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Solo Album and Single Success

goodjeans

Well-Known Member
I feel their best opportunity to have another chart topper if Karen were still with us would have been with a "new" song from a major movie soundtrack. Kenny Loggins had a career full of movie tracks that produced big hits. Elton John had success with The Lion King, Whitney Houston with The Bodyguard and Celine Dion with Titanic to name a few. Maybe Karen singing the main theme song to a Bond movie like Sheena Easton and Carly Simon did in the past would have worked. Movie soundtrack hits seem to crossover to the pop charts without prejudice if the film is epic and the timing is right. I think I read somewhere that Richard would have considered doing a movie score if asked many years ago? The Carpenters did have some modest motion picture success early in their career with "Bless the Beast and Children" and "For All We Know".
Could someone please tell me if Karen was supposed to record "All Time High" but passed away just prior to the recording date? I'm pretty sure that I didn't dream this.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
I feel their best opportunity to have another chart topper if Karen were still with us would have been with a "new" song from a major movie soundtrack. Kenny Loggins had a career full of movie tracks that produced big hits. Elton John had success with The Lion King, Whitney Houston with The Bodyguard and Celine Dion with Titanic to name a few. Maybe Karen singing the main theme song to a Bond movie like Sheena Easton and Carly Simon did in the past would have worked. Movie soundtrack hits seem to crossover to the pop charts without prejudice if the film is epic and the timing is right. I think I read somewhere that Richard would have considered doing a movie score if asked many years ago? The Carpenters did have some modest motion picture success early in their career with "Bless the Beast and Children" and "For All We Know".
Yes, so many artists had hits from soundtracks, or movie theme songs, around that time, as I guess they did right down through the years. Some of these were people who were jump-starting their careers or whose popularity had waned and they were able to keep themselves on the charts. Maybe all it would have taken was a producer or writer who admired Karen and wasn’t afraid to champion her in their soundtrack, or a move from her manager or record company - or from Karen, herself.

Her comment after she saw the success of ‘You Light Up My Life’, “I should have recorded that myself”, plus her comment on Good Morning America about looking for musical / movie material, (from memory), shows that she did think of it.

If you think of successful movie-related songs on the US charts from 1976 to 1980, there are hundreds of them. Coming immediately to mind are said Nobody Does it Better, Theme from Mahogany, The Rose, Evergreen, Car Wash, Thank God it’s Friday, On the Radio, (not that Donna needed the movie tie-in at the time), You Light Up my Life, all the songs from Saturday Night Fever, Grease and Xanadu..... you could go on for pages.

There were also lesser hits that never-the-less kept the artists in the public eye or reintroduced them - ‘Good Friend’ by Mary McGregor, ‘It’s a Long Road’, by Dan Hill and ‘Through the Eyes of Love’ by Melissa Manchester, to name three - so if the movie or theme song didn’t turn out to be smashes, there were still benefits.

Another opportunity, that wouldn’t have suited Karen because it wasn’t her thing but might have suited Richard, was writing for movies. Richard could have written and had Karen sing. Carly Simon won an Academy Award for writing ‘Let the River Run’ for ‘Working Girl’ towards the end of the 80s, a couple of years after she had written ‘Coming Around Again’ for ‘Heartburn’, and then had some massive selling albums. Back in the era we’re talking about, one of my favourites from the time, Janis Ian, wrote songs for The Bell Jar and Foxes. This didn’t translate to chart for success for her in the US, but it did in South America and Australia, plus a few more places, and I believe her related album still sold over a million copies, worldwide.

I agree that movie-related releases might have been the way to go. That would have just taken one or two good songs, not a whole album.
 
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Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator

From BILLBOARD's Readers' Poll 10 Worst Songs of the 70s:

2. Starland Vocal Band - 'Afternoon Delight'
It's hard to hate on a song about the joys of mid-day sex, but the Starland Vocal Band make it easy. The group was composed of two real-life couples that probably enjoyed some afternoon delights around the time of the song's release in 1976, though both couples have long-since divorced. The song hit Number One in the summer of 1976 and actually got the group a brief variety series on CBS the next year. They also won a Grammy for Best New Artist – as opposed to, say, the Ramones or Tom Petty and the Hearbreakers or the many other great bands that started that year. The song got renewed attention when it was featured on Glee recently with guest star John Stamos.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
It just sounds like a straightforward country song to me. And it made #5 on the Billboard Easy Listening Chart.

My pre-teen self had only an inkling that ‘Afternoon Delight’ was suggestive, at that time. I thought the lyrics were, “My mother’s always been, ‘when it’s right, it’s right’”, which sort of threw me from fully realising the suggestiveness. 😄 I just liked the tune, the harmonies and liked the song because it was played on Saturday mornings on American Top 40, on the weekend, on my day off school - with Casey Kasem sounding super-enthusiastic about it. It wasn’t a favourite, but it was exciting new music, at the time.
 

Portlander

Well-Known Member
^ Humorous article and I forgot how suggestive the Captain and Tennille's "Do That To Me One More Time" and "Muskrat Love" were! I actually liked "Escape" the pina colada" song.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
I liked a lot of songs on that list - "Afternoon Delight" included - I was just pointing out that the song is not well-received these days. Like so many overplayed hits, it wore out its welcome with many. I think I have the LP...

Escape (Piña Colada)? - one of my favorites from a favorite artist.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
I liked a lot of songs on that list - "Afternoon Delight" included - I was just pointing out that the song is not well-received these days. Like so many overplayed hits, it wore out its welcome with many. I think I have the LP...

Escape (Piña Colada)? - one of my favorites from a favorite artist.
‘Morning Man’ by good ol’ Rupert was a favourite of mine at that time and I also liked ‘Answering Machine’, which was witty at the time, although it could be thought of as obsolete now.

I have a couple of Rupert Holmes CDs and the Starland Vocal Band album I’m CD. 😁
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
...and it's considered today to be quite cringeworthy...
Yes Harry, it's awful! As I recall the only redeeming factor for me whenever they performed it on TV was that they had a couple of pretty nice looking girls in that band. But it was Seasons In The Sun bad!!
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I feel their best opportunity to have another chart topper if Karen were still with us would have been with a "new" song from a major movie soundtrack. Kenny Loggins had a career full of movie tracks that produced big hits. Elton John had success with The Lion King, Whitney Houston with The Bodyguard and Celine Dion with Titanic to name a few. Maybe Karen singing the main theme song to a Bond movie like Sheena Easton and Carly Simon did in the past would have worked. Movie soundtrack hits seem to crossover to the pop charts without prejudice if the film is epic and the timing is right. I think I read somewhere that Richard would have considered doing a movie score if asked many years ago? The Carpenters did have some modest motion picture success early in their career with "Bless the Beast and Children" and "For All We Know".
I still remember a dream from years ago where Karen was sitting at a grand piano singing “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life” from ‘Dirty Dancing’. Plus for years before that I thought it was Karen singing the song on the radio, so had Karen been alive in 1987, I could see that having been a comeback song for her.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Yes Harry, it's awful! .......it was Seasons In The Sun bad!!
However, everybody liked ‘Seasons in the Sun’, (except me). It has even been used to sum up the era. For example, there’s been a book about that period’s music, called ‘We Had Joy, We Had Fun’. The song is so well-known they didn’t even have to use its title to evoke the feeling of the period. Sometimes, the most annoying songs are the most commercially successful. That song was also a translation from another language and you can imagine it as a very dramatic movie. :)
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
I feel their best opportunity to have another chart topper would have been with a "new" song from a major movie soundtrack. Kenny Loggins had a career full of movie tracks that produced big hits. Elton John had success with The Lion King, Whitney Houston with The Bodyguard and Celine Dion with Titanic to name a few. Maybe Karen singing the main theme song to a Bond movie like Sheena Easton and Carly Simon did in the past would have worked. Movie soundtrack hits seem to crossover to the pop charts without prejudice if the film is epic and the timing is right. I think I read somewhere that Richard would have considered doing a movie score if asked many years ago? The Carpenters did have some modest motion picture success early in their career with "Bless the Beast and Children" and "For All We Know".
I think your key words here are ‘NEW SONG’, Portlander. K&R did so many remakes of other people’s recent recordings between 1976 and 1982... even before that...1975, 1974, 1973... come to think of it, right through their career. Karen also recorded so many remakes of relatively recent songs for her solo project - two fairly recent Paul Simon songs, a song that had just been recorded by Donna Summer, Paul Jabara and Marcia Hines, one that had fairly recently been recorded by Vicki-Sue Robinson, another two fairly recent ones by Evie Sands etc. etc. Of course, they did a lot of them exceptionally well and largely reinterpreted a number of them. But the thrill of something completely new, top-notch and surprising could have worked well for them. Karen and Phil were definitely on the right track, using Rod Temperton for writing and arranging. Using Peter Cetera could have been out of this world and I really like Russell Javor’s contributions. (I realise some people don’t). But, generally, as others have said before, other top writers could have written songs tailored specifically to Karen, both for her to record solo and for Carpenters. I know that Phil put out a call for writers to submit to Karen’s project. I guess a lot of the top writers were probably aiming for the latest flavour of the month who were at the very top at that precise time, who they were more likely to make the big bucks from.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Of course, we wouldn’t want to be without most of K&R’s remakes. Some of them are there best, most iconic recordings.
 

Portlander

Well-Known Member
This is exactly what I meant when I posted a couple weeks ago that I wish Karen had experimented more with duets with other artists to expand her versatility.
Could you imagine if Karen would have teamed up with Neil Diamond, Lionel Richie, Barry Gibb, Kenny Rogers or Barry Manilow during the late 70's or early 80's. Guaranteed hit in my opinion! Or maybe a pairing with David Gates after he left Bread for a solo career? Also wonder if Karen would have been invited to participate on "We Are the World" if she was still alive in 1985 due to her acquaintance with Quincy Jones and friendship with Dionne Warwick? Absolutely no disrespect for Richard and his amazing talents, was just commenting on the "what If" direction the thread is taking concerning Karen as a solo artist or potential duets.
 
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Another Son

Well-Known Member
I really like Russell Javor’s contributions.
Actually, I was momentarily confused. Although I like the actual song ‘All Because of You’, by Russell Javors, it’s ‘It’s Really You, It’s Really Me’ by Alan Tarney, Tom Snow and Trevor Spencer that I particularly like as far as the composition goes, not ‘It’s Truly You’ by Russell Javors. (Similar titles). Some of the vocal affectations that Karen used on the recordings in places make me feel uncomfortable, though - I don’t think she sounds entirely genuine or natural - but I like the actual compositions and believe she could have done them well with a few more takes and more direction from the producer.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
But, generally, as others have said before, other top writers could have written songs tailored specifically to Karen, both for her to record solo and for Carpenters. I know that Phil put out a call for writers to submit to Karen’s project. I guess a lot of the top writers were probably aiming for the latest flavour of the month who were at the very top at that precise time, who they were more likely to make the big bucks from.
Maybe a lot of top writers did respond to the call but didn’t make the grade. Karen and Phil went through hundreds of potential songs for the project.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Yes Harry, it's awful!
I believe it is the *reputation* it has as being awful. The song itself, and the recording by Starland Vocal Band is just fine in my book, and that was why it became such a big hit.

"Seasons In The Sun" is a bit sing-songy, but I can find things to like, even in that. Popular opinions have never swayed me.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
Yes Harry, it's awful! As I recall the only redeeming factor for me whenever they performed it on TV was that they had a couple of pretty nice looking girls in that band. But it was Seasons In The Sun bad!!
Totally agree with you on "Seasons" (UUUGGH!), but I can't help but enjoy hearing "Delight" because it brings up some great 70's memories :)
 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
Terry Jacks follow up to "Seasons In The Sun" was "Concrete Sea" (did not charted in U.S. but a hit in Canada).
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
I like the song ‘It’s Really You’, from Karen’s solo sessions. The song was released by Barbara Dickson in 1980 on single and album. The album was produced by co-writer of ‘It’s Really You’, Alan Tarney.

Two of the three songwriters of the song grew up in Adelaide, Australia, although Tarney was British.

Barbara Dickson recorded a lot of Alan Tarney songs. Songs he produced had a very distinctive sound around that time, heard on hit Leo Sayer, Cliff Richard, Barbara Dickson and Charlie Dore singles and albums. You’ll recognise the sound the minute you start playing the clip, below.

I have liked Barbara Dickson since her 1980 single ‘January February’ was played on the radio a lot.

I particularly like the piano arrangement of Karen’s version of ‘It’s Really You’ - in fact, the whole arrangement of her recording. I think Karen’s version, as has been leaked / shared, is clearly an out-take, using, possibly, a work-lead or guide vocal - but would have been really good if she had been able to go back in and focus upon a finished lead vocal.

I don’t feel that Barbara Dickson’s version has the same character, mainly due to the arrangement, although, usually, her performances are top-notch, but here it is - followed by Karen’s version.


 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
I like the song ‘It’s Really You’, from Karen’s solo sessions. The song was released by Barbara Dickson in 1980 on single and album.
I find Karen’s version painful on my ears when she gets to the chorus. It’s quite a rangey song which starts low then goes right up, taking her nearly into her head voice. It just doesn’t suit her at all. The arrangement on Barbara Dickson’s version is a totally different take on the song, much more jaunty and uptempo than Karen’s introspective version.
 

Chris Mills

That was funny....like the dark vomited up
Karen Carpenter Solo Album versus Carpenters Made In America. Two completely different albums, one was shelved, the other released. If A&M were so convinced that releasing a Carpenters album that did not take Carpenters out of their comfort zone, and would rekindle their reputation and sales, then they should have taken a gamble on Karen Carpenter. A&M in L.A. decided to shelve Karen Carpenter for lots of reasons, one of them being the solo album did not reach their expectations, and yet Made In America had the approval of A&M and was released? A&M and Carpenters were playing it safe by releasing Made In America, it didn’t work and did nothing more than achieve fairly less than positive results. No winners here during the whole debacle. The one positive note, Karen Carpenter was eventually released.
 
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