On the 'tube

Karen Killin’ It


I mean, I knew...but I didn't know.

She was the real deal. Gone way too soon. I didn't know then that I'd come to appreciate her so much later - the voice, the phrasing, the musicality, the vivacious go-for-it.

Gone too soon. Karen, we barely knew you.


The demons seem to latch on tightly to gifted young talent. And fans get robbed of all the artistic output that will never be.


Barbershop singers and aficionados of the a cappella style have always been tremendous fans of Karen vocal talents. She knew how to vocalize like few others. She's in a group of very select few with this degree of talent. She's been gone quite awhile now but will never be forgotten. I really miss her and wonder how much more music she'd have brought to the world had her anorexia not so weakened her heart beyond repair it caused her death.


Their style may not have been everyone's taste, but there's no denying their talent. They were definitely the real deal. Richard had a real gift for arranging. And Karen's voice had a timbre that was unrivaled. So incredibly pure sounding.


Their style may not have been everyone's taste

Well you know. During the Carpenters’ heyday, I yielded no ground to anyone in my devotion to the hardest, most extreme rock of the era.

But the Carpenters were just so different from all that, so distinctly themselves - and so relentlessly musical - that I went right ahead and liked them anyway. The steadfast way they did stuff so counter to the trends of the day made them seem almost hip. I didn't sense that they were reactionary, rebelling against the cultural rebellion of the day. That would have added a meta layer of commentary over their music, and I don't think they were about that. It's more that they just went their own way - which happened to be melodic, mellow, spare, tasteful, reasonably sophisticated, and laced through with as pure a voice as we've ever heard. In other words (in their own way) one-of-a-kind originals.

And I could dig that.


She really had a beautiful voice and was an equally fine drummer. I like a bunch of their material, not all of it, but hose big lush vocal pads in the arrangements. ooooooo, excellent producing too.


Quite honestly, Karen could sing something as mundane as pages from the phone book and make it sound incredible.


I love The Carpenters. Never embarrassed me to say it before and it doesn’t embarrass me now.

Karen was gone way too soon.


They went straight to Super Stardom...Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss' (A&M) Big Winner.

Funny thing is I cannot remember a single Concert Tour near me as a kid, but there had to have been.

EDIT: The only played Philly a few times. In 1972 it was the Academy of Music, 1974 was Valley Forge Music Fair for several nights (big dinner club), then in 1975 I have to assume the same. 3 times in 4 years.

I will always remember reading how Mick Ronson thought they were the greatest!


I vaguely remember asking to stay up past my bedtime to watch them on tv....parents said no......


To give Richard Carpenter credit as well--

Not just anybody could take a Paul Williams tune from a 60-second bank commmercial from 1970--

And see it's commercial potential as a pop song-- arrange it, perform it, and release it-- and it turn it into a Billboard Top 10 (#2) hit... and, (along with Chicago's "Colour My World') a wedding song for a generation...

Not playing down Paul Williams either-- I've always thought of him as an incredibly talented pop writer.


If you weren't then or even now moved by Karen remarkable voice, then you don't have a soul. Their Christmas album was some of their best arrangements of other writers' material. There have been only a handful of voices that exhibit her tonal palate, clarity & passion.

It's this style of vocalist(s) I appreciate and why I don't care for ANY soloist or group whose style doesn't allow you to clearly hear every word they sing. If the song has words, it's about the lyric, not vocal acrobatics or a pitiful sounding backing band. I could go on but don't really need to. Songs from Karen and Richard have shown themselves to be timeless and will continue to be. Thanks for song Deed.


Yesterday was Karen’s birthday. She would be 69 years old. I am so glad we had this conversation, I hope she knows how many people still love her. I’d like to think she does.


HB, KC. And Richard, best wishes as well.


Yesterday was Karen’s birthday. She would be 69 years old. I am so glad we had this conversation, I hope she knows how many people still love her. I’d like to think she does.

– Deed Eddy

I have to think that it has been of great comfort to Richard to know how much everyone loved what they did together.


Thanks for posting that, Deed.

I didn't know Richard had gone into Abbey Road last fall to conduct and record his own full-orchestra arrangements of Carpenters songs to give Karen's voice an even lusher setting.

Bit of a first-class rhythm section behind the orchestra, too:

Carpenter expertly blends the sounds of the core musicians, including Bob Messenger and Tony Peluso, and esteemed guest musicians – such as Joe Osborn on bass, Hal Blaine on drums, Chuck Findlay on trumpet, Earle Dumler on oboe, Tommy Morgan on harmonica, Buddy Emmons on pedal steel and Tom Scott and Doug Strawn on saxophones – with an orchestra renowned for its exceptional quality and versatility.

The Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is out now. I'm ordering mine.


Back in the day, there was 1 television in the house, My Dad watched The Carpenters Show which meant We All watched The Carpenters Show. Im glad I did as they were very good.


I remember a late night curled up around the radio hearing Karen’s voice coming thru the the tiny speaker - it was Superstar, I think. It was one of the prettiest things I ever heard.


I have been trying, off and on, for 6 months to chart out the vocals for the last 4 bars of 'Merry Christmas Darling'. I thought I had a pretty good ear until this recent little test. Richard did the vocal arrangement. It's a multi-layer (9 part?) weaving, sibling-blended, over-compressed, 4 bars (16 seconds) of absolute sonic bliss (and charting nightmare). Any brave soul care to give it a try? I have heard a few close versions on YouTube, but no one that I have seen has nailed it.

They were both gifted.


Hmm... had a quick look- don't have the chart in my collection, but I'll take a listen.


I bet you can contact Richard somehow and ask him for it.

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