This video shows how Karen Carpenter was an incredible drummer at just 18 years old

28 April 2021, 17:18

Karen Carpenter was an amazing drummer and singer
Karen Carpenter was an amazing drummer and singer. Picture: Your All American College Show/YouTube

By Tom Eames

Karen Carpenter is known for her fantastic singing voice, but it can easily be forgotten just how good a drummer she was too.

Karen Carpenter was a rare lead singer of a group who also took on drumming duties when performing with her brother Richard in the Carpenters.

And now, a couple of rediscovered videos have shone a light on just how great a drummer and all-round performer she was.

Read more: The Carpenters' 10 greatest songs ever, ranked

In this first clip - recorded in 1968 when Karen was just 18 years old - the talented youngster made her first TV appearance with her brother, and showcased what she had to offer the world of music.

Richard and Karen were joined by bassist Bill Sissoyev for their first ever TV performance, appearing on Your All American College Show. The trio sang a cover 'Dancing in the Street', which included an impressive drum solo by Karen:

Karen Carpenter - Drummer/Singer

In this second clip, Karen is seen going full pelt on percussion in the Carpenters first TV special in 1976, and its rather magical to watch:

Karen Carpenter Drum Solo - 1976 First Television Special

Karen Carpenter always considered herself as a "drummer who sang."

She first became fascinated with the drums after joining her high school marching band to get out of gym class. She reportedly persuaded the band director to let her switch from glockenspiel to the drums, despite concerns that "girls don't play drums."

Read more: The tragic story of Karen Carpenter, one of the greatest vocalists of all time

Karen later said: "That is such an overused line, but I started anyway. I picked up a pair of sticks, and it was the most natural-feeling thing I've ever done."

In the early years of the duo, Karen often performed behind the drums and sang at the same time, but was later advised to give up the drums she loved so much to sing at the front, particularly on ballads.

Her drumming skills were praised by famous drummers Hal Blaine, Cubby O'Brien and Buddy Rich among others.