Friday, November 12, 2010
A Solo Carpenter
Just the other night, I was talking with my Uncle while looking through a gigantic collection of records and the topic of The Carpenters came up. He had just finished reading a tell-all biography about Karen and was filling me in on some of the gory details. (He has the distinction of going to school with both of the Carpenters when they were wee youngsters) In the book, they apparently talk about Karen's one solo album at length. He had never known about it. Of course, I did. I told him that I had had a copy of it somewhere. Well, it didn't take me too long to find it. Here's a little background on it: In 1979, Richard Carpenter was being treated for an addiction to prescription pills so The Carpenters went on a hiatus. Karen wanted to remain productive and record songs and did that for the next year, recording an album with producer, Phil Ramone and Billy Joel's back-up band. After completing the album, Karen played it to A&M executives and her brother Richard. The response to the album was not what she had hoped. She devastated and was coaxed into the decision to not to release the album. Quincy Jones argued with A&M Records for the album's release, but Herb Alpert (the head of the label) called it un-releaseable. Cut to a phone conversation between Karen and Phil Ramone on February 3, 1983. In the course of the conversation, the solo album was brought up with Karen stating. " That album is fucking great!" The next morning she died. Thirteen years later, in 1996, the album was released. The songs on the album remain the way Karen wished it to be mixed. Many fans have determined that the album should have been released in 1980 as it is a solid work and contains some of the best work Karen has done in her career. The same fans completely disagree with the negative opinion that A&M executives and Richard Carpenter had about the album. Still others agree with the original decision. Decide for yourself if it should have been released or not when you take a listen to it here at the World of Wonder. Here is "Karen Carpenter". Enjoy!