Karen Carpenter (album)
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Cover to Karen Carpenter's solo album
|Studio album by Karen Carpenter|
|Released||October 8, 1996|
|Recorded||May 2, 1979 - January 1980|
Karen Carpenter is the only 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.
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. 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. 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. 
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!"
It remained shelved until 1996 — thirteen years after Karen's death. The songs on the album were mixed according to Karen's instructions.
- "Lovelines"[A] (Rod Temperton) – 5:06
- "All Because of You" (Russell Javors) – 3:31
- "If I Had You"[A] (Steve Dorff, Gary Harju, Larry Herbstritt) – 3:54
- "Making Love in the Afternoon" (featuring Peter Cetera) (Peter Cetera) – 3:57
- "If We Try"[A] (Rod Temperton) – 3:46
- "Remember When Lovin' Took All Night"[A] (John Farrar, Molly-Ann Leiken) – 3:50
- "Still in Love with You" (Russell Javors) – 3:15
- "My Body Keeps Changing My Mind" (Leslie Pearl) – 3:46
- "Make Believe It's Your First Time" [B] (Bob Morrison, Johnny Wilson) – 3:12
- "Guess I Just Lost My Head" (Rob Mounsey) – 3:36
- "Still Crazy After All These Years" (Paul Simon) – 4:17
- "Last One Singin' the Blues" (bonus track) (Pete McCann) – 3:29
Unreleased track listing
- "Keep My Lovelight Burning" – 3:18
- "Midnight (Never Lets You Down)" (Rod Temperton) – 4:16
- "Love Makin' Love to You" – 3:34
- "It's Really You" – 3:21
- "Truly You" – 3:18
- "Jimmy Mack" – 3:36
- "Don't Try to Win Me Back Again" – 4:46
- "Something's Missing (In My Life)" (Paul Jabara) – 4:49
- "I Do It for Your Love" (Paul Simon)– 3:44
- "Church Choir" – unknown length (Unconfirmed. No physical recording has ever been seen or heard. This track most likely does not exist)
- "Basket Case" – unknown length (Unconfirmed. No physical recording has ever been seen or heard. This track most likely doesn't exist)
All of the unreleased songs have surfaced on the internet with the exception of "Church Choir" and "Basket Case". According to Richard, "Basket Case" and "Church Choir" do not exist. "Jimmy Mack" is a remake of the Martha and the Vandellas' 1967 hit, which was covered by Sheena Easton in 1985 (#85 on Billboard's Top 100 singles chart). The song has also been recorded by Laura Nyro, Bonnie Pointer and Phil Collins. "I Do It for Your Love" is a cover of the Paul Simon song; the original is on the same album as the (released) cover "Still Crazy After All These Years". Early on fans of Karen's remaining unreleased tracks often cite[weasel words] "Love Makin' Love to You" as the best of the recordings and appears to be the most completed mix of all the remaining tunes.[opinion]. Though as time has continued "Don't Try To Win Me Back Again" has been heralded as the unreleased track that most deserves to have been released on the album. Many people say the song contains a complex musical arrangement similar to "Thriller."[opinion]. "Something's Missing (In My Life)" was recorded as a duet featuring Paul Jabara and Donna Summer, and can be found on Paul's CD Greatest Hits and Misses. "Midnight (Never Lets You Down)" was written by Rod Temperton specifically for Karen Carpenter. "Truly You" was written by Russell Javors.
- A Originally released on The Carpenters' 1989 album, Lovelines, in remixed form.
- B Different arrangement and vocal from The Carpenters' version released on Voice of the Heart.
- Karen Carpenter - vocals
- Louis Johnson - bass
- Doug Stegmeyer - bass
- David Brown - guitars
- Russell Javors - guitars
- David Williams - guitars
- Eric Johns-Rasmussen - guitars
- John JR Robinson - drums
- Steve Gadd - drums
- Liberty DeVitto - drums
- Bob James - keyboards, orchestration
- Richard Tee - keyboards
- Greg Phillinganes - keyboards
- Rob Mounsey - keyboards
- Ralph MacDonald - percussion
- Airto Moreira - percussion
- Peter Cetera - guest vocals on "Making Love in the Afternoon"
- Michael Brecker - saxophone
- Jerry Hey - orchestration
- Rod Temperton - arranger
- Timmy Cappello - saxophone
- 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
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Karen Carpenter - Karen Carpenter". Allmusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
- Browne, David (1996-10-11). "Karen Carpenter Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
- Coleman, Ray. The Carpenters: The Untold Story. HarperCollins, 1995, page unknown.
- Ramone, Phil. Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music. Hyperion, 2007, page unknown.