Back in the 70s and 80s, the American band The Carpenters were among the A-list musicians and Karen Carpenter was renowned for her silk voice which landed them at the top of music charts. The band also had 10 gold singles, 9 gold albums, a multi-platinum album and won 3 Grammy awards.
Who Is Karen Carpenter: Full Bio
Born March 2nd, 1953 in New Haven, Connecticut, Karen was the daughter of Agnes and Harold Bertram Carpenter who enjoyed music as a child which led her to be enrolled to tap dancing classes at age 4. In 1963, her family relocated to Los Angeles where her father got a new job and she started attending Downey High School. She was a member of the music band where she developed an interest in drumming and was taught how to drum by her friend Frankie Chavez who was a good drummer. Upon graduating from high school, she became a member of the Long Beach State Choir alongside her brother Richard.
The Carpenter trio band was formed by Richard in 1965 which had Karen, Richard and his friend Wes Jacobs from their college days in it. The group rehearsed mainly during the daytime and at night played in numerous nightclubs. Karen started as the only drummer in the group but as time progressed, her singing abilities were discovered and she started being the lead singer in their squad and eventually turned out to be one of the star vocalists of her time. They landed their first record deal in 1967 from A&M Records which gave them the platform to release hit albums like: Offering which was later changed to Ticket to Ride; released 1969, in the 70’s they released Close to You, Carpenters, A Song for You, Now & Then, Horizon, A Kind of Hush, Passage and Christmas Portrait while only one album titled Made in America was released in the 80’s.
In spite of her fame as a lead vocalist, Karen was said to have always seen herself as a drummer that sings, not the other way round. Her solo record was released in the 1970’s when the band went on a break due to personal challenges with health and addiction faced by the singer and her brother respectively. However, the song titled Looking For Love was not a success as it only sold 500 copies and the label she used to produce it closed shortly afterwards.
Accolade: Legacy Of Karen Carpenter
The vibrant singer’s voice attracted a lot of person’s interest after she was long gone and singers like Madonna, Sheryl Crow, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Shania Twain and k.d. lang praised her voice for its smoothness and the expertise with which she sings. She has been described as the female with the best voice during her time by top stars like Paul McCartney and Elton John. Her skilful drumming like her voice has also been appreciated by artists like Hal Blaine, Cubby O’Brien and Buddy Rich. She has also been recognized by Modern Drummer magazine and won the best rock drummer poll conducted by Playboy.
A few months after her tragic demise, The Carpenters band was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1983. She was listed at no. 29 among 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll in 1999 and in 2010, She was ranked 94 among a list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time by Rolling Stone.
A foundation is also being run in her name by her family. It’s named the Karen A. Carpenter Memorial Foundation.
Karen Carpenter’s Husband
The star at the start of her career was not interested in dating nor marriage as she was of the opinion that such a relationship will not last because of the nature of her work that keeps her on the road on her music tours. However, this was not the case for long as she started romantic relationships and has been linked with men like Mike Curb, Tony Danza, Terry Ellis, Mark Harmon, Steve Martin and Alan Osmond.
In 1980 she finally married Thomas James Burris a real estate developer in Beverly Hills Hotel. She sang one of her songs titled Because We Are in Love during the ceremony in a breathtaking manner and the song was later released in 1980. The marriage was, however, a tragic one as there were stories of domestic abuse; her husband’s reckless spending of her money and his refusal to have kids which broke Karen’s heart. She filed for divorce 14 months later and ended the whole ordeal with James Burris.
Karen Carpenter Tragic Death and Cause of Death
Aside from the crisis in her marriage, the music star suffered from anorexia which is an eating disorder that she developed from her obsession with her weight gain. She started dieting in high school and to maintain her weight, she was said to have gone to extreme measures in reducing her food intake. She became extremely weak in her later years and had a heart failure at her parent’s residence on February 4, 1983, which she did not survive.
What Was Karen Carpenter’s Net Worth?
The music icon who was a prolific singer and drummer is said to have had a net worth of about $6 million before her untimely demise.