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Olivia Did "Demo Tracks" with Karen?

1969

Member
Well, I was on an ONJ thread on another site, and a poster gave out the following link of unreleased ONJ music.
You can only bet I did a double take when I read it.
First questions that come to mind. When, where, from whom did the rumour start? If a demo track, who's in possession of it? ONJ? If it existed wouldn't it have been mentioned in ONJ's autobio? Would Karen have been able to cut a demo without Richard's knowledge? LGB book says Karen turned down offers to duet, guest appear, etc.... with other recording artists out of deference to Richard, so I'm inclined to believe it's not true. But would love to be proven wrong.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I was also surprised to hear that Karen was a last minute fill in replacement on Olivia’s tv show Hollywood Nights. Melissa Manchester was suppose to be a guest but couldn’t make it at last minute and Karen agreed to step in.

That changes all the dynamics and now makes sense why Karen’s part was so small on the show. This was new info to me but came from a reputable source.
 

kprather

Well-Known Member
I was also surprised to hear that Karen was a last minute fill in replacement on Olivia’s tv show Hollywood Nights. Melissa Manchester was suppose to be a guest but couldn’t make it at last minute and Karen agreed to step in.

That changes all the dynamics and now makes sense why Karen’s part was so small on the show. This was new info to me but came from a reputable source.
IIRC, Karen was wearing the same outfit she was wearing on Music Music Music, right? Is it possible she literally just ran across the hall and did it?
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
I'm going to go out on a limb here and going to say No.
There's no way with the amount of research fans have done over the years that such a thing exists.
There's never been any mention of it.
In order for something to be released anyway there's usually a lot more information surrounding something like that.

For example, the amount of information that surrounded the duet between Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury.
These were rumoured for a long time that they'd be released in some fashion.
One of the songs was. But my point is there was evidence that occurred and lots of conversation surrounding them.

Olivia and Karen probably didn't get to meet as often as we might think. Good friends yes and I'm sure there was a lot of chatting over the phone while in other places in the world touring and what have you. They both had hectic schedules and I don't see how they'd have found the time to record with everything that went on.

On the list of unreleased KC vocals the last I remember the following could be releasable:

Try to win a friend
The moon's a harsh mistress
All my life
You'll never know (RC lead)
Something missing
Love makin' love to you
Thank you for the music

Fans have been down this road before. Many times.
Aside from those titles found circulating online there's not much else. From what I understand.

There are tapes of stuff we haven't heard for sure, but that was because Karen and Richard agreed they didn't want it out.
Richard has determined there honestly isn't much else that he wants to put out.

We've heard practically everything Carpenters there is to-date. Like literally it might only be a few of those I listed above that would be left as another "Trying to get the feeling again" scenario to release on an anniversary edition.
I don't think that can happen again as it did mid-1990s.

The ones above may not even have finished leads on them or the master tapes might not be in good shape. Who knows?

I'm sure if there was Olivia and Karen recording floating around somewhere Richard would give its blessing, but I doubt that recording exists.
Likely it's only "Heartache Tonight" where KC and Olivia are heard signing together.

I'd be more interested in anything that was an outtake from VOTH, Lovelines, ATGB. But really there's not much else unreleased stuff we've haven't heard.
Not to my knowledge anyway, as a fan.

There might be other alternative takes or studio chatter and demos we haven't heard, but I don't know if there's much more after all these years.
It's possible there may be demos from MIA sessions we haven't heard or something like that. There'd be little differences besides a few things here and there probably.

Aside from that I don't think there's much hope for a new release. Remasters maybe and perhaps re-recordings on the Christmas album.
Possibly a "stripped mix" album (that's unlikely).

I think that's as much "new" material we can expect anymore. I don't even know if Richard would want to put out any outtakes from his solo years either. I'm sure he has them hanging around someplace.

The issue is the label because even Rich's last solo album didn't get a sequel. I find that disappointing as much as RPO didn't get a well deserved sequel too. Perhaps it's lacklustre sales because these days people are streaming music and not necessarily buying it.
As far as I know, the music labels still use "CD sales/Digital downloads" as a metric for whether or not they'll put out any more music by an act.

If Rich really wanted I suppose he could post some stuff over social media, but likely there's no reason for him to do that unless it's a properly done stage show or TV presentation. I think he's been generous enough though. The RPO and Songbook album was a surprise as is. There might be follow up to that, but perhaps it has been delayed. Who knows for sure with the craziness going on in the world today.
I don't think there's much more we can expect, at this point. Just enjoy what we have.
 
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Tom_P

Well-Known Member
I don't think there's much more we can expect, at this point. Just enjoy what we have.
I'm inclined to agree. While I'm glad we have the three posthumous albums, I know Richard regrets releasing some of the work leads now and I'm sure these are the best of what was available. I adored and continue to adore Karen's voice, but enough already, Richard deserves a bit of peace.

It's the first I've heard of a possible recording of "The Moon's A Harsh Mistress", and I think a Carpenters/Jimmy Webb combo sounds hugely intriguing and exciting, but like I said, if it was one of the better recordings we'd have it, if it exists at all.

"Something Missing" and "Love Makin' Love to You" I think are out-takes from Karen's solo album, and most of these can be found with some internet searching.

Something's Missing (In My Life)

Love Making Love To You
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
I'm inclined to agree. While I'm glad we have the three posthumous albums, I know Richard regrets releasing some of the work leads now and I'm sure these are the best of what was available. I adored and continue to adore Karen's voice, but enough already, Richard deserves a bit of peace.

It's the first I've heard of a possible recording of "The Moon's A Harsh Mistress", and I think a Carpenters/Jimmy Webb combo sounds hugely intriguing and exciting, but like I said, if it was one of the better recordings we'd have it, if it exists at all.

"Something Missing" and "Love Makin' Love to You" I think are out-takes from Karen's solo album, and most of these can be found with some internet searching.

Something's Missing (In My Life)

Love Making Love To You

"Moon's a harsh mistress" was listed in this document called the Moog?
It was a Japanese magazine in the early 90s (I think). I haven't seen a copy in years.

There was a list of songs Richard was asked about. Even at that time he dispelled myths and rumours about the list.
It said Carpenters sang "How high the moon," but that was only listed because Ella Fitzgerald sang it on their 1980 music special so it was thought Carpenters had a tape singing that too. But it was inaccurate of course.

From what I read (I could be wrong on this), "Moon's a harsh mistress" had a lead and left as an outtake.
However, anybody can search for Barbra Streisand singing it and here how it goes. It's slow. Not particularly exciting.
So it's that kind of 'dragging' feeling that might've been why KC and RC didn't want to finish it.

Same with "Try to win a friend" from what I remember.
Just wasn't something Karen was really jiving to.

So, those are kind of like a Honolulu city Lights or Uninvited Guest situations, but ranked even lower than those.
Perhaps KC didn't complete the lead. There's no telling what shape they're in.

Same with "All my Life" which was a MIA outtake. It probably wasn't anything they both liked and besides the MIA sessions was very fruitful.
I can't imagine it's much of a different idea from something heard on Voice of the Heart. If at all like any of those songs, but likely not a "Beechwood" or "Back in my life again." I have no idea what the melody would even be. But Rich said there was something titled "All my Life" from MIA sessions.
Again it probably wasn't even finished.
For those kinds of songs listed above KC may have mumbled into the mic at some point like on "Do you hear what I hear." Lol
That'd mean Richard would have to go in and record a verse or something. Perhaps that wouldn't have worked.

There's a reason Richard didn't go with them.
Both of them turned those down for a reason just like "An old fashioned love song."
It just didn't feel like Carpenters.

That's the other thing I think we as fans forget is that sometimes these tunes we can find listed online aren't really "On brand" and not up to standard.
Meaning that they aren't really Carpenters songs meant for them to sing, and they're not an ideal "Trying to get the feeling" scenario.
If they were, Rich would have done it already. No doubt. If he had something really nice on his hands in the music biz (which is a business after all) that the label asked for he'd want to do something with it. I mean it has to have that special something about it to make it onto an album.

Even something like Rainbow Connection (which is a nice song and Karen sings pretty on it) just isn't quite the thing you first introduce to anybody asking who the Carpenters are. There's even moments there you can tell KC isn't all that interested in it. She wasn't.
Yet, RC gave into the years of requests and I think that was really nice of him to have a go at that one.

I don't think there's much more of that he can realistically do at this point.

There are still some songs off of their music specials that fans think should be released, but honestly ATGB did a wonderful job of getting the best of the specials.
Richard has an excellent ear and I think his selections were right.
If there's an itch to want to hear songs from the specials, of course they're floating out there online.
Indeed just like the solo album outtakes there are rarities and gems to be found.

Can't be too sure if RC did "As Time Goes By 2" that it would be up to par anyways.
ATGB2 would have the likes of: Christmas Alphabet, Play a simple melody, You'll never know, and just odd assortment of selections.
It would be a bizarre addition to the collection probably. haha
That's all that's left.

The one that fans have been after is "Thank you for the music." But we all know why that one wasn't put out either.
At least we do have a Live version of that.
Not putting it out had to do with respect for the writers and original performers (ABBA of course).
When Richard feels he's copying other artists he's not inclined to get too passionate about what he's doing.

So, I think it is fair to say there won't be too much other surprises on the horizon. Carpenters fans have lucked out as is.
Some legacy acts don't even get as much as VOTH, Lovelines, From the Top, ATGB, RPO, etc.

Carpenters fans are well looked after. Probably more than many other fan groups on Earth without even knowing it.
 
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A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I was also surprised to hear that Karen was a last minute fill in replacement on Olivia’s tv show Hollywood Nights. Melissa Manchester was suppose to be a guest but couldn’t make it at last minute and Karen agreed to step in.

That changes all the dynamics and now makes sense why Karen’s part was so small on the show. This was new info to me but came from a reputable source.
Karen was on the show originally as a guest. She was invited to perform a track on her solo album. When that didn't come out, Karen was still a guest at the end of the show during the 'Heartache Tonight' segment. It's documented in the biography by Ray Coleman.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
Karen was on the show originally as a guest. She was invited to perform a track on her solo album. When that didn't come out, Karen was still a guest at the end of the show during the 'Heartache Tonight' segment. It's documented in the biography by Ray Coleman.
Retro, what is the page #? I don’t find anything in that book about them offering her to sing a song from her solo album.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Same with "All my Life" which was a MIA outtake. It probably wasn't anything they both liked and besides the MIA sessions was very fruitful.
I can't imagine it's much of a different idea from something heard on Voice of the Heart. If at all like any of those songs, but likely not a "Beechwood" or "Back in my life again." I have no idea what the melody would even be. But Rich said there was something titled "All my Life" from MIA sessions.
Again it probably wasn't even finished.
For those kinds of songs listed above KC may have mumbled into the mic at some point like on "Do you hear what I hear." Lol
That'd mean Richard would have to go in and record a verse or something. Perhaps that wouldn't have worked.

There's a reason Richard didn't go with them.
Both of them turned those down for a reason just like "An old fashioned love song."
It just didn't feel like Carpenters.

That's the other thing I think we as fans forget is that sometimes these tunes we can find listed online aren't really "On brand" and not up to standard.
Meaning that they aren't really Carpenters songs meant for them to sing, and they're not an ideal "Trying to get the feeling" scenario.
If they were, Rich would have done it already. No doubt. If he had something really nice on his hands in the music biz (which is a business after all) that the label asked for he'd want to do something with it. I mean it has to have that special something about it to make it onto an album.

Even something like Rainbow Connection (which is a nice song and Karen sings pretty on it) just isn't quite the thing you first introduce to anybody asking who the Carpenters are. There's even moments there you can tell KC isn't all that interested in it. She wasn't.
Yet, RC gave into the years of requests and I think that was really nice of him to have a go at that one.

I don't think there's much more of that he can realistically do at this point.

There are still some songs off of their music specials that fans think should be released, but honestly ATGB did a wonderful job of getting the best of the specials.
Richard has an excellent ear and I think his selections were right.
If there's an itch to want to hear songs from the specials, of course they're floating out there online.
Indeed just like the solo album outtakes there are rarities and gems to be found.

Can't be too sure if RC did "As Time Goes By 2" that it would be up to par anyways.
ATGB2 would have the likes of: Christmas Alphabet, Play a simple melody, You'll never know, and just odd assortment of selections.
It would be a bizarre addition to the collection probably. haha
That's all that's left.

The one that fans have been after is "Thank you for the music." But we all know why that one wasn't put out either.
At least we do have a Live version of that.
Not putting it out had to do with respect for the writers and original performers (ABBA of course).
When Richard feels he's copying other artists he's not inclined to get too passionate about what he's doing.

So, I think it is fair to say there won't be too much other surprises on the horizon. Carpenters fans have lucked out as is.
Some legacy acts don't even get as much as VOTH, Lovelines, From the Top, ATGB, RPO, etc.

Carpenters fans are well looked after. Probably more than many other fan groups on Earth without even knowing it.
I’ve read the list of Carpenters’ unfinished / unreleased recordings a number of times. Has it ever been said which ‘All My Life’ the recording is, as in, who the songwriters are?

The duo America released an ‘All My Life” the year before ‘Made In America’ was begun. It was written by one half of the duo, Gerry Beckley. It is in the vein of music that K & R MIGHT have recorded around 1980. It’s quite a nice ballad, although the lyrics get a little melodramatic, at one point.

It actually seems unlikely that K & R would have recorded this, though, as America were also thought of as middle of the road, were contemporaries of K & R, might have had quite a similar audience and had only just released the song as a single at the end of 1979. (It didn’t reach the Hot 100).

I was listening to a couple of versions of ‘The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress’ about a year ago, one by Linda Ronstadt, and what has been suggested earlier in this thread also struck me - that there seems to be something lacking in the actual song. Jimmy Webb has written some great songs but this one probably isn’t up with his best. Seems a lot disagree, though. A lot of people have recorded it.

My memory of what has been said by Richard about Carpenters’ ‘The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress’ is that Karen doesn’t appear on it - as in, no vocal was recorded. (I may be wrong).

As for the rumour that Karen and Olivia recorded demos, I don’t put much stock in that. There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet. When Merv Griffin interviewed them around September 1981and asked them if they saw each other much, if they’d recorded demos together, you might have expected them to answer, “Yes, we spent a couple of weeks together choosing songs, then spent a week organising musicians, a studio and getting the songs arranged and then a couple of days recording together”.
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
I’ve read the list of Carpenters’ unfinished / unreleased recordings a number of times. Has it ever been said which ‘All My Life’ the recording is, as in, who the songwriters are?

The duo America released an ‘All My Life” the year before ‘Made In America’ was begun. It was written by one half of the duo, Gerry Beckley. It is in the vein of music that K & R MIGHT have recorded around 1980. It’s quite a nice ballad, although the lyrics get a little melodramatic, at one point.

It actually seems unlikely that K & R would have recorded this, though, as America were also thought of as middle of the road, were contemporaries of K & R, might have had quite a similar audience and had only just released the song as a single at the end of 1979. (It didn’t reach the Hot 100).

I was listening to a couple of versions of ‘The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress’ about a year ago, one by Linda Ronstadt, and what has been suggested earlier in this thread also struck me - that there seems to be something lacking in the actual song. Jimmy Webb has written some great songs but this one probably isn’t up with his best. Seems a lot disagree, though. A lot of people have recorded it.

My memory of what has been said by Richard about Carpenters’ ‘The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress’ is that Karen doesn’t appear on it - as in, no vocal was recorded. (I may be wrong).

As for the rumour that Karen and Olivia recorded demos, I don’t put much stock in that. There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet. When Merv Griffin interviewed them around September 1981and asked them if they saw each other much, if they’d recorded demos together, you might have expected them to answer, “Yes, we spent a couple of weeks together choosing songs, then spent a week organising musicians, a studio and getting the songs arranged and then a couple of days recording together”.

I'd have to find that excerpt from that magazine again. I'm pretty sure it's on this website somewhere.
It's been a while but that's what I remember.

I could be wrong in that there might be others. Those were the ones that seem like the runnerups for posthumous albums.

The way Richard responded made them sound like far and few in-between. As in sure there might other recordings and stuff but they aren't usable to put it on an album. As you said there likely isn't finished vocals. They might only be a verse or no vocals put on the track.

As well we're forgetting the universal mishap too, so perhaps there aren't back up copies of things like that.

If RC had all kinds of Carpenters songs to use I don't think he'd have used as many KC solo cuts for 'Lovelines' or 'From the Top.'
The KC solo album probably would have still been released. My point is there didn't seem to be much left in the Carpenters archives to release.
If there was Richard would've put it out.

As for All my Life. I have no idea. This was only a list of song titles. It sounded like it could've been an original. It was an MIA outtake.
I might be misremembering here, so don't quote me on that. Lol

Literally, it's like only a handful of songs I can think of that might've been okay as an album track, but didn't make the cut.
From what I've gathered after all these years of being a fan. I've been on message boards since 2007. I guess that makes me a bit old now. :oops: Lol

Rainbow Connection barely made it and I'd think recordings in the same vein as that is what would be left.
Those are the kind of gems fans have been after for some time (if they even exist).
It would likely be okay, but it wouldn't be another Rainy days and Mondays or Only Yesterday.

So it's really mostly the rumours of Try to win a friend, The moon's a harsh mistress and Thank you for the music.
But we know those weren't either finished or decided against by KC and RC.
And the solo outtakes aren't getting a release. They were not supposed to be out, but they're out now.

I don't know about this Olivia and Karen duet either or who started this idea. It reminds me of that picture of Elvis and Karen together that was photoshopped and people believe it actually happened.
The internet is a strange place.
I'm glad fans can nip this kind of misinformation in the bud.

An Ollie and KC due is the work of fan fiction if anything. It's taking Heartache Tonight and trying to make some kind of remix out of it.
I'm sure someone could try to make such a thing. The fact is it just simply didn't happen. I suppose people can toy around with the idea if they'd like.
 
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ullalume

Well-Known Member
Try and win a friend '74
All my life '80
Why Don't They Understand

These were the 3 songs with a complete lead that Richard felt were good enough to release. . .not so much the last one though. But this was back in '96....Richard may feel very differently now.

Maybe on a compilation in the future he could include the RPO TGOD, the above songs, and his arrangement of Something's Missing which he wanted to do back in '96.
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
Try and win a friend '74
All my life '80
Why Don't They Understand

These were the 3 songs with a complete lead that Richard felt were good enough to release. . .not so much the last one though. But this was back in '96....Richard may feel very differently now.

Maybe on a compilation in the future he could include the RPO TGOD, the above songs, and his arrangement of Something's Missing which he wanted to do back in '96.

Thank you for adding confirmation and clarification on that.
Sounds more accurate. I was getting warm. ahah

That's right it was something Rich said a long time ago now.

That sounds like only enough for an EP and not the required atleast 30-40mins of album length material.
It's hard to imagine a Carpenters EP with an assortment like that.
It really would only be of interest to die hard fans. A release like that might do as well or close to RPO, but a difficult sell in this day and age.

There's that decades old hope for "ATGB2" that doesn't seem to be possible some 20 years after the fact.

Perhaps an album could be Frankensteined with some Richard Leads and Instrumentals added.
It seems like a long shot that there'd be enough material for another album at all.
Strung together with demos, TV special material, guest artists and outtakes.

It's not impossible. Just not something Rich would give the OK on.

Maybe a future compilation would have one unheard demo or bonus track, but what anniversary would we be looking at for something like that?

Definitely RPO2 and remastered albums have a better chance than anything else at this point.
 
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