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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

Report as inappropriate
Kudos to the talented, remarkable Karen Carpenter. Her music will live on in so "many" of our lives. ❤️
Report as inappropriate
What a beautiful song, it forever sounds fresh!
Report as inappropriate
My very first concert. Miss you Karen
Report as inappropriate
gary.jsam
Why did you have to leave us God will tell me some day
Report as inappropriate
I love your voice karen
Report as inappropriate
THEIR MUSIC WAS THE LOVE OF MY LIFES FAVORITE AND WE CALLED THEM OUR MUSIC,, ALL OF THEIR WORKS REMIND ME OF THOSE EARLY 70 MEMORIES. THEY ARE MISSED SO
Report as inappropriate
I think she had the best voice ever. Miss it so much after all these years.
Report as inappropriate
"Close to you" makes me think of my son jarred.this song is for you.:)
Report as inappropriate
jpr032762
No autotune required. Always reminds of my childhood in the late 60s and early 70s.
Report as inappropriate
I miss her, miss her beautiful voice.
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Love her voice. She is missed.
Report as inappropriate
Always a soothing voice
Report as inappropriate
Have always called Patsy Cline "The Voice". However, Karen's voice is a voice you always know. I never have to check to make sure. So beautiful!!
Report as inappropriate
Wish i had her voice.
Report as inappropriate
bigred12476
I Adore her voice
Report as inappropriate
What a voice...!!! She will never be forgotten...
Report as inappropriate
Gone to soon
Report as inappropriate
She had a beautiful voice maybe she is singing to my two baby boys that are in heaven. I always enjoyed the Carpenters no one can ever place Karen voice . Today's music I won't even call it music this is real music
Report as inappropriate
Her voice is like velvet.
Report as inappropriate
johnson.elen e r 4
I love her voice.
Report as inappropriate
lbleeke6
I love Karen's voice. I listen to her all the time.
Report as inappropriate
One of my very favorite female voices of all-time!
Report as inappropriate
One of a handful of outstanding female voices that this country has ever produced. Today's so-called 'singers' can't even approach the beauty of her sound.
Report as inappropriate
liskrop
When I hear her voice, I think of angels.
Report as inappropriate
hlore58
Back then was such a beautiful genre of music. 70's was the best, no doubt. She and her brother were such huge music stars then.
Report as inappropriate
griffin.ther e s a 6 0
Karen's voice brings back all the great memories of growing up in that time and of love we all look for
Report as inappropriate
Too bad she can't send in more tunes.. She and her brother were totally unique. We shall not see her like again.
Report as inappropriate
There is an angel in Heaven.
Report as inappropriate
forren6
There hasn't been a voice like hers yet. She was one of a kind.
Report as inappropriate
Right now God is listening to beautiful Karen Carpenter in heaven. Our ears have been blessed to have had heard her heavenly voice and thank God for recordings.
Report as inappropriate
sb.panniello
Karen's voice is hauntingly beautiful.
Report as inappropriate
kevinjacobso n 5 5
The best in beauty and talent we will never hear again. Rest in peace
sweet one !





























































r
Report as inappropriate
The Carpenters were part of my life growing up and I remember watching them on TV and she was playing the drums. I thought that was so cool. I remember when she died, I wondered if Richard ever recovered from her death.
Report as inappropriate
I am so sorry she died this way. there has to be answers to eating disorders. what an amazing voice, still touching peoples lives today. RIP KAREN. I still have tears.
Report as inappropriate
The perfect carpenters song. Karen sounded so perfect.
Report as inappropriate
syrabisue1
Those were the days!!!
Report as inappropriate
OMG...what a voice...dept h , tone, perfection.. . . w h e n we lost her, we lost one of the world's greatest talents....R I P , Karen...
Report as inappropriate
reading all the comments that preceded this one, i realize i have little to add except to say her voice always sounded to me like a the ringing of a bell: as clear as the pure sound you get when you strike the finest crystal. and the odd thing is: she was originally the drummer for the band and had to be persuaded to start singing.
Report as inappropriate
beakmanbob
Karen Carpenter could sing anything and make it beautiful! Like Sinatra, Streisand, and others her delivery and the arrangements make her one of the best ever.
Report as inappropriate
Super!
Report as inappropriate
She is an angel and we were all blessed to have heard her sing for us.
Report as inappropriate
Karen, play the drums so well and softly...alw a y s in my HEART....
Report as inappropriate
Karen, this is my favorite ...you are the #1...Sesame Street 1970...I love n Miss U Always Karen....Dan e
Report as inappropriate
She will never be forgotten ! Through her music and her fans. Great music lives on ! I believe that she is a true angle ! RIP Karen !
Report as inappropriate
Such a sad way for a person to leave this world. We will always love her beautiful voice and think about her.
Report as inappropriate
������love her voice is no replace����
Report as inappropriate
sjndhs
LOVE YOU KAREN.... still can't believe your gone. Remember when I heard the bad news!!
Report as inappropriate
The Good Lord broke The Mold with Karen and her Angelic Voice !! What a Singular Talent, Talk about a Dream come True !! I Miss her Terribly ..xoxo
Report as inappropriate
waltersolorz a n o
most beautiful female voice ever !!
Report as inappropriate
Karen, miss U everyday...l o v e always..my older brother and I.New Englander
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