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Edited Version of Panel Discussion from Carpenters 50th Event (April 2019)

ringves

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I must say I'm surprised at how much attention has been focused on Chuck Findley's comments about Jack Daugherty.

I could be wrong, but my impression has always been that Daugherty's credit as "Producer" was more like an honorarium for having brought the Carpenters demo tape to the attention of Herb Alpert. Below is a link to "This Is Your Life". You may want to advance to approx. 15:40 and you'll hear Herb Alpert confirm that "Jack brought me the [demo] tapes."


While Jack Daugherty may have been a fine musician, it appears to me that he became "attached" to the Carpenters because he was in the right place at the right time. That's sounds awfully harsh, but from a distance that's the way it looks to me.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
You may want to advance to approx. 15:40 and you'll hear Herb Alpert confirm that "Jack brought me the [demo] tapes."

That may be true but they were passed to him by [I think] Ed Sulzer, having been made in Joe Osborne’s garage studio. Jack wasn’t responsible for helping create a note on those demo tapes, he was simply the middle man.
 

ringves

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
That’s possibly true but my recollection is they were passed to him [via a circuitous route] by Ed Sulzer. Jack wasn’t responsible for helping create a note on those demo tapes, he was simply the middle man.
Agree with you 100%. The fact that the Carpenters sound was already present in those demo recordings lends weight to the view that Richard was the de facto producer from day one.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
I also find it odd that the insistence was made to Karen to get treatment for her eating disorder in 1979 instead of doing the solo album, but in 1981 when she was arguably *worse*, it was "let's get back in the studio to record 'Made in America'!" It feels sort of hypocritical.
In fairness, they went back into the studio for MIA in June '80 and only after she had seen a health specialist and gained back about 20 pounds from the close of her solo sessions.

But the late 81 promo tour shouldn't have happened....but try telling her that....they hadn't had that kind of star treatment for 3/4 years so I guess both wanted some limelight again.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
But the late 81 promo tour shouldn't have happened....but try telling her that....they hadn't had that kind of star treatment for 3/4 years so I guess both wanted some limelight again.

What I think borders on farcical is the fact that they visited countries like France, Germany, Holland and Brazil, months too late, where Touch Me When We’re Dancing and Made In America either hadn’t even charted upon release or were never released in the first place. The only other places the releases charted were far-flung Australia and New Zealand, where they barely scraped into the top 40 or fell outside it. The 1981 promotional tour was a fruitless, pointless exercise that should never have been signed off by A&M, if for no other reason than to protect Karen’s long term health.
 
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Mark-T

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure I buy that Jack Daugherty story on producing the Carpenters. If anything, post Jack, Richard's arrangements and productions had the same classic elements as before but became even more polished and sophisticated. (The use of oboe, strings, style of piano etc.) Every act goes through a season where the public has had enough of the artist and moves on. The lessening of their sales post The Singles does not mean Richard wasn't as gifted as Jack as defenders of Jack may think.
Let me try this again- what I’m trying to say is: the styles were the same throughout the Carpenters career. That didn’t change once Jack was no longer involved. (Long hard last couple of days. Sorry 😂)
 

JohnFB

Well-Known Member
What I think borders on farcical is the fact that they visited countries like France, Germany, Holland and Brazil, months too late, where Touch Me When We’re Dancing and Made In America either hadn’t even charted upon release or were never released in the first place. The only other places the releases charted were far-flung Australia and New Zealand, where they barely scraped into the top 40 or fell outside it. The 1981 promotional tour was a fruitless, pointless exercise that should never have been signed off by A&M, if for no other reason than to protect Karen’s long term health.
[Bold in quote above mine] While their touring can probably never be said to be totally fruitless or pointless, this one came very close to being that - Karen especially didn't need to be traipsing halfway around the world at this point trying to execute another grueling & exhausting concert schedule...what the hell for: a tad more fame & fortune? A feeble attempt to jump start a faltering career?

Actually a very good case can be made that they should never have toured as widely or as often as they did, even in the early years. They - and A&M - were easily making enough money and gaining enough fame to last several lifetimes from record sales alone. How much more did they need? How much more did A&M need to rake in off of their immense talents? Why knock yourself out (or eventually kill yourself) touring all over hell and creation for hundreds of days year after year? They should have stayed secure and happy in the studio most of the time making beautiful music and great, best selling records - and only played a few, select concert engagements in major cities from time to time - not to make more money but simply to get out of the studio once in awhile, take a break, have some fun, see the world and refresh their spirits. What the hell was their manager and record company brass thinking? Didn't they have a clue about the dangers of constant touring and what effect it would have on health and creativity? If ever an act should have been "cuddled" in a secure studio blanket and protected from malignant forces it was the Cs...who knows, we might still be hearing them perform now. If only...my immense anger at all of the stupidity here is only exceeded by my more immense sadness about her senseless ending. Their music - and her incomparable voice - were beyond measure.
 
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ullalume

Well-Known Member
What I think borders on farcical is the fact that they visited countries like France, Germany, Holland and Brazil, months too late, where Touch Me When We’re Dancing and Made In America either hadn’t even charted upon release or were never released in the first place. The only other places the releases charted were far-flung Australia and New Zealand, where they barely scraped into the top 40 or fell outside it. The 1981 promotional tour was a fruitless, pointless exercise that should never have been signed off by A&M, if for no other reason than to protect Karen’s long term health.
Agreed. Even in the UK where the album charted at a very respectable No. 12...that peaked in early July...by October the album was out of the top 100. Had they come across months earlier the promo could have made a difference.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
What the hell was their manager and record company brass thinking?

Simple: $$$

Werner Wolfen: They had a manager and agent who, frankly, profited greatly from booking them. (1997).

Sherwin Bash: It was my wrongdoing and the record label's wrongdoing. They had to be under much more pressure than I would ever allow an artist to be today. (1997).

At least Sherwin Bash had the decency in 1997 to acknowledge his part in the decisions made at the time.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
Unfortunately, so many bad decisions were made by pretty much everyone at the time. They had no business taking on a month-long ‘promotional tour’ when Karen was at the peak of her illness and the effects of it were horribly obvious. While I know that hindsight is 20/20 vision, all you had to do was look at her and know that something was drastically WRONG.

That being said, I also know that many, many people were financially dependent on them being active and selling records. I think both Carpenters felt that pressure.

One of Karen’s doctors in NYC, Dr. Bernstein, stated that she kept saying, ‘I have all these contracts and just have to get well’. THAT’S pressure. Her career situation and her crap ‘husband’ created a complete and total storm of sh-t and she paid the ultimate price for it.

That GMA interview from late ‘81 exposes it all. And the clincher is it didn’t have to happen at all.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
The only other places the releases charted were far-flung Australia and New Zealand, where they barely scraped into the top 40 or fell outside it. The 1981 promotional tour was a fruitless, pointless exercise that should never have been signed off by A&M, if for no other reason than to protect Karen’s long term health.

I’m sure I was on my parents’ shed roof one day in 1981 with the radio on and the DJ announced that Carpenters were coming to Australia for a promo tour.

‘Touch Me When We’re Dancing’ reached No. 75 in September 1981 with 5 weeks on the chart and ‘Made in America’ reached No. 50 with 11 weeks on the Top 100, beginning mid-July. (Interesting that the album entered the charts a month and a half before the single - although there was some record store promotion, which may have helped that).

I think a point to remember in the discussion about Karen being too unwell to tour is that Karen was actively involved in the business side of their operation. She was clearly a very strong person, (in a lot of ways). I think that if she decided that the promo tour was important, no-one would have stopped her from going.
 

JohnFB

Well-Known Member
...

I think a point to remember in the discussion about Karen being too unwell to tour is that Karen was actively involved in the business side of their operation. She was clearly a very strong person, (in a lot of ways). I think that if she decided that the promo tour was important, no-one would have stopped her from going.
Maybe or maybe not - she had a rather "spotty" record when it came to making decisions and standing firm in the face of strong pressure...think Solo Album or her marraige.
 
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