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Solo Album and Single Success

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by newvillefan, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I like Nevillefan’s approach. In my personal list I even remove Remember When Lovin Took All Night and Still In Love With You. And add one more, the Bonus: Last One Singing the Blues. For the sake of the album balance I guess I would add back Still In Love With You or even take away Lovelines and have 5 songs on each side, but that takes the two songs away from the album needed for balance. It’s nice to have fans who like them all. It means that this album did have strength and with the right marketing it really could have had a good chance to sell well if released in 1979 or 1980. Karen did not have to be a power singer. She was an interpretative singer who focused on the song and used her exquisite tone as a guide for interpretation. I honestly feel it was past time for Karen to have a solo emphasis. It should have happened in 1977. Come together with Rich for the Christmas album then back to solo.
  2. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    Evie Sands' version of LMLTY is the best, IMHO. It has a crisp Dennis Lambert/Brian Potter production -- those guys were at the top of their game in those days.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    If Coleman's Biography is to be believed....then, I fail to see how Karen's album would not have been profitable.
    Let us read Coleman:
    "Made In America..."was a remarkably powerful album." (page 287)
    "MIA...joined the long list of records that were very profitable, both for A&M and for the Carpenters." (page 289).

    Had the proper choice of songs been made, I fail to comprehend how the solo album
    would not have been "very profitable" ALSO.
  4. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I just listened to it and it is more graphic in description but Karen’s version has a catchier feel without the explicit nature spelled out.
    Misael Castillo Lopez likes this.
  5. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen Thread Starter

    Thanks for the great responses all, it’s fun to play around with the tracks and see what difference it could have made :righton:

    Six tracks each side to balance it out evenly - it should have been ok on vinyl.

    I agree and I’ve said as much myself elsewhere on this forum. I included it in the context of it having been finished off and polished up with a complete arrangement. I think it’s a strong song and could have been even better with a solo instrumental and if they’d done something to improve the meandering last minute and a half.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
    jaredjohnfisher likes this.
  6. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I don’t like Cher’s version at all and wonder why she even recorded it. I could only listen to half of it before I could stomach no more. Karen, on the other hand, turns it into a song with purpose.
  7. I heard David Gates' 1980 solo album tonight. He was quite a bit out of character (including a sexier image); trying new sounds and lyrical themes that were more grown up, with a bit more of a rock edge to the music (for him) and some disco. It didn't fare too well on the charts. I think Karen's solo album mirrored it in some ways; after all, they both started out as the lead singer in a popular soft rock group (though it was his fourth solo effort).
    I think Karen's album might have done as well as Maureen McGovern's 1979 album; which also showcased a new sexier image, sounds and styles (including some disco). The album and singles didn't chart very high.
    Helen Reddy (who also had had her run of hits) did a full blown disco album in '79. It didn't do well.
    These are just examples of "peer comparisons" that come to mind from the '79/'80 timeframe.
  8. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Evie's also doesn't have Rod Temperton's vocal arrangement. That makes the tune.

    Misael Castillo Lopez likes this.
  9. Whenever I read this dedication my heart tightens, I think that phrase says it all, do not you think?
    "Dedicated to my brother Richard, with all my heart"

    Then I see the photos of his album, and I think ... what a real laugh he had when recording this ...:cry:
  10. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    This may have already been discussed here but someone posted 4 pages from a recent book from 2016 that was a new read for me. The book is called "Never Say No To A Rock Star" by Glenn Berger.


    In 1974, at the age of seventeen, author Glenn Berger served as “Schlepper” and apprentice to the legendary recording engineer Phil Ramone at New York City’s A&R Studios, and was witness to music history on an almost daily and nightly basis as pop and rock icons such as Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Frank Sinatra, Burt Bacharach, Bette Midler, and James Brown performed their hit-making magic, honed their sound, strutted their stuff, bared their souls, and threw epic tantrums. In this memoir, full of revelatory and previously unknown anecdotal observations of these musical giants, Glenn recounts how he quickly learned the ropes to move up from schlepperhood to assistant to the tyrannical Ramone, and eventually, to become a recording engineer superstar himself. Not only is Never Say No to A Rock Star a fascinating, hilarious and poignant behind-the-scenes look of this musical Mecca, but Berger, now a prominent psychologist, looking back through the prism of his youthful experience and his years working as a counselor and therapist, provides a telling and honest examination of the nature of fame and success and the corollaries between creativity, madness and self-destruction.

    Here are the 4 pages that consist of detailed information (first hand) of Karen during her solo recording in New York.

    Karen Carpenter: The self titled album.. Your thoughts?
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Yet, it was Paul Simon who suggested Karen record his song,
    Still Crazy After All These Years.
    Has he ever since commented directly about that song--from Karen's sessions ?

    I stand by my opinion--
    there is some incredible vocal work on Karen's solo album.
    There is plenty of good to find on the solo work (all of it--released or unreleased).
  12. aaflyer98

    aaflyer98 Well-Known Member

    Richard’s two solo efforts were releasd.
    Karen deserved to have hers released in 1980.

    Compare the 3 solo albums.
    I choose Karen Carpenter.
  13. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    I don’t know about the rest of you but when I listen to Karen’s solo album (which is quite a lot) It is so hard for me to accept that she was in that kind of condition singing those songs. When I listen to this album she sounds like she’s on top of the world and she can conquer anything. I mean I know she was but when I listen to her album it just makes me so happy because I genuinely love the album.
  14. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    @Rick-An Ordinary Fool, although I appreciate your posting of the few pages of the Glenn Berger book pertaining to Karen's solo sessions, I am certainly irked at the shenanigans -- if true --- of Paul Simon. I wouldn't call him "Al." I'd call him something else. The author found an appropriate moniker...
  15. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Such a beautiful and accurate comment. There is nothing more that can embellish it...it is spot-on!
  16. Don Malcolm

    Don Malcolm Well-Known Member

    Regarding the various versions of LMLTY: Evie Sands is a great singer, but she's also a career chameleon in an eternal search for hits--and that elusive quality translated into a lack of a singular identity, which was part of the reason why hits kept eluding her. She wants to be a "soul mama" on LMLTY and does a fine job of it, but the arrangement betrays her--it simmers but never quite cooks.

    Cher's version (with Gregg) is sloppy and mannered. Oddly enough, Gregg actually sounds better than her throughout most of it. And the song as a duet is way too gimmicky: it diminishes the impact.

    Karen, of course, is great--no one ever sings better. But I think she's a bit too intimate in the first half of the verses and the song just doesn't quite build. Some of this is the fault of the songwriting--the verse and chorus are not perfectly matched and the transition between them is too abrupt. On Karen's version they wait too long to bring in the guitar (should start in the first chorus), and the second chorus should continue to the fade with the guitar double-tracked, "rising" to greet her. Also, they retained the established tempo of the track when they should have pushed it up a beat: to my ears that would make all the difference.

    I do think there was a chance for some transcendent greatness on KC, and this song could have been part of that. So near and yet so far--and I think we all can agree that on KC there HAD to be a game-changing hit in order to overcome the resistance/inertia that the LP was going to face. This song could have been it, but I just don't think Phil Ramone was the right producer. If she'd had Temperton and Quincy I think they would have nailed the total arrangement and brought it over the top. Karen deserved (and, given all that was ambient in 1979-80, needed) the absolute best: but she just didn't quite get it for this song--or for the project as a whole.
    jaredjohnfisher likes this.
  17. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    They also recorded Paul's 'I Do it For Your Love', which was one of the outtakes. Would they really have been using his songs if he'd been so negative and dismissive about the whole exercise?

    I suspect there's an element of hindsight going on in that recollection, as it just fits a bit too neatly into the narrative that engulfed the solo album thereafter ('she should have stuck with the Carpenters!' 'it was unreleasable [by dint of the fact that it ended up being unreleased]!', etc).
    newvillefan and GaryAlan like this.
  18. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    I'd imagine anyone would. Karen's solo record hardly sold in mass numbers but I think we can safely assert that it outsold either of Richard's - and that's given that Karen's didn't surface until 16 years after its intended release date.

    aaflyer98 likes this.
  19. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen Thread Starter

    Does anyone actually know the sales figures for the three Carpenter solo albums? I’d love to know the exact numbers.
    David A and ThaFunkyFakeTation like this.
  20. Eyewire

    Eyewire Well-Known Member

    I don't know about sales, but there is one metric that's kind of interesting: Karen has about 13,000 monthly listeners on Spotify compared to 80,000 for Richard. I suppose it's because Richard has two albums listed on Spotify compared to Karen's one.

    I've listened to all three solo albums and I definitely prefer Karen's the most, but Richard's solo efforts are also pretty solid. Both siblings were immensely gifted and talented, that's for sure, but the stuff they did apart was nowhere as magical as the stuff they did together. IMO, of course.
  21. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    Me too - this isn't official but Wikipedia lists Karen's solo album sales as:

    'Karen Carpenter' is the only solo album by singer/drummer Karen Carpenter of the Carpenters, recorded in 1979-80 and released by A&M Records in 1996. It has sold around 1 million copies worldwide.

    It sites as reference, a Karen Carpenter blog

    If true, I'm stunned at this. I did not think this album sold anywhere near a million copies.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen Thread Starter

    If that’s true I’m stunned as well. And Karen would have been ecstatic to think it sold so well so long after her death.
  23. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Me 3. I never would have thought that. Wow...

  24. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    Let's see... Wikipedia references a fan blog, which in turn provides no source for its sales claim. Colour me skeptical.
  25. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    I kind of am too, to be honest. They took it out of print for a while and had it sold that many copies, they wouldn’t have.


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