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Publicity for An Old-Fashioned Christmas

Toolman

Simple Man, Simple Dream
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):
CARPENTERS AND WONDER TOP YULE LPs
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...."

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.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Why not? Would you rather not have the album?.

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”.
 

Rumbahbah

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.

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.
 

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..."
 

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.
 

Rumbahbah

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.

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.
 

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.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
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.
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:

In December 2011, Christmas Portrait re-entered the Billboard 200 album sales chart at No. 150 and eventually achieved a new chart peak position of No. 126. In December 2012 and then in December 2013, the album again re-entered the Billboard 200 album sales chart and attained a new chart peak position of No. 114. In 2015, it reached a new peak position of No. 93 on the Billboard 200.

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.
 

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.
 

Jorge

Active Member
Got my hands on this AOFC cd from Japan.

I am not sure if it was released in 1996 as it is the oldest date I see on the cd. This is not the japanese mini lp issue, but a regular standard cd case. Does anybody else has this album in CD format released previously?

4 new photos by Jorge Moraga-Bernier
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Got my hands on this AOFC cd from Japan.

I am not sure if it was released in 1996 as it is the oldest date I see on the cd. This is not the japanese mini lp issue, but a regular standard cd case. Does anybody else has this album in CD format released previously?

4 new photos by Jorge Moraga-Bernier

I believe that single CD version was a reissue that Japan put out in November 2001. Strange that they kept the "Christmas Collection" artwork on the CD itself, when it wasn't actually part of that collection for this release.

It was originally released in Japan in October 1996 as a SHM-CD cardboard sleeve limited edition with the catalogue number UICY-77867.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Yeah, AN OLD FASHIONED CHRISTMAS has had a torturous history when it comes to CDs. The LP itself was released right at the dawn of the CD age, but instead of getting its own CD, Richard combined the two Christmas albums into the one Special Edition. I don't know about other fans, but at the time, that was a mixed blessing and left me wanting both albums on their own CDs. But that wasn't to happen for another decade.

It wasn't until the CHRISTMAS COLLECTION that the two were finally on their own CD, but still, AN OLD FASHIONED CHRISTMAS didn't get a release on its own. It looks like Japan copied the artwork for the CD from the 2-disc set and then grabbed the outside artwork from their own LP art.

My first dedicated copy came in the 2004 35th box set.

scan0001.jpg
 

Song4uman

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”.
I remember the Solid Gold. I watched every week. Lol
Jonathan
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
Here is a Japan Promo Flyer for An Old Fashioned Christmas
Maybe someone here reads Japanese?
dHrwdK9.jpg
 
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