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

    Interesting itunes world charts, this week (Last update: 2014-06-05) :
    Album: Carpenters: Gold - Greatest Hits
    #3 British Virgin Islands
    #55 Philippines
    #113 Cambodia
    #135 Sri Lanka
    #170 Hong Kong
    #176 Taiwan
    #213 Vietnam
    #242 Ireland
    #270 Zimbabwe
    #280 India
    #290 Thailand
    #331 Indonesia
    #337 Cape Verde
    #399 New Zealand
    Album: Carpenters Gold - 35th Anniversary Edition
    #111 Cambodia
    #324 Philippines
    Album: Love Songs
    #248 Cayman Islands
    #312 Saudi Arabia
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The Smashing Pumpkins' frontman, Billy Corgan, in a Philippines interview (August 2012), which in part reads:
    On The Carpenters
    "I was sitting by the pool this morning, and I did notice that you play an amazing amount of Carpenters songs here.
    I don’t know if she was like queen of the Philippines but umm…amazing. “Superstar” by The Carpenters is one of the greatest songs ever.
    I grew up in the 70s so I like The Carpenters."

  3. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    WOW, This is worth reading a 2nd time.....I love this part!!! :agree:
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

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  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Interesting perspectives from Chicago Tribune:
    Still carrying a torch for Karen Carpenter
    January 06, 2006|By Chris Jones
    Twenty-two years after her death, Karen Carpenter is sorely missed.
    On Dec. 23, Tempo published my short appreciation of the late, great singer, whose version of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" is my favorite seasonal recording. Bar none. The response from readers was immediate, great in size and strikingly emotional.
    Many readers noted the astonishing richness and honesty of Carpenter's voice, praising its purity, beauty and complexity. Some implied a certain embarrassment in being a Karen Carpenter fan, a state of being that many said they must keep secret.
    A few suggested there were other voices worthy of compare. But most argued otherwise.
    Carpenter has always been able to wriggle below my defenses. Clearly, I'm not alone.
    ST. CHARLES -- How I enjoyed your article on Karen Carpenter. I agree with you 100 percent. What a beautiful and unique gift she had, and such a tragedy to lose her.
    I'm so tired of the "pop-divas" with their machine-gun vibratos reaching into the upper scales. While they may be considered technically accomplished, they are indistinguishable from one another.
    When Karen Carpenter is singing, my head turns and I say "aaaahhhh," only one of her!
    MES, Iowa -- "Strikingly neutral" is a good way to express the quality of Karen's voice. For me, she nailed the note without artifice and tremulous, never sneaking up from behind or the side of a tune to strike something different the way so many others try. Who needs "different" when being true to the music as written is all that's required? But of course that's the problem. Few are able to "just sing."
    Thanks for the well-expressed tribute. It's so good (and often rare) that someone agrees with me.
    NAPERVILLE--For years I have argued that the best female vocalist that I had heard in my lifetime was Karen Carpenter. Had her life not been cut short, I'm certain that more people would feel this way. Her presentation was pure and effortless.
    She never seemed to strain to reach a note. She didn't flaunt her talents with departures from an original composition the way that many contemporary artists do. You can keep your Barbras, your Mariahs, and your Celines. In my book, they all pale in comparison to Karen Carpenter.
    LEMONT -- I don't normally read your section of the newspaper, but the Carpenter name in the headline caught my attention. I share your appreciation for the unusual quality of Karen's voice and the way she delivered the lyrics. I was such a fan that when I hear her voice, I get angry with her for taking it away from me so soon.
    SYCAMORE -- Last night as I turned into my development after driving from O'Hare, I was listening to Karen Carpenter sing "I'll Be Home for Christmas," so it was very enjoyable to read your column of an appreciation for her. I am a longtime listener of all Carpenters albums and agree that there has not been another voice such as hers. Thanks for the very nice article, remembrance and sentiment.
    CHICAGO -- Thank you for an unexpected gift for Christmas: a touching tribute to one of the most gifted female singers of all time, Karen Carpenter. There are not many writers out there who would delve into the obscure subject of the purity and near perfection of Karen's technique. Karen's voice had no pretense. She knew where to go with a song and simply delivered. The minute you hear that rich alto, you know it's Karen.
    Call it what they will, but many of us have a love affair with a voice that is so intimate, it almost seems as if she's right there in the room with you. Her untimely death leaves me to wonder what other great material would have emerged from this amazing talent. Richard Carpenter once said: "If I knew we were going to lose her so young, I would've not had her sing stuff like `Beechwood- 45789.'"
    Thank you again for reminding us of that inimitable voice, the "girl next door" we all loved and still love: Karen Carpenter.
    ARLINGTON HEIGHTS -- I just read your article on Karen Carpenter and the song, "I'll Be Home for Christmas." I immediately got a sense of deja vu -- in the sense that you took the words right out of my mouth -- words that I have been saying since they started playing holiday songs this year. The song itself is beautiful -- but what makes it so special is the rendition by Carpenter. I've heard it sung by countless singers in all genre's of music -- but no one brings the unique touch that she does -- with her crisp, clear (you hear every note) -- and in her own way, soulful singing. Her voice was an amazing instrument -- and never more perfect than in singing this song. It is such a shame that we were robbed of such a talent.
  6. MissK

    MissK Active Member

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  7. aaflyer98

    aaflyer98 Well-Known Member

    Karen sparks people's emotions. Look at the TV Movie, casual fans had stopped buying their music by then, but the tv movie got super high ratings. Karen is like America's little sister. Not always "cool" but don't push her around, because we love her.
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    And, in case, anyone forgot this one from the LATimes (Apologies if this has already been posted):
    Karen Carpenter: She Had Only Just Begun : Pop: New Carpenters' album features four songs from Karen's ill-fated solo collection. The album suggests she might have had a career as a soloist.
    November 07, 1989|PAUL GREIN
    Those names were linked so often in the 1970s, when the Carpenters were the hottest duo in pop music, that many pop fans came to think of the pair as one.
    That was fine early in the decade when the Downey brother-and-sister team was turning out instant standards such as "We've Only Just Begun" and "Close to You," but it started to bother Karen in the late 1970s when the duo's fortunes declined sharply.
    In an effort to establish an independent identity at last, Karen moved to New York in 1979 to record a solo album with Grammy-winning producer Phil Ramone, whose credits include hits by Billy Joel, Paul Simon and Barbra Streisand.
    But the album was never released. Instead, Karen and Richard reteamed to record a traditional Carpenters album, which failed to reverse their downward career momentum. And in 1983--after a brief, failed marriage--Karen died at 32 of complications from anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder which had plagued her since the mid '70s.
    With her death, the "lost Karen tapes" became even more of a source of mystery among fans. But they remained unavailable--until now.
    Four songs from that shelved 1979 album are featured--along with eight previously unreleased Carpenters recordings--on a just-released Carpenters album, "Love-lines."
    The recordings--released to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Carpenters' signing with A&M Records--suggest that Karen could work effectively outside the Carpenters' mellow pop sound and could have gone on to a thriving solo career.
    The big question: Why was the solo album put in limbo?
    The bigger question: If the album had been released and been successful, would things have turned out differently for Karen?
    The suspicion in some music industry quarters has been that Karen shelved the solo album out of loyalty to Richard, who was anxious to get back to work in 1979 after recovering from a Quaalude dependency. (Richard's dependency was revealed in CBS-TV's "The Karen Carpenter Story," the highest-rated TV movie of the 1988-89 season.)
    In an interview tied to the release of the new album, Richard Carpenter, 43, was candid about the conflicts within the Carpenters in the late '70s.
    "Karen would mention every now and again that it would be nice to receive some accolades as a solo singer," he said in an A&M office in Hollywood. "Of course, that made me feel badly, because we were a duo. Lord knows, she was the star of the duo, but that's not quite the same."
    Richard said that he had a less-than-supportive reaction to Karen's announcement--just after he had begun a six-week drug rehabilitation program--that she was planning to record an album without him.
    "I probably said something like, 'You're just abandoning ship, just taking off and doing what you want to do.' I was feeling sorry for myself," he said. "It was a combination of feeling I was being abandoned--which was anything but the case looking back on it--and thinking this was a perfect time for her to get some treatment for her disorder. So I was not happy, and I told her as much."
    Richard, who produced and arranged the Carpenters' long string of hits, also acknowledged that he felt threatened by Karen's teaming up with another producer.
    "I'm human and it did cross my mind that something could come out of this and just explode at which time I would be going through a number of emotions. I'd be happy for Karen because I always felt that she should have been in the Top 5. On the other hand, being sensitive and feeling I'd done a good job for the Carpenters I would have been a little bit upset."
    In a separate interview from his New York office, producer Phil Ramone discussed his and Karen's objective on the album. "We were thinking two things: How do we make a record that doesn't sound like the Carpenters, and what could we say lyrically in these songs that has a more mature attitude?"
    The solo album included a spare, intimate reading of the sexually direct "Make Believe It's Your First Time" and a bluesy version of Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years"--though Karen, mindful of her prim image--had Simon change the line, "4 in the morning / crapped out / yawning" to the more demure "crashed out."
    "Karen was frustrated by the Goody Two-Shoes image, but she was torn," Ramone said. "She wanted to do try new things, but then she'd turn around and say, 'We're going to do another Carpenters Christmas special.' I kept saying, 'The (Andy) Williams family even got past that one.' "
    Ramone still remembers the day in early 1980 when he and Karen played the album for Richard and A&M founders Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss.
    "The silence was deafening," he said. "Richard didn't say much and still hasn't. He's accepted these songs kind of like stepchildren. Karen was always the sweetheart of A&M, and Herb and Jerry reacted almost like it was their teen-age daughter I was messing with."
    Alpert, who wrote the liner notes to the Carpenters' debut album and found the team's breakthrough hit, "Close to You," declined to be interviewed for this story.
    Richard Carpenter remembers giving Karen a mixed, but essentially lukewarm, review of the solo project.
    "I probably said it was very nice," he said. "It certainly is well-produced and well-assembled. But some of it was disco, and I'm not a disco fan, and I thought she was singing a little bit too high on some of the songs."
    And Carpenter applied some not-so-subtle pressure on Karen by telling her how eager he was to begin work on the next Carpenters album. "I was much better by then and was kicking myself for what I had done to my life," he said. "So I mentioned that whenever she was ready, I was ready. I had all the tunes set to go."
    The deciding factor came when A&M executives asked Karen and Ramone to go back into the studio to record a few more songs for the solo project.
    "It was up to Karen to decide if she wanted to spend more time on it or not," Richard said. "She didn't and that was that. I've gotten a lot of letters through the years since Karen passed on kind of accusing me of not releasing the solo album. It's not my doing at all. It's Karen's wishes I'm honoring."
    In a 1981 interview, Karen said that Richard's desire to get back to work took precedence over completing the solo project. But Karen added that she valued the solo experience. "It was fun cutting it and seeing that I could do all that--sing a different type of tune and work with different people. I was scared to death beforehand. I basically knew one producer, one arranger, one studio, one record company and that was it. . . . I'm used to being part of a duo. Richard's like a third arm to me."
    Stung by the cool reception at the playback session, Ramone and Karen went to Mexico for a vacation. "I watched this girl disintegrate in front of me," Ramone said. "It was hard for her to express anger, but sometimes she'd be sitting there and she'd say, 'Why is this happening? What did I do wrong? Should we listen to the tape? Is it the mix?' "
    But Ramone said that Karen was ultimately proud of the album: "It was the first step to her standing on her own and also the last chance.
    "I truly believe that if she had made it through this she could have gone on to have a long career," Ramone said. "A lot of the pop songs and movie songs and duets of the '80s would have been hers.
    "A voice like Karen's--rich, womanly--comes along once every 20 years. Voices like that should have a chance to do a variety of things."
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  9. MissK

    MissK Active Member

    Karen made a solo album with the hope of establishing an identity for herself. Richard took 4 tracks from the album, which he helped to squash, re-arranged them to his liking and put them on a "Carpenters" album. An absolute travesty.
  10. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    You are of course quite free to feel any way you like about the matter, but personally I object to the term travesty as it's used here.

    1. While Karen was alive, Richard and A&M didn't feel the solo album was worthy of release. No one at the time knew she would be dead in a few years. If they thought she was on her last legs, they probably would have put the thing out as is. But they were hoping for better. Hindsight is always 20/20.

    2. Richard answered fans requests by taking what he thought was the best of the solo tracks, brought some of them up to his standards, and released them on LOVELINES, giving proper credit to each track as to the source (the solo album) and the musicians thereon. The tracks were intermixed with other "Carpenters" tracks (8 of 12), so the album was billed as a Carpenters album.

    Why use a word like "travesty?" I was thrilled to get these tracks and loved the way they were presented.

  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    "Roget's thesaurus, Travesty: Misrepresentation, ridicule, exaggeration."
    Perhaps, if I may be forgiven for my interjection, MissK may have felt that, if those four solo songs that were released on Lovelines,
    were deemed releasable (in 1989,after Richard further mixed and produced them)
    then, why were those same solo songs not amenable to the same treatment in Karen's lifetime?
    I, too, was thrilled to get those songs on Lovelines. And, I too, love those songs as presented there.
    That does not detract from the question: Why not re-mix the entire solo album at the time,
    in order to "get it up to speed" and release the material in 1980, for Karen's sake.
    And, unfortunately, anyone in Karen's sphere at that time, had to have known how extremely ill she was.
    Looking at the photos from 1978-1982, how can anyone not see that Karen was extremely ill.
    The use of the term, Travesty, perhaps negative in it's connotations, is not wholly unwarranted,even if a bit emotional.
    With all due respect , each individual has his/her own linguistic terminology to express emotional contention.
    Karen's solo album, seems to provoke any number of strong emotions. She is gone, nothing can alter that.
    But, there is (or, should be) no harm in expressing true feelings on the written page, it is one mode of communication.
    The word may not be what we all like, and perhaps we could find another word,
    but, MissK has the right to express emotional content with that word.
  12. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    GaryAlan, thank you for your measured, reasoned assessment of this quibbling on terms. Your tact here is far better than how I might have initially responded. With all the varied opinions and passions expressed at this site, I think we can all be forgiven for an occasional questionable use of a term, hyperbole, or for a rush to judgment. I don't think anyone here sets out to intentionally hurt another member's feelings. As we all know, tone and emotion can sometimes be difficult to discern in e-mails and other writings on the Internet.

    In a larger sense, we should remember that, as we read and/or post opinions at this site, our shared admiration of the Carpenters as well as respect for all members (new and otherwise) should be a major focus...
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  13. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Ill, yes. Soon to be dead? I don't think anyone foresaw that.

    I just hate to see such disparaging terms used about Richard. At times when I read these threads (and as a moderator I HAVE to read these threads), he's made out to be some sort of evil overlord who mistreats poor little waif Karen, and I don't believe that any of that could be the way it really was.

    Richard loved his sister and wanted the best for both of them.

    Tapdancer likes this.
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I love Richard Carpenter, I really do, and, I have never subscribed to the belief that Richard was
    responsible for what ultimately transpired with Karen.
    I never,ever, thought he 'mistreated her', certainly he always wanted the best for both.He loved her.
    Richard (and, I only met him once) is my idol, as was Karen,of course.
    As we are all aware, no one has the ability to "foresee" when the end comes.
    But, even Richard has stated his regrets:"...if I had known,....,I would not have had her recording things like...."
    Truly, outside of meeting him once, I have no privileged access to the truth and can only rely on
    the recordings and the documentary evidence, as presented.
    Many times, and I want to wholeheartedly thank this forum for awakening my research into Carpenters' history,
    the documentary (audio, video, printed) evidence is contradictory or conflicting, if not confusing.
    So, naturally, questions arise.
    Translating emotions to the printed page is rather an exercise in futility.
    But, thankfully this forum, and its members, allows some of that emotive expression to come through;
    even if ,at times, it is at variance with how others' feel.
  15. MissK

    MissK Active Member

    Thanks for your support. I'm not sure if Karen's album had been remixed or brought up to speed, so to speak (and I assume you mean by Richard) in 1979/80 that it would have remained her solo album. If RC was involved in any way it would become a Carpenters album, which would defeat the purpose of it.
  16. MissK

    MissK Active Member

    OK, OK… forget “travesty”. Perhaps it is too strong a word. It is not my intention to impugn Richard’s devotion to his sister or paint him as an “evil overlord” but I also don’t think he’s above criticism. I stand by my opinion that taking four of HER solo tracks and turning them into OUR Carpenters tracks was just plain wrong. They may not have been “up to his standards” but why should they be? It wasn’t his album.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation and aaflyer98 like this.
  17. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Absolutely agree with that!
    A&M Retro and aaflyer98 like this.
  18. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Australia remembers Carpenters, in a news article today:
    The Carpenters were on top of the world. Source: News Limited
    While AC/DC were being as loud as possible, and the Bee Gees were giving John Travolta a whole new reason for being, brother and sister duo Karen and Richard Carpenter went in the other, more gentle direction — and it worked. Between 1969 and 1983 the Carpenters sold an estimated 100 million albums and singles without ever shouting or boogying.
  19. To some, Richard can do nothing right. I'm sure if the solo album was released...and flopped...and she still died, many would be saying "why did Richard allow her to go through with such a dissapointment?"

    As for me, I think Richard always did what he thought was the best for both of them at the time.
    Tapdancer likes this.
  20. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    He didn't re-arrange anything from her solo record. To be clear, he had bass parts re-recorded and he remixed. Re-arranging is a different animal entirely. Still, as you point out, he shouldn't have gone down that road. The sting from doing so is lessened by the fact that he released the album as she approved it years later.

  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I came across this fascinating read, providing details of the recording industry, and much mention of A&M records:
    Appetite for Self-Destruction:
    The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age,
    by Steve Knopper,2009.
  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

  23. Graeme

    Graeme Active Member

    Hmm. I'm surprised by this. Presumably this doesn't take into account some of her backing vocals?
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Even Punk music artists cover Carpenters:
    Uke-Hunt (2014)
    Fat Wreck Chords
    In part:
    "Needles and Pins" (originally recorded by Jackie Shannon and written by Sonny Bono), the Carpenters' "Rainy Days and Mondays" and the country standard "Green, Green Grass of Home" (first made popular by Porter Waggoner) are a few of the other American classics covered by Slawson and Co. There are no jokes or snarkiness to be found, however. These are all straight re-interpretations of classic songs. Punks looking for a Gimmes-inspiried ukulele parody will be disappointed.
    Spike Slawson has put together a pleasurable reinterpretation of classics that fans of the originals can enjoy along with younger fans discovering the songs for the first time. Mike Hunt may not be a member, but that's no reason to not give Uke-Hunt a try.
  25. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I stumbled upon some articles published in some UK magazines reviewing The Carpenters during their peak times and I was really shocked at how a lot of the UK writers were really mean to The Carpenters. I mean I guess they got their fare share of bad reviews but some of these articles were calling Karen names about how she looked and when reviewing their UK concerts and latest albums some of the comments were really mean. I wonder if they ever got this kind of treatment in Japan regarding newspaper reviews. I know the US has not always been nice but I didn't know the UK published articles like that as well.

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