WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIFORNIA —
Carpenters fans have a dozen reasons to be on top of the world this week.
Nearly 30 years since the last LP album of new Carpenters material was released, remastered vinyl versions of 12 of the duo's albums will be released Friday, offering fans clearer versions of tracks including the pop classics "We've Only Just Begun" and "Top of the World."
A&M/UMe will be selling the albums individually, as well as in the box set, Carpenters — The Vinyl Collection.
"I know there's been interest in it, certainly for the audiophiles, ever since the CD [format] came out, because a number of people, of course, believe that CDs aren't as warm [sounding]," Richard Carpenter said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press at his home earlier this week.
The new Carpenters releases are made to accommodate those with pricey sound systems. Each record is pressed on extra-hefty 180g vinyl, which is less prone to warping and offers potential benefits such as less noise.
Vinyl is no longer just for audiophiles. Records are expected to generate approximately $1 billion in sales for the first time since the 1980s, representing about six percent of all global music revenues, according to a January report by Deloitte.
Carpenter, 71, has collected records since childhood and said he was delighted by vinyl's resurgence.
Carpenters has been a best-selling recording act ever since its 1970 breakthrough "Close to You" and remains popular. The duo's music last year climbed to No. 2 on the UK pop-album chart with the compilation "The Nation's Favourite Songs," tied to the popular TV series.
Carpenter has spent most of his life following sister Karen's 1983 death from complications of anorexia nervosa, as caretaker of the Carpenters legacy — preserving the integrity of the Carpenters brand and recordings, and assuring the estate is compensated. (In January, he filed a $2 million lawsuit against A&M/UMe for non-payment of royalties — a case settled in May.)
After Karen's death, Carpenter produced four albums of unreleased Carpenters recordings, as well as numerous compilations. He recorded two solo albums, oversaw the release of his sister's long-unreleased solo album and produced albums for others. He performs occasional concerts and is active in humanitarian efforts.
Carpenter didn't directly oversee the remastering process, but had to approve every LP.
The essential differences between the original albums and the new releases have "the audio quality of the originals, with [fewer] pops, clicks and all the other stuff that comes along with them."
Carpenter said he rarely listens to Carpenters recordings for pleasure. "I've heard our stuff plenty," he said, chuckling.
"Friends will look at the records in my jukebox and ask, 'Where are yours?'" he recalled.
He said he does, on occasion, pull out a personal Carpenters favorite. Among them: the 1971 smash, "For All We Know."
The process of approving the remastered albums required him to go back and reflect on the works he and his sister produced — some as long as 50 years ago.
His take away?
"Just how marvelously talented Karen was," Carpenter said. "Karen was a true, an honest-to-God singer. Before any auto-tuning, or anything else, that's us. And, so, really, especially Karen's voice. But the whole Carpenters sound is, I hope, appreciated for just how marvelous it is."