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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, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Close to You: I love the Carpenters' music. :-)
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Thank you for all of your beautiful music! RIP
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Miss you
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allisonvaugh n 2 4
I maybe 12 but I want this to be my wedding song. I love you Karen!!!! Rest In Peace.
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Bless The Beast and The Children: I love this song. there was a movie that this song went with by the same name as the song that featured the Billy Jack actor. It was very good. It was made in the early 70s. I haven't seen it since. Good song. Good movie. I think everyone needs to listen to this song and take it to heart. Thank you. PEACE b :-)
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It's Going To Take Some Time: EXACTLY.
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dragonlady60 8 8
rip Karen
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Superstar Medley: I love the Carpenters.
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Brings back memories of my childhood listening to this music sharing headphones with my cousin! My aunt and uncle were huge fans and because of them we were too! Love them!!!
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albriz68
The soundtrack of my childhood. My mother was a number one fan and played their music all the time. Acted as if her sister died when Karen passed. Every song means something to me and I too have shared it with my kids.
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toddsliberto
The voice of an angel
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Y...D.D..... .
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blueyedmom00 7
Karen Carpenter, what a voice!!! I agree with what all of u have said about how much their music meant and how Karen left us, too early.
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faithful.fay
I grew up singing with the Carpenters and have a full appreciation of their blending voices and beautiful melody that played with them. When Karen died I was heartbroken that we would never have another Carpenter song with her voice- how tragic for all of us, especially Richard. I have made sure that my children have good appreciation for this style music as well as the current and thankfully they are fans as well.
Report as inappropriate
Got a minute ? There's a church that was built and they need monetary donations to help cover expenses , the church is Saint Patrick church - 1046 E. 34 th street Los Angeles California 90011 - (323) 232- 8756 ( 323) 234- 5963 - Pastor Rev. Timothy Dyer - Jesus is God :)
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I've always loved there music! She left us way to soon ! RIP Karen
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With the first notes of 'Close To You' we knew the Carpenters were going to be special and they were. So much great music they made...and memories. We lost Karen far too soon. I love their songs more than ever.
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pellicano1
We've almost just begin is one of my favorites. Reminds me of when my husband and I got married on April 2, 1970, almost 45 years ago. Love the Carpenters Music.
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jmdoogan3
Beautiful after all these yrs
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So sweet, I've loved Karen's singing for over 40 years !
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Beautiful voice. So smooth.
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a style to study. should be a college course..
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sassyone1951
THERE WILL NEVER BE A VOICE LIKE KAREN CARPENTER'S EVER.!!!!!!! ! ! !
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Definitely Beautiful:) Elegance!
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So sad illoved her
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rosannasavar i n o 9
It is true so true tomorrow it will be late we don't know when we will
Meet again
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we still miss Karen clean voice!
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My old time fave.
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Amazing Vocals, Simply Beautiful:)
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Yeah. .where are the lyrics
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a shame she had to die.
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Christopher Michael you should be ashamed
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Some people are sick puppies! Christopher Michael

Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorow will be the best day of your life however if you don't post this you will die in two days. Now you started reading this so don't stop . This is so scary put this on at least 5songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works
Report as inappropriate
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorow will be the best day of your life however if you don't post this you will die in two days. Now you started reading this so don't stop . This is so scary put this on at least 5songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works
Report as inappropriate
So many great voices are gone. Karen is on that list
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Karen's voice just brings back so many memories....
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jlponthieux1
My favorite singer. So sad that she died so young.
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I love Karen!!!
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We've only just begun my wedding song! He now listens to her up in heaven also went way too early
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Just something about their music instantly brings calm. Karen was the epitomy of elegance and grace
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No voice could compare to Karen Carpenter's!
She was an under-rated drummer also though a lot of the recordings were done with session drummers she could play them quite well on her own. Gone way too soon!
Report as inappropriate
Remember the lost and the time we did certainly enjoyed.she would have had it no other way.lost but deeply remembered.
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toddsliberto
Another wonderful TALENT with a voice of an angel taken away too soon....
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Gone way to soon.Tear up as it reminds me of a very dear lost love.We listened to The Carpenters all the time.
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There is no other and will never be another Karen carpenter will alway be missed the music will never grow old love ballots
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I was a huge fan of the Carpenters. Saw them three times in concert. The last time Karen was so awfully thin, but her voice was still dynamic. I can remember hearing on the radio the day she passed away. Couldn't believe it. Their music was the top selling group in the 70's, a fact you don't hear much. Had For All We Know played at my recent wedding. Love them still.
Report as inappropriate
Saw her in a concert in Japan! One of the best I have seen. Miss her.
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WHAT A BEAUTIFUL ENDEARING SONG!!!!
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kimikokob
Why don't I get the lyrics?
Report as inappropriate
Imagine how sad it must be for your own sister to die young... And I WANT MY GOSH DARN LYRICS BACK
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