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Carpenters

With their light, airy melodies and meticulously crafted, clean arrangements that appealed to a variety of audiences, the Carpenters stood in direct contrast with the excessive, gaudy pop/rock of the '70s; yet they became one of the most popular artists of the decade, scoring 12 Top Ten hits, including three number one singles. Karen Carpenter's calm, pretty voice was the most distinctive element of their music, settling in perfectly amidst the precise, lush arrangements provided by her brother Richard. Though their popularity began to fade as the '70s progressed, the duo continued to make music together until Karen's tragic death in 1983.

The Carpenters formed in the late '60s in Downey, California, after their family moved from their native New Haven, Connecticut. Richard had played piano with a cocktail jazz trio in a handful of local Connecticut nightclubs. Once the family had moved to California, he began to study piano while he supported Karen in a trio that featured Wes Jacobs (tuba/bass). With Jacobs and Richard forming her backup band, Karen was signed to the local California record label Magic Lamp, who released two unsuccessful singles by the singer. The trio won a Battle of the Bands contest at the Hollywood Bowl in 1966, which led to a record contract with RCA. Signing under the name the Richard Carpenter Trio, the group cut four songs that were never released. Jacobs left the band at the beginning of 1968.

Following Jacobs' departure, the siblings formed Spectrum with Richard's college friend John Bettis. Spectrum fell apart by the end of the year, but the Carpenters continued performing as a duo. The pair recorded some demos at the house of Los Angeles session musician Joe Osborn; the tape was directed toward Herb Alpert, the head of A&M Records, who signed the duo to his record label in early 1969.

Offering, the Carpenters' first album, was released in November 1969. Neither Offering nor the accompanying single, a cover of the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride," made a big impression. However, the Carpenters' fortunes changed with their second single, a version of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "(They Long to Be) Close to You." Taken from the album Close to You, the single became the group's first number one, spending four weeks on the top of the U.S. charts. "Close to You" became an international hit, beginning a five-year period where the duo was one of the most popular recording acts in the world. During that period the Carpenters won two Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist of 1970, and had an impressive string of Top Ten hits, including "Rainy Days and Mondays," "Superstar," "Hurting Each Other," "Goodbye to Love," "Yesterday Once More," and "Top of the World."

After 1975's number four hit "Only Yesterday," the group's popularity began to decline. For the latter half of the '70s, the duo were plagued by personal problems. Richard had become addicted to prescription drugs; in 1978, he entered a recovery clinic, kicking his habit. Karen, meanwhile, became afflicted with anorexia nervosa, a disease she suffered from for the rest of her life. On top of their health problems, the group's singles had stopped reaching the Top Ten and by 1978, they weren't even reaching the Top 40. Consequently, Karen decided to pursue a solo career, recording a solo album in 1979 with Phil Ramone; the record was never completed and she returned to the Carpenters later that year. The reunited duo released their last album of new material, Made in America, in 1981. The album marked a commercial comeback, as "Touch Me When We're Dancing" made it to number 16 on the charts. However, Karen's health continued to decline, forcing the duo out of the spotlight. On February 4, 1983, Karen was found unconscious at her parents' home in Downey; she died in the hospital that morning from a cardiac arrest, caused by her anorexia.

After Karen's death, Richard Carpenter concentrated on production work and assembling various compilations of the Carpenters' recorded work. In 1987, he released a solo album called Time, which featured guest appearances by Dusty Springfield and Dionne Warwick. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection

1. Yesterday Once More

2. I Need To Be In Love

3. Please Mr. Postman

4. Bless The Beasts And The Children

5. This Masquerade

6. I Just Fall In Love Again

7. I Believe You

8. Top Of The World

9. Love Is Surrender

10. Maybe It's You

11. Only Yesterday

12. Goodbye To Love

x

Track List: As Time Goes By

1. Without A Song

3. Nowhere Man

5. Dancing In The Street

6. Dizzy Fingers

7. You're Just In Love

10. Leave Yesterday Behind

12. California Dreamin'

13. The Rainbow Connection

14. Hits Medley '76

x

Track List: Yesterday Once More

Disc 1

1. Yesterday Once More

2. Superstar

3. Rainy Days And Mondays

4. (Want You) Back In My Life Again

5. Ticket To Ride

6. Goodbye To Love

7. Bless The Beasts And Children

8. It's Going To Take Some Time

10. Sweet, Sweet Smile

11. I Won't Last A Day Without You

12. For All We Know

13. Touch Me When We're Dancing

Disc 2

1. I Just Fall In Love Again

2. This Masquerade

3. Hurting Each Other

4. Please Mr. Postman

5. I Need To Be In Love

6. Make Believe It's Your First Time

7. All You Get From Love Is A Love Song

8. Top Of The World

9. Because We Are In Love (The Wedding Song)

10. We've Only Just Begun

11. Those Good Old Dreams

12. Sing

13. Only Yesterday

14. (They Long To Be) Close To You

x

Track List: Carpenters: Love Songs

1. I Need To Be In Love

2. Solitaire

3. We've Only Just Begun

4. This Masquerade

5. You're The One

6. SuperStar

7. Rainy Days and Mondays

8. Top Of The World

9. Make Believe It's Your First Time

10. I Just Fall In Love Again

11. (They Long to Be) Close to You

12. For All We Know

13. Where Do I Go From Here?

14. Only Yesterday

15. All You Get From Love Is A Love Song

16. When I Fall In Love

17. Hurting Each Other

18. I Won't Last A Day Without You

19. A Song For You

20. Goodbye to Love

x

Track List: Horizon

1. Aurora

2. Only Yesterday

3. Desperado

4. Please Mr. Postman

5. I Can Dream, Can't I?

6. Solitaire

7. Happy

8. (I'm Caught Between) Goodbye And I Love You

9. Love Me For What I Am

10. Eventide

x

Track List: The Carpenters Now and Then

1. Sing

2. This Masquerade

3. Heather

4. Jambalaya (On The Bayou)

5. I Can't Make Music

6. Yesterday Once More

7. Fun, Fun, Fun

8. THe End of the World

9. Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)

10. Deadman's Curve

11. Johnny Angel

12. The Night Has A Thousand Eyes

13. Our Day Will Come

14. One Fine Day

15. Yesterday Once More (Reprise)

x

Track List: A Song For You

1. A Song For You

2. Top Of The World

3. Hurting Each Other

4. It's Going To Take Some Time

5. Goodbye To Love

6. Intermission

7. Bless The Beasts And Children

8. Flat Baroque

9. Piano Picker

10. I Won't Last A Day Without You

11. Crystal Lullaby

12. Road Ode

13. A Song For You (Reprise)

x

Track List: Carpenters

1. Rainy Days And Mondays

2. Saturday

3. Let Me Be The One

4. (A Place To) Hideaway

5. For All We Know

6. Superstar

7. Druscilla Penny

8. One Love

9. Medley

10. Sometimes

x

Track List: Close To You

1. We've Only Just Begun

2. Love Is Surrender

3. Maybe It's You

4. Reason To Believe

5. Help

6. Close To You

7. Baby It's You

8. I'll Never Fall ln Love Again

9. Crescent Noon

10. Mr. Guder

11. I Kept On Loving You

12. Another Song

x

Track List: Ticket To Ride

1. Invocation

2. Your Wonderful Parade

3. Someday

4. Get Together

5. All Of My Life

6. Turn Away

7. Ticket To Ride

8. Don't Be Afraid

9. What's The Use

10. All I Can Do

11. Eve

12. Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing

13. Benediction

Comments

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jeffrey.haas 2
RIP Karen. Your voice lives forever.
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So love her song
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Can you top as for sweetest voice not happen'in the compleat sound of love
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love them! so classic
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altrn2
here voice is so unique. Sad to lose someone that was talented.
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sweetness defined
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Forever in my heart
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They still sound good!
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What, Karen C....is the best!!!!!!!
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marykanaley
Don't read this you will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Don't stop. If you read this and ignore it you will have bad luck.
Post this on fifteen other stations and when you're done press the space bar and your crushes name will appear
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They broke the mold didn't they? Truly timeless...
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I used to play Rainy days and Mondays for my 2 daughters while driving them to the day care center. I LOVE HER VOICE !!!!!!!!!!! All during the 70's. It just has a calming affect. I HAVE A CASSETTE!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Talking about old school !!!!!!!!!! Perrie Holmes
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I still melt every time I hear Karen Carpenter's voice.
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I sang this song to my sister and her husband on there wedding day she had a voice of an angel and she is very much missed
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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
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Beautiful Soul and sang like an Angel .love all her music. many memories in my early years of marriage to my Beautiful Wife Irene of 43 yrs.
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aestrada223
'Please Mr Postman' makes me think of my Junior year in High School. Karen had such range and her voice just lifted your spirits. Great loss at such a young age. Thanks for the wonderful songs that spark great memories.
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itsmemelodee 2 2 2
Karen had the voice of an angel....pur e , crystal clear and amazing range. She has been my idol and inspiration for decades. I can remember where I was at the exact moment I heard of her death and I cried uncontrollab l y in the car as the radio announcer delivered the fateful news. We truly lost a musical icon. I will forever be her biggest fan. No one can compare to her raw talent before or since.
Report as inappropriate
tiapani
I know. It always makes me cry because she was so misunderstoo d . Anorexia didn't really have a face until her. But she had a magnificent voice ( this from a hard rock enthusiast) and she left behind a legacy no one can ever take from her. Richard who?
Report as inappropriate
Every time I heard Karen's voice I feel very verklempt... . . . s u c h a beautiful girl with a beautiful voice who felt so unloved and unworthy. From what I read her mother was very hard and criticized her. She was constantly looking for love and approval. Richard was the golden child. And while they are both talented in my humble opinion Karen was on a level all by herself. This world lost an angel when we lost her.
Report as inappropriate
The carpenter's are the and they will and always will be the best we lost the best band and we miss and always will miss Karen's Voice May God bless her and her heart and friends and family she will be missed by all love you Karen FOR ever.
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So many comments - a testimony of how timeless and how loved this song was and still is. Karen you are definitely missed in our hearts and minds.
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Won't last a day w/out you.
He gives abundant life.
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A very special incredible voice!
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marieabella1 7
❤❤❤❤❤❤
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dragonlady60 8 8
Does anyone realize how many Weddings this SONG was played at...RIP KAREN
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sexyladies19 6 9 6 9
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
Dear One.Septembe r . . . I agree 100%... they were truly a beautiful sibling duo. Isn't it just incredibly sad to not have that beautiful voice continue on over all of these years? I watched a You Tube special on them this past weekend. Amazing. You should try to watch it too.
Report as inappropriate
My all-time favorite singer is Karen Carpenter. I enjoy all the good singers, but if you listen closely, she will rise to the top.
I like it that she doesn't have an accent. Perhaps, this makes it sound pure. Her voice never gets old or annoying.
It was so effortless, for her to sing. I do want to recognize her talented brother! Without him, and his song writing abilities, there would be no Karen Carpenter. Such an amazing team!! Originally, he was the one with all the talent. Little did they kn
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I love this song
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dawghouse202 0
I've always loved The Carpenter's so
much. Still love listening to them to this day. Beautiful girl and an angelic voice. Such a shame she was taken way too soon. ��
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Love this classic. Beautifully written, beautifully preformed.
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I never understood why her family couldn't see (the anorexia) what was happening to Karen. It was all playing out before their eyes yet I never read any evidence that anyone ever tried to get her help! I always thought that her family members let her down. An angels voice gone way to soon!
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
As a musician (drums) for the last 47 years, she is an inspiration. When I hear her voice today, it still touches me....deeply . A remarkable musician, singer, and very tasty drummer. I love and miss it all My only regret is never seeing them live. RIP.
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Love Karen Carpenter. Love this song. Love this version of this song. What an incredible Voice she was blessed with.
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I love her voice. There will never be another singer like her. She is truly an angel and is missed
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markhall87
baby baby baby baby; oh baby
I love you
I really do

Lyric Worth
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Yes a beautiful voice that left us beautiful music from a beautiful woman. I have not heard anyone in recent years that even comes close to her talent. Definitely a sad story.
Report as inappropriate
So...would Karen make the cut on The Voice? No fancy trills. Just plain Solid Gold perfect pitch.
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felmachris
Beautiful music. Clean and crisp. What is wrong with that?
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felmachris
Gone way too soon. Voice of an angel.
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She brings me home...every time!
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I like this song because it reminds me of you the girls like me they like close to you and your blueeyes mimi
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What a shame she left us sooo soon.
She left us her angelical voice.
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The voice of an angel. Rock on forever.
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I on to be close to you love to see your eyes of blue mimi
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!!m still looking for my kiss tonight still waiting for you to give me your special kiss mimi
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I think this song reminds me of my best friends blue eyes they are beautiful mimi
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Seen them in concert 1976
Show more

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