Friday, October 26, 2007

The Carpenters

Most people on Earth have heard of the Carpenters. Maybe they don't specifically know any of their songs off hand, but all anyone needs to hear are just a few seconds of any of their big hits (Close To You, We've Only Just Begun, Sing, Hurting Each Other, etc.) before saying "Ah! I've heard this!"

And that's just the kind of band the Carpenters were. Either absolutely loved or completely overlooked. At the time of the Carpenters biggest success the main stream was rejecting the Carpenters wholesome image and pure pop productions. America was being swept up in the post-hippie, anti-Vietnam rock scene. So while The Carpenters were being seen as completely uncool (especially after accepting to perform for President Nixon in 1973) they were unmoved by the music scene around them and continued to make the same beautiful music they had started making. By today's standards, that's pretty cool.

I've never really been one for using big words, so I will try to say this as simply as possible. The Carpenters are beautiful. Everything about their music represents pop music at it's best.

The Carpenters were brothers Richard and Karen Carpenter. Richard had taken lessons for piano as a child and by his teenage years was extremely talented at his instrument. Karen had started learning Jazz drums in her teen years as well. And the two had made a jazz trio in the mid 60s called The Richard Carpenter Trio. However, by 1968 The Carpenters had dropped the Jazz trio and formed the pop group we all know.

They were signed to A&M Records by 1969 and released their first album "Offerings". The single from the album was a ballad cover of The Beatles hit "Ticket To Ride". Check out the video for it below (the video was shot on Karen's 20th Birthday).

However, the album did not sell well, but their next album 1970's Close To You proved to be a huge success. (Read a brief article about the Carpenters from a magazine in 1970) The album reached #2 on the US charts. After the success of their second album The Carpenters had been forced into a lifestyle of constant pressure to perform and to record new material, with the majority of this pressure being placed onto Richard, the group's main composer.

During the next decade The Carpenters enjoyed massive success, but also had their share of problems. Richard had become addicted to quaaludes, which he recovered from. However Karen, who had been struggling with anorexia for years, died from the illness in 1983.

The diversity and the impact of The Carpenters music make them still popular today. Whether you're smiling ear to ear or crying from lost love (and yes, they have made me cry) you need The Carpenters if you care about anything at all in the world.

Go buy some albums here!
Check out Richard Carpenter's website as well!

and lastly, this is so cute! The Carpenters play Sing in Japan in 1974 with a little kids choir in Japanese! =D


Tyler said...

aw, the carpenters are so cute!

and carpenters + little japanese kids = think my brain could melt from the cuteness!

keep it up, eric ;)

Bionic said...

I think it's true what you said about familiarity. My parents have always loved them so I know their records, but I've never really thought to give them a proper listen. Time to nick some LPs.