Slacker Logo

Carpenters

ON AIR
Advertisement
Advertisement

Bio

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
Read All Read Less

Albums by
Carpenters

false

    13 songs

    On Air

    A Song for You

    12 songs

    On Air

    Close to You

    11 songs

    On Air

    Voice of the Heart

    10 songs

    On Air

    A Kind of Hush

    10 songs

    On Air

    Carpenters

    10 songs

    On Air

    Horizon

    10 songs

    On Air

    Made in America

    15 songs

    On Air

    Now & Then

    13 songs

    On Air

    Ticket to Ride

    21 songs

    On Air

    Christmas Portrait

    8 songs

    On Air

    Passage

    73 songs

    On Air

    The Essential Collection [1965-1997]

    8 songs

    On Air

    Top of the World

    1 song

    On Air

    Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)

    35 songs

    On Air

    Chronicles

    15 songs

    On Air

    As Time Goes By [Bonus Track]

    40 songs

    On Air

    Gold: Greatest Hits [35th Anniversary Edition]

    12 songs

    On Air

    20th Century Masters:The Millennium Collection: Best of The Carpenters

    21 songs

    On Air

    Singles 1969-1981

    12 songs

    On Air

    Lovelines

    12 songs

    On Air

    The Singles 1969-1973

    31 songs

    On Air

    Christmas Collection

    20 songs

    On Air

    Love Songs

    28 songs

    On Air

    Yesterday Once More: Greatest Hits 1969-1983

See All Albums

Top Songs by
Carpenters

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   (They Long to Be) Close to You
  3.   Superstar
  4.   We've Only Just Begun
  5.   Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  6.   Merry Christmas Darling
  7.   Sleigh Ride
  8.   Home For the Holidays, (There's No Place Like)
  9.   Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
  10.   Only Yesterday
  11.   The Christmas Waltz
  12.   The Christmas Song
  13.   I'll Be Home for Christmas
  14.   Carol of the Bells
  15.   Winter Wonderland/Silver Bells/White Christmas
  16.   Selections from "The Nutcracker": Overture Miniature/Dance of the ...
  17.   Please Mr. Postman
  18.   Sing
  19.   Yesterday Once More
  20.   I Won't Last a Day Without You
  21.   Hurting Each Other
  22.   Rainy Days and Mondays
  23.   It's Going to Take Some Time
  24.   For All We Know
  25.   Top of the World
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Carpenters

    On Air

    Yuletide Classics

    On Air

    Top Christmas Hits

    On Air

    Holiday Deep Dive

    On Air

    The Wolf's Christmas Classics

    On Air

    Sibling Rivalry: 35 Top Family Bands

    On Air

    Holiday Party

    On Air

    66 Wussiest Songs Ever

    On Air

    '70s Hits

    On Air

    Mix 94.9's Christmas Mixer

    On Air

    Soothing Lullabies

    On Air

    101 Greatest Cover Songs of All Time

    On Air

    Classic Soft Hits

    On Air

    '70s Deep Dive

    On Air

    Madonna: DNA

    On Air

    Eagles: DNA

    On Air

    Shania Twain: DNA

    On Air

    Nothing But Love Songs

    On Air

    Music To Watch the Grass Grow

    On Air

    Vocal Standards

    On Air

    My Parents' Record Collection

    On Air

    Big Dave's Christmas Favorites

    On Air

    Jeff & Jenn's Christmas Channel


Artists Related to
Carpenters

On Air

Captain & Tennille

On Air

Bread

On Air

Bobby Goldsboro

On Air

Seals & Crofts

On Air

Barry Manilow