Carpenters or The Carpenters were a vocal and instrumental duo, consisting of siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter. The Carpenters were the #1 selling American music act of the 1970s. Though often referred to by the public as “The Carpenters”, the duo’s official name on authorized recordings and press materials is simply “Carpenters”, without the definite article. During a period in the 1970s when louder and wilder rock was in great demand, Richard and Karen produced a distinctively soft musical style that made them among the best-selling music artists of all time.
Carpenters’ melodic pop produced a record-breaking run of hit recordings on the American Top 40 and Adult Contemporary charts, and they became leading sellers in the soft rock, easy listening and adult contemporary genres. Carpenters had three #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and fifteen #1 hits on the Adult Contemporary Chart. In addition, they had twelve top 10 singles. To date, Carpenters’ album and single sales total more than 100 million units.
During their 14-year career, the Carpenters recorded 11 albums, five of which contained top 10 singles, thirty-one singles, five television specials, and one short-lived television series. They toured in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, the Netherlands and Belgium. Their recording career ended with Karen’s death in 1983 from cardiac arrest due to complications of anorexia nervosa. Extensive news coverage of the circumstances surrounding her death increased public awareness of the consequences of eating disorders.
The Carpenter siblings were both born on Hall Street in New Haven, Connecticut to parents Harold and Agnes. Richard Lynn was born on October 15, 1946, and Karen Anne followed on March 2, 1950. Richard was a quiet child who spent most of his time in the house listening to records and playing the piano. Karen, on the other hand, seemed to be friendly and outgoing; she liked to play sports, including softball with the neighborhood kids, but she also spent a lot of time listening to music.