A beautiful woman with an angelic voice lost her life at the young age of thirty-two when her life had only just begun.
The Carpenters were a brother, sister group from Connecticut. Richard Lynn Carpenter is the big brother of the duo. He was born on October 15, 1946. By age twelve, he started taking piano lessons. When he got into Yale University, he studied classical music. His sister Karen was born on March 2, 1950. Karen loved sports, and also started playing music. When the family moved to California in 1963, Karen joined her high school band and played drums.
In 1965 while a student at California state college, Richard formed an instrumental trio with his sister and his friend, Wes Jacobs. Winning the battle of the bands, the group recorded for RCA, but was dropped. The trio broke up later that year.
When Karen was seventeen years old, she started dieting. With supervision from her doctor, she went on the Stillman’s diet. She ate lean meat along with eight glasses of water a day and never had fatty foods.
In 1966 Spectrum was formed. Karen sang the main vocals, while Richard sang harmony. The demo tapes caught the attention of Herb Alpert. Since Karen was under the legal age to sign a recording contract, her father signed for her in 1969. The first album that the Carpenters released was originally called Offering. The A&M record wasn’t successful until the album title was changed to “Ticket to Ride”.
The style of the music of the Carpenters was soft rock. Their music was recorded using multiple tracks. Karen sang lead, while Richard sang harmony. Karen also sang harmony. The sound was created by way of recording the instruments on one track, Karen’s lead vocal on another track, and two other tracks were used for harmony.
The record company they were with designed the logo for the Carpenters. A&M records created a fancy cursive label that was on most of the Carpenters albums and singles.
By 1975, the Carpenters had already recorded several albums. Their Horizon album, which was released in 1975, had a #1 cover of “Please Mr. Postman. The song has a music video of Richard and Karen at Disneyland.
By the middle of 1975, both Karen and Richard were dealing with demons. Karen was taking laxatives and thyroid replacement pills to lose weight. Her condition is called anorexia nervosa. This is when people starve themselves to lose a large amount of weight in a short time. Karen was rushed to the hospital after she collapsed on stage during a performance.
Feeling the pressure of the music business, and worried about Karen, Richard started taking Quaalude. Quaalude is given in a dosage range of 75-100 milligrams. The drug can slow down a pulse rate, make blood pressure drop quickly while making a person fall asleep. This drug is so dangerous and addictive that in 1984, President Reagan signed a bill banning the drug. With a growing addiction to Quaaludes, Richard fell down a flight of stairs while backstage during a performance in 1979. Shortly after the incident, Richard checked himself into a rehab facility. After six weeks of rehab, Richard went home and took the rest of the year off.
On June 16, 1981 the Carpenters released the famous “Made in America” LP. This was their final album before Karen’s death.
On February 4, 1983 Karen died in the bedroom of her parent’s house. She died from heart failure from gaining weight so quickly. Ipecac syrup, which is used for coughs and will induce vomiting, was found in her body.
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