Gaming

Top 20 Carpenters Hits

The core of the Carpenters were sister and brother Karen and Richard Carpenter, both born in New Haven, Connecticut; Richard in 1946 and Karen in 1950.

Richard began playing the piano at the age of nine. Karen didn’t realize her musical ability until the family moved to Downey, California in 1963 and she took up drums while in high school. By then, Richard had formed The Richard Carpenter Trio with Frank Pooler and Wes Jacobs. The trio signed with RCA Records in 1966, but failed to produce any hits.

In 1966, Karen accompanied her brother Richard, who was auditioning for a trumpeter at a studio owned by bassist Joe Osborn. Osborn asked Karen to sing and was so impressed that he signed her to his Magic Lamp Records label. The label was folded before Karen had a hit.

A year later, Karen and Richard joined a band called Spectrum. They acted in the famous Whiskey A Go-Go, but disbanded in 1968.

After shipping out many demo tapes, A&M Records co-owner and family friend Herb Alpert (of Tijuana Brass) signed the duo under the name “Carpenters” in 1969. Their first album, “Offer,” produced a hit. minor slow version of “Ticket To Ride” by The Beatles. It was their second album, “Close To You”, that put Karen and Richard “on the map”.

On the charts, the Carpenters had twenty Top 40 hits on the Billboard weekly charts, with three reaching number one. Here’s a look at the Carpenters’ Top Twenty Hits, based on Billboard’s Weekly Top 40 Charts.

1. (They Long To Be) Close To You – 1970 – Originally recorded by Richard Chamberlain in 1963, the Carpenters’ first hit reached number one for four weeks.

2. Top Of The World – 1973 – When Lynn Anderson reached # 3 on the country charts, this version was released from the album “A Song For You”.

3. Please Mr. Postman – 1975 – A number one single for The Marvellettes in 1961, The Carpenters also reached number one.

4. We Just Got Started – 1970 – Richard heard this song in a television commercial for Crocker Bank in California and decided it would be a good song for them to record. It turned out to be his signature song.

5. Superstar – 1971 – Written by Leon Russell and Bonnie Bramlett, Richard heard Bette Midler perform the song on “The Tonight Show” and couldn’t wait to arrange and record it.

6. Rainy Days And Mondays – 1971 – Composed by Roger Nichols and Paul Williams, this song appeared on their album “Carpenters”.

7. Hurting Each Other – 1972 – Originally recorded by Jimmy Clanton, Chad Allen and The Expressions (Guess Who) and the Walker Brothers, before the Carpenters got it.

8. Yesterday Once More – 1973 – Written by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis for the album “Now And Then”.

9. For all we know – 1971 – From the movie “Lovers and other strangers.”

10. Sing – 1973 – Carpenters’ version of this song helped popularize a song written for “Sesame Street.”

11. Only Yesterday – 1975 – His latest Top 10 hit came from the album “Horizon”.

12. Goodbye To Love – 1972 – Renowned electric guitarist Tony Peluso contributes funky guitar work to this song.

13. I won’t last a day without you – Co-written by Paul Williams, also recorded by Maureen McGovern.

14. It’s Going To Some Time – 1972 – Written and recorded by Carole King in 1971.

15. There is a kind of silence (worldwide) – 1976 – A # 4 hit for Herman’s Hermits in 1967, the Carpenters took it to # 12.

16. Touch Me When We’re Dancing – 1981 – Officially the Carpenters’ latest Top 20 single, after a three-year hiatus from the charts.

17. Solitaire – 1975 – Written and recorded by Neil Sedaka in 1972.

18. I need to be in love – 1976 – Richard has reported that this was Karen’s favorite song.

19. Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft – 1977 – Originally recorded by Klaatu in 1976, the Carpenters version features a 160-member musical team.

20. All You Get From Love Is To Love Song – 1977 – From the album “Passage”, here you can hear Tom Scott, the saxophonist from Carole King’s hit “Jazzman”.

Although Karen and Richard projected an impeccably clean image, they both had their share of personal problems. Richard had to take a break in 1979 to be treated for his addiction to Quaaludes. Karen, who had been struggling with her weight for years, had suffered from anorexia nervosa since 1975 and refused to seek treatment.

Karen’s whirlwind of romance and marriage to real estate developer Thomas Burris in 1980 only lasted a year, before the couple split. Karen finally sought treatment for her anorexia, in 1981, where it was discovered that she had been taking ten times her daily dose of thyroid medication.

In 1983, Karen returned home to her mother in Downey after an argument with Richard about her deteriorating condition. Two days later, Karen suffered cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead on February 4, 1983 at the age of 32.

During their reign, the Carpenters were the number one selling musical artists of the 1970s. They won three Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist in 1970. They also hosted several television specials and had their own variety series, “Make Your Own Kind Of Music “in 1971.

Several documentaries have been made about carpenters. “The Karen Carpenter Story”, a 1988 TV movie, was based on her life.

Richard continues to make concert appearances and raises funds for the Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts located at California State University.

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