• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is available for ordering here.

🎤 Interview Richard Carpenter Interview 2014

mr J.

Well-Known Member
Mr. J. , I will acquiesce ,at least partially, with your assessment regarding my harshness toward marketing by UMG.
Perhaps it is not lack of marketing, but mis-handling/marketing of their entire output. I truly want to emphasize the total musical output.
UMG did promote toward worldwide markets (particularly Japan) , but I still believe the USA market barely registers as promotion worthy.
Singles 1969-1973 (7.5x ) certified platinum April 16,1998
( UMG Purchased Polygram in 1998)
Love Songs Released March 24,1998 and Gold June 12,2000 (Copies sold 675,000)
Yesterday Once More Released April 28,1985 Gold April 16,1998 (2.3x platinum)
Gold Released February 2004 (525,000 sold)

Perhaps I am not stressing the point I intended to emphasize: Studio Albums by the duo were/are given scant mention in deference to compilations.
The Singles 1969-1973 is The LP that the general public remembers as Carpenters--those songs are what the general public remembers.
Too much of the general public perceives Carpenters as only 'the hits' packages which have been re-invented and re-released.
And, of course, that's how Carpenters are marketed.
I do not believe that 40/40 (Copies sold 30,000) or As Time Goes By (30,000) received much attention in the USA.
Richard was on QVC for 40/40 promotion in USA, but in the UK they got an entire TV Celebration (produced by UMG)
The Philippines also had an entire program devoted to Carpenters.
Most folks, in general ,in the US, they know Close To You and We've Only Just Begun; they do not know Rainbow Connection or album cuts.
Christmas Portrait, even though it sells every year, it should never be out of the top 20 at Christmas time.
Lack of Promotion (?)
That Christmas album, above all should receive heavy promotion every year (well, it irks me that it musters only #114 on the charts).
And, lets not forget, even Herb Alpert sued UMG, and won, because they broke a clause in the contract pertaining to A&M Records.

So, please forgive my tirade, but I contend that Something is not right.

Again,some of your statements aren't quite accurate.K&R's entire catalog was issued on CD in the 1980's-and remastered & reissued again in 1999.Their entire catalog was in print when Universal took over A&M in 2000.

Universal deleted several albums in 2006/2007 that evidently slowed down-sales wise.They might have a higher minimum sales quota for catalog albums than A&M/Polygram did-which would account for the fact that they were deleted.

But,K&R's catalog wasn't mishandled or mismarketed in any way-and the studio albums weren't neglected in deference to compilations,as you suggest.Until 2006,their entire catalog was always in print.

The fact that so many definitive compilations are available is the main reason why many of the studio albums slowed down in sales.

Your statement about the general public perceiving K&R as a "greatest hits package" artist is erroneous,also.Some of the studio albums are perennial bestsellers(and classics)-and are selling as well as the compilations.Close To You,Horizon & Christmas Portrait are their best-selling studio albums.

No A&M artist was given more attention to their catalog in the CD era than K&R.
Just this year, aren't Carpenters #32 in all-time top artists? For all years in all formats.
I'm just saying, I hear Billy Joel, Elton John, Barry Manilow, etc. every day on the radio,
Why not Karen & Richard Carpenter ?.

Billy Joel & Elton John are top-40 artists,K&R aren't.You will never hear K&R on a top-40 station,just as you will never hear Frank Sinatra or Barbra Streisand on a top-40 station.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Mr.J., honestly and sincerely, I understand and accept your aforementioned points, and my errors in facts.
And, I do appreciate your taking time to read and correct some of my interpretations and misgivings.
I agree with you on many of your points.
But, while I agree that attention was given to K&R, I still feel (perhaps have always felt?) that they were mis-marketed on the whole.
It's the quality of promotional effort expended, and not its quantity , that I am striving for.
And, the American listeners, in particular, have bought into the uncool Carpenters image being fed to them. (By who?).
No matter how you slice and dice it, even though Portrait is a best-seller every year, it still is not where it should be
in terms of sales or chart action. That album should be everywhere. It's just that great.
There was a time when K&R were most certainly Top 40, all over the radio---playing in heavy rotation against their peers.
I ask, why not now--even on oldies stations.
But, again, I do greatly appreciate your input.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
The Carpenters aren't Top 40? Huh? 16 consecutive top 20 hits between 1970-1976, as well as 3 number ones. Billy Joel hasn't released a pop album since 1993, by the way, but he still gets plenty of airplay. Elton, too. It's the radio programmers and 'testing sites' that have the issue. It's not the Carpenters track record, that's for sure.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
If one goes to the Universal Music Group Webpage, where it has an A to Z selection of artists,
inclusive of back-catalog artists, Carpenters are no where to be found.
Unless, of course, I have somehow overlooked them on that web site. (Someone please double-check)
In other words, you wouldn't even know the duo had any music released from UMG (America) after perusing the site.
Am I missing something?
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Regarding the UMG Website:
OK, forgive me---they are listed under 'T' for "The Carpenters".
Case Solved.
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
I was going round n round at Interscope's site. Tedious on my cell. Try later. A&M shows but for me frustration abounds.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
After reading liner notes for the Lovelines LP, in the 40th set,
I must ask,
Why release I Believe You ( as a single) instead of Where Do I Go From Here ? (both vocals recorded in 1978).
 

mr J.

Well-Known Member
The Carpenters aren't Top 40? Huh? 16 consecutive top 20 hits between 1970-1976, as well as 3 number ones. Billy Joel hasn't released a pop album since 1993, by the way, but he still gets plenty of airplay. Elton, too. It's the radio programmers and 'testing sites' that have the issue. It's not the Carpenters track record, that's for sure.
Billy Joel & Elton John are contemporary pop/rock-K&R are classic pop.(or as they called it back in the 70's:"easy listening")Different genre altogether.

The status quo of top-40 radio in the 70's was such that many different genres were able to get top-40 airplay-including soul/R&B,traditional country,jazz & easy listening.It was K&R's good fortune that many of their singles found their way to top-40 radio and became hits.It's amazing how tracks like "Solitaire" and "Rainy Days"(among others) managed to get any top-40 airplay.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
This is a most fascinating discussion!
After listening to an (old )1975 Casey Kasem Top 40 show, a few weeks back on an oldies station, it struck me how very many different genres
of music occupied chart entries alongside Carpenters' music. Those charts in the early 1970s had everything on them.
Now, it seems I have heard some make the claim (amongst music critics) that Carpenters were responsible for creating the entire soft-rock/easy pop
genre in the 1970s. The pigeon-hole of "easy-listening" or "muzak" or "elevator-music" did not really come until after these two created this trend.
Karen and Richard also were responsible for creating some outstanding pop music, which, when placed alongside any genre (and certainly when
pitted against other 'softer' acts of the day) holds their own.
I still insist their music, the 22 hits if I may borrow that term, are absolutely worthy of airplay on today's oldies stations.
I realize I am biased, but, good lord, those songs are extremely well arranged, produced, and (of course) beautifully sung. Timeless. Classic.
Pick your adjective.
It disturbs me that the Top American 1970s Music Act, Carpenters, does not get equal airtime (& should get more statistically speaking).
 

mr J.

Well-Known Member
K&R aren't soft rock,they are classic pop-as in Frank Sinatra,Barbra Streisand,Nat King Cole,etc. K&R didn't create the soft rock sound.

K&R do get some airplay on certain stations-but the song has to fit the format of the station.Some lite-FM & oldies stations do play select Carpenters titles.The few easy listening stations that exist in the US will undoubtedly play some tracks.Some Jazz stations play some of the standards & jazz-oriented tracks.Amazingly,I heard "Argentina" on a classical station last year-the gorgeous symphonic arrangement of "Argentina" fit right in with their regular playlist.

But,you'll never hear K&R on a top-40 station.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Right you are Mr. J.,
Karen and Richard created their own sound.
I, for one, try not to give a 'name' to any style of music. Radio does, music critics do.
Good music is good music, regardless of what it is termed or branded.

My point:
Carpenters, no matter what you call the music, had hit after hit on Top 40 radio in the 1970s.
That chart record is a fact. They were the top American Act of the 1970s--fact. Second top selling duo in music history--fact.
#32 in music history--just this year. (billboard 1955-2014) All of these facts are based on objective criteria.
Yes, I do hear them sporadically on radio, here in Florida. That's great, I love to hear them played on the radio.
But, in comparison to the frequency with which I hear their peers of that same time period, they are not getting
statistically their fair share of airplay---for, whatever that reason may be...I do not know the reason(s).
It's nice to know the term, Classic Pop, as opposed to say, Soft Rock, or any other classification---but, that delineation, in
and by itself, does not justify the neglect of radio airplay .
Objective criteria are not being used to justify absence of Carpenters on radio--only subjective, ambiguous,
outdated prejudices against playing them.

I have not heard Goodbye To Love in forever on any radio dial--it is purported to be the first power pop ballad,
starting at least one trend..... (I do not make the claim, others in the music industry have)
Carpenters voted into the Pop Music Hall of Fame, just this year.
Close to You and We've Only Just Begun are Grammy Hall of Fame Songs.

Well, we all know the stats....I am just reiterating well-known facts.

I agree, the format has to fit the radio station, so why do the others fit , and Carpenters do not?
What justification? Where is the decision made? Where is the line drawn?
Objective, Subjective, Money?

Thanks, all, for your patience with this post. Rather longish, I realize.
 
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Nicko

Well-Known Member
Somebody said earlier they never hear "hush" played today, in UK on BBC 2 they played it a "triples" feature where 3 tracks are played from a particular artist, the artists featured were David Bowie and Carpenters, the Carpenters tracks were "a song for you" " Happy" and " A kind of Hush" .

They even get airplay on BBC 6 music which is a really "hip" station for discovering new bands and such, " The Night has a thousand eyes" was played a few weeks back.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I notice that Billboard has Carpenters at #51 (1955-2009)
and, this year,
Carpenters #32 (1955-2014)
So, there is momentum!
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
I have not heard Goodbye To Love in forever on any radio dial--it is purported to be the first power pop ballad.

I worked for a station that played the song up to Tony Peluso's solo and faded it out. It was "too harsh."

I agree, the format has to fit the radio station, so why do the other's fit , and Carpenters do not?
What justification? Where is the decision made? Where is the line drawn?
Objective, Subjective, Money?

AUDIENCE TESTING. That's the answer pure and simple for those in the US. I've detailed it elsewhere, but radio stations and radio groups sit audience members down in an auditorium, give them a device to register their feelings about songs, and compile the results.

The results are that Carpenters music is viewed highly negatively by the desired audience. In the older demographics (55-dead), they still have a negative connotation from the days of hearing them on the radio and hating them - for whatever reason - the old goody-four-shoes thing. These people would likely turn OFF a radio station playing a Carpenters song. There are certainly numbers who DO like them, but the numbers of people with the negative view are feared by radio programmers.

Then there's the younger demos - the 18-34. These people were born in 1980 or later and have little or no familiarity with Carpenters. So their reaction is one of unfamiliarity, leading again to the dreaded turn-off of a radio station playing the duo.

Finally there's the 25-54 group - the prized demo among advertisers. The youngest of this group was born in 1989, so they don't know Carpenters from Donny Osmond. The oldest of this group was born in 1960 and were teenagers in the '70s when the Carpenters were ruling Top-40 radio. But here the same problem is that a large number of hip/hipster/hippies in that group look down on Carpenters as just elevator music and drive up the negative reactions.

Bottom line is that in the US, there are very few opportunities for station operators to give Carpenters the frequency of play that they should get. The duo tends to get relegated to countdown shows where they can't be avoided. There just aren't enough of *us* out there to skew the numbers to favorable.

Harry
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Thanks, Harry, for the detailed answer regarding my query.
I appreciate the time you took to compose such a thoughtful answer to my posting.
Sad, that there just aren't enough of *us* !
 

Joeyesterday

Well-Known Member
I worked for a station that played the song up to Tony Peluso's solo and faded it out. It was "too harsh."



AUDIENCE TESTING. That's the answer pure and simple for those in the US. I've detailed it elsewhere, but radio stations and radio groups sit audience members down in an auditorium, give them a device to register their feelings about songs, and compile the results.

The results are that Carpenters music is viewed highly negatively by the desired audience. In the older demographics (55-dead), they still have a negative connotation from the days of hearing them on the radio and hating them - for whatever reason - the old goody-four-shoes thing. These people would likely turn OFF a radio station playing a Carpenters song. There are certainly numbers who DO like them, but the numbers of people with the negative view are feared by radio programmers.

Then there's the younger demos - the 18-34. These people were born in 1980 or later and have little or no familiarity with Carpenters. So their reaction is one of unfamiliarity, leading again to the dreaded turn-off of a radio station playing the duo.

Finally there's the 25-54 group - the prized demo among advertisers. The youngest of this group was born in 1989, so they don't know Carpenters from Donny Osmond. The oldest of this group was born in 1960 and were teenagers in the '70s when the Carpenters were ruling Top-40 radio. But here the same problem is that a large number of hip/hipster/hippies in that group look down on Carpenters as just elevator music and drive up the negative reactions.

Bottom line is that in the US, there are very few opportunities for station operators to give Carpenters the frequency of play that they should get. The duo tends to get relegated to countdown shows where they can't be avoided. There just aren't enough of *us* out there to skew the numbers to favorable.

Harry
Sad, but true...how so you think the Beatles will perform in another 10 years?
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I am afraid to broach this "thorn in my side" again, but has anyone seen this?:

(from Universal Music Enterprises Press- Unprecedented Centralized U.S. Catalog And Special Markets Organization Established)
http://www.universalmusicenterprises.com/icons/

"With its history and vast catalog of artists, UMe’s continuing ICON series showcases the best music from the most popular, iconic and influential artists of all time. ICON is a proven physical line and a true cross-genre success with more than eight million copies sold in three years."

Unless I am completely blind....you will not find... Carpenters (or even, The Carpenters) in this list of Musical Artists.

Who is marketing Carpenters music in the USA ?

Input please....Am I being too sensitive?
Carpenters, in my opinion are still vastly under-marketed in the USA.
 

Natesmommy77

Active Member
I am afraid to broach this "thorn in my side" again, but has anyone seen this?:

(from Universal Music Enterprises Press- Unprecedented Centralized U.S. Catalog And Special Markets Organization Established)
http://www.universalmusicenterprises.com/icons/

"With its history and vast catalog of artists, UMe’s continuing ICON series showcases the best music from the most popular, iconic and influential artists of all time. ICON is a proven physical line and a true cross-genre success with more than eight million copies sold in three years."

Unless I am completely blind....you will not find... Carpenters (or even, The Carpenters) in this list of Musical Artists.

Who is marketing Carpenters music in the USA ?

Input please....Am I being too sensitive?
Carpenters, in my opinion are still vastly under-marketed in the USA.

I agree Gary. Here's why. Every once in awhile, me and another guy at work will play one of my million Carpenters songs from my iPhone randomly during the day to get under our supervisor's skin. Bahaha! She has a disdain for them and John Denver. Yesterday, we set forth in such a mission. He decided on TOTW. I gave him the choice...regular album version OR '74 Live Budokan version where, as you know, Karen always threw in a little "Yeehaw" after the opening guitar intro. We both felt yesterday called for the "Yeehaw". Lol. So, in true third-grade fashion, we sat poised and started my iPod. It played through the entire song and got through the first line of "Help" before she came asking, "What in the world is that!?" Hahaha!!!

At any rate, between the time of the songs playing and her finally hearing it, at least five people (who I never would've pegged as Carpenter fans) said, "Oh I love the Carpenters!!!"

Who says they're still unpopular? I don't buy it. I never have. I mean their albums went double gold and platinum. Someone was buying them! And what about the sold out concerts? People need to come on out of the "I-wouldn't-be-caught-dead-owning-one-of-THEIR-albums-much-less-listening-to-them" closet already!

One of the people, yesterday, went on to say, "That has put me in the best mood for the day!"

:D
 

mr J.

Well-Known Member
I am afraid to broach this "thorn in my side" again, but has anyone seen this?:

(from Universal Music Enterprises Press- Unprecedented Centralized U.S. Catalog And Special Markets Organization Established)
http://www.universalmusicenterprises.com/icons/

"With its history and vast catalog of artists, UMe’s continuing ICON series showcases the best music from the most popular, iconic and influential artists of all time. ICON is a proven physical line and a true cross-genre success with more than eight million copies sold in three years."

Unless I am completely blind....you will not find... Carpenters (or even, The Carpenters) in this list of Musical Artists.

Who is marketing Carpenters music in the USA ?

Input please....Am I being too sensitive?
Carpenters, in my opinion are still vastly under-marketed in the USA.
Calm down,Gary. There's a couple of factors to take into consideration:

Universal's ICON series is a massive,long-running reissue project.They have thousands of artists that they are including in this series-and they can only put out so many entries each year.In all probability,a Carpenters disc is planned for sometime in the future-possibly later this year or 2015.

There's a possibility that Richard may have refused a request for an ICON set.Universal may have compiled a proposed set-and Richard turned it down.While this type of 10-track greatest hits package is marketable for most artists,it doesn't necessarily work for K&R-people would rather have a definitive career-spanning Carpenters package.K&R already have a 20-Century masters disc,and while it's a decent sampler for casual record-buyers,Love Songs,Gold or 40/40 are going to be the compilations of choice for the majority.

From a personal-perspective,I view the ICON series as basically a waste of time.These compilations only serve to duplicate the same compilations that are already available in any particular artists' catalog.Having a Carpenters ICON disc will serve absolutely no purpose.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I'm very much appreciative of everyone's comments regarding my query.
Even if I do not hold the same views, I still value all input!
Of course, as the perceptive Mr. J is apt to point out ( :)), I do get a touch emotional on this marketing issue regarding current status
of Carpenters and their music in the USA.
And, yes, I do tend to lose some objectivity in pointing out what I feel are shortcomings in marketing of Carpenters in the USA .
I readily admit such ! However, that being said...
Given the recent Richard Carpenter interview, and said loss of Master Tapes (or, whatever it was that has been lost in the Universal fire)
I am simply pondering the unthinkable---that the current generation, and future generations, will lose appreciation of so much great music.
Given dearth of (commensurate) radio play on oldies stations, given even that Christmas Portrait doesn't elicit promotion,
I simply feel that too many people are missing out on arguably the greatest female vocalist in pop music.
Well, forgive me in my old(er) age, I wax sentimental!
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
When you get to be my age, you realize that things tend to be cyclical. Items of culture go in and out of favor. I have no doubt that at some point in the future - it could be 30 to 50 years more or less - Carpenters will be re-discovered and brought to the fore once again. Their time will come - it may not be in some of our lifetimes - but it WILL happen. Even if their popularity right now is in a downturn cycle and fewer and people know or care about them, at some point in the future, some person with influence is going to rediscover the lost artistry of Carpenters and pave the way for more people to re-discover them.

As for them churning out an ICON disc - I can see it happening. Universal loves churning out compilations - especially cheap ones. I can envision them taking the 20th CENTURY MASTERS/MILLENNIUM disc and slapping a new ICON title on it, just to include them in the series.

Harry
 
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