Karen Carpenter (2 March 1950 to 4 February 1983), one of the few famous female pop drummers of all time (think Mo Tucker, Bobbye Hall, Cindy Blackman, who else?) elevated the essentially easy-listening elevator music of her family duo thanks to her matchless, honey-over pancakes voice.
Carpenters’ song-list is a creamy, sugared, nutty sundae of schmaltz, but her smooth, effortless, mirific contralto took it to a much better place – fare such as We’ve Only Just Begun, Rainy Days and Mondays, Superstar, Yesterday Once More, Only Yesterday, Solitaire, and Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.
She died just shy of her 33rd birthday, from failure of a heart fatally weakened by the effects of her anorexia nervosa. Whilst we know a lot more about this weird, destructive syndrome as a result of Karen’s tragedy, one truth has always been known: don’t call teenage girls at school ‘pudgy.’ The ramifications can be severe.
Carpenters’ songs have been covered with varying degrees of success. For example, We’ve Only Just Begin, that wedding dance perennial, has been done nicely by Kate Ceberano and Dami Im, but who could out-do Karen herself? – here c/- You Tube: