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The Carpenters - "We've Only Just Begun"
Karen Carpenter - The Carpenters
Karen Carpenter's unmatched velvet alto charmed millions as the top-selling American musical act of the 1970s. The Carpenters delivered the love songs that defined a generation, especially the older generation. Although scoring #1 hit after hit, they were shunned by the younger generation, and adored by parents.
Karen loved the drums and sang while playing intricate beats and rhythms, unheard of then and even now. Forced to take the front without her natural instrument in front of her, her stardom grew.
The Carpenters were one of the biggest-selling American musical acts of all time. Between 1970 and 1984 brother and sister Richard and Karen Carpenter had 17 top 20 hits, including "Goodbye to Love", "Yesterday Once More", "Close to You" and "Rainy Days and Mondays". They notched up 10 gold singles, nine gold albums, one multi-platinum album and three Grammy awards. Karen's velvety voice and Richard's airy melodies and meticulously crafted arrangements stood in direct contrast to the louder, wilder rock dominating the rest of the charts at the time, yet they became immensely popular, selling more than 100 million records.
Richard was the musical driving force but it was Karen's effortless voice that lay behind the Carpenters' hits. Promoted from behind the drums to star vocalist, she became one of the decade's most instantly recognizable female singers.
But there was a tragic discrepancy between her public and private lives. Offstage, away from the spotlight, she felt desperately unloved by her mother, Agnes, who favoured Richard, and struggled with low self-esteem, eventually developing anorexia nervosa from which she never recovered. She passed at the age of 32
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