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The Carpenters may not have been the most trendy of bands back in the 1970s, but they were certainly one of the most talented. To this day, their songs remain among the finest in pop history. Here is all the big info you should know about the famous duo.
In 1963, the Carpenter family moved to the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, hoping it may provide better musical opportunities for talented Richard. He and younger sister Karen formed The Richard Carpenter Trio with Wes Jacobs, and later performed as a duo. They appeared on the TV show 'Your All American College Show', playing a cover of 'Dancing in the Street'.
The duo had decided to sign to A&M Records as simply 'Carpenters', without a 'the', which was influenced by bands such as Buffalo Springfield or Jefferson Airplane, which they considered "hip".
Carpenters had many hits during the 1970s, including 'Close To You', 'We've Only Just Begun', 'For All We Know', 'Rainy Days and Mondays', 'Superstar', 'Goodbye To Love' and 'Yesterday Once More'.
The Carpenters have sold more than 90 million records worldwide. In the UK, they are ranked as the seventh top-selling albums artist of the 1970s, and they have also been the third-best-selling international music act in the Japanese market, only behind Mariah Carey and the Beatles.
Not only was Karen Carpenter known to have one of the most distinctive pop voices of all time, but she also played the drums for the band. She also played electric bass on a number of songs.
The lowest note Karen would sing was a D, below middle C, on the song 'A Song For You'. In 'Only Yesterday', Karen starts on a low E flat, below middle C.
The Carpenters never officially broke up as a band. They went on a hiatus at the end of the 1970s, as Karen was battling anorexia and Richard was undergoing treatment for addiction to the sedative Quaaludes. Their final album 'Made in America' was released in 1981.
In 1979, Karen recorded an album with producer Phil Ramone. It was met with a tepid response from Richard and A&M executives, and was shelved by A&M Records co-owner Herb Alpert, despite attempts by producer Quincy Jones to convince him to release it after a remix. A&M charged the Carpenters $400,000 to cover the cost of the album, to be paid out of the duo's future royalties. It was finally released as 'Karen Carpenter' in 1996.
Karen suffered from the eating disorder anorexia nervosa for years, which was little known at the time. She died at age 32 in 1983 from heart failure, caused by complications related to her illness. Her death led to increased awareness of eating disorders.
After Karen's death, Richard has produced a number of Carpenters compilations, and released his first solo album 'Time' in 1987, sharing vocals between himself, Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield. He married his (adopted) first cousin Mary Rudolph in 1984, and they have four daughters and a son.