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Publicity for An Old-Fashioned Christmas

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Someday, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. Someday

    Someday Active Member Thread Starter

    Does anyone, particularly here in the UK, have any evidence of publicity material for An Old-Fashioned Christmas?

    It was put out as an A&M 'budget' release, but was there no fanfare at all?

    I remember hearing Santa Claus is Coming to Town in a small local record store and I'm pretty sure this wasn't 1984, rather 85 or 86. On enquiring, I was told of the album and found it on cassette.

    I guess it just 'slipped out' quietly? ... or may have been issued to tie in with the Yesterday Once More compilation ...
  2. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    You have to remember that Santa Claus had been out as a 45 single since 1974.

    Otherwise the only single released to promote “An Old-Fashioned Christmas” was the “Do You Hear What I Hear?/Little Altar Boy” single, which was a promo 45 only. It’s to bad it wasn’t released as an actual 45.

    And I know that Richard appeared on the TV show “Solid Gold” singing a very different “Home For The Holidays”.
  3. I have a similar recollection, but in the US. I heard “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” on the radio one morning, getting ready for school (1984) and flipped. I was 12 at the time and had completely missed the first single release, only being familiar with Christmas Portrait. The DJ just commented on Karen’s voice and how bittersweet, to hear it, but no mention of an album. I just made an assumption that a new album came with the song and mentioned it to my sister, who, that day after work, dropped by the local record store and bought it. I saw no specific promotion.
  4. Someday

    Someday Active Member Thread Starter

    That's interesting. Thanks! Here in the UK, I understand Christmas Portrait received scant attention also (I was only 10 in 1978). I know that Karen helped promote Singles 74-78 at a record store somewhere in London, I think on the same visit as doing Bruce Forsyth's Big Night ... but I don't know of any active promotion for CP.
  5. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    It's strange that both Christmas albums ended up getting something of a 'soft' release in the UK alongside greatest hits collections (The Singles 1974-1978 alongside Christmas Portrait and Yesterday Once More alongside An Old-Fashioned Christmas). The market for Christmas albums in the UK has never been very big, so perhaps A&M figured that people might see the Christmas albums alongside the hits collections in the shops and buy them that way.

    They certainly didn't promote the Christmas albums as separate entities in the UK though (apart from Karen singing Christmas songs on the Bruce Forsyth show in 1978). The result was what you might expect - the two hits collections did good business while the two Christmas albums sold next to nothing. In all my years of trawling secondhand record stores, I've never even seen a UK copy of An Old-Fashioned Christmas, so I imagine there aren't many of them out there.
  6. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    I doubt they "soft released" only in the UK. "Christmas Portrait" was the first Carpenters LP that caught me by surprise in a store -- that was in the fall of '78 and I had no idea it was coming out. "Old Fashioned Christmas" was likewise a surprise (doubly surprising as I examined the gaudy orange "$4.99" price sticker and low-rent packaging). Kind of ironic that they now seem almost solely recognized for Christmas music.
  7. Somehow I'd heard the Carpenters were releasing a Christmas album in 1978. I remember calling my local record store (this shows how old I am) and asking the must-be-knowledgeable person that answered, "Can you tell me the name of the new Carpenters Christmas album?" After a brief hold, he came back on the line and said, "Christmas Portrait".
  8. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    How did the promote Christmas Portrait: Special Edition? Was it given a "hard" promotion in the UK or US because it was on the new CD format?
  9. Someday

    Someday Active Member Thread Starter

    My first memory of the Special Edition (UK) was RC appearing on a chat show - I'm pretty sure it was Wogan (1982-92) to promote The Compact Disc Collection. So this must have been 1989. I remember him explaining that the two Christmas albums had been edited and combined into one. Can't think of any other promotion for the SE, just finding it on the shelf in a record store.
  10. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I have a copy of that appearance somewhere. He brought a copy of the box set with him and opened it to show Terry the various discs, pronouncing "Karen would have loved the compact disc".
  11. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    CDs were still very new at that point and the selection was small. Record stores that had a CD rack made it of a size that you could flip through in a very short time as you browsed for your favorites. My recollection is that I just found CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT: SPECIAL EDITION in one of those racks, and I think my reaction was, "Gee, another Christmas Album on CD. Why don't they put out the studio albums on CD?" Those were slower coming out. CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT though had that special new function of being longer than most albums had been allowed in the vinyl days, so it was hailed as something extra special.
  12. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    Even nowadays, CPSE tends to be an extremely long album amongst most Christmas CD's, or even CD's in general. Considering that most CD's are still about 30-45 minutes nowadays, CPSE is almost double the length.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Interesting thing about the three Christmas cds,
    in terms of time-spent on Karen's vocals
    (in contradistinction to Richard's instrumental pieces):
    (1978) Christmas Portrait, Karen.... 33 minutes 41 seconds
    (1984) cd Special Edition, Karen....41 minutes 8 seconds (" celebrating 70 continuous minutes of the best....").
    (1984) Old Fashioned Christmas, Karen.....19 minutes 37 seconds.

    Special Edition cd of Christmas Portrait gave us almost
    more minutes of Karen than its LP counterpart.
  14. The first time I heard about "An Old Fashioned Christmas" was when it was mentioned on an episode of the tv program "Entertainment Tonight", when they had a short segment on what album was released on the very date when the show was broadcast. Otherwise, I wouldn't have known.

  15. I found the "An Old Fashioned Christmas" by mistake in November 1984 at our local "Musicland". I belonged to the official Carpenters fan club, but didn't receive the fan club newsletter announcing the new LP until January 1985. At first I thought it was "Christmas Portrait" re-issued with a new cover, but once I read the song titles, I knew this was a "new" release. The album got very little promotion at the time. I had my niece Brandy with me who was only 19 months old. A great memory
    goodjeans likes this.
  16. Jorge

    Jorge New Member

    Was "An Old Fashioned Christmas" ever released in CD format back in the 80s or 90s ? I don't recall ever seeing this on CD, but for the japanese mini lp version.
  17. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Not to my knowledge, Jorge. Welcome to the boards!
    Jorge likes this.
  18. cam89

    cam89 Active Member

    I lived in Swift Current, Sk, a small town on the Saskatchewan prairies from 1989 to 1992, but I do remember right before we moved there, in Christmas of 1988, Mom bought me the Twin Tape of Christmas Portrait with An Old Fashioned Christmas and I was ecstatic! TO have both Christmas albums was amazing. I had only known of Christmas Portrait and loved it. I think I was in Winnipeg, probably Christmas 1988, and was at one of the big department stores. I think it was Eatons or the Bay, and they had a huge amount of Carpenters Christmas product, both cassettes of the albums, the Lps of both, and the CDs of Christmas Portrait Special Edition. Also they had a lot of promo product on Celine Dion and Anne Murray, but I distinctly remember seeing the Carpenters. Also their album REMINSCING was there, lp, cassette and cd. REMINISCING was on heavy rotation on tv commercials and it featured their greatest hits and the tv ad was similar to the YOM tv ads with video clips of the Carpenters!
    Jorge likes this.
  19. Jorge

    Jorge New Member

    Thank you Mark-T :)
  20. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    It's too bad what ultimately happen with the release of this terrific Christmas album. It feels like A&M really turned on the Carpenters. Richard indicates in the liner notes for the 40th Japan Box set that he got the go ahead to start this album and A&M wanted him to release these songs featuring Karen on lead. Then when he submitted the master tape for production, basically A&M decided it would get no promotion and no inner sleeve and Richard says this was A&M plan all along. He says that had he known this at the beginning this album would never have been released. It's also very odd for this to never have made it to CD back in 84, which proves this was really a mid-line/budget release.

    How sad that A&M would treat the Carpenters this way on (at the time) would be one of the final album releases and they knew good and well how Christmas Portrait was a huge success for A&M. I just personally feel this was a blow to not only the fans of the Carpenters but also to Richard and the Carpenters legacy. Karen loved Christmas and this release regardless of how little Karen appears on it should have had a much bigger promotion and support of marketing from A&M.

    I'd agree with Richard when he says "this album is a helluva holiday offering, it is chock full of great music, beautifully arranged and performed"
  21. well being born in 2000 I can't say I remember the publicity :laugh:

    In 2015 I got 40/40 as my first Carpenters CD, then I knew I wanted more ! I was looking for albums which didn't have many songs I already had on 40/40 and I had also just discovered "There's A Kind Of Hush" and absolutely loved it so naturally I got "A Kind Of Hush" from Amazon... I also got a second album from Amazon that day.... The Christmas portrait special edition CD. I wasn't on anything like this forum so didn't know anything about the hype around this album, all I knew was that Karen Carpenter... That Voice... Had recorded Christmas songs, what could be better? So I had to get it immediately! :santawave:
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Talk about blowing his own trumpet.
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Again, it is an overreach to believe that Christmas Portrait (LP-1978) was a "huge seller"
    at the time of release. (December 1978, Billboard has CP-LP at #166).

    Page 54, Billboard,April 1, 1978, Paul Grein mentions Christmas Portrait, and a Country album :
    "It should be released this summer;
    followed by a double-disk Christmas album toward the end of the year."

    Perusal of Billboard, November 17, 1984, provides some insight into Christmas marketing.
    Page 22: Christmas Music Back In Spotlight.
    BILLBOARD MAGAZINE: 1936 to 2014

    Perusing Billboard Magazine, from 1978 to 1985, I fail to see how Richard Carpenter was
    caught by surprised at the lack of marketing and promotion by A&M Records.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    A bit off-topic, but, when was the decision made to go to a single-LP for Christmas Portrait ?
    November 18,1978 Billboard Magazine (page 12):
    LOS ANGELES- Christmas releases by the Carpenters and Stevie Wonder pace the 1978 flow of holiday
    product. The Carpenters' "Christmas Portrait," the duo's 10tha lbum for A&M,
    is a double package, which ties into their third ABC -TV special Dec. 19...."
  25. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Why not? Would you rather not have the album? It wasn't just Richard that performed on this album, Karen was performing as well. I can't fault an album that doesn't contain all Karen performing on it. At that point we take what we can get as Karen was gone. I feel Richard did an outstanding job on this album putting together what little he had left of Karen's recorded Christmas vocals. Just because it was released as a mid line product, doesn't lessen the value of the work contained within its cover. That is what I believe.
    Geographer likes this.

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