their parents' birth." :confused:

    I thought Harry was born in China, and Ag was born in Baltimore.

    "He is the duo's uncle - and the only member of the Carpenter family who stayed behind when the brother-and-sister duo's parents emigrated from this country 40 years ago." :confused: :confused:

    Is the article saying they emigrated from the UK around 1930?

    Geographer likes this.
  23. You correct! Harold's parents were missionaries to China from the UK a century ago. Harold was born in China (or, at least spent a good portion of his childhood there..."shooting magpies" as he once told me). I believe one of his parent's died young, but not sure...I think it was his mother; however, he did survive crossing the North Atlantic during the first world war during the height of the German's targeting civilian ships in that region. Apparently, either his mother or grandmother had an exquisite singing voice; so, the talent, I think, passes down from Dad's side? Agnes was born in Baltimore for sure.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    UMG has "published" a "page" on Christmas Portrait, presumably November 19,2018:

    "Carpenters’ ‘Christmas Portrait’: A Timeless Holiday Classic
    Perfect for the holiday season, Carpenters’ ‘Christmas Portrait’ is a timeless record that only gets better with each passing holiday."
    "While releasing a Christmas album is a time-honored commercial tradition, not all artists are up to the task.
    Thanks to Richard Carpenter’s studio expertise, an oversized studio orchestra and chorus, terrific arrangements and, most of all, Karen Carpenter’s divine vocals, Christmas Portrait is a timeless album that only gets better with each passing holiday."
    "Originally released on 13 October 1978, it charted on 9 December 1978 and would go on to be the
    No.1 Christmas album of that year."
    "The album went platinum not long after its release and has gone on to become a classic."
  25. leadmister

    leadmister Well-Known Member

    Consider this: History bears out that all truly great artists are not appreciated in their lifetime. Mozart, Van Gogh, etc. They weren't viewed as artistic geniuses and really appreciated until many years after their deaths. People who are truly ahead of their time and bring that level of excellence to the table aren't recognized for that until the world catches up. With the exception of Japan. They happen to miraculously be behind and ahead of the times at the same time.
    Jamesj75 likes this.

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