Differences between album versions.

As Compact Disc technology grew in the 1980s, A&M Records naturally sought to get its popular LPs out in the new format. Carpenters, being one of the premiere acts on the label, were given pretty much a full catalog release over a few years. Some of the tracks on those CDs differed from what had been placed on the older LPs, and because of that, in the late 1990s another full set of Carpenters CDs was released called the Remastered Classics series in the US. In other countries it had a slightly different name, but basically any of the original albums mastered after 1998 are closer in sound to the original LPs.

Many fans bought entire new sets of Carpenters CDs when the remasters came out, abandoning their old A&M discs for the new ones. As it turns out, there are a few prizes to be found on the old A&M discs, so this article will attempt to help the reader determine how to identify the old versions from the newer ones. As with anything Carpenters-related, there will be exceptions, particularly when it comes to international releases. This article will concentrate on the home country’s releases (USA).

The Remastered Classics all generally have a couple of things in common. First off, the packaging has a clear spine with the words “REMASTERED CLASSICS” showing through.  Another is that the discs themselves are all black-faced, with a red Carpenters logo and A&M logo (with “a PolyGram company” underneath), with silver printing for the titles and copyright/catalog info. The third album, CARPENTERS, has a misspelling of its title above the logo saying, “CAREPENTERS”. All Remastered Classics also have catalog numbers that start with 82839.

Original A&M CDs can be identified by the following guidelines. Note that individual early CDs may have been pressed in the USA, Japan, or West Germany for the US releases, so your individual disc may differ from someone else’s. Sonic differences are also noted:

OFFERING/TICKET TO RIDE –  catalog number CD 4205, UPC 7502-14205-2. Booklet insert is identical to the Remastered Classic version. Back insert will have the catalog number in the upper left corner. A&M and Compact Disc logo in bottom center.

–          SONIC DIFFERENCES: none

CLOSE TO YOU – catalog number CD 3184, UPC 7502-13184-2. Booklet insert is identical to the Remastered Classic version. Back insert will have the catalog number in the upper left corner. A&M logo on rear will have “RECORDS” below the box. Compact Disc logo will be on bottom right.

–          SONIC DIFFERENCES: none

CARPENTERS (tan album) – catalog number CD 3502, UPC 7502-13502-2. Booklet is nearly identical with the Remastered Classic version. The older booklet may have a DX number printed on the rear, depending on country of manufacture. Back insert will have the catalog number in the upper left corner. A&M logo on rear will have “RECORDS” below the box.

–          SONIC DIFFERENCES:  original CD will have both “Rainy Days And Mondays” and “Superstar” in their 1985 remix form. Remastered Classics will be identical to the original LP.

A SONG FOR YOU – catalog number CD 3511, UPC 7502-13511-2. Booklet on the older disc is sparse with just track listing and credits inside. After the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs release, a newer pressing had all of the lyrics and little pictures included in the booklet. Those early 90s discs are sonically identical to the MFSL release. Back insert on the oldest A&M release will have the catalog number in the upper left corner. A&M logo will have “RECORDS” below the box. Compact Disc logo will be on lower right.

–          SONIC DIFFERENCES:  original version will have the following: “Top Of The World (1973 single version)”, “Flat Baroque (faster)”, “Piano Picker (faster)”, “I Won’t Last a Day Without You (1974 Single mix, fast)”. Remastered Classics will be identical to the original LP.

NOW & THEN – catalog number CD 3519, UPC 7502-13519-2. Booklet insert is identical to the Remastered Classic version. Back insert will have the catalog number in the upper left corner. A&M logo will have “RECORDS” below the box. Compact Disc logo will be on lower right.

–          SONIC DIFFERENCES: the original CD has a finished-off single version of “Yesterday Once More” while the Remastered Classics version is the slightly unfinished album version from the original LP.

SINGLES 1969-1973 – catalog number CD 3601, oldest release will not have a UPC. Slightly newer pressings would have a UPC of 7502-13601-2. The older insert is a trifold with song lyrics inside. The Remastered Classics version is a booklet with eight pages of liner notes in addition to the lyrics. The front cover of the original version has an added A&M logo in the lower left corner and a Compact Disc logo on the lower right. These are missing on later editions. The rear has the A&M Records logo and Compact Disc logo at the bottom, while the Remastered Classics has those at the top right.

–          SONIC DIFFERENCES:  the original CD will have the trilogy that concludes the old side one in a slightly sped-up version. “For All We Know” will sound a little brighter on the original CD.

HORIZON – catalog number CD 4530, UPC 7502-14530-2. Print in the insert booklet is identical between the original and Remastered Classics version, but the paper used in the original is a flat surface. The Remastered Classics inside pages are glossy. Rear inserts are similar. Look for the Polygram version of the logo on the newer issue, and the old A&M RECORDS logo on the original.

–          SONIC DIFFERENCES:  mostly none, but there is word that the Remastered version from Germany has a click in “Love Me For What I Am”.

A KIND OF HUSH – catalog number CD 3197, UPC 7502-13197-2. Booklet insert is identical to the Remastered Classic version. Back insert will have the catalog number in the upper left corner. A&M and Compact Disc logo in bottom center.

–          SONIC DIFFERENCES:  the original CD will have a 1985 remix for the title track, removing the two synth stabs at :50; “You” will be slightly sped-up; “I Need To Be In Love” will be the single version without the longer piano intro; “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” will have some cymbal hits early in the track removed.

PASSAGE – catalog number CD 3199, UPC 7502-13199-2. Booklet insert is identical to the Remastered Classic version. Back insert will have the catalog number in the upper left corner. A&M logo will have “RECORDS” below the box.

–          SONIC DIFFERENCES:  the older A&M CD is a bit brighter in the highs of several tracks, otherwise identical.

MADE IN AMERICA – catalog number  CD 3723, UPC 7502-13197-2. Booklet insert is identical to the Remastered Classic version. Back insert will have the catalog number in the upper left corner. A&M logo will have “RECORDS” below the box.

–          SONIC DIFFERENCES: the older A&M CD has a bit more of a delay in starting each track, otherwise identical. “Those Good Old Dreams” is the single mix on both discs, differing from the LP mix with the extra synth parts.

VOICE OF THE HEART – catalog number  CD-4954, oldest release will not have a UPC. Slightly newer pressings would have a UPC of 7502-14954-2. Booklet insert is identical to the Remastered Classic version. Back insert will have the catalog number at the bottom next to a nearly centered A&M RECORDS logo.

–          SONIC DIFFERENCES: none

LOVELINES – catalog number CD 3931, UPC 7502-13931-2. Booklet insert is identical to the Remastered Classic version. A&M logo will have “RECORDS” below the box.

–          SONIC DIFFERENCES: none