Now more than ever, Americans can benefit from the music of sibling duo Richard and Karen Carpenter, one of the most globally successful bands of all time. Their gentle, innocent “sunshine pop” sound was incredibly popular, if not universally acclaimed, in an early-1970s era marked by domestic tensions around the Vietnam War.
Karen was particularly celebrated for her rare abilities as both a drummer and a singer. Here are a few things everyone should know about the late Karen Carpenter—and a new way to enjoy her music today.
The Carpenters’ History
Karen was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on March 2, 1950, 4 years behind her brother Richard. Richard became a piano prodigy at an early age, and the family moved to southern California when the siblings were teens to nurture his talent. In high school, Karen developed talent as a drummer. In 1965, the pair formed the band “The Richard Carpenter Trio” with a friend, enjoying regional success. In college, the siblings pair got a record deal as a duo. They produced their first album in 1969, Offering, with Karen as the primary vocalist.
Their 1970s album Close to You launched their long and successful career, which included appearances on mainstream American and British television shows. The Carpenters even once performed at the White House for President Nixon.
The Carpenters toured the world and won 3 Grammy awards. In 1973, they were also voted Best Band, Duo, or Group at the American Music Awards (AMAs). Over the course of their career, they produced a total of 8 Gold Albums, 10 Gold Singles, and 5 Platinum albums. Some of the most popular Karen Carpenter songs include:
- “Close to You” (1970)
- “We’ve Only Just Begun” (1970)
- “Superstar” (1971)
- “Rainy Days and Mondays” (1971)
- “Top of the World” (1972)
- “Yesterday Once More” (1973)
- “I Need to Be in Love” (1976)
Make Believe: A Karen Carpenter Tribute
Among Karen’s biggest fans and most talented imitators is Dawn Turlington, a professional singer of 40 years. Dawn was inspired to create her “Make Believe” tribute back in 2012 and is known for her ability to sound like the “Superstar” singer. Dawn enjoys reconnecting audiences with the music and spirit of Karen Carpenter as a way of honoring her legacy.
See Dawn Turlington’s Karen Carpenter Tribute at Main Street Crossing
You can see Dawn Turlington performing a Karen Carpenter Tribute in an intimate concert setting at Main Street Crossing April 30th at 4:00 and 8:00 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets.
Main Street Crossing in Tomball, Texas is one of the best small music venues in the Houston metro area. This unique nonprofit in a historical venue hosts country, Americana, folk, blues, and other types of music artists in an intimate setting: the furthest seat is only 45 feet from the stage. MSC also offers food, beverages, table service, and community seating, making it easier to interact with fellow concertgoers and even performing artists. Parking is convenient and stress-free.
Main Street Crossing additionally functions as a multi-use venue for church services, concerts, and more located in Tomball. Check out our event calendar and enjoy entertainment in support of good causes!
Karen Carpenter Tribute LIVE at Main Street Crossing