Karen Carpenter (album)

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Karen Carpenter
Karen Carpenter solo album.jpg
Cover to Karen Carpenter's solo album
Studio album by Karen Carpenter
Released October 8, 1996
Recorded May 2, 1979 - January 1980
Genre Pop
Label A&M
Producer Phil Ramone
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly C+[2]

Karen Carpenter is the only eponymous solo project by singer/drummer Karen Carpenter, released on CD by A&M Records in 1996.


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 "To Richard, with all my heart."[discuss] The liner notes (including comments from Richard Carpenter and producer Phil Ramone) include Richard's explanation for shelving the album in 1981, 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 of the material, but the executives in Los Angeles, including Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, responded negatively. Ramone recalls that Karen broke down in tears. Devastated, she accepted A&M's urging not to release the album.[3] Richard dismisses the reports that he put the stake through it and their mother Agnes disapproved as "all poppycock" and says that the decision was up to Karen, who respected the opinions of her elders and she finally decided that it wasn't being released.[4] Several musicians that worked on Karen's album have since then spoke out confirming that Karen Carpenter very much wanted her album to be released and that it was not her idea or decision to shelve it. [5]

An episode of E! True Hollywood Story 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, Green and Moss insisted the album had to be cancelled. The production of the album cost $400,000 of Karen'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 Karen's death, she called Ramone to discuss the album; according to Ramone, Karen said, "I hope you don't mind if I curse. I still love our fucking record!"[6] It remained shelved until 1996 — thirteen years after Karen's death. The songs on the album were mixed according to Karen's instructions.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Lovelines"[A] (Rod Temperton) – 5:06
  2. "All Because of You" (Russell Javors) – 3:31
  3. "If I Had You"[A] (Steve Dorff, Gary Harju, Larry Herbstritt) – 3:54
  4. "Making Love in the Afternoon" (featuring Peter Cetera) (Peter Cetera) – 3:57
  5. "If We Try"[A] (Rod Temperton) – 3:46
  6. "Remember When Lovin' Took All Night"[A] (John Farrar, Molly-Ann Leiken) – 3:50
  7. "Still in Love with You" (Russell Javors) – 3:15
  8. "My Body Keeps Changing My Mind" (Leslie Pearl) – 3:46
  9. "Make Believe It's Your First Time" [B] (Bob Morrison, Johnny Wilson) – 3:12
  10. "Guess I Just Lost My Head" (Rob Mounsey) – 3:36
  11. "Still Crazy After All These Years" (Paul Simon) – 4:17
  12. "Last One Singin' the Blues" (bonus track) (Pete McCann) – 3:29

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. 'Jimmy Mack' is a Martha and the Vandellas cover.

  1. "Keep My Lovelight Burning" - 3:10
  2. "Midnight (Never Lets You Down)" - 4:13
  3. "Love Makin' Love to You" - 3:22
  4. "It's Really You, It's Really Me" - 3:21
  5. "Truly You" - 3:10
  6. "Jimmy Mack" - 3:30
  7. "Don't Try To Win Me Back Again" - 4:38
  8. "Something's Missing in My Life" - 4:43
  9. "I Do It for Your Love" - 3:37




  • Phil Ramone – producer, remix
  • Ray Gerhardt, Glenn Berger, James Guthrie – engineers
  • Jim Boyer – remix engineer
  • Claude Mougin – photography
  • Chuck Beeson – artwork, design
  • Amy Nagasawa – photo colorist
  • Rebecca Chamlee – design



  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Karen Carpenter - Karen Carpenter". Allmusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  2. ^ Browne, David (1996-10-11). "Karen Carpenter Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  3. ^ Coleman, Ray. The Carpenters: The Untold Story. HarperCollins, 1995, page unknown.
  4. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BavzYaPo8v4
  5. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Carpenters-Online-Interviews-Expanded/dp/150777267X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459641134&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Carpenters+Online+Interviews
  6. ^ Ramone, Phil. Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music. Hyperion, 2007, page unknown.
  7. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Karen-Carpenter-Karen-Carpenter/release/1072749