Karen Anne Carpenter (1950 – 1983)
It’s hard to believe that Karen Carpenter’s been gone for 30 years this Monday. Her death from a heart attack brought on by complications from anorexia nervosa shocked her legion of fans and brought worldwide attention to her illness.
Karen and her brother Richard crafted a long string of hits in a time when musical styles where going in quite the opposite direction. Admittedly, I was never a huge fan of Carpenters (the official name of the group has no “The”) but credit is due to them and especially Karen. Their musical legacy is as strong as ever – a testament to its greatness. In addition to her lush contralto ballads, Karen was a respected drummer as well.
One piece of Karen trivia that I never would have guessed was that at one time she dated Tony Danza, Steve Martin, Mark Harmon, and one of The Osmonds (not Donny or Marie, one of the other twenty).
I’ve included some of their biggest hits below but also beautiful versions of “Ave Maria”, “Honolulu City Lights”, and “Can’t Smile Without You”.