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⭐ Official Review [Single]: 27. "TOUCH ME WHEN WE'RE DANCING"/"BECAUSE WE ARE IN LOVE" (2344-S)

Which side is your favorite?

  • Side A: "Touch Me When We're Dancing"

    Votes: 47 88.7%
  • Side B: "Because We Are In Love"

    Votes: 6 11.3%

  • Total voters
    53

goodjeans

Well-Known Member
^^^ Impossible to tell, when we don’t know what the other material might have been or how strong. I do wonder though how long A&M would have gone on funding a duo who were not selling albums and were no longer commercial. That’s certainly the direction they were heading in by 1982, judging by the available material. I can almost hear Jerry Moss saying “Karen, maybe it’s time for another solo album, but this time let’s call Barry Gibb”.

Record labels won’t stay with the status quo forever, no matter how loyal the act is. They are in it to make money.
That would have been a match made in Heaven. Karen and Barry.
 

Tom_P

Active Member
^^^ Impossible to tell, when we don’t know what the other material might have been or how strong. I do wonder though how long A&M would have gone on funding a duo who were not selling albums and were no longer commercial. That’s certainly the direction they were heading in by 1982, judging by the available material. I can almost hear Jerry Moss saying “Karen, maybe it’s time for another solo album, but this time let’s call Barry Gibb”.

Record labels won’t stay with the status quo forever, no matter how loyal the act is. They are in it to make money.
It depends. Rita Coolidge managed to stay with A&M for 13 albums, only one of which ever troubled the US top 20. Plus, Jerry Moss has been quoted as saying the Carpenters' early 70's success provided the revenue that allowed the company to offer contracts to 'cooler' acts later, so there might have been some loyalty from him and Herb, but if the trend of diminishing returns had continued, it's likely that the Carpenters would have been out with the Polygram takeover in the late 80's.
 

John Adam

"Two Lives"
It depends. Rita Coolidge managed to stay with A&M for 13 albums, only one of which ever troubled the US top 20. Plus, Jerry Moss has been quoted as saying the Carpenters' early 70's success provided the revenue that allowed the company to offer contracts to 'cooler' acts later, so there might have been some loyalty from him and Herb, but if the trend of diminishing returns had continued, it's likely that the Carpenters would have been out with the Polygram takeover in the late 80's.

That's a valid point Tom!
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Rita Coolidge managed to stay with A&M for 13 albums, only one of which ever troubled the US top 20.

But a few of them did really well in the Country charts, particularly her collaborations with then-hubby Kris Kristofferson, plus she had a number of charting singles that were radio-friendly.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
It depends. Rita Coolidge managed to stay with A&M for 13 albums, only one of which ever troubled the US top 20. Plus, Jerry Moss has been quoted as saying the Carpenters' early 70's success provided the revenue that allowed the company to offer contracts to 'cooler' acts later, so there might have been some loyalty from him and Herb, but if the trend of diminishing returns had continued, it's likely that the Carpenters would have been out with the Polygram takeover in the late 80's.
Did I read somewhere that they signed a 10 year contract with A&M in April of '79? It rings a bell....I guess that would've taken them upto the polygram takeover.
 

Matthew Smith

Well-Known Member
A few days ago, while driving, a certain single from early 1982 played over the radio....it had reached #3, released February 1982.
Suffice it to say, it is a schmaltzy, old-fashioned, terribly arranged, terribly sung (female vocalist), long, dragged-out, mess of a song.
I knew the song. Always hated it. But, it stayed at #3 for a good period of time in early 1982. A one-hit wonder type of single. Terrible song !
So, back to my favorite duo....and...Touch Me When We're Dancing, it reaches a peak of ONLY #16 in 1981 !
What a travesty. The superb song holds up well, even today. A top-notch production if ever there was one.
Do I ever hear it on the station where I heard that other single ? ( "80s on 8" ). No !
So, no matter what songs had been released on Made In America, 1981, I still contend...
it would have made absolutely no difference.
So, I am glad Richard tried, or attempted, other things....
I'll take Because We Are In Love any day over
that #3 one-hit wonder song (which had already failed as a previous single release in 1977) !
The only time I ever heard it on “80’s on 8” was when they just happened to be playing the top 40 hits of the week it went to 16 in 1981. Very rare appearance on that station though.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
Carpenters would NEVER have been dumped by A&M. Not in a million years. Their catalog sales alone would have kept them on the label. And that’s not even taking into consideration their personal relationship with co-owner Herb Alpert.
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Carpenters would NEVER have been dumped by A&M. Not in a million years. Their catalog sales alone would have kept them on the label. And that’s not even taking into consideration their personal relationship with co-owner Herb Alpert.

A&M owns their albums. They can continue to sell those albums whether Carpenters are signed to the label or not. "Made in America"'s numbers were not impressive to anyone. That they continued to be signed is likely a testament to their Japanese fans who continued to buy new albums even when the U.S. had long given up. Nothing released after Karen's death was particularly successful in the U.S. at all based on what I can recall.

Ed
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
A&M owns their albums. They can continue to sell those albums whether Carpenters are signed to the label or not. "Made in America"'s numbers were not impressive to anyone. That they continued to be signed is likely a testament to their Japanese fans who continued to buy new albums even when the U.S. had long given up. Nothing released after Karen's death was particularly successful in the U.S. at all based on what I can recall.

Ed
The Singles 1969-1981 in 2000 hit #45 on the Billboard charts.

Also the “Yesterday Once More” video achieved Gold status.

Then in 1997 the “Close To You: Remembering The Carpenters” hit #19 on the Billboard Hot Video chart.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
The Singles 1969-1981 in 2000 hit #45 on the Billboard charts.

Also the “Yesterday Once More” video achieved Gold status.

Then in 1997 the “Close To You: Remembering The Carpenters” hit #19 on the Billboard Hot Video chart.

I think the point Ed was making is that their album sales for the last three studio albums made during Karen’s lifetime all pretty much tanked on release. Her passing turned them from a productive team into a legacy act on the label, which created a whole different renaissance subsequently.

Of course catalogue sales would probably have come good in the 1990s and beyond, once they’d been recognised for their long lasting achievements, but I have a feeling the 80s would have been wilderness years for them as far as sales went. Look at what happened to ABBA - in the early-mid 80s, Polar Music began leasing their music to various budget labels internationally and their material slipped into mid-priced and bargain bin hell. It was only when Polygram scooped up Polar Music and the rights to ABBA’s music that they struck with ABBA Gold in 1992, once the various licensing deals around the world on other labels had expired.
 
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Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
The Singles 1969-1981 in 2000 hit #45 on the Billboard charts.

Also the “Yesterday Once More” video achieved Gold status.

Then in 1997 the “Close To You: Remembering The Carpenters” hit #19 on the Billboard Hot Video chart.

#45 isn't success as we know. I was referring to music, though the second video you mention didn't set the world on fire at all.

Ed
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
I've just been checking out chart positions in the USA since 1983 and I never realized how poorly they've rated.

Were it not for Japan (population around 126 million) and the UK (population around 67 million) I doubt if any retrospectives or posthumous releases would have materialised after VOH and 1984s Yesterday once more.

Though Japan has double the UKs pop. I'd say we've pretty much kept the torch burning the last 20 years....with a #4, a #2, and a #8 album in 2004, 2016, and 2019/20 respectively.

You're welcome, guys 😊
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Here is a bit of historical perspective as it pertains to the USA:
Los Angeles Times, September 11, 1994, Paul Grein:
"When Karen Carpenter died on Feb. 4, 1983, many pop fans hadn’t given the Carpenters much thought in years.
The duo’s last album, in 1981, and last TV special, in 1980, had both bombed."
"...an album of previously unreleased material released later that year met with only modest success. When producer Dick Clark included a brief tribute to Karen on his American Music Awards program in January 1984, it was like remembering someone from another era."
"...it seemed that there was little chance of a popular revival or critical reappraisal. It appeared that the Carpenters were destined to be permanently undervalued..."
"An important step in the reappraisal of the Carpenters came in 1987..."
"Rolling Stone came around eventually. In 1990, the magazine ran a positive review of “Lovelines,” a collection of previously
unreleased Carpenters and solo recordings." The irony was not lost on one reader who wrote in:
“I found the review for the latest and last Carpenters album to be bittersweet. To have the publication that made it a stigma to enjoy their music
finally extol its virtues proves that we cannot appreciate what we have until it is lost forever."

Herb Alpert: “I don’t think one needs to probe deeply for the answers,” he said. “People respond when they are moved."

More:
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Some interesting thoughts here on how the Carpenters would have fared in the 1980s landscape.

Personally I suspect that the 1980s would have been largely hit-free for them, but that A&M may well have stayed loyal to them for some years - although they would surely have been in big trouble following the sale of A&M in 1989.

I think @newvillefan's comments on ABBA are relevant here. By and large, the 1980s wasn't a particularly nostaglic decade musically, both because of new technological developments becoming a defining element of much of the 1980s 'sound' and also because of how difficult it was for people to access old music, although the CD and the consequent reissuing of old albums on that format was starting to change that by the end of the decade. Being a big act in the 1970s was no guarantee of being big commercially or even being given much respect by listeners/critics - if anything, it was something of a handicap.

I'm sure they could still have found a record deal or perhaps in the 1990s could have gone down the route of bands like Swing Out Sister and released albums in Japan whilst having no record deal in the US. But without those triggers like the Karen Carpenter Story TV movie that I think were key in bring about their critical and commercial reappraisal (at least in some markets like the UK - as others have noted above, the US audience has remained somewhat lukewarm in its re-embrace of their music) that were only options because of the 'tragedy' element of their story, it's hard to know what would have done this.

Maybe they could have pulled a surprise movie hit out of the bag like 'Kokomo' by the Beach Boys, but I can't see many other options to bring about a reappraisal for them at the time.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
#45 isn't success as we know. I was referring to music, though the second video you mention didn't set the world on fire at all.

Ed
How did “Close To You” not set the world on fire? Besides being a Top 20 video hit, it was also, from what I’ve read, one of PBS’s most watched documentaries, both, having been replayed on some PBS stations as lately as earlier this year (even though now it’s going under the ‘My Music’ moniker), and getting high ratings back in 1997, and even getting a sequel about the Christmas music (using interviews from the original 1997 documentary) in 2015.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
In hindsight, Karen's solo album release as originally planned may have been the right move after all. Hits or not, it was at least fresh and different and could have perked up some interest or at least curiosity.
And, as we know, that’s exactly what it was designed to do. And it would have succeeded....hits or not.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
How did “Close To You” not set the world on fire? Besides being a Top 20 video hit, it was also, from what I’ve read, one of PBS’s most watched documentaries, both, having been replayed on some PBS stations as lately as earlier this year (even though now it’s going under the ‘My Music’ moniker), and getting high ratings back in 1997, and even getting a sequel about the Christmas music (using interviews from the original 1997 documentary) in 2015.
Agreed! It just re-aired in Chicago about 8 weeks ago.
 

Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
The topic of their success (or lack of) in the 80's is interesting. It is considered a grey area, with nothing worth mentioning. But there are a few worthy mentions.

Ignoring the active part of their career with the Made in America era, lets take a look:

  • 1983: Voice of the Heart is released and becomes a Top 10 Hit in the United Kingdom, peaking at No.6 for two weeks and ranking No.38 in the year end charts. It is certified gold in both the US and UK. "Make Believe It's Your First Time" becomes a Top 20 hit in Ireland and a minor UK hit (No.60). The Very Best of Carpenters is released in Australasia smashing the charts at No.1 and No.2 in Australia and New Zealand, respectively.
  • 1984/85: Richard creates An Old Fashioned Christmas which at least gains a US gold certification. Yesterday Once More is issued as the Carpenters first comprehensive hits packages worldwide. It reaches No.10 in the UK and is certified platinum. Despite only reaching No.144 in the US, it is later certified 2x platinum. It was certified platinum also in Hong Kong and reportedly had huge success in China. The Yesterday Once More video also did pretty well.
Admittedly, '86, '87 and '88 were relatively quiet periods (I wonder what their catalogue sales were like during this period?) but '89 paved the way for the huge resurgence seen in the next decade with The Karen Carpenter Story.
 
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