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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
your an angel from all the girls in town they like your blue eyes just like me they like to be close to you my day doesn't start until I see you mimi
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arrowdave6
We had a Halloween decoration that looked like Karen. It used to scare the hell out of the kids around here. The wind finally got the best of it and we had to replace it with a Keith Richards poster.
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Oh the magic! Takes me right there like it was yesterday.
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Rip Karen. Love you so much.....
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aestrada223
For it to be yesterday once more for just a day, would be wonderful. Mary Lou I miss you my first love. I pray you have all in life that I wanted to give you. I forgive your father his bigoted attitude, he was just watching out for his little girl. How can you fault a man for that. Love you babe!
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Kook stuff

First time hearing them I was hooked...
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One of my favs from my childhood.
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elliecupcake 2 0 1 5
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elliecupcake 2 0 1 5
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one of the greatest voices of the 20th century.
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Karen...I miss your voice more than I can say....your talent spoke volumes, your loss can never be overstated.. . . T h a n k - y o u .
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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
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No body has a voice like Karen her voice is amazing and until today I don't think they ever will find anyone who will sing ad
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I still listen to them. She was a true artist-no gimmicks, sang from the heart - truly an artist of her time.
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I can't remember my childhood, without listening the most sweet melodies, still in my head, heart and soul, Carpenters Will be remembered forever
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lke this time in life it should today life is to short lets stop all the killing and treat each other the way gog wants us to be
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liis so short this time in our life was a great tome in our lile we should take it to heart and share it
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Five years later
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❤❤❤❤❤
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I love the carpenter's music, always have always will, the day karen died i was so sad, i was introduced to there music when i was still in grammar school, i went with my older sister sara faye & my brother-n-la w mike to run some errands, andthe had a 8-track tape player in their car, i was sitting in the back when all of a sudden the most beautiful sound came through tne speakers, yes...it was karen's sweet voice along with Richard's soulful voice singing backup vocals...in my opinion it the b
Report as inappropriate
There is NO ONE in recent decades who had a pitch as perfect as Karen Carpenter's. NO ONE! I love their music.
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❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
Such a beautiful voice and gone all too soon. Her music will live on.
Report as inappropriate
Such a beautiful alto voice! Top Of The World was my favorite.
Report as inappropriate
Awesome duet ever they are the greatest I've heard !But such a struggle & end of Karen God be with her!
Report as inappropriate
hlore58
This brings back so many comforting memories. This was at a time when singing was real....voic e s counted.
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Her voice was velvet. Never to be matched again!
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jim.meta
What a voice!there will never be another like her.
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hdlhskjob
Always loved her, will continue to love her....
Report as inappropriate
careyes65
The Carpenters will always be the greatest duo of my lifetime. Always loved there music as a child a teenager and as an adult. My favorite song is close to you! Karen you will always be missed, Richard you and Karen were the best!
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Smoothest voice of a women I've ever heard! Will always love The Carpenters, Karens voice and their songs! My favorites are Solitaire and We've only just Begun. Miss you Karen, always!! With Love - Chris
Report as inappropriate
dalabonojo
Sing was my favorite
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species56182
her voice was perfect....
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manuelcynthi a 1 2
I love their music.
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The very first time I listened to this song, I teared up. Karen and Richard, awesome!
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Sesame Street
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Yes
Report as inappropriate
I love to listen to the Carpenters when I was a little kid back in the 70s. A brother and sister as a singing group, that is love. Karen had an awesome voice. To bad that she passed away in 1983 from her eating disorders. They should call it Karen Carpenter syndrome in her honor.
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R.I.P Karen
Report as inappropriate
It's kind of weird that you never see a picture of them wearing their tool belts.
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gary.jsam
One of the greatest female sounds of all time....
Report as inappropriate
One of the best, if not THE best female voices ever . . . in my humble opinion.
Report as inappropriate
Written of course by the incomparable Leon Russell, the master of lyric the master of melody, listen to his version it will make you cry. Of course karen has a much better voice got to give it up to her. But Leon is and always will be the man
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cindy_5302
Love it ��
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Me2
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I love the Carpenters
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Kudos to the talented, remarkable Karen Carpenter. Her music will live on in so "many" of our lives. ❤️
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What a beautiful song, it forever sounds fresh!
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My very first concert. Miss you Karen
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gary.jsam
Why did you have to leave us God will tell me some day
Show more

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