Interesting to note that that #1 CD collection has the same photograph used for the cover of the coming new book...I would guess that's a coincidence.
I'm on the hunt for an early pressing of MIA. If you have any leads, please let me know! ("Made in Japan" preferred.)Interesting that MIA is the only studio album in the top 100, sans Christmas Portrait. It’s often trashed on here, but I still love it, and nice too see it’s selling a bit today. . Thx Gary.
The photo was taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz during the summer ‘74 photo shoot for the Rolling Stone feature. We ultimately picked it because it’s one of Richard’s personal favorites, with the duo looking healthy and in their prime.Interesting to note that that #1 CD collection has the same photograph used for the cover of the coming new book...I would guess that's a coincidence.
Very nice indeed! And you know, I think I vaguely remember a certain someone saying (or rather, singing) that "from the flower there comes a smile" 🌞For reasons unknown I ended up combining my passion for gardening with my passion for the dynamic duo in my blog this weekend (it had been a long week). So far one person has just about picked up on it. I just wish I could have used Close to Yew, but alas I don't have any in the garden Six on Saturday: a place to hideaway (28 August 2021)
Great share. Thank you. The line comment somewhat reminds me of " I hope you get some hits". Two classic understatements.Nice little article here from late 1969 about Karen drumming on an upcoming "All-American College Show" :
Clipping from the Independent (Long Beach, CA), November 22 1969
Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.HOW THE CARPENTERS' 1970s CHRISTMAS SONG BECAME AN AGELESS HIT
By Marc Myers
"Merry Christmas Darling" is a holiday classic that began with a broken heart and a strange request. The song's lyrics were written for a crush in 1946 and the music followed 20 years later. After "Merry Christmas Darling" was released by the Carpenters in November 1970, the love song topped Billboard's holiday singles chart three times.
A seasonal favorite, the song featured a warm lead vocal that Karen Carpenter recorded twice--once for the single in 1970 and again for the Carpenters' "Christmas Portrait " album in 1978.
Recently, Richard Carpenter, Karen's older brother and the song's co-writer, arranger, pianist and background vocalist, talked about the composing and recording process. His new album, "Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook" (Decca), is due Jan. 14.
Edited from an interview.
Richard Carpenter: In the Fall of 1966, I was a sophomore and music major at California State University, Long Beach. My sister, Karen, was a senior at Downey High School. One day, after choir rehearsal, the choir director, Frank Pooler, took me aside. He said that in 1946, close to Christmas, he was out of town with his parents and missed his girlfriend back home in Onalaska, Wis. So he wrote her a song called "Merry Christmas Darling" as a gift. But before he could give it to her, he learned that their romance was over.
Frank told me he was never happy with his song's melody but liked his lyrics. Aware I was a budding songwriter, he asked if I'd compose music for his words. He never played the melody for me. Instead, he just handed me the lyric sheet.
During my lunch break that day, I took the page up to one of the music department's practice rooms. At the piano, I had a look at the opening verse: "Greeting cards have all been sent/ The Christmas rush is through/ But I still have one wish to make/ A special one for you."
Then I looked at the refrain: "Merry Christmas Darling/ We're apart that's true/ But I can dream and in my dreams/ I'm Christmas-ing with you."
Even though the song's lyrics weren't particularly sophisticated, they were musical. My melody for the song just spilled out. When I finished, I played the music for Frank, who was impressed. He thanked me, and that was that. Or so I thought.
In April 1969, Karen and I signed with A&M Records. Our debut album didn't do very well, but in the Summer of 1970, "(They Long To Be) Close To You", off our second album, became a huge No. 1 hit. We were on our way.
While touring that Fall, as the leaves changed color and the weather grew colder, I remembered the song with Frank's lyrics. Not long after returning home to L.A., I wrote an arrangement.
With our second single, "We've Only Just Begun", climbing the charts, we needed a follow-up hit. Our next album wouldn't be out until the Spring, and A&M wanted to avoid releasing any more singles from the album out at the time, "Close To You".
As I worked on the arrangement, I changed only one of Frank's phrases. In the last line of the second verse, his original was, "Holidays are joyful/ There's always something new/ But every day's a holiday/ When I'm close to you."
Instead, I made it, "When I'm near to you." With "Close To You" a hit, I didn't want people to think we were trying to milk that phrase.
In November, we went into A&M Studios to record "For All We Know" for our next album, "Carpenters", due out in May 1971. While there, we recorded "Merry Christmas Darling".
First, we recorded the song's basic rhythm track. I was on piano, with Joe Osborn on bass and Hal Blaine on drums. It didn't take long. I decided to open the song with a fast, ascending roll of an A-minor 7th chord. It set the tone and would cue Karen's vocal on the intro.
There was no rehearsal. Karen was long familiar with the song. We had performed it from time to time over the years at small gigs before our recording career began.
Karen recorded her lead vocal in two takes. Next, we overdubbed Bob Messenger's tenor sax solo. Bob was a musical improvisor, a sound I wanted for the song.
The instrumental and vocal arrangement went smoothly--until the end. There, we found ourselves in the quandary we had faced with "Close To You". "Merry Christmas Darling" just came to a halt. We needed something more inspired to close it out.
Remember, the idea to record the song came fairly late in the year, and we had other things scheduled. There was no time to orchestrate.
So Karen and I overdubbed a stacked vocal harmony that we had echo the title phrase--"Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas, Darling". Recording this vocal-harmony outro took us about 90 minutes.
Karen loved the song, but over time she wasn't crazy about her sound on the 1970 single. She was just 20 at the time, and her voice was husky. So she rerecorded her vocal in 1978 for our "Christmas Portrait" album. Her voice was higher then and more the way she liked it.
Right after we finished recording the single, I called Frank Pooler. "What are you doing tomorrow night? Come up to A&M. We have something we want to play for you." I gave him directions.
The next night, Frank arrived in studio B. He sat down in the control room, curious as to why we sent for him. Karen and I punched up a rough mix of the song on the 16-track tape machine, turned up the volume on the bank of 15-inch monitor speakers to "excitement level", as our engineer called it, and sat back.
At A&M, we played him something fully realized that was larger than life. Frank listened while looking up at the speakers. At the end, he could barely speak. He just shook his head. As I recall, the most he got out was, "This may be the greatest moment of my life."