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Carpenters first performance in Japan, 1970

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Walkinat9, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. Walkinat9

    Walkinat9 Active Member Thread Starter

    Has anyone seen any photos or video from their guest appearance at the World Popular Song Festival in Japan on November 20, 1970? It was also known as the Tokyo International Popular Song Festival, or just the Yamaha Music Festival.

    Apparently this festival was held over a period of 3 days; 2 semi-finals and the big finale on the 3rd day (much like the Eurovision Song Contest as we know it today).

    The Carpenters were one of two interval acts on the first day of the festival.

    Here's some more info: WPSF_1970 (their name mentioned only once, but I'm very grateful that this page exists)

    Also mentioned in the Billboard paper from February 1974: Billboard

    I only managed to find some footage from the 3rd day where the winner was announced, so no Carpenters, but at least one gets an idea of what the stage and the hall looked like where Karen & Richard performed:

    I wonder what song(s) they sang. Might have been "Close to you" and/or "We've only just begun"...

    Sakura wrote in a post from 2008 about a photo of them at the rehearsal of the festival, but the link is no longer there (it was a photo being auctioned at eBay)

    I vaguely seem to recall Richard mentioning this festival in an interview or a Japanese documentary, but I could be wrong... :hmmm:

    Brian likes this.
  2. lotus

    lotus New Member

    Hello, Greg.
    Here's some information for you.

    [YAMAHA' page] 第1回東京国際歌謡音楽祭(第2回より「世界歌謡祭」に名称変更) The 1stTokyo International Popular Song Festival - ヤマハ音楽振興会
    [Wikipedia] World Popular Song Festival - Wikipedia

    Carpenters came to Japan, on 18 November 1970. and left at 23 November 1970.
    They came with only a manager and the band members.
    The band members were Bob Messenger, Doug Strawn, Danny Woodhams, and Gary Sims.

    The press conference was held on 19 November 1970. It took 2 hours long.
    And the next day (20 November), They played at the festival as a guest performer.
    They were the last performer on that day, and scheduled to start at 9:30 PM.
    But, the festival took a long time, and they had to start after 11:00 PM.
    "11:00 PM" was a critical time for the audiences came there by train.
    If they watched the Carpenters, they had to miss the last train to take them home.
    Unfortunately, "Close To You", "We've Only Just Begun" did not hit in Japan.
    So, the 70 percents of the 10,000 audiences decided to go home, while Carpenters playing!
    Anyway, Richard & Karen played about 20 minutes, seeing so many audiences leaving.
    But, the people in music business saw the show and said "Wow, what a great talent appeared!"

    The set-list
    is the following. (page 97 of "Kyodo Magazine Mook21")

    1. Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
    2. All I Can Do
    3. Ticket To Ride
    4. Sacre Bleu (I Fell In Love With You)
    5. Cinderella Rockefella
    6. We've Only Just Begun
    7. Bacharach/David Medley (short version, like that on the 3rd album)
    8. (They Long To Be) Close To You

    The audio of this show may have been recorded, because it was a big festival.
    But, the video may not have been shot.
    Because the Carpenters were not famous (in Japan) then, and filming costs were very high.
    Anyway, I have never seen a bootleg DVD/CD of this show.
    But, you can see some photos in the covers of Japanese EP/LP.

    (1) EP "Superstar" [King record, AMS-33]
    Yuko Ogura said this is the photo at the festival. (page 92 of "Kyodo Magazine Mook21")
    You can see Gary Sims stand in very high position (behind Karen).


    [Discogs] Carpenters - Superstar lang_update=1

    (2) LP "Golden Double Deluxe" [King record, AMW-31.32]
    The front cover photo was probably a shot for a promotional use.
    I don't think they used the grand piano on the festival stage.
    On the back cover photo, Richard wears T-shirt and gold chain.
    But, the curtain is the same one as we can see on the video of 'Hedva & David' (the winner).
    So, this might be a rehearsal scene. (That's why Richard wears T-shirt.)

    [​IMG] Front cover

    [​IMG] Back cover

    [Discogs] Carpenters - Golden Double Deluxe

    (3) The other photos of the EP/LP covers
    EP "Hurting Each Other" [King record, AM-130] (maybe, the cover is also a rehearsal scene)
    LP "Golden Prize" [King record, GP-206] (maybe, the liner notes' photo is an off stage shot)
    LP "Close To You" [King record, AML-80] (maybe, back cover, and the liner notes' photo)
    and so on... (I am not a hard collector, so I don't know about the other compilation LP.)
    I think 'King record' was not given so many photos from A&M.
    So, they used the photos of 'Japan 1970' for their EP/LP.

    Here is a Richard's comment (page 37 of "Kyodo Magazine Mook21")
    (The following is my transcription from a Japanese text, not a exact English by Richard.)

    "The big hit of 'Close To You' in the UK surprised me very much.
    Because I have never thought about the international success.
    And then, I was told that an offer has come from Japan.
    They offered us a performance at a festival, and doing a promotion in Japan.
    What??? Japan??? Karen and I looked at each other.
    It was so strange... How did Japanese know us?
    Of course, I learned the history, and I knew a country called Japan.
    But, I knew nothing about the pop-music scene in Japan.
    We were just the kids then..."
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
    David A, DF1950, Brian and 7 others like this.
  3. Walkinat9

    Walkinat9 Active Member Thread Starter

    Wow!!! Thank you so much, lotus, for all the detailed information and the photos!! More than I could wish for, I'm very happy! :D

    I had thought they would have performed only one or two songs, but this was like a mini-concert!

    Somehow I seem to remember Richard mentioning this performance in a Japanese documentary and I think he was sitting in front of a TV while mentioning it, but I could be wrong?? :hmmm:

    Anyway, it would be wonderful if someday some audio from this performance would surface :cool:
  4. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Wow thanks Lotus for that detailed info, I love discovering new stuff and wondered what event those photos came from. I believe one of those photos was the cover for one of the singles used in the Japan Single Box Collection.
  5. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    Lotus, your posts are always so informative and enjoyable. Thank you! Thanks also for going to the trouble of making translations.
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  6. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    This is not really related to Capenters.... except that I was considering Lotus' information about most of the audience having to leave before Carpenters' live performance at the 1970 World Popular Song Festival in Japan. Lotus also mentioned that 'Close to You' didn't become a hit in that country and neither did 'We've Only Just Begun'.

    An artist at that same event who had luck working in the opposite direction was Ted Mulry. Although his song, 'Falling In Love Again' only finished 20th in the contest, it then became a Number 1 hit in Japan. Ted Mulry was Australia's entrant.

    Ted Mulry was a staple of Australian pop music throughout the 1970s. He was a contemporary of Mark Holden, who co-wrote Richard's 'Who Do You Love'.

    I was saying in the thread about Richard's Australian & Japanese singles that a number of Australian artists haven't had success in the USA but have had significant success, which is not widely known about, even by their fans, in Japan, other Asian countries or Europe. Ted Mulry and Mark Holden are two such acts.

    I saw Ted Mulry live in the 90s in a 70s tribute show with a host of other international 70s recording artists and thought that he and John Paul Young stole the show. Mind you, he, KC of the Sunshine Band and Vicki-Sue Robinson were all battling or recovering from cancer at the time, which I didn't realise until later. Unfortunately, Ted and Vicki-Sue didn't make it.

    The fact that Carpenters' 1970 World Popular Song Festival concert apparently didn't immediately generate sales of the two singles in Japan didn't matter because before long, everything they touched in that country was turning to gold, lasting right up until the mid /late 90s, (and beyond), when '22 Hits of The Carpenters' was the most successful non-Japanese album of the year, selling around 3 million copies. (Hope my facts are correct. I think they are!)

    My post about Tel Mulry and Mark Holden might be a bit off-topic but I'm just trying to bring an Australian perspective to the 'Carpenters' story which might unearth something that people from other countries didn't know about.
  7. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    "My post about Tel Mulry and Mark Holden might be a bit off-topic but I'm just trying to bring an Australian perspective to the 'Carpenters' story which might unearth something that people from other countries didn't know about."

    Thanks for this kind of stuff! I find it fascinating!
    Brian likes this.
  8. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    Thanks, Mark. :) In that case, I'll keep waffling on. :)
  9. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Lotus! Truly fascinating. It's like slowly putting together the pieces of a puzzle. Too cool! I always assumed those photos were taken during the traditional Jim McCrary-esque photo sessions.
  10. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    Good find! They were wearing those horrible:rolleyes: matching outfits then though.

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