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Karen's solo tracks in timeline

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by CraigGA, Jan 7, 2017.

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  1. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I was listening to a variety of Carpenters tunes today and of course, I always have that feeling of "what if". Today's question is what if the project could have been finished on time and have had an immediate release? I have put together my favorites and wonder if anyone knows of recording date of each song. These are good songs and represented the time of 1979 rather well, so I wonder...what if? Can anyone help my fog? I even think others would have recorded these songs after hearing them on this project. Would these have fit the timeline?

    Love Makin’ Love To You
    Guess I’ve Just Lost My Head
    Something’s Missing
    Still Crazy After All These Years
    If I Had You
    Makin’ Love In the Afternoon
    Make Believe It’s Your First Time
    If We Try
    Last One Singing the Blues
    My Body Keeps Changing My Mind

  2. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    The shame of it is that this album was delayed by Karen's health issues. Had it been released in 1979 when some of these songs were penned (or even 1978 if she'd started this venture right after Passage), it might have done exceptionally well. To have released it in mid 1980 would probably have been a disaster. Disco was done well before the end of the seventies. Although I hate to say it, I think for timing reasons alone A&M made the right decision.
    toeknee4bz, Carpe diem and byline like this.
  3. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I agree totally toward the release date. There is also promotion for the Singles, set 2 in England, too. If timing could have commenced by Feb. 1979, it would have made a good dent with the song selection and various styles chosen to showcase an alternative style of Karen with Rod Temperton flare, showcasing some of his best. She had the vision!
  4. John Tkacik

    John Tkacik Active Member

    I seem to recall reading in another thread about Karen's album that Harry I think was able to determine that Karen was working on the song "Makin' Love In The Afternoon" when the photograph of her wearing the headphones with her head tilted back was taken. Didn't the photographer say that the picture was taken in 1980?
  5. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I bought that print on Cranes Museo Silver Rag Paper in 16 x 20 and I have it mounted and framed. I had several emails with Bonnie Schiffman. She said she was a photographer at A&M records and the photo was taken at A&M recording studio in 1980. She told me it was during the time she recorded at A&M studio in LA. Since she mentioned 1980 and LA, I am led to believe that this was after most of the album was already done. I believe that the photo was taken in Jan 1980. I can confirm that the lyric sheet in front of Karen under the mic are the words to the track, "Making Love In The Afternoon" perhaps she was adding her vocals in LA just after Peter Cetera had finished his vocals. It's very possible this was the last track cut from the album. The print looks so stunning and the framing turned out amazing, I feel very lucky to have spoken to the photographer and it's #2 of 25, she signed it on one side and the other says Karen Carpenter 1980.
  6. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    That is awesome. It has always been one of my favorite photos of Karen. So, I guess you guys have answered my question as to whether enough songs could have been compiled to complete an album sooner. And trying to find 4 other songs to substitute 4 discos to ballads would have taken even more time unless Its Really You and Jimmy Mac could have been re-recorded lower. And Love Makin Love To You could have become more dance and less disco. All in all, it appears it came down to timing and opportunities missed. Thankfully, we have these to spin! And, I can understand why it was shelved, although it must have been a painful decision since there are quite a few gems on it!

  7. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I'd love to know the exact timeline dates of when each song was recorded and even the unreleased tracks too. I still think Karen Ramone would be able to shed a lot of light into the process of her solo tracks since she was right there. I hope one day Chris May gets to interview her down the road.

    I think the idea of her removing some of the disco feel or making it more dance would have been out of the question since they didn't even like what they heard and wanted her to go back and record more. There was just no time as MMM was in full swing.
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  8. Actorman

    Actorman Active Member

    Also, wasn't "Making Love in the Afternoon" intended to be used as part of ABC's Love In The Afternoon marketing campaign for it's daytime soap operas? It's possible that it was a last minute addition because of that. That would make sense as to why it wasn't recorded in New York with all the rest of the tracks. No idea if that is what happened, but it would make sense. The promotion the song would have received from that campaign would have been a good reason to make sure the song was included on the album.
  9. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I've never heard that story before but it sounds plausible. Can you imagine viewers tuning in and their comments upon hearing it playing over the TV campaign?

    "I'm sure that's Karen Carpenter...isn't it?".

    "The Carpenters have sure grown up since I last heard them!"

    "Have they got a new single out?"
    goodjeans and toeknee4bz like this.
  10. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Karen looked great on that special with Olivia and it would have been a upbeat promotional tool! It didn't even need to be an album cut, but a single cut only with remixes.
  11. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I still imagine the song(s) she would have performed. We still don't know what Karen's preferred choice of lead single would have been.

  12. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I know we're all familiar with what Karen's solo album should have looked like, but I've just found this much bigger image online and thought I'd post it for you all:

    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
    David A, toeknee4bz and John Tkacik like this.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    According to the book
    Little Girl Blue,
    "...Peter Cetera joined Karen in the studio on the song he had written (Making Love in the Afternoon)"

    Thus, I am to wonder at what date that would have occurred ?
  14. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Wouldn't that have been in January 1980 then? That's when the song was recorded as it's that lead sheet on Karen's lectern and the photo is dated then.
  15. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Good observations. If it was released a few years earlier, that could've made a huge difference perhaps. Karen's solo project was doomed from the start IMHO. I think the song material presented to her wasn't very good. Her health, homesickness, different environment, Richard, etc, all had a role to play. You can't blame the A&M execs for not wanting to release it. After all, they're in the business to make money and it's doubtful they would've even "broke even" on it. I've always questioned the whole bit that "it was Karen's call" to shelve it. Under what kind of pressure? According to Schmidt's book Little Girl Blue didn't she call Phil Ramone the night before she died to praise it? This was 3 years after the fact! She probably saw Richard's boo-boo face during that meeting and felt tremendous pressure to give the "thumps down". Another sad chapter in the life of Karen Carpenter.
    newvillefan likes this.
  16. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I've just realised something really key about this cover: many of us have criticised the final version of Karen's album as released in 1996 for featuring a cover ruined by the "crayon" effect on the images. But look closely at the above and you'll see that the final proof of the 1980 album is exactly the same. The only thing that's been altered is they squared the photo off for the CD jewel case and replaced the pink logo. Nothing else is different. I'm shocked at myself for not noticing that before.
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    True--the same photographs seem to have been utilized--
    but, that which is on the cd-cover(s) appears with more "reds"
    in Karen's face, and more shadings of darkness overall.
    The above photos are "brighter" and "lighter,"
    unless my eyes deceive me.
    The photo of Karen in the Greatest Hits, Volume One songbook,
    from these sessions, is fantastic and far outshines the cd-photos.
  18. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    You could be correct. I bet there may have been multiple versions. But I must say, I do not think this is the cover I saw in person in 1988 or so when I visited Jon Konjoyan and Doug Haverty (sp?) at A&M's offices. I remember - at least I'm sure I do- actual photos on the album. Doug had a full cardboard pressing of the cover which he saved after the album was shelved and the rest destroyed. The cover looked like this, (third image from the top) with obviously some slight variations particularly- in the rendering of her name. And there was more "border" around the photo used for the front (more like the image above). This image in the link is Chris Tassin's BEAUTIFUL representation of what I have described.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  19. I remember a rumor of sort saying that the cover photo which ultimately ended up on VOICE OF THE HEART was originally intended as a cover for Karen's solo album. Is there any truth to this?
  20. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    At least in the version I saw, that photo was not the cover.
  21. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    There are several sources which indicate Karen loved the photo ultimately chosen for 'Voice Of The Heart'. The Los Angeles Times article written by Paul Grein in 1989 says that the photo of Karen curled up in the chair was going to be the cover. My guess is it was slated to be the back LP cover.

    It's also been stated that the gatefold sleeve inside photo was the one where Karen is lying back on the chair in the purple outfit (used in the fold-out of 'Yesterday Once More' album). Would love to know for certain. So cool you got to see the mock-up cover, Mark!
    newvillefan and Mark-T like this.
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    So sad that it ended up being the cover of the first posthumous album, after she had so much hope for her first solo venture just three years earlier.
    David A and Mark-T like this.
  23. David A

    David A Active Member

    What a great thread. I really enjoy reading/learning more about the Carpenters legacy from those of you with more intimate knowledge of their career and lives.

    Was just struck with some sad emotion when reading this thread and looking at these pictures.

    Was the "crayon" (or any other "fuzz" or distortion effect) decided on due to how Karen looked, health-wise, at the time?

    What a maturing, beautiful woman Karen had become, illness be damned.
    newvillefan likes this.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Perusal of The 40th Anniversary Box Set, in particular the Liner Notes/Photographs
    (roughly ten pages toward back)
    in the Lovelines Album
    provides this to accompany Karen's photograph ,
    from Richard Carpenter:
    "February 2,1980, Photo shoot in New York, for the cover of Karen's Solo Album.
    another image was chosen,but I like this one as well.
  25. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    That's interesting! Which photo are you referring to GaryAlan?

    I've said it before on other threads but I'll say it again here - I'm still shocked at how bad the original artwork was for Karen's album. Who thought a pink scrawled logo on a muddy grey/green background would look good? They ruined the original photographs with the crayon effect and even something as basic as the layout on the cover is terrible: the cover photo is off-centre and much smaller than the size of the jacket so all we're left with is more of the muddy dark background around the outer edges of the sleeve. If they didn't want to use a portrait-shaped shot for the cover because it doesn't fit a square sleeve, there are many other photos from the sessions they could have chosen to work better. It was just very poor artistic direction and judgement. I could have done a better job myself. It's insane to think this could have been released as it looks above, she deserved so much better.
    Murray and Mark-T like this.
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