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Official Review Carpenters Royal Philharmonic Review and Comments Thread

How would you rate Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra?

  • ⁕⁕⁕⁕⁕ (Best)

    Votes: 31 36.5%
  • ⁕⁕⁕⁕

    Votes: 37 43.5%
  • ⁕⁕⁕ (Average)

    Votes: 14 16.5%
  • ⁕⁕

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • ⁕ (Worst)

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • Did not listen to this album yet

    Votes: 1 1.2%

  • Total voters


Well-Known Member
Thanks for the update, am surprised they only had 3 singles reach Silver status and with none achieving Gold. Appears that their albums were the key to their amazing success in the UK compared to the individual singles.


Active Member
Here are all the certifications from the UK if anyone's interested:


-Carpenters - Platinum (300,000) (July 2013)

-Now & Then - Gold (£250,000) (January 1976)

- The Singles 1969 - 1973 - Platinum (£1,000,000) (August 1974)

- Horizon - Gold (£250,000) (June 1975)

- A Kind Of Hush - Gold (£250,000) (August 1976)

-Live At The Palladium - Gold (£300,000) (January 1977) & Gold (100,000) (June 1990)

-The Carpenters Collection - Silver (£150,000) (January 1977)

- Passage - Gold (£300,000) (March 1978)

- Singles 1974 - 1978 - Platinum (£1,000,000) (December 1978)

- Made In America - Silver (60,000) (June 1981)

- Voice of the Heart - Gold (100,000) (November 1983)

-Yesterday Once More - Platinum (300,000) (December 1984)

-Only Yesterday - 4x Platinum (1,200,000) (November 1993)

- Interpretations - Gold (100,000) (September 1994) & Silver (60,000) (July 2013)

- The Best of - Gold (100,000) (November 1997)

- Reflections - Silver (60,000) (July 2013)

- Love Songs - Gold (100,000) (March 1998)

- The Singles 1969 - 1981 - Gold (100,000) (2016)

- Gold - 4x Platinum (1,200,000) (July 2013)

-40/40 - Gold (100,000) (July 2013)

- The Ultimate Collection Gold (July 2013)

- The Nations Favourite Carpenters Songs - Silver (60,000) (August 2017)

- Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Gold (100,000) (December 2019)


-Yesterday Once More - Silver (250,000) (September 1973)

- Top of the World - Silver (250,000) (January 1974)

- Please Mr. Postman - Silver (250,000) (March 1975)


- Gold - Gold

-Interpretations - Gold

You can search them all here:
A song for you.Album went Gold in the UK as well

John Adam

"Two Lives"
80% of the A&M forum voters have rated the RPO album as best or above average!
My wish for 2020, besides health and happiness, is a second volume of Carpenters RPO.
Have enjoyed listening to this release all of 2019, and I probably will listen again at the close of this decade.

Let the first post on this thread in 2020 be the same wish. 🎯
Happy New Year Everyone!


Active Member
Happy New Year! Maybe we should start posting on the Universal Instagram or Facebook page to keep pressuring them. Hey by the way, do you think there's a correlation between the lawsuit he won and the fact that they produced the album? Do you think that was in the agreement? I don't even know who he sued and why so I could be off base here.


Well-Known Member
It has been a while since I listened to the RPO songs, so I gave those songs another whirl.
My assessment is higher than previously (perhaps, because I have not listened lately).
I do wish the "final-tweaked" version was available on cd, as I would get it (or, LP)
Ultimately, I have one minor issue: not enough of the RP orchestra was utilized, or, if it was,
the orchestration is not making itself known to my ears.
I want an RPO-Part Two, but it needs to be more adventurous with the orchestra parts.
It took me some time, but, overall the album is a nice complement to their existing catalog.


Well-Known Member
it's an "asterisk" album.
Wow. That’s one of the better summations of it I’ve heard. :laugh:

I can’t give it a glowing review, nor a strongly dissatisfied rating either.
So, yes, it may go down as a note: “this was also something Richard did in his later years.”

Had there been an added a special performance maybe the project would feel a bit more impactful.
It didn’t hit me in the same way as the older mixes that's my feeling on it as well.

There are a few additions I can understand why Richard felt the need to add to it.
Baby it’s you and Superstar to name a few... I understood that they could use more fullness in parts.

But, that means the justification for this project was just to improve bits and pieces here and there... That’s a lot of work for that.
It seems to be considered another update for the collection... not that much different from 40/40 or other compilations in previous years, imo.

I’m still not wild about the vocal processing (Removing noise and amplifying).
I have a hard time figuring out the glorification of this enhancement.
The cleaner vocal is more for the producers, but not for me (a fan) to have to hear it thaaat much.
As a listener, for almost two decades, I never thought to myself “gee the Carpenters could use more volume on the vocals.”
Only "Made in America" is the exception.

If the project is "with the RPO" I would want a nice balance of both the featured acts.
I’d hope if there was 'Part 2' that the production crew wouldn’t feel afraid to show off the orchestra too.
The other thing is I wasn't aware instruments were "out of tune" on the originals either. :shrug:
These are things we (the audience) wouldn’t know because we don’t have the sheet music or RC's arrangements on hand.
I didn’t notice a lot of those things until Richard pointed it out... or maybe fans pointed it out to him! Lol

Part of the charm of the older stuff are the mistakes. They were always minor mistake at any rate.
I tend to gravitate towards that stuff. They were great already! That's where all the success came from.

I think the mixes in the late 80s early 90s were a sweet spot... Richard enhances it just enough for improved quality without removing its charm.
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I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Ultimately, I have one minor issue: not enough of the RP orchestra was utilized, or, if it was, the orchestration is not making itself known to my ears.
That was my assessment from the very first listen of the very first track. And for me it was a major issue, not a minor one. This album was marketed as an artist-with-RPO set in the series but it’s not a patch on the others where the orchestra utilisation is concerned.


Well-Known Member
I listened to the disc a bit over the holidays.
In my mind, this project feels like finding an old diary. The pages are worn from time and the ink a bit faded, but its even more precious and beautiful now, even if a bit melancholy at times.


I Know My First Name Is Stephen
This is a very prophetic comment by Karen from a 1978 interview, exactly 40 years before it sort of came to fruition...albeit it without her.

“For the last three years there has been a definite resistance to our product, and I don’t know why. We’ve been doing our best to turn out the finest product we can. Richard keeps changing direction. We’ve covered practically every aspect that is capable of being put to disc with the exception of classical. We haven’t done that yet.”

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I have one minor issue: not enough of the RP orchestra was utilized, or, if it was,
the orchestration is not making itself known to my ears.
For the comments about "not enough RPO" in the mix of the album, there were an equal number of pre-release comments along the lines of "I sure hope the orchestra doesn't drown out the band!" Richard is in a no-win situation. He's the George Lucas of music (loves to tweak his creations, gets raked over the coals for doing it).

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I’m very happy we have the RPO album and I’m hoping for a second one, as well. I’d love to hear completely ‘new’ versions of some of the hits with just the orchestra backing up Karen’s vocals. But I can’t see Richard starting from the ground up on any of the classic hits. We did get a ‘teaser’ of what that would be like with the strings-only verse from ‘Please Mr. Postman’, which was really cool!

I’d really love to hear ‘Ordinary Fool’ stripped down with just bass, piano, drums, sax and Karen’s leads. It would be a completely different listening experience.

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I remember once when we were all brainstorming on ideas for new releases, somebody (might have even been me) suggested an album of Karen " unplugged" with just piano and basic band.... but since one of Richard's big claims to fame is his orchestration talent, I don't think that would ever happen.


Well-Known Member
I do not recall many comments such as "I sure hope the orchestra does not drown out the band." (with use of RPO)
No one who appreciates Richard's talents could seriously believe he would "drown-out" Karen's voice or the band.

Fact: the initial cd- release which most of us purchased had some of that material changed in later pressings--that is a problem,
as the later releases did use more of the orchestration. The later release of I Believe You reverts back to the lyric used on Made In America LP,
the initial release has the alternate (better) vocal-take. Needless to say, I do not understand Richard's attraction to this song.
It is an inferior tune which the 'public' did not take to in 1978, why has it appeared on more than 18 compilations ?

The comments I have posted regarding this cd come through numerous listens. Many, many, multiple listens.
For this recording, what I imagined it to be compared to what Richard Carpenter wanted it to accomplish
are two separate goals. He achieved his goal: correcting what he perceived as flaws and bringing Karen's voice forward.
I enjoy much of the album, but it really did not meet my expectations.
It's not bad (how could it be ?) and I do recommend it to new listeners.


Well-Known Member
Mistakes make the music more "human." If that makes sense.
Yes for sure it does.

It's nothing Richard should have felt 'haunted' about.

Artists have so much pressure on them to get everything 'just so.'
It seems like perfectionism runs wild and that leads to a kind of sterilized sound.
Yet, that's not what being creative is about. When you create something it's like as if it is fresh and new.
You co-create with others and come up with something that hasn't been done before.

Of course it's a business, but I wish there was more room for them to move sometimes and be human.
Somewhere between not 'going over people's heads' and not veering too far from a particular structure/format.

In this case, the project stayed very close to home.
Obviously he can't please us all... Some fans didn't mind it at all and felt it was right.

In my opinion, a lot of the recordings were great already. Arranged beautifully, mixed well and felt full, and later mixes by the 90s improved the quality.

Understandably, The C's couldn't do this kind of extensive tinkering while touring during their heyday.
Now I feel they had it right the first time. Lol


Well-Known Member
For me, that fact that Richard cared enough to do the RPO project after all these years, did it at Abbey Road, had his own piano shipped there, and further tweaked these recordings is a blessing. This is much more preferable than either just another new compilation or silence from him. He was clearly passionate about this project and so much so that he tweaked it after what was supposed to be its completion. In the recent BBC interview in December, he sounded very much open to an RPO 2 if Universal is also willing. These new versions don't replace or negate the older and original ones. They all coexist for anyone to enjoy with their preference of any or all versions.


Well-Known Member
These new versions don't replace or negate the older and original ones.
Of course they don't. How could they, when they're nearly identical? Merely adding a few bars of acoustic guitar, or trumpet, or strings to the original recordings, doesn't make them "new versions" in my opinion, just marginally enhanced ones. But hey, it's better than nothing I suppose... but it had the potential to be so much more!

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I received an email from Universal music this past November. It was actually from the Carpenters Universal Music store that I had ordered the RPO white vinyl collection. I was a bit surprised because I had thought this was all over. The email thanked me for my order but then said that they were aware that some of the vinyl shipped was warped and that mine was affected. It said that if I received damaged vinyl to reply with 2 pictures. I thought to myself...they have to be kidding because I already went through all of this with them. The email said let them know if I want to new copy of the LP or a refund.

I ended up replying with a short message and a couple photos that I went through all this several times and all the LP's were defective to some extent. I replied that I would love a new pressing with no defects. I got a reply from them about a week later that said they would be refunding me my purchase price. I got a full refund on my CC several weeks later.

It's a shame that out of all the copies I own between the white from Universal and the black from Amazon none of them are good, they all have some issues. So I can't rip the albums as a whole....I've got to pick and select the best ones and that's tricky with the interludes. I really love the RPO album. It's been so unfortunate because new vinyl can be made to sound excellent. I have several 2019 vinyl pressings from The Ocean Blue this past year some even colored vinyl and they sound so incredible. I also have pressings from this band from 2013 and 2015 and they are awesome with no noise just pure vinyl warmth.


Well-Known Member
We're all entitled to our opinions and views. We're even allowed to have a change of heart and evolve.
On this forum, we get to share how we feel about our favourite group. No matter the day or mood we may have at the time.
We're all fans here after all and can have differing perspectives.

I'm not trying to be overly critical about the RPO project. I didn't set out to be a music snob.

It's true that having something is better than nothing!

There is a handful of us that feel something was missing and pointed out what some of those elements are.

But really what's missing is the same thing that's been missing since VOT, Lovelines, PACC, ATGB... etc.
I suppose in some alternative realm somewhen... there an RPO album where Karen is associate producer and the track listing and mixes are different.
I think the experience of negativity on this board about it is really a comment about the thorn in that's been Richard's side after all this time.

Of course new album release is a joyous occasion and we should celebrate!
Simultaneously, you can't help but notice Karen is no longer with us.
You feel that and only want the best with The C's name attached.

I don't think it helped any that there have been hiccups along the way.
Tinkering/updated tracks, delays in vinyl release, poor condition of vinyl records, lack of live performance or other inspired lyric videos.
Overall the presentation could have been handled better.

And Richard isn't to blame. Believe it or not I do hope for an RPO 2 and that things go smoothly for everybody.
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David A

Well-Known Member
I have to say that my early impression and feelings about the RPO release has changed over time.

Like many, I was so excited that ANYthing "new" was coming regarding the Carpenters music. I thought it was great that the Carpenters were back in the music news, and felt happy for Richard as he was having a wonderful time (his words) revisiting and re-envisioning some of his classic works with the addition of the RPO.

I did _not_ think this would be something I viewed as a novelty or, as @Harry said above, an "asterisk" album. But that's how I see it now. I have to admit that the additions made with the RPO were too minimalist to truly be considered something completely "new". In fact, the best thing about the RPO for me now, is the increased presence of Karen's voice in the mix; that's just technology, nothing really "new" artistically.That doesn't mean though, that I would have been happier with a heavier RPO hand; while that might have made it legitimately "new" I doubt I would have enjoyed it.

The fact is that for me, most of these songs were already recorded in a manner I found near-to-perfect, and so, while I am happy for Richard that he is enjoying what he is doing (and making some more money from his work), and also glad that there are many who really love the RPO work, I rarely listen to it anymore. I've gone back to the pre-RPO material almost exclusively.
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