Karen Anne Carpenter was an American singer and drummer. She and her brother Richard were part of the duo The Carpenters. She was praised for her 3-octave contralto vocal range. Carpenter suffered from anorexia nervosa, which was little-known at the time.
About Karen Carpenter in brief
Karen Anne Carpenter was an American singer and drummer. She and her brother Richard were part of the duo The Carpenters. She was praised for her 3-octave contralto vocal range. Carpenter suffered from anorexia nervosa, which was little-known at the time. Her death from heart failure at age 32, related to complications of her illness, led to increased visibility and awareness of eating disorders. Her work continues to attract praise, including appearing on Rolling Stone’s 2010 list of the 100 greatest singers of all time. She died of heart failure in 2011 at the age of 32. Her struggles with eating disorders would later raise awareness of anorexia and body dysmorphia. She is survived by her brother, Richard, and her mother, Agnes Reuwer, who was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and moved to Downey, California, in 1963. She also had a brother, Harold Bertram Carpenter, who grew up in Wuzhou, China, where his parents were missionaries. Carpenter’s first words were “bye-bye” and “stop it” in response to her brother’s piano prodigy, Richard. She graduated from Downey High School in the spring of 1967, receiving the John Philip Sousa Band Award, and enrolled as a music major at Long Beach State where she performed in the college choir with Richard. In 1965, Karen, Richard and his college friend Wes Jacobs, a bassist and tuba player, formed the Richard Carpenter Trio. The band rehearsed daily, played jazz in nightclubs, and also appeared on the TV talent show All-American College Show Show.
The trio signed a contract with RCA Records and recorded two instrumentals, but they were not signed. In April 1966, the Carpenter’s were invited to audition with bassist Joe Osborn, a well-known studio-musician collective the Wrecking Crew. They were signed to A&M Records in 1969, achieving commercial and critical success throughout the 1970s. Carpenter was the band’s full-time drummer, but gradually took the role of frontwoman as drumming was reduced to a handful of live showcases or tracks on albums. In the late 1970s, she recorded a solo album, which she released years after her death. Her first band was Two Plus Two, an all-girl trio formed with friends from Downy High. They split up after she suggested that her brother join the group. She did not sing on some numbers; instead, singer Margaret Shanor guested on some songs. She said she was too involved in the music to worry about performing in public, but said she had a good voice that was particularly suited to pop and gave her lessons in order for her to develop a three- octave range. Her enthusiasm for drumming led to teaching herself how to play complicated lines and studying the difference between traditional and matched grip. Within a year, she could play in complex time signatures, such as the 54 in Dave Brubeck’s \”Take Five\”.