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Solo Album and Single Success

Another Son

Well-Known Member
This is how it was announced about Karen's solo album. I didn't realize it was announced in June to the newspapers.
Billboard June 07, 1980
If only the lead vocals had been better; if only she’d been able to put more energy into them and sound stronger, the album would have immediately been better. However, that would have meant dropping all the arrangements a few keys, so it would have meant a total re-record.

Karen’s publicity, like Herb’s on the other thread, ‘Have You Read This’, were both denying the truth, to avoid damaging reputations, public perception and general sales of other albums in the catalogue. In Karen’s case, the truth was that nobody wanted to put the album out; just what Phil Ramone said that it wasn’t; but he was protecting HIS reputation in saying this wasn’t the case, too.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
We’ve talked about Peter Cetera in this thread and I thought I’d share another two tracks that he was involved in or co-wrote for another high profile female vocalist: Agnetha Faltskog.

It’s interesting to compare musical styles. He went for the west coast Californian vibe on both these and Karen’s album cut.

The first is the utterly forgettable track “I Wasn’t The (One Who Said Goodbye)”, which he performed with her on her 1987 solo album I Stand Alone. This was released as a single - even in 12” remix form- in 1987 and flopped pretty much everywhere.




The second is the title track he co-wrote for her and which is actually my favourite from the album, but which wasn’t single material at all.

 
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Chris Mills

That was funny....like the dark vomited up
This is how it was announced about Karen's solo album. I didn't realize it was announced in June to the newspapers.
Billboard June 07, 1980
Would have been really interesting to have an interview on this subject between Paul Grein and Karen Carpenter, that would have set the record straight once and for all, ending any speculation as to why the album was shelved. That interview should have been set up, another missed opportunity.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
Would have been really interesting to have an interview on this subject between Paul Grein and Karen Carpenter, that would have set the record straight once and for all, ending any speculation as to why the album was shelved. That interview should have been set up, another missed opportunity.
Yeah but she would have lied as she usually did to hide any sensitivities.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I find it interesting that the public was to believe in April the album was still a go (based on Phil’s article) and it wasn’t till June that the public got told officially that the album was shelved. Something seems off, I thought they knew in Feb/March it was not going to be released unless it was still on the table up to May. We can give billboard some leeway that they were a month behind publishing this news which is why I said May.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
I find it interesting that the public was to believe in April the album was still a go (based on Phil’s article) and it wasn’t till June that the public got told officially that the album was shelved. Something seems off, I thought they knew in Feb/March it was not going to be released unless it was still on the table up to May.
I’d love to know the real date that Karen was told the album wasn’t going ahead, because I don’t believe for a second it was May 5, 1980. The A&M playback was around 12 weeks before that and she (with Richard) had embarked on the TV special just after that.

I often wonder what was going through her head when she was recording the saccharine material for the TV special, having just spent a year with Phil and Billy Joel’s band.
 
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ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
We’ve talked about Peter Cetera in this thread and I thought I’d share another two tracks that he was involved in or co-wrote for another high profile female vocalist: Agnetha Faltskog.

It’s interesting to compare musical styles. He went for the west coast Californian vibe on both these and Karen’s album cut.
Different strokes and all I'd take this Agnetha tune over that Karen tune any day. To me, the problems are somewhat opposite on each tune. On Karen's, the issue is the song and Peter sounds odd harmonizing with her. Ramone tried to make it make sense in the mix but it just doesn't sound good to me. His voice is heavier than Karen's and the balance is just weird. As a song, it's slight and silly with a lyric that isn't good enough to come out of Karen's mouth. It's like Ramone just wanted Peter there as out-of-the-box thinking, not because it was any good.

On "I Wasn't the One...", the issue is Agnetha. She's not that great a singer and when confronted with a decent tune (that's all this is; it's not amazing - I agree), she can't cut it. Her voice is too light and thin for a song like this.

Ed
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Phil Ramone discusses Karen's Solo album several times in this article.
Billboard April 19, 1980

Yes, a very interesting article, Rick.

I agree with Phil Ramone’s comment that he didn’t seem to have an immediately recognisable sound.

With some producers, you immediately know it’s their record. I can’t think of any examples at the moment except for Stock, Aitkin and Waterman. Every one of their records had almost exactly the same sound, just with a different vocalist. You knew it was them straight away - it didn't matter who the singer was.

Come to think of it, Alan Tarney is another one, with that very distinctive synthesiser sound on recordings by Leo Sayer, Cliff Richard and Barbara Dickson, etc.

When you know records produced by Richard Perry or Arif Mardin, you realise that there's something similar about them, but you might not have recognised their production work when you heard one of their songs on the radio.

I like the simplicity and space in a lot of Phoebe Snow recordings and productions. I especially like her more acoustic songs - usually, the ones she wrote herself. There's something very peaceful about those - and I agree that the uncluttered approach really suits that style.

It's interesting that Phil suggests in this interview that he leaves a lot of space on his productions when his latest work had been Karen's solo album. Most of those tracks have as many instruments and vocals as could be fitted onto tape!

Also interesting that, when he put out a call for songs for Karen's album, he got a lot of Carpenteresque submissions, even from writers who didn't usually write in that style.

I used to hear Billy Joel’s ‘Glass Houses’ a lot when it was released. At the time, I wouldn’t have guessed that Karen had just done an album with the same band and producer. The two albums have quite different styles, though.

I enjoyed the article. Thanks for posting, Rick.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Bones Howe's productions always had a similar sound, and certainly Phil Spector's did too.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I thought the same for David Foster.
First one I thought of. Any band he produced became the David Foster Band featuring whoever the singer is. He'd replace every member of the band with a studio player and play the keyboards himself. He'd arrange the song (if not re-write it) and use only the lead singer - often hiring background singers too. He also wasn't very nice about it. He's been referred to as "mercenary" by the bands he's worked with.

Later when programming became his thing, everything sounded the same. His recipe for success was a Diane Warren song with him playing everything except guitar with programming added by Simon Franglen. Michael Thompson was typically the guitarist. All of those 90's Foster tunes sound nearly the same. He found a formula and absolutely ran it into the ground.

Ed
 
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