The music of the Carpenters has long transcended mere nostalgia. With 20 Billboard top 40 hits including three No. 1s and five No. 2s as well as 15 Adult Contemporary No. 1s, their timeless legacy of song is as resonant today as ever. Karen's intimate, warm, and soulful voice melded with Richard's rich, sophisticated musical settings to create a sound still unrivaled in popular music. Now, that sound is getting a little larger. On December 7, A&M Records will release Carpenters with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, pairing the classic recordings of the famous brother-and-sister duo with all-new symphonic orchestrations composed, produced, and conducted by the songs' original arranger-conductor-producer: Richard Carpenter.
Recorded by The Royal Philharmonic at Abbey Road, this new release follows similar collections by artists such as Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison, and The Beach Boys, but the participation of Richard Carpenter distinguishes this title. Following a newly-composed Overture, the set premieres a host of lushly reimagined Carpenters favorites from some of the world's greatest songwriters including Paul Williams and Roger Nichols ("We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days and Mondays"), Leon Russell ("This Masquerade," "Superstar"), John Lennon and Paul McCartney ("Ticket to Ride"), and Burt Bacharach ("(They Long to Be) Close to You" with Hal David, "Baby It's You" with Mack David and Luther Dixon) not to mention his own remarkable, enduring songs such as "Yesterday Once More" and "Goodbye to Love" with John Bettis, "Merry Christmas Darling" with Frank Pooler, "I Need to Be in Love" with Bettis and Albert Hammond). In addition to their voices, Richard's keyboards, and Karen's drums, select elements from the original recordings have been incorporated, including performances by such musicians as Tony Peluso on guitar, Bob Messenger on woodwinds, Joe Osborn on bass, Hal Blaine on drums, Chuck Findley on trumpet, Earle Dumler on oboe, Tommy Morgan on harmonica, Buddy Emmons on pedal steel, and Tom Scott and Doug Strawn on saxophone.
Richard Carpenter illuminated his process in the press release. Speaking of the original "(They Long to Be) Close to You," he commented, "In the second and third verses, it sounded a bit thin, because there are only ten violins playing it. Now, we've quadrupled that. So, anyone with the ear for it will hear it immediately. It's the same line, but it's richer, because there are so many more players." He added, "There have been more than a few times when I have thought, 'I wish I could have a second crack at that,' and there were places where things could be augmented without overdoing it. That's the trick. These refreshed tracks more than ever showcase Karen's remarkable voice. And that to me was reason number one for undertaking the project."
Here's the new "Yesterday Once More":
and its new flipside, "Merry Christmas Darling":
Carpenters with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be available in a variety of formats including 1CD; 2LP 180-gram black vinyl; and 2LP white vinyl. The latter will be an exclusive to the Carpenters' webstore, which also offers bundles including lithographs personally signed by Richard Carpenter. This release serves as a tribute to the enduring artistry of Karen Carpenter, never to be forgotten, and her brother Richard. It arrives on December 7 from A&M Records just in time for holiday shopping, and can be pre-ordered at the links below!
Carpenters with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (A&M Records/UMe, 2018)
CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada Link TBD
2-LP Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada Link TBD
- Yesterday Once More
- Hurting Each Other
- I Need to Be in Love
- For All We Know
- Touch Me When We're Dancing
- I Believe You
- I Just Fall in Love Again
- Merry Christmas Darling
- Baby It's You
- (They Long to Be) Close to You
- Rainy Days and Mondays
- This Masquerade
- Ticket to Ride
- Goodbye to Love
- Top of the World
- We've Only Just Begun
Richard Carpenter won't be content until he replaces every note of the Carpenters music. Anyone with their SACD will know what I mean, although every note wasn't replaced.
All of these new orchestral recordings are creating another era of beautiful music like the late 60s-early 70s.
They'll have to bring back the cutout bins to house them all.
i preordered i loved merry christmas darling. i hope the rest is the same. i have so many greatest hits packages. i think so far this one will be different and so far i hear its better
i downloaded merry christmas darling and later the whole album. i have many collections . this one sounded better if going by what i heard.. the 2 i heard esp xmas darling sound fresher and even better
Al Ibarguen says
Amen, Billy D, Amen. When are we going to see Frank, Nat and Bobby Darin with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra? Why try to improve something which is already perfect? Enough is enough!!!
Jman Burnett says
Actually, I've never heard anything that emerged from this idea, but given how fast they're being pumped out (besides this, in 2018 we've had a Beach Boys installment, a Cilla Black one, and there's a second Roy Orbison volume coming - oh yeah, and last year's Aretha Franklin installment is already being reissued by Rhino), I believe those people you mentioned could get this treatment soon enough. In fact, putting an orchestra behind the pop artists of yesteryear is a cow we can all safely blame Elvis on the three-years-long-and-counting milking of (the sales of his IF I CAN DREAM collection started it).
Those "perfect" recordings are still available. Nothing has happened to them. If you want those, buy them. If you don't want these orchestral releases, don't but them. It is so simple. I wish you people would stop knocking them. If fans did not want or appreciate them, they would not be selling and the labels would not keep putting them out. Previous criticisms were that the artists were not involved and would be rolling over in there graves with these releases. Well, here is one where one of the artists is alive and actually involved and he still gets criticized for it. Did you ever stop to think that Carpenters fans will appreciate a fresh way to listen to some of their recordings? Jeez! There is no tragedy here. It is not like they are replacing the original recordings with the orchestral versions.
Dustin Soper says
Agreed! The Aretha Franklin release is great and I can’t wait for this one!
My objection to the entire trend is twofold -- the "Royal Philharmonic Orchestra" isn't real and this growing catalog of nonsense is nothing more than greedy commerce masquerading as art. It's just ... crass.
But, Zubb, I agree with you completely ... if you like it, dig it; if you don't, just ignore it.
What do you mean that the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra isn't "real?" It's been around since 1946 and released dozens of albums before these recent pop collaborations started a few years. Those pop albums are just a side gig. It is based in London (Cadogan Hall), but performs all over Europe. It has multiple performances coming up at the Royal Albert Hall (London) throughout November and December. It is playing 11 dates in Austria and Germany in Jan. and Feb. of next year. And that is only some of the upcoming events on its schedule.
It is most definitely "real."
i agree if they sound newer fresher many carpenters fanns have the collections .. im hoping this one is better may be richards last
Dustin Soper says
Target will have an exclusive, yet unnamed bonus track: https://www.target.com/p/-/A-54222572
From what I read on a Carpenters forum, the Target bonus track is "Those Good Old Dreams" (from the Made in America album).
Also, the forum mentioned that the Japanese CD will have "Please Mr. Postman" as a bonus track.
I wonder if the Japanese version will also have Those Good Old Dreams?
Looks like the Japanese release only has “Postman,” whereas Target only has “Dreams. —
OK, thanks for the info.
Well, it turns out that the Target edition has the same bonus track as the Japanese edition: Please Mr. Postman. Quite a bummer.
We've Only Just Begun.... to mess with the music....
Aa already stated....If these reorchestrated releases bother you, don't buy them. Yet the detractors are so obsessed that they can't help but share their tired negativity.
David Francis says
Talk about deja vu, I guess it really does exist. I was just hanging out on the Internet tonight when this add for a new musical release caught my attention. It took me back to a time almost 50 years ago. This song had such a profound effect on me, emotionally, when I first heard it on the radio in the Fall of 1969 during my first semester away at college. I had a very serious 'girl' back home attending her high school senior year. I was 1100+ miles from home and in those days communicating was done mostly through letters (long distance phone calling was way too expensive). In the beginning, we were writing almost daily. Slowly, the letters between us became less frequent and finally they stopped altogether. We both were surprised at quickly we faded away from each other. Then, one day, I was just sitting in my college high rise dorm room on the 10th floor looking out the window at the wide expanse below me and off into the distance thinking about life in general when the little radio station on campus put on 'Ticket to Ride' by The Carpenters. First of all, everybody knew the original of this song from The Beetles but in a completely different style. Secondly, the voice of Karen Carpenter was so utterly compelling that she seemed to be speaking directly to each listener individually. I was immediately captivated by her voice and then convicted by her words about my having left my home, my roots, and especially my 'girl'. However, it was too late to put the genie back in the bottle and I drifted farther and farther away from those carefree days of youth and the innocent emotions of that "first love" that people experience after adolescence. Now, 50 years later, I am once again captivated by that incredible voice coming across the airwaves once more telling me that "I should have done right by her" like it was yesterday. R.I.P. Karen Carpenter. Thank you for the memories.
This hopefully will be a great release. Sure, everyone loves the originals and are a bit tired of the many compilations throughout the years, but I have a good feeling about this one. I've been a Carpenters fan since day one. "Close To You" was the first LP I ever bought. I was 8 years old. I loved Karen. So cool to see a girl play the drums and I mean REALLY play those drums and the magical, timeless depth and range of her voice, just barely into her early 20's singing these songs. No other female singer has yet to come close to her mind blowing voice. I was very lucky to have seen the Carpenters live in concert twice. Both times at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland back in 1975 & 1976. They played 2 nights back in 75, selling out both shows, 20,000 people each night. They were magnificent live. Was also a member of the fan club. I've already ordered my Limited Edition (150 edition w/Richard's autograph) 2 LP White Vinyl. Cost $100 bucks but worth every penny. Thanks Richard for bringing us these new arrangements. Hope you've got something BIG planned for next years 50th Anniversary. A Carpenters fan for life!!!
Gerry Hassan says
I adore the Carpenters original recordings. They have class, soul and a beautiful fragility. This release has none of these qualities.
Lets deal with the attempt to deflect criticism: if you don’t like it don’t buy it. It is a ridiculous argument – given that we are all allowed to have opinions beyond our purchasing power. But lets look more at the damage done.
First, it detracts from a serious artist’s cachet and creditability; the milking of the Carpenters thirty-five years after Karen died.
Second, the element of artistic input and control in these releases is always at minimum questionable. Richard Carpenter was involved in this, but the Carpenters don’t exist.
Third, this really is brazen cash cowism by a record industry which knows it is on borrowed time, churning out releases to sell to baby boomers who seem content to continually relive their past.
Fourth, there is a place for reissues and remasters – but popular music cannot be about the past – otherwise it eventually runs out of pasts to recycle.
So yes buy this and enjoy it if you must. But don’t say it does not matter.
Dittos on your comments Gerry, especially "paragraphs" 3 & 5. I was thrilled to learn back in August that RC would be working on this with the RPO, and that it would be released in Dec./2018. At first, I thought I would have to order it, but I was able to purchase the last copy (CD) at our local Barnes & Noble bookstore.
I think I've listened to it 4-5 times, and each time I've picked up some new/different nuances. As usual, Richard is masterful with the added instruments and orchestration; mostly at the beginning and ends of his selections. I'm not sure that Karen would approve, and in some cases I still think that "less is more" when comparing the original recordings to this recording with the RPO. Just pull up "For All We Know", when The Carpenters performed this on The Andy Williams Show on 02/13/1971. Just spectacular!!
I am beginning to wonder if this slew of 'Band X, plus the Philharmonic Orchestra' is part of a copyright renewal jag? We've had Roy Orbinson, Buddy Holly, Elvis, Aretha Franklin, The Beach Boys,