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Solo Album and Single Success

John Adam

"Two Lives"
Yes, chart success would of been a plus, but having it released "period" after it was completed would of been the biggest plus! We all realize the Carpenters by the later 70's weren't the hit makers that they once were. Seems like Karen just wanted it released knowing it may not fare better than recent Carpenters albums. She was willing to risk that, and I admire her courage with taking a risk at solo success or failure.

It could of became a cult classic, or it could of spawned some attention due to "that voice" venturing out a slightly out of her safety zone. It was obvious it meant a great deal to her, and to her fans that knew of it. Karen died the better part of 40 years ago. Richard and Karen have not recorded anything new in almost 40 years. We haven't had any "new" music released in 20 years. Yet we are looking forward to a wonderful new book release this fall. We are still having conversations about the Carpenters music in general dating back over 50 years. And those solo sessions are a part of that legacy. :)
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
See, that's what I'm not so sure of. Again, Carpenters meant almost nothing to the marketplace by 1977. I'm not sure she would have found success anymore than Carpenters had. The best they managed to do was #16 for "Touch Me" a year later. Not awful but not great either with a comeback album after a three-year absence. While Karen was a known entity in Carpenters, breaking her as a solo artist is a whole other thing. She would have to have been promoted in a whole new way to get her over. She was in a duo that played it incredibly safe the entire time and "Karen Carpenter" isn't a safe record - especially those Javors tunes. It would have required quite the interesting marketing campaign to make it work if it could work at all. Her voice wouldn't have been enough to do it; it certainly hadn't been from 1976 on, really.

Ed
Considering when Music, Music, Music was being recorded in February-March 1980, it’s possible that Karen could’ve planned to have sung a song from the solo album, such as Make Believe It’s Your First Time (which might explain why that song was re-recorded) to promote the album. And MMM would’ve been expected to be a ratings hit, seeing how their 4 previous specials, including their most recent, the 1978 Christmas Portrait had all placed in the Top 25 out of 56 shows for the various weeks. So there could’ve been a song on the drawing boards, like MBIYFT which would’ve been the best fit for the special.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
See, that's what I'm not so sure of. Again, Carpenters meant almost nothing to the marketplace by 1977. I'm not sure she would have found success anymore than Carpenters had. The best they managed to do was #16 for "Touch Me" a year later. Not awful but not great either with a comeback album after a three-year absence. While Karen was a known entity in Carpenters, breaking her as a solo artist is a whole other thing. She would have to have been promoted in a whole new way to get her over. She was in a duo that played it incredibly safe the entire time and "Karen Carpenter" isn't a safe record - especially those Javors tunes. It would have required quite the interesting marketing campaign to make it work if it could work at all. Her voice wouldn't have been enough to do it; it certainly hadn't been from 1976 on, really.

Ed

I'm not sure if Karen, with or without Richard, would have had musical success in the 80's in the "pop star" way they were in the 70's. That would have required an image makeover, and adoption of 80's music sensibilities, that she/they might not have been able to make.

Vegas? Yes, I think they could have had long runs in Vegas, at least for a while.

BUT - I cannot imagine a world where Karen is healthy and vibrant and that voice isn't heard somewhere. Musicals, duets, movie soundtracks, even prominent background singing perhaps (Toni Tennille sang back-up on a number of Elton John songs, including Don't Let the Sun go Down on Me, for example).

Her voice was legitimately one-of-a-kind, and I think she'd have had numerous opportunities in the 80's, if she wanted them.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
Just like Ordinary Fool should not have been shelved, I feel the same about Love Making Love To You. It has the Chorus that musically hooks you, especially with Karen’s voice selling it. But that’s how I see it looking back. In 1980, I think I would have been shocked at the lyrics, and it would have made me question things a bit. I sometimes think that’s what was heard at A&M. The shock factor. They are not suggestive lyrics by today’s standards but in 1980, her fans would have wanted to hear her singing A Song For You type of music, exploring the more intimate nature of truth with more “serious music”. After all, Karen was a perfect ballad singer that few could touch. Today, we follow artists into different paths but in those days they had to know how to categorize you, and a stack of catalog sales of Carpenters music was in the balance, too. After all, it took time and effort of life’s sweat to create them. (I think the Manhattan Transfer dealt with some of that. Who are they, pop or jazz? But fans liked that part of their identity.) Today, we appreciate the artist more for their exploration.

In our own lives we often try to diffuse the real reason we decide something so we turn it into a logical excuse reason that’s easier for someone to hold onto. I think some of that played here, too.

To me, the songs are good and great if you take away the Javor songs. I also feel it was ahead of it’s time in many respects. On the other hand I feel, had she been well, the songs would have more “spring or bite” to them and when people closest to you know your potential, they don’t want to see you release a product sub par. So it becomes, it really could have been better in their minds.

We are hooked, so we love it all.

sorry to ramble
 

John Adam

"Two Lives"
I feel the same about Love Making Love To You. It has the Chorus that musically hooks you, especially with Karen’s voice selling it. But that’s how I see it looking back. In 1980, I think I would have been shocked at the lyrics, and it would have made me question things a bit. I sometimes think that’s what was heard at A&M. The shock factor. They are not suggestive lyrics by today’s standards but in 1980, her fans would have wanted to hear her singing A Song For You type of music, exploring the more intimate nature of truth with more “serious music”. After all, Karen was a perfect ballad singer that few could touch.

Nicely stated Craig. I was a toddler when this album would of came out. By the time I became interested in the Carpenters I was nearly 10 years old. I really didn't listen to lyrics much then, but her vocals really got me hooked. By the time the album was released in it's 12 track form in 1996 I never heard anything lyrically that would of hindered my interest. She was a grown woman singing about everyday things and thoughts someone would have at that age. But to someone who grew up in the 60's - 70's I can understand the shock factor. Every generation thinks they are the most radical, then the next generation tops that in some way. I also wish Love Making Love was included on the album. It's rhythmic, sensual, and Karen brings it to life!
 
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