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Music singer and drummer Karen Carpenter picture(s)/pic(s), wallpaper and photo gallery, albums covers pictures.
Birth name: Karen Anne Carpenter
Born: March 02, 1950 New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
Died: February 04, 1983 (aged 32) Downey, California, USA.
Karen Carpenter biography (bio):
Karen Anne Carpenter was a highly successful American singer and drummer. She and her brother, Richard, formed the popular duo The Carpenters. Known for impeccable phrasing and faultless pitch, Carpenter is regarded by many music industry leaders and colleagues as one of the most important female singers of the twentieth century. Instantly recognizable, there is such a potent sense of longing in the conjoined sadness and joy in her vocals that Carpenter transcends even the most cloying productions, having become somewhat of an alt-rock goddess to younger generations who are discovering her music. Madonna, Shania Twain, and K.D. Lang, among others, have cited her as a musical influence. If I Were A Carpenter is a tribute album to the Carpenters featuring several alternative rock bands covering the classic tunes performed by Richard and Karen Carpenter. One of the most acclaimed songs on this album is Sonic Youth's cover of "Superstar." Karen suffered from anorexia and eventually succumbed to this illness at the age of 32 years old, in 1983.
Carpenter was born in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S. to Agnes Reuwer Tatum and Harold Bertram Carpenter.
When Karen was young, she used to enjoy playing baseball with other children on the street. On the TV program, "This Is Your Life," Karen stated that she liked pitching the ball. In the early 1970s, she would go on to play as the pitcher on the Carpenters' official softball team.
Her brother Richard had developed an interest in music at an early age, becoming a piano prodigy. The family moved in June of 1963 to the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, California. The move to Southern California, home of many recording studios and record companies, was intended in part to foster Richard's budding musical career.
When Karen Carpenter went to Downey High School, she didn't care for gym class, so she asked Richard to ask the conductor of the band if she could substitute band for gym class. The conductor agreed to take her into the band, and gave her the glockenspiel. She didn't care for the glockenspiel, and upon admiring the performance of a friend named Frankie Chavez, she asked the conductor if she could play the drums instead.
Drumming came naturally to Carpenter, and she practiced for several hours a day. Her drumming can be heard in many of the Carpenters' songs. When she was 17, Carpenter went on "The Stillman Diet" with a doctor's guidance, and lost between 20 and 25 pounds.
In 1968, John Wayne met the Carpenters on a talent show called "Your All American College Show." He urged Carpenter to try out for a role in the film "True Grit." Carpenter auditioned, but actress Kim Darby was selected instead.
From 1965 to 1968 Karen was a part of The Richard Carpenter Trio, with brother Richard and his college friend Wes Jacobs, a bassist and tuba player. The trio played jazz at numerous nightclubs, and also on TV show "Your All American College Show," though Bill Sissyoev played bass for the TV appearance
Karen, Richard, and other musicians, including Gary Sims and John Bettis, would also perform as an ensemble known as Spectrum. In Spectrum, the group focused on a harmonious, vocal sound, and recorded many demo tapes in the garage studio of friend and bassist Joe Osborn.
Carpenter signed with A&M Records with her brother as "Carpenters" on April 22, 1969. She sang most of the songs on their first album, Ticket to Ride. Their only single released from that album, the title song, only reached #54 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts. Their next album, 1970's Close to You, contained two RIAA Certified Gold Records: "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and "We've Only Just Begun." They peaked at #1 and #2, respectively. The song was written by songwriter Paul Williams and was originally used in a commercial for Crocker International Bank, which showed a young couple moving into their first home.
Karen's drum playing ability was praised by fellow drummers Hal Blaine, Cubby O'Brien, Buddy Rich and "Modern Drummer" magazine. She placed first in Playboy's reader poll: Best Rock Drummer of 1975.
By the mid-1970s, extensive touring and lengthy recording sessions had begun to take their toll on the duo and contributed to their professional difficulties during the latter half of the decade. Karen started out as both the drummer and singer. Since Karen was the lead singer on the albums, she was pressured to only sing, while another person played the drums during live concerts. It was then agreed that she would only stand up for the popular ballads, and would perform from behind the drums on album cuts.
Karen rarely selected the songs she would sing, and often felt she had very little control over her life. The rock-and-roll press did not like having to write about this middle-of-the road brother and sister act, and often wrote negative reviews, despite Karen's astonishing voice quality. Carpenter dieted obsessively and developed the disorder anorexia nervosa, which first manifested itself in 1975 when an exhausted and emaciated Karen Carpenter was forced to cancel concert tours in the UK and Japan. At the same time, Richard developed an addiction to quaaludes, which began to affect his performance by the late 1970s and led to the end of the duo's live concert appearances for several years. On September 4, 1978, the Carpenters gave a concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. They would not perform on stage again until the 1981 Made in America album, which would include their final live performance together.
In 1979, Richard Carpenter took a year off to cure a dependency on quaaludes, and Karen decided to make a solo album with producer Phil Ramone. Richard wanted his sister to see a doctor about her eating disorder, but Karen refused. While staying at the home of the Ramones, Karen took half of a quaalude tablet and passed out on the floor. She soon recovered.
Karen's choice of more adult-oriented and disco/dance-tempo material represented an effort to retool her image. "Something's Missing (In My Life)," which didn't make it on to the final album, remains unmixed and without strings. Other songs, which are now available on the internet as bootlegs having never been released. Her solo works are markedly different from usual Carpenters fare, with more sexual lyrics and the use of Karen's higher vocal register.
The resulting product met a tepid response from Richard and A&M executives in early 1980, and Karen wavered in her dedication to the project. The whole album was shelved by A&M executive Herb Alpert as a result of Karen's decision to never release the songs. In the process, Carpenter had to pay $400,000, and wasn't pleased. Carpenters fans got a taste of the album in 1989 when some of its tracks (as remixed by Richard) were mixed onto the album "Lovelines." Seven years later in 1996, the entire album, featuring mixes approved by Karen before her death and one unmixed bonus track, were finally released.
Carpenter lived with her parents until she was in her mid-20s. After the Carpenters became successful in the early 1970s, she and her brother bought two apartment buildings in Downey. Called "Close To You" and "Only Just Begun," the "Close To You" apartment can still be found at 8356 East 5th, Downey, CA.
In 1976, Carpenter bought two Century City apartments, gutted them, and turned them into one condominium. Located at 2222 Avenue of the Stars, the doorbell chimed the first six notes of "We've Only Just Begun". As a housewarming gift, her mother gave her a collection of leather-bound classic works of literature. Carpenter collected Disney memorabilia, loved to play softball and baseball, and listed Petula Clark, Olivia Newton-John, and Dionne Warwick among her friends.
After a whirlwind romance, on August 31, 1980 Carpenter married real estate developer Thomas James Burris. At the time they met, Burris was 39 years old and divorced with an 18-year-old son named Mike. Carpenter was 30 years old. The couple were married at the Beverly Hills Hotel in the Crystal Room. A new song performed by Carpenter at the ceremony, "Because We Are In Love," was released in 1981. The couple went to Bora Bora for their honeymoon. Carpenter called her family from the island and described it as "Boring Boring." The marriage became a disaster, and they filed for divorce in November of 1981. The divorce was to be finalized on the day Carpenter passed away, so she died a married woman. After going out with Carpenter's parents to celebrate her father's birthday. She and Burris returned to the Carpenters' Downey home and after a brief argument, Burris told her parents, "You can keep her!" Carpenter never saw her husband again after that night.
The song "Now," recorded in April 1982, was the last song Karen Carpenter ever recorded. It was recorded in California while Carpenter took a two-week intermission in her therapy with noted psychotherapist Steven Levenkron in New York City for her anorexia, a relatively unknown disease at the time. In the midst of her therapy, she befriended recovered anorexic Cherry Boone, and embroidered a sign that read, "You Win, I Gain!" which she gave to Steve Levenkron. After her recovery, she planned to go public about her battle with anorexia.
Carpenter returned to California permanently later that year, determined to regain her professional career, finalize her divorce and begin recording a new album with Richard. Carpenter had gained a total of 30 pounds over a two-month stay in New York, but the sudden weight gain (much of which was intravenously fed) further strained her heart, which was already taxed and weak from years of dieting and abuse. At the height of her illness, Carpenter, who had a normal thyroid, was taking ten times the normal daily dose of thyroid replacement medication (equivalent to 1 milligram, as opposed to the normal 100 microgram dose) in order to speed up her metabolism, which combined with large amounts of laxatives (between 90 to 100 a day), weakened her heart, digestive and nervous system even further.
On December 17, 1982 Karen Carpenter made her last public singing appearance at the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, CA. She sang Christmas carols for friends. In late January of 1983, Richard and Karen took part in a group photograph of Grammy winners, Los Angeles.
A few weeks before Karen died, Richard tried to get his sister into a hospital for medical treatment, because in his words; "She didn't look well... there was no life in her eyes." Two weeks prior to her death at a meeting with Werner Wolfen, the Carpenters' financial advisor, Karen told Richard to mind his own business and that she had her problem under control.
On February 4, 1983, approximately a month before her thirty-third birthday, Carpenter experienced heart failure at her parents' home in Downey and was taken to Downey Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead twenty minutes later at the age of 32. She suffered cardiac arrest at 09.51 AM Pacific Standard Time. The LA Coroner gave the cause of death as "heartbeat irregularities brought on by chemical imbalances associated with anorexia nervosa".
The autopsy stated that Carpenter's death was the result of emetine cardiotoxicity due to anorexia nervosa. Under the anatomical summary, the first item was heart failure, with anorexia as second. The third finding was cachexia, which is extremely low weight and weakness and general body decline associated with chronic disease. Emetine cardiotoxicity implies that Carpenter abused ipecac syrup, an easily obtained emetic medicine that is only meant to be taken by persons who have accidentally swallowed poison.
This finding was debated by both her late mother and her brother Richard. Both have stated that they never found any empty vial of ipecac in her apartment nor was there any evidence that Karen had been vomiting. Richard believes that Karen was not willing to do this because it could damage her vocal cords. So she relied on laxatives alone to maintain her low body weight.
Her funeral service took place on February 8, 1983, at the Downey United Methodist Church. Carpenter, dressed in a rose colored suit, lay in an open white casket. Over a thousand mourners passed through to say goodbye, among them her friends Dorothy Hamill, Olivia Newton-John, Petula Clark, Cristina Ferrare, and Dionne Warwick. Carpenter's estranged husband Tom attended her funeral, where he took off his wedding ring and threw it into the casket.
Carpenter's death brought lasting media attention to anorexia nervosa and also to bulimia. Carpenter's death encouraged other celebrities to go public about their eating disorders, among them Tracey Gold and Diana, Princess of Wales. Medical centers and hospitals began receiving increased contacts from people with these disorders. The general public had little knowledge of anorexia nervosa and bulimia prior to Carpenter's death, making the condition difficult to identify and treat. Her fame and her "wholesome" image may have made people reluctant to confront the possibility that she had a problem, much less to intervene directly.
Her family started the "Karen A. Carpenter Memorial Foundation," which raised money for research on anorexia nervosa and eating disorders. Today the name of the organization has been changed to the "Carpenter Family Foundation." In addition to eating disorders, the foundation now funds the arts, entertainment and education.
On October 12, 1983, the Carpenters received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is located at 6931 Hollywood Blvd, a few yards from the Kodak Theater. Richard, Harold, and Agnes Carpenter attended the inauguration, as did many fans.
The Carpenter Mausoleum:
On December 11, 2003, at 12:30pm PST, Agnes, Karen, and Harold, who remained in their original caskets and occupied 3 out of the 6 spaces in the Carpenter Private Mausoleum, were exhumed from the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cypress, California and re-interred at the Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village, California. Their mausoleum is a 46,000-pound, Partenope-style structure and was constructed in Texas over seven months. It is polished sunset red, and features crystal patterns. It is located in the Tranquility Gardens section of the cemetery. Similar structures constructed at the time had a price range around $600,000.
"A Star on Earth - A Star in Heaven" was written on Carpenter's mausoleum stone prior to its move to the Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
Lists containing Karen Carpenter:
1999 - VH1 ranked Karen Carpenter at #29 on their list of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll.
2001 - VH1 ranked Karen Carpenter's death from anorexia nervosa at #93 on their 100 Greatest Shocking Moments in Rock and Roll.
2003 - E! ranked Karen Carpenter's death at #30 on their list of the Most Shocking Moments in Entertainment.
2006 - Entertainment Tonight ranked Karen Carpenter's death from anorexia nervosa at #3 on their list of the Top 25 Stories in 25 Years.