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Solo Album and Single Success

David A

Well-Known Member
The sales numbers for these albums must exist 'somewhere', I'd think. Hmmmm...now I have a new hobby :wink:
Alas, I have failed :cry: I can't find a reliable source for sales on this album. Frustrating.

This may have been discussed earlier in this thread or elsewhere, but...has anyone ever explained why A&M remained so "in the dark" about what was coming out of Karen's work with Ramone? It seems strange to me that they'd have no idea what was coming...?
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
This may have been discussed earlier in this thread or elsewhere, but...has anyone ever explained why A&M remained so "in the dark" about what was coming out of Karen's work with Ramone? It seems strange to me that they'd have no idea what was coming...?
No, it's yet another of the many mysteries that add to the murky atmosphere around the album and the reasons for shelving it. Someone (possibly Gary Alan, as he's very industrious on this front) dug up an interview quote from Phil Ramone published in Billboard in May 1979 before the solo sessions began, where he said that 'We're going to go in a totally different direction ... more into rock and funky stuff'. That to me sounds like a reasonably good approximation of what the solo album was to turn out like, so A&M could hardly say they had no idea what sort of sound the album was going for.

It's little wonder so many conspiracy theories swirl around the album when you have such big inconsistencies and implausibilities in the official narrative as to why it wasn't released.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Morning Opens Quietly...
This was sold on e bay a while ago (no I didn't buy it) but I did capture the pic and the write up. I know we have talked about this before and I know that Mark even chimed in about seeing a proof of Karen's solo album cover (which if I remember was not like this one) correct me if I'm wrong Mark.

I found the write up on this rather interesting. Do you think this was maybe one of several proofs Karen had approved of how she wanted her album cover to look like? As I seem to remember someone here said that this was not really the proof, as it looks very similar to the CD cover that was officially issued. What are the design icons that run across the top of this pic? Is this really a proof from 1980 and are those icon prints across the top reminiscent of a proof?



Here is the description of the sale (I'm not sure why they are saying 1981 in the write up)
Check out the size of this proof!!

KAREN CARPENTER Unreleased 1981 ALBUM COVER PROOF Cancelled Solo LP Carpenters SEE OUR OTHER RARE RECORDS & MEMORABILIA Here's a possibly unique Carpenters collectible--an original 1980/1981 album cover proof from Karen Carpenter's cancelled solo album, finally released on CD in 1996 with a different album cover.
Recordmecca's Jeff Gold is a former vice president of A&M Records, the Carpenters' label, and obtained this from a former co-worker who worked on the project. This album cover was designed for the original release and approved by Karen Carpenter, but as the album hadn't been finished, there is no type on the proof besides her name (a common occurrence; proofs were made for the artist, label, and art department to approve during the design process.)
The proof measures 28 3/4" x 15" 3/4" (the front cover panel is on the right, the back cover on the left.) It is in excellent condition, with a vertical crease down the middle (it was folded to see what it would look like as an album cover). There is a bit of paper loss to the surface of the left white border not affecting the image (from where tape was pulled off, we'd guess.) This will frame beautifully.
We know of no other example of this ultra rarity. With Jeff Gold & Recordmecca's written lifetime guarantee of authenticity.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^I would have been rather skeptical of the authenticity, for three reasons:
(1) That 'proof' is far too close to the cd cover artwork, it looks too airbrushed.
(2) The signature across the top, I do not think that is Karen's signature,
which--if I recall--is how she wanted her name on the cover, with her actual
signature replicated.
(3) Finally, the description, why any mention of 1981 ?
There is no 1980/1981...it was shelved May 1980.
An error in the description seems unlikely an insider.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
What are the design icons that run across the top of this pic?
Those are printer registration marks. They are designed to print in a line like that to verify the color registration on the "page". If the reds or blues or yellows were slightly misaligned, you'd see those colored blocks jumbled rather than in a straight line. It's much like when you change the ink in your color printer, there's an alignment procedure you should go through each time to verify that the print heads are aligned properly. Otherwise your printouts would be fuzzy.

I find this interesting, as it probably proves that Karen wanted and approved that awful khaki coloration for her album, assuming this is genuine. In any case, it proves that she at least was aware of this design and that it was probably in the running, maybe along with the purple version.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
The Voice of the Heart cover uses the picture that Itchie said was the one Karen chose for her solo cover. We all know it is documented in several places. I think I read somewhere that William Shatner said that if a claimed official autograph / signature is on eBay is generally fake or something similar, I know I’m paraphrasing. We can post all the warnings. A theft and an investment are two different things but I guess the heart interferes as it does in many life choices.

Besides, there was a finished product from my understanding. It was played to A&M in New York and LA. It was asked to be adjusted with a few different song choices. I thought we also read that Karen shelved it in the eve of its release. I am sure there was poetic text used in each description but some things need to coincide for belief.

Plus, GaryAlan makes some good points.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
So, when would the A&M design team have made this ?
"as the album hadn't been finished, there is no type on the proof"
When could Karen have approved this ? Since it was shelved May 1980.

My apologies, and it may be authentic,
but, those colors are far too close to the appearance of the 1996 cd cover.
How can they match so closely, one 'proof' being from 1979-1980, the other 1996.
With the printers available since 1990's, anyone can make this "appear" legitimate.

It may be authentic, but I would not take a chance on it.
You could really never "know" that it was "approved" by Karen, in any event.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Morning Opens Quietly...
That makes sense about those icons and yes it reminds me of my ink jet printer when I run a clean test sheet aligning the print head. So my question is did they have printers that performed those same kind of icons back in 79 and 80?

I’m wondering if Karen’s original approval proofs could not be located and A&M mocked up this proof say in 1995/96 and this is what we see here making it as close to what they remembered back in 80? Could this proof print have been printed in the 90’s vs 1980?

I don’t think this can ever be confirmed but a previous A&M VP puts some credibility to this proof. Does anyone know of this VP from A&M first I’ve heard of him. I’d love to hear from this former co-worker about this proof.
 
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Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
My personal opinion is that this was likely one of several - or perhaps a dozen - different designs that may have been floating around at the time. It is likely at least, one of those genuine items. Perhaps it was one that might have been approved - perhaps not. Maybe it was in the "good" pile.

The fact that the design team was working in advance surely doesn't surprise me. The fact that an eBay seller chose the words "1980/1981" is likely just the inaccuracy of writing up an eBay ad.

As for it being authentic, I would never advise anyone to spend large sums of cash on an item like this. It's an interesting relic - or a faked mock-up. We can't know. If it *is* genuine, the I find the coloration choice interesting. Maybe - just maybe - it's the way Karen ultimately wanted it to be - or maybe not. Who can say?

In any event, it's interesting.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
If this is the genuine article - and I had thought it was long considered to be so among the hardcore fans - then it shows the 1996 cover wasn’t altered that much. This artwork features the same colorisation effect on the photos as we saw on the 1996 release. The CD version just omits the pink name and is zoomed in on the photo. Given how beautiful Karen looked in these shots, I’d find it hard to believe she would have signed this off as the finished product. It’s ghastly.

So, when would the A&M design team have made this ?
"as the album hadn't been finished, there is no type on the proof"
The various references by people in their circle to the album being “unfinished” really does irritate me. Clearly, it was a completed project as far as Phil and Karen were concerned. You don’t arrange a playback session in New York and LA for the label and then play everyone an incomplete album. Those playback sessions were specifically arranged for the label to sign off on the project. The shock came when they turned round and said it wasn’t even releasable.

The only reason I can think that people consider it not finished is that A&M asked her to record more material. She chose not to do that, but I believe what she presented to the label in early 1980 was what she thought would end up on record store shelves.
 
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Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
In regards to how this would have sold, yes evidence from their US releases show it most likily would not but remember this was a fresh sound. Whilst it's true that from 76' onwards their sales dwindled in the US, elsewhere they didn't. Let's just take a look at their charts and sales from the UK during that period:

1976:

-"A Kind Of Hush" Debuted at #10 then peaked at #3 a week later, charting for 15 weeks. It sold £250,00 worth and was certified Gold.

-"Live At The Palllladium" charted at #28, and sold £300,000 worth of copies and was certified Gold.

-"Horizon" was just about ready to leave the charts in early 1976, still in the Top 50

-"The Singles 69-73" had re-entered (again!) In 1976 just outside the Top 50 for a number of weeks

-"There's A Kind Of Hush" reached #22 on the Singles chart

-"I Need To Be In Love" was at #36

1977:

-"Passage" debuted in the Top 40, peaking at #12, charted for 13 weeks, sold £300,000 worth in copies and was certified Gold.

-"The Carpenters Colletion (4LP box set)" was certified Silver with sales of £150,000 worth.

-"The Singles 69-73" re-entered (again !) at #50

-"Calling Occupants" charted at #9 (Top 20 for 5 weeks)

-"All You Get From Love Is A Love Song" at #54

1978:

-"Singles 1974-78" got to #2 for 3 weeks, charting for a total of 20 weeks, and had certified sales worth £150,000


-"Sweet Sweet Smile" was at #40

1981:

-"Made In America" debuted at #28, peaked at #12 and charted for 10 weeks selling 60,000 copies.

So who knows, it probably would have sold well in the UK, easily a Top 20 because all of their other albums from that period did.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
By the way, the "signature" scrawled across the top of the so-called approved proof
of the solo album has little real resemblance to Karen's signature at the time (especially the "K").
I use as my comparison, the signature of Karen on the Fan Club "note" (in 1979),
telling the fans that she was going to embark on a solo venture.
Again, would Karen have "approved" of a signature on her solo LP that was not actually
a replication of her actual signature ? Of course, she may not have wanted her signature on the cover,
but the "artwork signature" seen above.
 

Toolman

Simple Man, Simple Dream
The only reason I can think that people consider it not finished is that A&M asked her to record more material. She chose not to do that, but I believe what she presented to the label in early 1980 was what she thought would end up on record store shelves.
One of the bios -- I can't remember which -- claimed that Karen agreed to record some additional songs and she asked A&M to pick some for her. Frankly, everything said about the album is so muddled and conflicting that I don't think there's ever going to be a truth beyond that she recorded it and it wasn't released.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
One of the bios -- I can't remember which -- claimed that Karen agreed to record some additional songs and she asked A&M to pick some for her. Frankly, everything said about the album is so muddled and conflicting that I don't think there's ever going to be a truth beyond that she recorded it and it wasn't released.
That was in the Coleman book. I agree. The real story about this album - Richard’s influence, A&M’s part in it and the truth about who really decided on its cancellation - will probably never be known.

Someone should make a documentary about the album, because there are more riddles in its story than a Whodunnit :laugh:
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
were carpenters ever given the ability to " sign off " on album artwork and promotion ?
Considering that Richard hated the Revised “A Song For You” artwork and had it pulled and replaced with the original, it sounds like they had final say. It was even a joke in the “Christmas Portrait” special.
 

ars nova

Active Member
This was sold on e bay a while ago (no I didn't buy it) but I did capture the pic and the write up. I know we have talked about this before and I know that Mark even chimed in about seeing a proof of Karen's solo album cover (which if I remember was not like this one) correct me if I'm wrong Mark.

I found the write up on this rather interesting. Do you think this was maybe one of several proofs Karen had approved of how she wanted her album cover to look like? As I seem to remember someone here said that this was not really the proof, as it looks very similar to the CD cover that was officially issued. What are the design icons that run across the top of this pic? Is this really a proof from 1980 and are those icon prints across the top reminiscent of a proof?



Here is the description of the sale (I'm not sure why they are saying 1981 in the write up)
Check out the size of this proof!!

KAREN CARPENTER Unreleased 1981 ALBUM COVER PROOF Cancelled Solo LP Carpenters SEE OUR OTHER RARE RECORDS & MEMORABILIA Here's a possibly unique Carpenters collectible--an original 1980/1981 album cover proof from Karen Carpenter's cancelled solo album, finally released on CD in 1996 with a different album cover.
Recordmecca's Jeff Gold is a former vice president of A&M Records, the Carpenters' label, and obtained this from a former co-worker who worked on the project. This album cover was designed for the original release and approved by Karen Carpenter, but as the album hadn't been finished, there is no type on the proof besides her name (a common occurrence; proofs were made for the artist, label, and art department to approve during the design process.)
The proof measures 28 3/4" x 15" 3/4" (the front cover panel is on the right, the back cover on the left.) It is in excellent condition, with a vertical crease down the middle (it was folded to see what it would look like as an album cover). There is a bit of paper loss to the surface of the left white border not affecting the image (from where tape was pulled off, we'd guess.) This will frame beautifully.
We know of no other example of this ultra rarity. With Jeff Gold & Recordmecca's written lifetime guarantee of authenticity.

I have a problem accepting this as legitimate consideration for a cover. these are not representative of the colors of the time. this was the " disco era ", bold colors and sparkles, not sepia. are there any photos of karen dressed in colors this bland? I can only think of the SINGLES artwork and that photo was also " aged ". we have read that it was Karen's idea for the glamour shots, so why would it be toned? I think this is someone's photoshop experiment.
 
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newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
Some other great shots:









I can imagine some of these photos would have made great single covers. I often think the picture of Karen curled up in the purple chair would have made a great back cover of the LP.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator








To be sure there were some other top albums that had more color, but it appears that sepia, black & white, and bland colorations were somewhat in vogue at the time as these all topped the charts in 1979.

I don't for a second think that the khaki color was Karen's "idea"; she was not a graphic artist. It would have been up to the arts department to come up with mock-ups and present them to the powers that be as to which ideas would best suit the album. Would it be better to go with the flow of bland colors? Or would it be better to have bold colors?

I don't know. I'm not a graphics artist either, and today is not 1979, and I don't really recall the aesthetics of the era as it pertains to album covers. But to see that bunch above in one place kind of informs me that that may have been the trend.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
This surfaced a while ago. I like to think this is how it would have looked if the album had been released in 1980 :)

That looks like the cover I saw when I visited A&M's offices in 1988 or 1989.I know this is Chris Tassin's interpretation of that I described, but it still looks closer to anything else I've been shown. (Based on the photo found inside the insert of disc four of "From the Top"). Stunning!
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
With Mark-T's reports over the years of having seen that purple-colored version, and this eBay ad proposing that a khaki colored theme was also in the works, I can only interpolate that there might have been even more than these two. Or perhaps just these two. Again, we're talking about events that are nearly 40 years old. Who can say for sure?
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
That looks like the cover I saw when I visited A&M's offices in 1988 or 1989.I know this is Chris Tassin's interpretation of that I described, but it still looks closer to anything else I've been shown. (Based on the photo found inside the insert of disc four of "From the Top"). Stunning!
I think it was Chris who sent me this a while back. I hope he doesn’t mind me posting this here. I wanted to order a framed LP-sized platinum disc for my wall with the above purple cover featured, as if Karen’s album had been released with that as the cover. The company that makes these can “add” whichever image you like into the middle of the vinyl so it looks authentic.



This is another example from the same company:

 
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