Karen Carpenter (album)

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Karen Carpenter
Karen Carpenter - Karen Carpenter (1996).png
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 8, 1996
RecordedMay 2, 1979 – January 1980
GenrePop
LabelA&M
ProducerPhil Ramone
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[1]
Entertainment WeeklyC+[2]

Karen Carpenter is the only solo album by singer/drummer Karen Carpenter of the Carpenters, recorded between 1979 and 1980 and released by A&M Records in 1996. It has sold around one million copies worldwide.[3]

Background[edit]

The album was recorded in New York with producer Phil Ramone in 1979 and 1980, during the time that her brother Richard was being treated for an addiction to Quaaludes. Some of the songs from the album were later featured on the Carpenters' 1989 compilation Lovelines and later releases. In the liner notes, Karen dedicated the project to her brother Richard, "with all my heart". The liner notes (including comments from Richard Carpenter and producer Phil Ramone) include Richard's explanation for shelving the album in 1980, and his later decision to release it as Karen approved it. Karen was backed by various New York and Los Angeles studio musicians, including Steve Gadd, Greg Phillinganes, Louis Johnson and members of Billy Joel's band.

Refusal and posthumous release[edit]

A&M executives in New York approved the material, but the executives in Los Angeles, including label owners Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, responded negatively. Ramone recalls that Carpenter broke down in tears. Devastated, she accepted A&M's urging not to release the album.[4] Richard Carpenter later said that the decision not to release the album was Karen's, who respected the opinions of A&M executives and others—including him.[5] Several musicians who worked on the album have said that Carpenter very much wanted her album to be released and that it was not her idea or decision to shelve it.[6]

An episode of E! True Hollywood Story profiling Karen Carpenter claims that Herb Alpert called the album "unreleaseable". Quincy Jones championed releasing the album to Derek Green, an A&M Records vice-president, but Alpert, Moss and Green insisted the album had to be canceled. The production of the album cost $400,000 of Carpenter's own money and $100,000 fronted by A&M Records. The $100,000 fronted by A&M was offset against Carpenters' future album royalties.

On February 3, 1983, the day before Carpenter's death, she called Ramone to discuss the album; according to Ramone, Carpenter said, "I hope you don't mind if I curse. I still love our fucking record!"[7] It remained shelved until 1996—thirteen years after Carpenter's death. The songs on the album were mixed according to Carpenter's instructions. Out of the twenty-one songs recorded, only eleven were chosen for the album. While the album was being prepared for release, an individual at A&M copied Carpenter's unreleased and unfinished material on a cassette tape and distributed it via a fan club on Yahoo! through the mail. The songs were leaked onto the internet in 2000. Two of the unreleased songs, "I Love Makin' Love to You" and "Truly You" were finished, while the remaining tracks were work leads only and in different stages of completion.

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Lovelines[a]"Rod Temperton5:06
2."All Because of You"Russell Javors3:31
3."If I Had You[a]"
3:54
4."Making Love in the Afternoon" (with Peter Cetera)Peter Cetera3:57
5."If We Try[a]"Temperton3:47
6."Remember When Lovin' Took All Night[a]"
3:50
7."Still in Love with You"Javors3:15
8."My Body Keeps Changing My Mind"Leslie Pearl3:46
9."Make Believe It's Your First Time"
3:12
10."Guess I Just Lost My Head"Rob Mounsey3:36
11."Still Crazy After All These Years"Paul Simon4:17
12."Last One Singin' the Blues"Peter McCann3:24
  • ^[a] appeared on the Carpenters album Lovelines

Unreleased tracks[edit]

The following are a list of songs that Karen Carpenter recorded that never made it onto the album; however, they all circulate via bootlegging circles in studio quality.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "I Love Makin' Love to You" Evie Sands, Ben Weisman, Richard Germinaro 3:22
2. "Don't Try to Win Me Back Again" Carlotta McKee, Gordon Gordy 4:38
3. "Something's Missing (In My Life)" Jay Asher, Paul Jabara 4:43
4. "Keep My Lovelight Burnin'" Evie Sands, Ben Weisman 3:10
5. "Midnight (Never Lets You Down)" Rod Temperton 4:13
6. "Jimmy Mack" Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier 3:30
7. "I'd Do It for Your Love" Paul Simon 3:37
8. "Truly You" Russell Javors 3:10
9. "Last One Singin' the Blues" Peter McCann 3:31
10. "It's Really You" Alan Tarney, Tom Snow, Trevor Spencer 3:21

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Producer – Phil Ramone
  • Engineers – Glenn Berger, Ray Gerhardt and James Guthrie
  • Remixing – Jim Boyer and Phil Ramone
  • Recorded at A&R Studios (New York, NY); Kendun Recorders (Burbank, CA); A&M Studios (Hollywood, CA)
  • Original mastering by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound (New York, NY)
  • Remastered by Dave Collins at A&M Mastering Studios (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Art direction – Chuck Beeson
  • Design – Chuck Beeson and Rebecca Chamlee
  • Photography – Claude Mougin
  • Photo colorist – Amy Nagasawa
  • Liner notes – Richard Carpenter and Phil Ramone

[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Karen Carpenter - Karen Carpenter". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  2. ^ Browne, David (1996-10-11). "Karen Carpenter Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
  3. ^ "Behind The Music: Karen Carpenter (Solo)".
  4. ^ Coleman, Ray. The Carpenters: The Untold Story. HarperCollins, 1995, page unknown.
  5. ^ Liner notes, Karen Carpenter, by Richard Carpenter
  6. ^ https://www.amazon.com/Carpenters-Online-Interviews-Expanded/dp/150777267X/
  7. ^ Ramone, Phil. Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music. Hyperion, 2007, page unknown.
  8. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Karen-Carpenter-Karen-Carpenter/release/1072749