Wednesday, March 19, 2008

ROCKIN' with Richard and Karen Carpenter

(above) The Carpenters' NOW & THEN (1973), their fifth album.
Richard (driving) and Karen in Richard's 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona.
(above) the full album tri-fold. The Carpenters lived at this house in Downey, CA.

(above) photographer Jim McCrary scouting the location just before moving the cars.

(above) Richard and Karen, who lived at home with their parents, Harold and Agnes

(above) the car on the cover: a Ferrari 365 GTB/4, unofficially the Ferrari Daytona
(above) inside
(above) the celebrated V-12 / 4OHC
(above) Richard, more recently, with his 2004 Ferrari 575M
(above and below) some of Richard's personal car collection, housed in a building
he named after the Carpenters' hit single off the album,"Yesterday Once More."

Here's the story, written by Bob Pool, first published 2-16-08 in the Los Angeles Times (and then widely syndicated), that prompted this blog.
"Fans love Carpenters, not carpenters"
"We've only just begun . . . to learn what is happening to the Downey family home that was made world-famous by the pop duo the Carpenters. The five-bedroom tract house and a smaller next-door dwelling that was connected to it by an enclosed walkway was where Richard and Karen Carpenter fine-tuned their greatest hits in the 1970s.
"The pair lived in the main house with their parents. The adjoining house was something of an annex, where there was an office, rehearsal studio, and recreation room. The Newville Avenue compound became a magnet for fans around the world when it was pictured on the Carpenters' tri-fold cover for their 1973 hit album NOW & THEN. It's also where an anorexic Karen Carpenter collapsed in 1983 before dying.
"The pair's parents remained in the residence until Harold Carpenter's death in 1988 and Agnes Carpenter's in 1996. Richard Carpenter sold the place in mid-1977. Tiring of a nonstop parade of fans paying homage to Karen Carpenter and her and her brother's music, the compound's current owners have torn down the annex and begun construction on a larger house. They've also submitted plans to Downey city officials for the replacement of the 39-year-old main house.
"Fans are outraged. "This house is our version of Graceland," said Carpenters aficionado Jon Konjoyan, a 57-year-old Toluca Lake music writer and promoter who is leading a campaign to save the remaining original house from destruction. Konjoyan was a young man in 1974 when he and his brother first made a pilgrimage to the Newville Avenue home. From 1981 to 1990 he worked for the Carpenters' label, A & M Records.
""When they photographed the 'NOW & THEN' cover here in 1973, the house was instantly immortalized," Konjoyan said. "Actually, when the photographer (Jim McCrary) had come to the house to shoot the cover, they didn't know what to do. McCrary said, 'Why not get in the car and drive by?' So they did. "They used Richard's red Ferrari. People probably thought it was a Pinto," Konjoyan said.""
NOW & THEN was the Carpenters' fifth album, released on May 9, 1973. Side "B" featured an oldies medley. The LP rose to #2 on Billboard's album charts and was ranked by Cashbox as the year's 20th most successful album.
Richard, a car collector for many years (see photos above), apparently spontaneously elected to use his new Ferrari 365 GTB/4, known as the Ferrari Daytona, for the album photoshoot.
Richard's collection has included: a 1956 Chrysler 300-B; a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette; a 1957 Ford Thunderbird; a 1959 Chrysler 300-E; a 1959 DeSoto Adventurer; a 1959 Plymouth Sport Fury; a 1960 Chrysler 300-F; a 1960 Dodge Polara; a 1962 Thunderbird Factory-Sports roadster; a 1962 Plymouth Sport Fury; a 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix; a 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2; a 1964 Thunderbird; a 1965 Plymouth Satellite; a 1966 Corvette Sting Ray; a 1967 Pontiac GTO; a 1965 Buick Riviera; a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T; a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda 'Cuda; a 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III; a 1971 Plymouth Roadrunner; a 1972 MGB; the 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4, and a 2000 Plymouth Prowler.
Here're Richard's thoughts on the making of NOW & THEN.
"As the time approached for recording our fifth album, Karen and I once again were not left with enough time to produce it in as relaxed an atmosphere as possible, given all that was going on in our lives. I, especially, was not happy, as it was my job to audition, select and/or compose, as well as arrange, the music for our recordings. I always believed that the Carpenters were first and foremost a record act; all of the success stemmed from the popularity of the records, so management should have placed the utmost importance on the recording process, not on excessive touring.
"At any rate, as the limited time we had to record the album approached, it was clear to me that we had only enough [new] material to complete one side of an LP, and even that was by completing a track we had recorded in 1972, Hank Williams' "Jambalaya." Fortunately, we had an ace up our collective sleeve, resulting in a damn good album which became a worldwide best-seller. Karen and I had introduced an oldies medley into our concert show starting in the summer of 1972, and it met with such an enthusiastic response I decided to feature a version of it on side two. It was around this time that certain radio stations were changing their formats to all oldies. I thought my songwriting partner and I should write a song that would reflect this fact, which would also set-up the medley. "Yesterday Once More" was the result, and it became our biggest worldwide hit. Tony Peluso guests as a DJ, and the medley was constructed as a Top 40 radio program."
The Ferrari Daytona is a Gran Turismo automobile produced from 1968 to 1973. It was first introduced to the public at the Paris Auto Salon in 1968 and replaced the 275 GTB/4. Although it was also a Pininfarina design (by Leonardo Fioravanti), the Daytona was radically different. For one, its sharp-edged styling resembled a Lamborghini more than a traditional Pininfarina Ferrari. The "Daytona" nickname conjured up Ferrari's 1-2-3 success in the February, 1967 24 Hours of Daytona race with its 330P4 racecar.
Unlike Lamborghini's new [allegedly 170-mph] Miura, released at that same time, the Daytona was a traditional, front-engined, rear-drive car. It was replaced by the mid-engined 365 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer in 1973. Today, critics say, "the Daytona represents the last of the great front-engine Ferrari GT's before this layout was revived in the 1990s."
In 1971, the Daytona gained notoriety when a Sunoco Blue-color example was driven by racing legend Dan Gurney and former Car and Driver editor Brock Yates from New York to Los Angeles in 35 hours, 54 minutes (2,876 miles at an average speed of 80.1 mph) to win the inaugural Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. The two drivers claim to have driven the car to 180 mph on the backroads of Arizona, en route. "Both reported [the Daytona] to be rock solid the entire trip, even at that elevated speed." In 2004, the Daytona was voted "top sports car of the 1970s" by Sports Car International magazine. Similarly, Motor Trend Classic named the 365 GTB/4 as number two in their list of the ten "Greatest Ferraris of all time." The Daytona also gained new notoriety in the 1980s when it appeared [as a replica built on a Corvette chassis] in the first two seasons of NBC's hit television series, Miami Vice. "Officially," the Daytona carried a top speed of 174 mph, and could go 0-62 mph in 5.5 seconds.


Joseph Carpenter said...

Someone good with my surname!

excellent blog Paul.


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DPSF said...

Richard sold the house in 1997, not 1977.

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