Thursday, June 12, 2008

People pay tribute to Karen Carpenter

I Could Go On Forever, and ever talking about this wonderful Woman, and 1,000,000 days and 1,000,000 nights is not enough to listen to her, the voice of miss Karen Anne Carpenter is forever green, her simple message of love, happiness, kindness, and gentlesness, her love of Christmas, and Children, and love of God, they can all be heard through her simple songs with her awesome voice, her voice will echo throughout the universe for all eternity, of course it will, she is safe in the arms of God, she is truly " ON TOP OF THE WORLD, LOOKING DOWN ON CREATION " now, she was a beautiful person, and a beautiful soul, she lived a basically happy life despite what most documentaries and articles say, the only one who has said it are Richard and his family, and that is enough for me, you never believe those crummy tabloids, yes, Karen was sick, and I am sure that she had her moments of tears just like any other human being, moments of dobut and sorrow, but Karen loved life, she loved Children, and she loved the Lord, I am not saying that she was perfect, but she was a very good person, I think that her painfully short life was filled with more love and kindness than any of us who could live to be 100, she gave so much and asked so little, she was kind to everybody, and a friend to everybody, she indeed knew the secret of life, perhaps this is why her life was so short, life is not measured in the years of living that you have done, but the amount of living that you did in those years, Karen did a ton of living, more than any of us could hope to, she saw the world, and she found a permanent home in the hearts of millions, her time here was short, but the amount of living that she did was not, so don't feel sad or cry for her, she didn't want that, she wanted to be remembered as a good person, and indeed she is, she is where I turn to when I am both happy and sad, this page is dedicated to this wonderful woman that I have been speaking of, and to keeping her memory alive, so many people should know about this incredible woman with such an incredible voice that has such abilities for reaching through the boundaries of time, to be so comforting, the reasong that Karen sounds so sincere and sweet in her song, is because she is, and she truly is A Star On Earth, and A Star In Heaven, this is for you Karen

Karen Carpenter Forever.............................................

From Newsletter 1971
It was bound to happened sometime, and it did in Las Vegas. The opening act was finished, the M.C. announced "Ladies & Gentlemen - The Carpenters," the drum roll had commenced, and there stood Richard on stage - WITHOUT KAREN!! She was still in her dressing room unaware that it was curtain time. There were no monitors, and nobody had warned her. Needless to say, it was an astronomical event, Karen who flew on stage to sing the opening number which hilariously enough was Help.

The voice of an Angel !!!

Karen Anne Carpenter

A few nice quotes people have made reffering to Karen

" Some say Karen was gone to soon, but Karen was a lady,
and a lady always knows the proper time to leave, without
wearing out her welcome"

What we love, we shall grow to resemble. What Karen loved she has indeed come to resemble, until Karen herself has become a song to the world; yes, Karen's life itself, a song to the world: a song of love and joy and beauty.

Our Karen is still
But her echo
Will linger

Karen Carpenter, so much beautiful music comes to mind upon hearing that name,
SO much music, and so much magic.

Mini Biography

Karen Anne Carpenter, born March 2, 1950 in New Haven Connecticut to Harold and Agnus Carpenter, Karen was not much interrested in music when she was younger, while Richard sat and listened to records in the basement, Karen was out playing baseball (She liked to pitch ) although, she did enjoy listening to all kinds of music, It was not untill the Carpenter family moved to Downey California in the early 1960's ( I believe it may have been 1964, because Karen was 14 I think ) that Karen developed a love for music, I think it was when she was 15 ( 1965 ) that Karen just decided that she wanted to take marching band, to avoid gym, and Choral to avoid Geometry.
Karen fell in love with the drums immediately, she taught herself how to play on pots and pans, then asked for a set of Ludwig drums, her parents were kinda thinking that she woulden't stick to it and were kinda skeptical, Richard told them " get her the Ludwigs, in 2 weeks when she's dosen't want them anymore you can get a bigger trade in on them " Karen did stick to them, infact the moment that she got them, she actually knew how to play ( her playong pots and pans payed off ) I find this amazing, that is real talent, she kept on playing for so long and so much that Agnus ( Karen's Mom ) said that she had to keep a box of bandaids handy because Karen would play untill her hands bled, and still woulden't stop.
I believe the year was 1966 when Karen and Richard started trying to perform profesionally, they started out as a jaz trio ( Richard Carpenter Trio ) then later went rock, and called themselves the Spectrums. They recorded several songs, and took tapes and presented them to many record companies, most of wich totally did not dig their sounds, it wasen't hip enough, one label thought that they had some talent, but wanted them to change their style, neither Karen or Richard considered this for a moment. after several years of struggling, they finally signed with A&M records in April of 1969 ( a tape found its way to the desk of A&M executive Herb Alpert who said " it was love at first listen " he liked the way that they presented her voice, he said that it jumps right out at you. "the first album was a half flop, half Hit" Karen said to an interviewer, It was a hit in other counteries, but not here. July 1970 they had their first hit Close To You, and from that point untill about 1976 their albums were going like hot Cakes, they struggled for the next 3 years, people didn't like their clean cut image, Karen told a reporter" we have an image that Mickey Mouse coulden't live up to" they got a new manager somewhere in 1976 and he wanted to take a fresh approach to there popularity, and shot 5 television specials through the years

1) The First Special 1976 50 minutes Guest Starring: John Denver & Victor Borge.

2) The Carpenters At Christmas 1977 50 minutes. Guest Starring: Kristy MacNichol & Harvey Korman

3) Space Encounters 1978 50 minutes. Guest Starring: Suzanne Sommers, John Davidson, and Charlie Calas ( This was most certainly there strangest special, but deffinetly the most entertaining, unlike others, this had sort of a plot, The Carpenter's are in the studio recording an album, when an alien beams down and asks them to help them make music, this is full of all kinds of fun little stuff, the hustle, square dance with disco beat, and all kinds of funny stuff, this was kind of a spoof on star wars, and star trek.

4) Christmas Portrait 1978 50 minutes. Guest Starring: Gene Kelley, Jimmy & Kristy MacNichol, and Georgia Engel ( they did 2 Christmas specials, both of wich have went down as classic Christmas traditions as well as the 2 Christmas albums )

5) Music Music Music 1980 50 minutes Guest Starring: Ella Fitzgerald and John Davidson.
The Carpenters did many television specials through the years, none as classy as this, Richard liked this because there were no jokes, it was just them, and a few friends singing

Despite the thin list of original specials, they appeared on hundreds of other shows,
Carol Burnette 2 times, tonight show, the Dating game, Don Knotts show, Ed Suliven,
Andy WIlliams show, This is your life, Johnny Cash show, Jerry Dumphy visits the Carpenters,
Tom Jones London Bridges special, Bob Hope special, Perry Como, Dorthy Hamill,Olivia Newton John Hollywood Nights, Good Morning America, Sesamme Street, the Mupets,Live At The White House, and so many countless others through the years

These specials helped a little, but there albums still weren't selling as well as they used to
so she went into the Studio in 1979 to record her Solo album, that had it been released when she wanted it was kind of her " Emancipation Proclamation " No, she didn't want to just sing about sex, but she was tired of her sexually unaware lyrics such as Top Of The World, and Sing, well actually she may not have been tired of them, she just wanted the public to view her as a human being, she was still singing love songs, just a little more exotic. For fear of the album flopping, and making fans mad, Karen and Richard decided to shelve the album in 1980, to go back to work on their next coming album Made In America, sadly this was to be their last Album released while Karen was still alive, Karen took off to get help for her anorexia several times, I think in 1979 and againg in 1982 She was officially CURED in 1982, but unfortianetly the damage had already been made to her heart, Karen died the Morning of February 4, 1983. Such a beautiful voice stilled forever, or so one would think, Karen lives on in her music, such beautiful arrangements, and vocals that Richard says " with todays sophisticated equipment, it is like Karen is right their " And thank God for that, her voice had such enormous amounts of talent, human feelings and happiness that the abilities to lift your spirits "have transcended even death" Richard said something of the sort on the official website. Karen was really beginning to pull her act together, she was cleaning her plate, and no longer addicted to laxitives " she never induced vomiting but resorted to laxitives" her doctors said
The last words spoken between Karen and her mom ( who rarely spoke about feelings or stuff like that) were " I love you "

Karen's Solo album finally found its way to release in 1996, in the liner notes, they found that Karen had wrote " this album is dedicated to my brother Richard with all my heart "
The thing about this is, upon this album's release, the Carpenter's records have been selling more than ever since about the time this album was released,
Karen must have knew what she was doing.

But enough with the sad, time for a few random facts

Karen's favorite drink was iced tea

Karen's best friend was Olivia Newton John ( they filmed a special together in 1980)
also among her friends were Suzanne Somers, Petula Clark, Ela Fitzgerald and many many others, Karen was everybodys friend, I think that Karen atleast thought her friendship with all these celebrities was genuine, I don't think that Karen cared much about status symbols, she just wanted to be a friend to everyone

Karen loved I Love Lucy

Karen's favorite colors were red and black

Karen was never fond of the song Superstar wich was one of their monster hits

Karen's door bell chimed the first 6 notes of We've Only Just Begun

Karen's favorite food was spaghetti, and was quite fond of shrimp

Karen only owned one car, unlike Richard who collects cars

Q. What does Karen do for voice warm-up's? A. Nothing

Karen went to see the movie E.T. with John Bettis, they both ended up crying in the end

Karen used to hang out in Richards bedroom when she stayed at her parents house because he had a VCR in his room

Karen's finest performence Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night
was not even released untill 1989

Karen collected Disney Land Memoribilia, she loved disney land, I think that's why she looks so happy in Please Mr Postman

Karen was a tomboy when she was younger, although she wasen't a tomboy in later years, she still talked like one, for instance when she added man to the end of sentences wich she did often, she told a reporter once about her meeting Petula Clark
and she was just like " OH MAN "

Karen's biggest hobbie is needlepoint

Karen never understood what the women in the woman's lib movement were complaining about, she loved to cook, and needlepoint
Q. What are K's views on woman's lib?
A. To quote Karen - "I'm happy and proud to be a woman - doing what I'm doing, I don't (have a) need to prove anything."

Karen loved music, but had very few albums, she did most of her listening on the Car Radio

Karen and Richard on many occasions had baseball, and football games while on tour, and did it for charity

Karen had her hair permed most of the time to keep it the Curly wavy look that it was for most of her carrier exept for the early years

Q. Have either had any cavities?
A. Karen, 3 or 4. Richard, none.

Q. Did Karen ever take dancing lessons?
A. Yes, when she was four years old. She took tap, ballet and acrobatic dancing.

Q. What kind of car does Karen own?
A. Unlike her brother, she owns only one. It is a Mercedes Benz 350 SL. (1972)

Q. Does Karen enjoy working any puzzles?
A. Yes indeed. She is a crossword puzzle fan & enjoys working at them when time permits, such as during breakfast. There are several crossword books in her bathroom magazine rack, including a toilet roll of puzzles.

Q. Did Karen take Home Economics in school?
A. Home Economics was a requirement in the Junior High School grades. She learned cooking and sewing. Now and then when time schedules permit Karen attends various gourmet cooking classes. She is an excellent cook and has a kitchen full of gadgets. A double oven, a microwave oven, a warming oven, and a barbecue custom built into her kitchen.

Q. Are Richard & Karen interested in the Olympics?
A. Yes. When they are not at home when the Olympics are staged, they have Mom & Dad video-tape the programs, so they can watch them later.

Q. On which songs did Karen play bass?
A. Eve and All of My Life on the Ticket to Ride album.

Q. What are some of their spare time activities?
A. Watching TV, attending an occasional movie, shopping (Richard likes to shop for new albums), K likes to cook and bake and both like to listen to music. On nice days they enjoy motorcycle or bicycle riding. swimming or just plain relaxing poolside.

Q. Are Carpenters still the top selling artist of A & M Records?

Q. Have Richard and Karen ever ridden horses?
A. Richard wasn't interested, but Karen loves horses, and rode quite often while in high school.

Q. Is it true that Karen uses a machine to make her voice sound better and louder.
A. No, all she has ever used is a microphone.

Q: Do Karen and Richard like outdoor sports?
A: Yes, especially swimming and bike riding

Q: What made Karen sing? Did she realize she had such a great voice?
A: No, she didn't. It was difficult to convince her. Her Mom and friends tried to tell her but she thought they were being kind. She finally gained confidence from choir work in college, and encouragement from choir director, Mr. Pooler.

Q: On your album--is anyone else singing besides you?
A: Definitely not. The only voices you hear are Karen and Richard - even when it sounds like a choir!

The Carpenters had a hit Television show in 1970, " Make Your Own Kind Of Music" but they had to quit because it was taking away from them making their own kind of music, and they were loosing money in the show.

Karen's favorite songs was I Need To Be In Love, and Ave Maria

Karen loved Billy Joel, and recorded much of the Solo Recording Session (1979-1980)
with his band, and producer Phil Ramone

Karen was being driven past the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles at the exact moment Robert Kennedy was shot.

With the first money they earned Karen and Richard invested in apartment buildings across from one another in Downey, and appropriately named them "Only Just Begun" and "Close To You".

In September 1972, President Nixon invited the Carpenters to the White House for a photo session where he presented Richard with a set of golf balls and cufflinks and Karen with a gold powder compact, all bearing the presidential seal. He proclaimed Richard and Karen publicly as "young America at its best".

When Karen recorded Rainy Days And Mondays she layed out pillows on the floor, and made herself comfortable, and recorded the entire song laying down, to get into the feel of the song.

On Her crypt is written A Star On Earth, A Star In Heaven
( great words to describe Karen)

Sometime during the late 1980's A Star In Heaven was ( a litteral star in the sky )
named Karen A Carpenter in honour of Karen

Karen Carpenter "quotes"

"It's kinda nice to be remembered by your peers and your fans, because you can achieve a lot of success and be a creep too! But we try to be nice, just normal people."

"Our first single, 'Ticket To Ride', was a kind of half-hit, half flop: in some places it was number one, in others it was ash-tray material.

"The image we have would be impossible for Mickey Mouse to maintain.We're just ... normal people."

"It's funny to think, no one listens to Carpenter's, too clean cut, their not "cool" but you know, somebody has to be buying our millions of albums that have sold"

"While Richard was listening to music in the basement, I was out playing baseball and football, and playing with my machine gun!I was very tomboyish, quite a character, I hear!"

"I enjoy money. Not enough people in this world are happy. I'm determined to be contented, and having plenty of money from working makes it easier for me."

( I think the things made of wood comment may have been a joke about her last name, but it may have been true, not sure about this one " Karen liked to kid around")

"For over half the years of my life, I have had a great passion for two pursuits; to craft and build things made of wood and to arrange and perform different styles of music. Both have provided me with great joy and fulfillment and I am grateful to God for the gifts and talents that He has entrusted to me."

"I remember thinking back then, 'Oh God, if we don't get a hit by the time I'm 20 I have to kill myself!' Well, we JUST made it, because it came out in late May, right after I turned 20,and within 6 weeks it was number one."

"We came out right in the middle of the hard-rock period... it was hard-rock everywhere! But we were ready to make our music, you know?And it was such a turn around, I guess it caught people by surprise."


Ticket To Ride
(Offering retitled and released as)
Original Release: October 9, 1969
A&M Records

Close To You
Original Release: August 19, 1970
A&M Records

Original Release: May 14, 1971
A&M Records

A Song For You
Original Release: June 22, 1972
A&M Records

Now & Then
Original Release: May 1, 1973
A&M Records

The Singles 1969-1973
Original Release: November 9, 1973
A&M Records
Original Release: June 6, 1975
A&M Records

A Kind Of Hush
Original Release: June 11, 1976
A&M Records

Original Release: September 23, 1977
A&M Records
Christmas Portrait
Original Release: October 13, 1978
A&M Records
Made In America
Original Release: June 16, 1981
A&M Records
Voice Of The Heart
Original Release: October 18, 1983
A&M Records

Richard Carpenter Time
Original Release Date: Feb 6, 1989 CD
(record was released October 1987)
A&M records

Old-Fashioned Christmas
Original Release: December 1, 1984
A&M Records

Original Release: October 31,1989
A&M Records
Karen Carpenter
Original Release: October 8, 1996
A&M Records

Carpenters Christmas Collection
Original Release: September 22, 1998
A&M Records
As Time Goes By
Original Release: August 1, 2002
A&M Records

I want to live again, breathe
again in the shelter of this brightly woven
love song

Your guitar it sounds so sweet and clear, but
your not really here, its just the radio

Even at dawn, after I'm gone, life will go on,

someone's gotta take my place, running in the human race

You can have this dance with me, you can hold my hand and whisper in my ears sweet words that I want to hear, and my number is BEECHWOOD-4 5 7 8 9 you can call me up for a date
any old time

If you're feelin' happy, or if you wanna weep,
you want a warm word before you sleep,
friends are forever, good friends are for keeps
( Karen and Olivia 1979 colorized )

When My life is over, remember when we were together,
we were alone and I was singing this song for you


Anonymous said...

Your Karen Carpenter tribute blog is wonderful and I wish you much success with it.

From start to finish, this blog is just great.

best wishes,

Miss Anon.

K&R Fan for life : ) said...

I really have enjoyed your tribute to the wonderful and GREATLY LOVED & MISSED Karen Carpenter : ) so very glad that sooooo many are keeping her memory alive with tributes like this one : ) thanx ever sooooooo much for your beautiful tribute : ) you have made my day thanx

Anonymous said...

Karen Carpenter was an amazingly and uniquely talented music artist and wonderful person. With her resonantly captivating signature voice and her outstanding drumming skills she was surely one of a kind. She is still loved and greatly missed by so very many today. Thanks for the fine tribute page for her

DR Drummer

Sparky said...

Wow, what an amazing tribute. Thank you for this. She's my idol.

Unknown said...

Karen Carpenter was such a talented singer. Voice of an angel. None of her fans could ever forget her. Very talented lady. She will always be remembered. Gone too soon. RIP

Anonymous said...

I don't know how I stumbled upon this, but it was definitely a nice surprise. I'm 24 and I'm so grateful that I was turned on to real music at a young age. I wish more people were able to filter out the garbage from the real stuff, but anyway...! Please check out my Youtube channel ( I think you'd appreciate it, as a fan. Feel free to drop me a message and thanks for keeping the music of The Carpenters alive!! -Madeyes4u

Unknown said...

Just ran across this, and couldn't stop until I got to the end. Terrific blog. Thanks for sharing these lovely memories. I was a teen when The Carpenters became big stars. Despite the criticism for the record companies over aggressive "vanilla" image, their music was universally loved, and most folks, like me, just naturally generated to the pure sound and soul by this remarkable pair. Between Karen's unique vocal quality and Richard's inspirational arrangements, they never seemed to miss. Their's is joyful music.

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Omar G. said...

Thank you so much for this post on some of the best musicians of all time. I need your help to find the source, book or interview from which the following quote by Karen Carpenter was taken:

"For over half the years of my life, I have had a great passion for two pursuits; to craft and build things made of wood and to arrange and perform different styles of music. Both have provided me with great joy and fulfillment and I am grateful to God for the gifts and talents that He has entrusted to me" .

It's very important. Thanks in advance.

Unknown said...

We only just begun was played at my wedding in 1982

Unknown said...

In 1972 was wonderful. We loved that song
And our life had just begun

Adrian Downing III said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adrian Downing III said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adrian Downing III said...

Excellent page and thank you for your time and effort in all of this. Karen actually used to carry a Bible with her, but the secret was that the pages were hollowed out and she used to store her valuables in it. As Karen said, "I have heard of people breaking into safes and safety deposit boxes, but I have yet to hear of anyone breaking into a Bible."

Karen was genuinely wanting everyone to be a friend. When Karen was younger, her eyes were a redder color and she would get picked on and called "Evil Karen" by some. Karen never liked how it felt to be picked on and excluded so she always tried to make everyone feel welcome around her. Karen was a very genuinely caring person and as such did lead a happy life. Karen was always full of life and tried to enjoy every moment that life had to offer.

From September 1978 to June 1979, Karen was an 8th grade english teacher at a middle school in New York State. Karen lived with her cousin Wendy while teaching and watched soap operas (I believe Days of Our Lives and As the World Turns because I remember saying "As the Stomach Churns" a few times to Karen) and Wendy taught Karen how to knit and crochet.

In 1979, there were only 3 people that knew the story behind the song "Rock With You" that was originally written by Rod Temperton for Karen's solo album. 1) Rod Temperton who wrote the song and (2) Karen Carpenter who asked Rod to write the song about Karen and (3) the boy who the song was written about because I was only 14 years old at the time and 1, 2, and 3 were worried about a possible scandal in the tabloids even though 2 and 3 had never physically touched each other.

Anonymous said...

The greatest female vocalist and drummer who has and will ever live. A true prodigy and musical genius. A beautiful woman and human being. Please keep her legacy and the "Carpenter's sound" going.