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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. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    That makes me wonder how the sequencing might have differed if it had been a 2LP set. There's a LOT of music on both sides of the final product, without many obvious breaks. I guess the expanded Christmas Portrait CD might offer a few clues.
  2. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    That’s not what I meant. Of course I’m glad we’ve got the album. I think part of the reason Richard doesn’t have a great reputation in the industry is because he’s overtly smug about their success. In the 1996 BBC documentary he emphatically said “you can’t say that we weren’t good” and that anyone who disagreed were “ignoramuses”.
  3. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I do wonder whether the idea for the album originated with A&M or Richard. Or perhaps they'd agree to put out a certain number of albums when they re-signed with A&M in 1976 and thus it was 'required' as part of their contract?

    Of course, there are some outstanding tracks on there (in fact, all of the vocal tracks bar 'I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day', which is pretty dull, sound good), and naturally they were constrained by the finite number of Karen vocal tracks, which meant having to use extra instrumentals to pad out the album, but there's no getting away from the fact that the album does sound incomplete and like an assortment of outtakes with so few Karen vocals. Side 1 seem to take an age before we hear Karen singing, and the instrumentals, while fine in themselves, are no substitute for that. It's like plodding through 15 minutes of the Pianst, Composer, Arranger... album to get to the key songs.

    While I'm sure the format wouldn't have been of interest to A&M at the time, there was really only enough material for an EP rather than a full-length album.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The Fan Club Newsletters are interesting:
    February 1984: "Richard and Jerry Weintraub have entered into a developmental deal for CBS
    to produce a Movie-of-the-Week on the life of The Carpenters..."
    July 1984: "We can expect a new Christmas Album later this year entitled An Old-Fashioned Christmas..."
    Richard leaves for London, in conjunction with the album, to work with Peter Knight on the Overture
    and orchestral numbers..."
    November 1984: "Richard is in pre-production on his solo album....set for release sometime in 1985..."
  5. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    Even in this day and age, Universal doesn’t seem that interested in AOFC (and I would disagree that the instrumentals were in line with PACC—-PACC is elevator Muzak) since here in North America AOFC has never been marketed on CD or digital by itself (I just checked iTunes Canada, and the song comes up separately twice, but the album was listed only under “Christmas Collection”). Really the CPSE shows up in stores more than CC because it’s a single disc, whereas CC is a double disc, and from what I’ve seen, it’s only been marketed in the big double case rather than the smaller flip double case, like the 1985 YOM album was reissued in, which is more shelf friendly since it’s a single case.

    Sure it’s been released separately in Japan (and people can order it online), but if people are looking in stores elsewhere in the world, then they’re out of luck and don’t know that it exists.
  6. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    The Christmas Collection was only available in the the chunky double case for its initial run in 1996 I think. All copies I've seen of it in recent years are in a single CD case. However, it's true that it's less visible than the special edition CD of Christmas Portrait, which for good or ill has been the main Christmas CD of theirs on the market for quite some years now.

    1984 was a bit too early for a CD release of An Old-Fashioned Christmas (plenty of new albums still weren't appearing on CD at that time) and since then it's gotten partly swallowed up into the Christmas Portrait special edition and then as part of the Christmas Collection. Given that it wasn't a big seller on its release and so there aren't loads of copies in circulation, it's little wonder that it's relatively unknown. Despite having followed them since 1990, even I only heard it all the way through for the first time about 5 years ago.
  7. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I’ve never seen CC in the flip case. I remember seeing it brand new in a ‘new CD’ store about 4 years ago and it was in the double case.
  8. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I always thought he was quite respected in the industry. And after all, they DID have great success, mostly due to his song choices. I mean, all due credit to Karen, but with the wrong songs, she would have been far less of a success. So his having a bit of pride about that would be normal ... especially given the image they had. You do have to admit, looking at the pictures of him back in the day, he doesn't look like most people's idea of a modern genius music producer/arranger.

    I would expect the reason A&M didn't promote Old Fashioned as much as they did Christmas Portrait were two main ones:

    1. The album was not as good as Portrait. It just wasn't. It had its moments, but it wasn't stellar all the way through like its predecessor was.
    2. Carpenters career was past its peak at that time. They hadn't had a chart single in 3 years. A&M had bigger fish to fry by that point, and they knew that due to both of these reasons, there was not so much to gain by promoting it anyway.

    I do seem to remember a full-page ad for the album in Billboard, but that was normal for just about any major act. I don't remember any "push" at all for the CP - Special Edition. Around that time, stores were stocking anything they could get their hands on on CD. I remember when we got a shipment that contained the Special Edition -- it had been on backorder for a few weeks before we finally got it.

    As an aside, while writing this post I looked at the Wikipedia entries for these albums and found this:

    These chart positions are cool, but historically they're pretty meaningless for comparison purposes because only in the last few years have "ALL" album sales been considered for the Billboard 200. Prior to 2009, there was a myriad of reasons why an album wouldn't be listed on the chart. Christmas albums had their own chart and thus were excluded from the "big" chart. After '09 all those limits were dropped and chart positions were based strictly on sales (and later, downloads and streams) without regard to an album's age or genre. Most likely, CP was eligible for the chart EVERY year since its release, rather than just being relegated to the Christmas chart.
    Geographer likes this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The A&M Publication, from 1987, The First Twenty-Five Years:
    Christmas Portrait "certified" Gold ---500,000 copies--on January 16, 1981.
    (Recall, it entered at #166, Billboard charts 1978).
    1983's LP Voice Of The Heart, as of July 1987, had not "gone Gold."

    There seems no reason that A&M would particularly push the second Christmas LP,
    based on the statistics, the financials, of the day.

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