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Carpenters Cover

 

The demo that Herb Alpert heard contained "Your Wonderful Parade", "All I Can Do" and "Don't Be Afraid." Karen and Richard Carpenter signed with A&M Records on April 22, 1969. They got a $10,000 advance and seven percent royalty.

Their first recording session was the song "Ticket to Ride." The album also contained all three songs from the demo. "All I Can Do" is the demo recording. "Your Wonderful Parade" got a new lead vocal and strings. "Don't Be Afraid" was re-recorded. Karen played bass guitar on "All Of My Life" and "Eve." The album cost about $50,000 and sold 18,000 copies. 

In September A&M Records launched a promotional campaign for Offering.  

Herb Alpert chose the cover photo for Offering album. The photographer was Jim McCrary. The album was released on October 9, 1969. The "Ticket to Ride" single came out on November 5, 1969.

In late 1969, Karen and Richard began recording the Close to You album with sessions for "Love Is Surrender", "I'll Never Fall In Love Again", "Help" and the Bacharach and David Medley (Any Day Now/Baby It's You/Knowing When to Leave/Make It Easy On Yourself/Always Something There to Remind Me/I'll Never Fall In Love Again/Walk On By/Do You Know the Way to San Jose). 

Carpenters signature overdubbing was often a four part chord overdubbed twice which created a 12-part vocal. For "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" the overdub was a 13-part chord over three octaves and repeated three times to deliver 39 voices.

Karen Carpenter had a lead vocal range of an octave and a fifth plus falsetto. Her range was the C below middle C to the G above high C.

One of the earliest Carpenters concerts was after the premiere of Hello, Dolly! in Los Angeles.

CARPENTERS BIOGRAPHY 1970s 

1971       1972       1973       1974       1975       1976       1977       1978       1979      

1970

CLOSE TO YOU SESSIONOGRAPHY

MARCH 24, 1970 A&M STUDIOS
Close to You
I Kept On Loving You
Hal Blaine--drums
Richard Carpenter--piano
Roger Nichols--guitar
Joe Osborn--bass
APRIL 13, 1970 A&M STUDIOS
Close to You
Help
I Kept On Loving You
Marilyn Baker
Arnold Belnick--violin
Samuel Boghossian--violin
Jules Chaikin--trumpet
Marion Childers--trumpet
Gary Coleman--guitar
Jack Daugherty--arranger
Bennie Douglas--guitar
James Horn--sax
George Kast--violin
Raymond Kelley--cello
Bernard Kundell--violin
Gayle Levant--harp
Charles Lindley--guitar
Robert Matthews--arranger
Oliver Mitchell--trumpet
Lanny Morgan--sax
Dan Neufeld--viola
Gareth Nuttycombe--violin
Jerome Reisler--violin
Ambrose Russo--violin
Frederick Saykora--cello
Ralph Schaeffer--violin
Paul Shure--violin
Marshall Sosson--violin
Gerald Vinci--violin
JULY 13, 1970 A&M STUDIOS
Baby It's You
Reason to Believe
We've Only Just Begun
Hal Blaine--drums
Richard Carpenter
Joe Osborn--bass
Louie Shelton--guitar
Raymond Williams
JULY 17, 1970 A&M STUDIOS
We've Only Just Begun Richard Carpenter
Bob Messenger--flute, sax
Doug Strawn--flute, sax
JULY 20, 1970 A&M STUDIOS
I'll Never Fall In Love Again
Love Is Surrender
We've Only Just Begun
Randall Aldcroft
Marilyn Baker
Samuel Boghossian--violin
Richard Carpenter--arranger
Jules Chaikin--trumpet
Marion Childers--trumpet
Douglas Davis
Charles Findley--trumpet
Bernard Fleischer--flute, sax
James Getzoff--violin
George Kast--violin
Bernard Kundell--violin
William Kuresch
Jacqueline Lustgarten--cello
Larry McGuire--trumpet
Lanny Morgan--sax
Gareth Nuttycombe--violin
Wilbert Nuttycombe--violin
Jerome Reisler-violin
Frederick Saykora--cello
Thomas Shepard
Paul Shure-violin
Gary Sims--guitar
Marshall Sosson-violin
Gerald Vinci-violin
JULY 28, 1970 A&M STUDIOS
Crescent Noon
Maybe It's You
Mr. Guder
Samuel Boghossian--violin
Richard Carpenter--arranger
Jules Chaikin--trumpet
Marion Childers--trumpet
James Cleveland
Douglas Davis--cello
Charles Findley--trumpet
James Getzoff--concertmaster
Ronald Gorow--orchestration
James Horn--sax
Bernard Kundell--violin
William Kuresch
Gayle Levant--harp
Jacqueline Lustgarten--cello
Oliver Mitchell--trumpet
Dan Neufeld--viola
Gareth Nuttycombe--violin
Wilbert Nuttycombe--violin
Jerome Reisler--violin
Jay Rosen--piano
Frederick Saykora--cello
Ralph Schaeffer--violin
Thomas Shepard
Paul Shure--violin
Marshall Sosson--violin
Chris Tack

 

Karen and Richard Carpenter debuted their Bacharach-David Medley February 27, 1970 at the Reiss-Davis Benefit honoring the composer and lyricist.

Carpenters toured with Burt Bacharach as his opening act.

A&M Records made promotional films of "Close to You" and "Love Is Surrender". The "Close to You" single was released in May 1970. By July, it sold two million copies. 

Assembled their first touring band with Bob Messenger on bass, sax and flute; Doug Strawn on reed instruments; Danny Woodhams on bass, and Gary Sims on guitar.

In August Close to You and "We've Only Just Begun" were released.

In the fall of 1970, Jerry Moss directed A&M Records to recall and destroy copies of Offering. He had the album repackaged with a new cover and reissued it as Ticket to Ride.

Carpenters made their first visit to Japan

During their Canadian tour in November, Carpenters recorded their first commercial for Morton's Potato Chips in Toronto.

Merry Christmas Darling released on November 20, 1970 as the B side of Mr. Guder. It became a seasonal standard and charted several times. In Canada, it was the top Christmas single of 1970.

By November 1970, Close to You had sold 2.5 million copies worldwide and 4 million copies by October 1977.

Of all the singles released in 1970, "We've Only Just Begun" spent the most tme at #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Chart. "Close to You" tied for #2 with six weeks at #1. Carpenters and Tom Jones were the only artists to have two #1 singles on that chart.

Carpenters were nominated for eight Grammy Awards and won two:
Best New Artist--won
Best Contemporary Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus--won for "Close to You" single
Record of the Year for Close to You
Album of the Year for Close to You
Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals for "Close to You"
Song of the Year for "We've Only Just Begun"
Best Contemporary Song for "We've Only Just Begun"
Best Engineered Recording for Close to You

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1971

From July 1970 to June 1971 the Carpenters released four consecutive million-selling singles. 

The Carpenters album was released on May 14, 1971. It shipped gold with pre-orders of one million units. The album contained three hits and was certified quadruple platinum in the U.S. Jerry Moss chose "Superstar" as a single. Karen's vocal was the first take. The single went gold in eight weeks. A&M Records made promotional films of "Superstar" and "Rainy Days and Mondays." 

Carpenters was the first album to use the typographic logo. It was designed by Craig Braun and Associates. Braun was the partner of A&M's art director Tom Wilkes.

Carpenters played 145 concerts this year including their first tour of Great Britain. 
On May 14, 1971 Carpenters played their first performance at Carnegie Hall. The concert was sold out.

Carpenters touring group included Doug Strawn on clarinet, keyboard and back-up vocals; Bob Messenger of bass, flute and sax; Danny Woodhams on bass and back-up vocals; Gary Sims on guitar; Jim Squeglia, known as Jim Anthony, on drums. Squeglia toured in 1971 and 1973. 

First tour of England. During the tour, Richard wrote "Goodbye to Love."

Billboard named Carpenters among its top artists for the year: 
#1 Easy Listening Artists (Rainy Days and Mondays #4; Superstar #7; For All We Know #8) 
#2 Top Singles Artists (Superstar #30; For All We Know #35; Rainy Days and Mondays #38)
The Close to You album was the #3 Top Album
#5 Top Group (Close to You #3; Carpenters #39) 
#7 Overall Album Artists (3 albums on the chart)
The Carpenters album was the #39 Top Album 

Carpenters were the #7 Top International Artist in both Canada and Mexico.

Carpenters won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. They were nominated in three more categories:
     Album of the Year--Carpenters
     Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals--"Superstar"
     Best Engineered Recording--Carpenters

The Carpenters recorded "Bless the Beasts and Children" for the motion picture of the same name. The score for the film was nominated for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture

In 1971, Carpenters were the only artists to have three #1 hits on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart.

Carpenters starred in Make Your Own Kind of Music, an eight week summer replacement television show. They also made ten guest appearances on other television shows.

Carpenters were both the Cash Box and Record World's Top Duo of the Year.

N.A.R.M. named Carpenters the Best Selling Group of 1971

CARPENTERS SET LISTS 1971

Help 
Love Is Surrender 
Ticket to Ride 
Reason to Believe 
I Fell in Love with You 
For All We Know 
Mr. Guder 
Rainy Days and Mondays 
Cinderella Rockefeller 
Close to You 
Bacharach-David Medley 
We've Only Just Begun

Help 
Love Is Surrender 
Ticket to Ride 
Reason to Believe 
All I Can Do 
For All We Know 
Mr. Guder 
Rainy Days and Mondays 
Druscilla Penny 
Close to You 
Bacharach-David Medley 
We've Only Just Begun

 

ARS NOVA

 

Karen and Richard, with Werner Wolfen, Esq., created Ars Nova corporation. Richard was the president. Both he and Karen executed contracts "as a performer in all forms and media of public entertainment now known or hereinafter devised, including, but without limitation, nightclubs, concerts, public and private parties, radio, live and taped television, and motion pictures, but excluding commercial phonograph and tape recordings intended primarily for private use and the composition and publication of musical and literary material...to be performed at the times and places designated by the Company, in association with other such individuals as the Company may designate, under the group name "Carpenters." 

Richard used Ars Nova as his music publishing company. The songs were administered by A&M Records music publishing house Irving Music. 

Ars Nova was also used for employment contracts with musicians and others working for Carpenters. 

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1972

A Song For You was released in June. Six songs from the album were hits.

Tony Peluso was hired for the "Goodbye to Love" guitar solo. He started touring with Carpenters in June 1972.

The Oldies Medley debuted on the summer tour.

"Flat Baroque" was nominated for Grammy for the Best Instrumental Arrangement.

In September, Carpenters were at The White House.

N.A.R.M. named Carpenters the Best Selling Group of 1972.

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CARPENTERS SET LIST 1972

Close to You/Introduction 
Help 
Love Is Surrender 
Ticket to Ride 
For All We Know 
Oldies Medley 
Mr. Guder 
(They Long to Be) Close to You 
Reason to Believe 
Young Ladies That I Love Medley 
Superstar 
Bacharach-David Medley (extended)

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1973

On May 1, 1973, Carpenters performed at The White House. Their set included the hits songs:
Close to You
Love Is Surrender
Top of the World
For All We Know
Rainy Days and Mondays
We've Only Just Begun. The orchestra was directed by Frank Pooler.

Karen had played the drums in concert from 1969 until 1973 when Cubby O'Brien joined the touring band as the drummer. 

On May 1 Now & Then was released, It was certified double platinum in the U.S.

Between October 1969 and July 1973, Carpenters sold 18.5 million records.

Carpenters were the top international artist in Japan.

Great Britain issued the first box set of the three Carpenters albums.

WDBQ radio in New Haven, Connecticut played the Oldies Medley as a complete radio show.

"Sing" was nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals.

Carpenters were, for the third time in four years, the only artist to have two or more #1 songs on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Chart.

Carpenters were the #6 Top Artist in Australia.
Carpenters gave 173 concerts including their first tour of Europe, Australia and Japan, and their American summer series.
Carpenters appeared as guests on three television shows.

Late in the year The Singles 1969-1973 was released. There were nine million-selling singles on the album. However, "Top Of the World" got a new lead vocal and remix and "Ticket to Ride" got a new vocal, new drum and guitar tracks.

Carpenters Shure Vocal Master ad

 

CARPENTERS SET LIST 1973

Superstar/Rainy Days and Mondays/Goodbye to Love 
Help 
Top of the World 
For All We Know 
Mr. Guder 
Close to You 
Jambalaya 
Yesterday Once More 
Oldies Medley: Little Honda/End of the World/Runaway/Da Doo Ron Ron/Leader of the Pack/Johnny Angel/Book of Love/Shu-Boom/Daddy's Home/Johnny B. Goode 
Sing 
We've Only Just Begun

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1974

Carpenters toured Germany, Scandanavia and Great Britain while giving 203 concerts during the year.
Carpenters set an industry standard selling out 18 consecutive concerts seen by 85,000 fans.
Tickets for the concerts in Japan sold out within the first hour of sale.
Single 1969-1973 was #1 in Britain for 16 weeks and remained on the chart there for two years.

The American Guide to Variety Artists names Carpenters its Favorite Band, Duo or Group, Pop and Rock

CARPENTERS SET LIST 1974

Superstar 
Rainy Days and Mondays 
Goodbye to Love 
Top of the World 
Help 
Mr. Guder 
Close to You 
Jambalaya 
Yesterday Once More 
Hurting Each Other 
Oldies Medley: Little Honda / End of the World / Runaway / Da Doo Ron Ron / Leader of the Pack / Johnny Angel / Book of Love / Shuboom / Daddy's Home / Johnny B. Goode / Sing / Sometimes / We've Only Just Begun / For All We Know

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1975

Carpenters Billboard backgrounder 1975

 

Carpenters sold more than 25 million albums and singles in five years and by 1975 earned 15 gold album and single awards in the U.S.

The Horizon album was their first recording on 24 tracks. It shipped gold in June 1975. It eventually went platinum. Among the tracks recorded for but not used on the album was "Trying to Get the Feeling Again." It remained unfinished until 1994 when Richard found the tape and added strings, synthesizer, electric and acoustic guitars.

Carpenters were the only artist to have three #1 singles on the Billboard Adult Contemporoary Chart.

A&M Records made promotional films of Please Mr. Postman and Only Yesterday

Carpenters played 118 concerts. They canceled 28 dates in Japan plus 51 dates in Europe and Britain. In Britain, nearly 200,000 tickets had been sold. Their show at Disneyland in February was filmed by Chuck Braverman for A&M Records.

Karen Carpenter was named the Best Rock Drummer of the Year by Playboy.

Carpenters Billboard Backgrounder 1975

 

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1976

Carpenters Official Biography 1976

Carpenters tour of Japan was the largest grossing in Japanese history.

Carpenters toured Great Britain and Europe in November with their new show. It included an updated Oldies Medley with songs from the musical "Grease," costumes and a motorcycle that Richard rode onto the stage. It also featured Karen's drum extravaganza and a Spike Jones version of "Close to You."

By 1976, Carpenters sold over 30 million albums and singles.

Carpenters re-signed with A&M Records with the contingency that the label needed Richard's permission to release anything.

A&M Records made promotional films of "I Need to Be in Love"" and "There's a Kind of Hush""

Carpenters were named Billboard Top Artists in these categories:
#10 Single--There's a Kind of Hush
#43 Single--I Need to Be in Love
#65 Singles Artists with three singles on the Billboard charts.

Carpenters' first television special aired on December 8, 1976 on ABC. It was #6 in the Neilsen ratings.

By 1976, the Oldies Medley was 30 minutes in concert.

CARPENTERS SET LISTS 1976
We've Only Just Begun 
Only Yesterday 
Top of the World 
Superstar 
Rainy Days and Mondays 
Goodbye to Love 
Strike Up the Band/S'Wonderful/Fascinatin' Rhythm 
Flat Baroque 
I Dig Me (Doug Strawn solo) 
Yesterday Once More 
Little Honda 
End of the World 
Please Mr. Postman 
Da Doo Ron Ron 
Leader of the Pack 
Johnny Angel 
Book of Love 
Johnny B. Goode 
Sing (with childrens choir and performed in Japanese and English) 
There's a Kind of Hush 
Close to You 
We've Only Just Begun
Overture 
We've Only Just Begun / Introduction 
Only Yesterday 
Top of the World 
Superstar 
Rainy Days and Mondays 
Goodbye to Love 
Karen's drum solo
Strike Up the Band/S'Wonderful/Fascinating Rhythm 
Flat Baroque 
Yesterday Once More 
Oldies Medley:
(Little Honda/End of the World/Please Mr. Postman/De Do Ron Ron 
Leader of the Pack/Johnny Angel/The Book of Love/Johnny B. Goode) 
Sing 
There's a Kind of Hush 
(They Long to Be) Close to You 
We've Only Just Begun 
Yesterday Once More/Exit 
Jambalaya
Singles Overture 
Flat Baroque 
Only Yesterday 
There's a Kind of Hush 
I Need to Be in Love 
(They Long to Be) Close to You 
Don't Be Afraid 
Sing 
Yesterday Once More 
Greased Lighntin'/We Go Together/Beauty School Dropout/ 
Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee 
Yesterday Once More/Greased Lightnin'/ 
Piano Picker 
Karen's drum solo 
Warsaw Concerto 
Hits Medley: 
Close To You/For All We Know/ Top of the World/Ticket to Ride/ 
Only Yesterday/I Won't Last a Day Without You/ 
Hurting Each Other/Superstar/Rainy Days and Mondays/ 
Goodbye to Love 
We've Only Just Begun
There's a Kind of Hush 
Jambalaya 
I Need to Be in Love 
Close to You (Spike Jones style) 
Yesterday Once More 
Piano Picker 
Strike Up the Band/S'Wonderful/Fascinatin' Rhythm 
Warsaw Concerto 
From This Moment On 
Close to You 
For All We Know 
Top of the World 
Ticket to Ride 
Only Yesterday 
I Won't Last a Day Without You 
Hurting Each Other 
Please Mr. Postman 
Superstar
Rainy Days and Mondays 
Goodbye to Love 
We've Only Just Begun

There's a Kind of Hush 
Jambalaya 
I Need to Be in Love 
Close to You (in Spike Jones style) 
Yesterday Once More 
Piano Picker 
Strike Up the Band/S'Wonderful/Fascinatin' Rhythm 
Warsaw Concerto 
From This Moment On 
Close to You 
For All We Know 
Top of the World 
Ticket to Ride 
Only Yesterday 
I Won't Last a Day Without You 
Hurting Each Other 
Please Mr. Postman 
Superstar 
Rainy Days and Mondays 
Goodbye to Love 
We've Only Just Begun

Carpenters Japan poster 1976

 

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1977

By 1977, Carpenters were awarded 11 gold records

With an 80 piece orchestra and 70-voice choir, began recording Christmas music in August in preparation for an upcoming television special, Carpenters At Christmas. They hoped to have an album ready for release at the initial airing of the television show. They did not complete the album in time so "The Christmas Song" became the single

Passage was released on September 23, 1977. A&M Records made promotional films of "Calling Occupants from Interplanetary Craft" and "All You Get From Love Is a Love Song." In Japan, initial orders for Passage were over 150,000 copies. 

Karen and Richard taped "Carpenters Very First Television Special" in four days at the end of September and early October.

Carpenters began using a digital delay tape loop echo system in concert to suggest their multiple overdubbing.

"Sweet Sweet Smile" was the first song by Carpenters to chart on Billboard's Country Chart. 

"Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" was nominated for the Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals.

 

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1978

On September 4, 1978, Carpenters played their last concert in Las Vegas.

Singles 1974-1978 was released in England with a 300,000 pound national advertising campaign during November.

Richard Carpenter was the guest lecturer at USC's Popular Music Class. He talked about pop music history and how to merchandise a demo record. Richard was introduced for his willingness to record songs written by other people.

Recorded "Little Girl Blue" and "When I Fall in Love."

Christmas Portrait recording sessions began in August 1977. Fourteen months later, October 1978, they finished it. The lead vocal on "Merry Christmas Darling" was new. The album sold over 2 million copies.

In 1995, both Carpenters Christmas albums were repackaged as Christmas Collection.

Carpenters were named the best selling artist of the 1970s

CARPENTERS FINAL CONCERT DECEMBER 3, 1978

Cal State Long Beach Christmas Concert:

It's Christmas Time / Sleep Well, Little Children
Merry Christmas Darling
Silent Night
Close Encounters / Star Wars
Ave Maria

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1979

Karen Carpenter recorded her solo album finishing it in January 1980.

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CARPENTERS BIOGRAPHY

1981       1982       1983       1989

1980

Recording for Karen Carpenter's solo album ended in January. In May, she reluctantly shelved the album as it met resistance from Richard and A&M executives.

Recorded "The Rainbow Connection." It would be released in 1999 on As Time Goes By.

Also recorded "The Uninvited Guest," and "Kiss Me the Way You Did Last Night."

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1981

By 1981, Carpenters sold over 55 million records
In 1981, Carpenters were the artists with the most top singles by a duo according to Billboard.
Carpenters made promotional tours of Britain and Brazil.

Made In America was released on June 16. The album took a year to create. A&M Records made promotional films of "Touch Me When We're Dancing," "Those Good Old Dreams" and "Beechwood 4-5789."

 

Carpenters Official Biography 1981

 

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1982

Recorded "You're Enough" and "Now."

Karen's last recording session was in April 1982. The last track she recorded was the song "Now. "
 

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1983

Karen passed away on February 4, 1983.

Carpenters were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Voice of the Heart was released on October 17, 1983.

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GALLERY 1984-1989

CARPENTERS BIOGRAPHY

In 1997, Billboard reported Carpenters were the artists who had the most #1 singles (15) on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Karen Carpenter was named the #29 of 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll by VH1 in 1999.

 

Interpretations press release
Carpenters Perform Carpenter press release
Singles 1969-1981 press release
Gold 35th Anniverssary Edition press release
If I Were a Carpenter press release

 

In 2008 Karen Carpenter was named the #94 of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time by Rolling Stone

 

40/40 press release

 

Historic New Album Pairs Carpenters' Original Pop Masterpieces with Richard Carpenter Conducting His Own New Arrangements Recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios

LOS ANGELES and LONDON, Nov. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Carpenters are getting the royal treatment. Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is set for release worldwide December 7 by A&M/UMe. Featuring timeless hits and favorites, the album pairs Carpenters' original vocal and instrumental tracks with new orchestral arrangements from Carpenter, conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) at Abbey Road Studios. It is available now for preorder in digital, CD and 180-gram 2LP vinyl LP formats. The vinyl set will be released February 8.

With their 1970 chart breakthroughs of "(They Long To Be) Close to You" and "We've Only Just Begun," Richard and Karen Carpenter set a new standard for melodic pop that has never been surpassed. With over 100 million in sales, Carpenters are among the all-time most successful artists in recording history. The long hit list also includes "Rainy Days And Mondays," "Top of the World," "Yesterday Once More" and "Superstar."

On the heels of RPO successes with Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison and The Beach Boys, Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra marks the first time the series has the actual artist playing key roles in the recording process. Richard Carpenter served as the album's producer, arranger and conductor.

"I think that's what makes it very special: the fact that it's his music and he knows it and that he was there from the start," says Royal Philharmonic orchestral manager Ian Maclay. "It's not somebody else interpreting, which is what normally happens."

The fusion of Richard's production genius, the duo's harmonies and Karen's immortal vocals make Carpenters both endearing and enduring.

In 2016, Carpenters returned to the UK album charts, climbing to No. 2 with the compilation The Nation's Favourite Carpenters Songs. 2017 saw the release of the best-selling 12LP Carpenters Vinyl Collection. And, stateside alone, nearly six million watched last month's season opener of "American Horror Story: Apocalypse," which prominently featured The Carpenters' 1977 global hit, "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognized Anthem Of World Contact Day)."

Starting today, the first two tracks from Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, "Yesterday Once More" and "Merry Christmas, Darling," are available for streaming and immediate download with digital-album preorder. On November 16, "Ticket To Ride" will become available. Preorder Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra here.

Watch / embed a brief trailer video for Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestrahere.

August 13-16, 2018, Richard Carpenter and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra convened in Studio 2 at Universal Music Group's Abbey Road Studios in London, the storied room where The Beatles, Pink Floyd and other legendary artists have recorded some of the world's most cherished music.

Richard and the RPO recorded the new arrangements to complement the original recordings of Carpenters' core band, including vocals and drums by Karen, keyboards and vocals by Richard, woodwinds by Bob Messenger and guitar by Tony Peluso. 

The Carpenters' original recordings also feature a who's who of guest musicians, including Joe Osborn on bass, Hal Blaine on drums, Chuck Findlay on trumpet, Earle Dumler on oboe, Tommy Morgan on harmonica, Buddy Emmons on pedal steel and Tom Scott and Doug Strawn on sax. 

Hear them again, for the first time, on Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which many Carpenters fans consider the duo's 15th studio album, and a must-have addition to their collections. It's the first time since 2001's As Time Goes By that a full album of newly released material has been made available.

The project gave Carpenter the opportunity to set his classics on a larger stage. While he calls the original "(They Long To Be) Close to You" a "perfect record, everything about it," he had to resist the temptation an arranger faces when given the arsenal of a 70-plus piece orchestra.

"'Close to You' called for a sparse string arrangement," Carpenter explains, adding that he would have liked to have had more players, for a richer sound, had he been given the resources. "In the second and third verses, it sounded a bit thin, because there are only 10 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."

Other early Carpenters classics, such as "We've Only Just Begun" and "Merry Christmas, Darling," were treated similarly: orchestrations expanded, but with restraint. 

"There have been more than a few times when I have thought, 'I wish I could have a second crack at that,'" Carpenter says. "And there were places where things could be augmented without overdoing it. That's the trick."

The essential Carpenters singles can be heard on Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which also delivers beloved album cuts including "I Just Fall in Love Again" and "This Masquerade" -- chart hits for, respectively, Anne Murray and George Benson, but songs recorded years earlier by The Carpenters. "These refreshed tracks more than ever showcase Karen's remarkable voice," Richard says. "And that to me was reason number one for undertaking the project.   

The Carpenter Sound, like you've never heard before, on Carpenters with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

 

Carpenters, by the numbers:

--Since signing with A&M Records in 1969, Carpenters have sold well over 100 million units worldwide.

--Carpenters rank as the top-selling American recording act of the '70s.

--The Singles: 1969-1973 topped the Billboard Pop Albums chart. It has been certified seven-times platinum in the US alone. In the UK, the album reached No. 1 for 17 (non-consecutive) weeks.

--Carpenters earned 12 Grammy nominations and three wins. Two Carpenters recordings have been inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame: "(They Long To Be) Close to You" and "We've Only Just Begun."

--Carpenters rank No. 3 on the list of best-selling international music acts in Japan, behind only Mariah Carey and The Beatles. The Carpenter's 1995 greatest hits album, Twenty-Two Hits Of The Carpenters, has sold more than 3 million units in Japan, making it the highest-ever selling international music album in Japan. 

 

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

In 1946, Sir Thomas Beecham set out to create a world-class ensemble from the finest musicians in the UK. Beecham envisioned an orchestra that would bring the greatest music to audiences across the world and, to this day, Beecham's legacy lives on: the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Over the years, the RPO has become a byword for exceptional quality and versatility, undertaking a diverse range of activities from traditional programs in concert halls to classical spectaculars and crossover concerts in arenas. The Orchestra is London-based and performs regularly at the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall and Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, as well as undertaking a busy schedule of UK concerts, international tours, recordings for CDs, films and television, as well as community and education work. For more information, visit www.rpo.co.uk.