NEW YORK • If you have a Carpenters' greatest hits album, listen to one track, Yesterday Once More. Can you hear an air-conditioner murmur at the start?
Few fans know that, but Richard Carpenter, 72, one half of the famous pop duo, has now corrected that sonic irritation - at least to his discerning ears.
The brother of Karen, whose poignant voice anchored a batch of Carpenters hits from We've Only Just Begun (1970) to Rainy Days And Mondays (1971), has twiddled with the song arrangements after he was invited by Universal to do a new album of the classics.
That allowed him to erase some imperfections that came from pressure to release music under a tight deadline at the height of their fame, and also give the songs a fuller sound from working with an orchestra.
The new release - Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - debuted at No. 52 on the American Billboard chart last month and came in at No. 8 in Britain. A vinyl release is on the cards next month.
But Richard, who conducted the 80-piece orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London, was disciplined enough not to go overboard with changes.
The voice of Karen - who died of complications from anorexia in 1983 at 32 - was more than enough, he knew, for fans to feel on Top Of The World with the new album.