The Carpenters
FORMED: 1968, New Haven, CT DISBANDED: 1983
With their light, airy melodies and meticulously crafted, clean arrangements, 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. The duo's sound drew more from pre-rock pop than rock & roll, but that didn't prevent the Carpenters from appealing to a variety of audiences, particularly Top 40, easy listening and adult contemporary. While their popularity declined during the latter half of the '70s, they remained one of the most distinctive and recognizable acts of the decade produced. The Carpenters formed in the late '60s in Downey, CA, after their family moved from their native New Haven, CT. 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 Californian 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 1967, 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 or 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 New Haven; she died in the hospital that morning from a cardiac arrest, which was 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.

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Carpenters - singles
Carpenters Singles
  1. We've Only Just Begun
  2. Top Of The World
  3. Ticket To Ride
  4. Superstar
  5. Rainy Days And Mondays
  6. Goodbye To Love
  7. Yesterday Once More
  8. It's Going To Take Some Time
  9. Sing
  10. For All We Know
  11. Hurting Each Other
  12. (They Long To Be) Close To You
Classics Volume II
Classics Volume II

Disc: 1

  1. Yesterday Once More
  2. Superstar
  3. Rainy Days And Mondays
  4. Back In My Life Again, (Want You)
  5. Ticket To Ride
  6. Goodbye To Love
  7. Bless The Beasts And The Children (from "Bless The Beasts And Children") - (mono)
  8. It's Going To Take Some Time
  9. Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft
  10. Sweet, Sweet Smile
  11. I Won't Last A Day Without You
  12. For All We Know (from "Lovers And Other Strangers")
  13. Touch Me When We're Dancing

Disc: 2

  1. There's A Kind Of Hush
  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. Close To You, (They Long To Be)


  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. Close To You, (They Long To Be)
  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


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