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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Remembering Karen Carpenter

February 4 is the day Karen Carpenter passed away in 1983 of heart failure due to anorexia nervosa. Her death brought heightened attention to eating disorders that, at the time, little was known about. After her passing, public figures from Tracey Gold to Princess Diana came out of the closet about their own experiences with the disorder. Over 1,000 mourners attended Karen's funeral including friends and singers Dionne Warwick, Petula Clark and Olivia Newton-John.

Karen was The Voice of The Carpenters and an incomparable, distinctive one (especially when it came to phrasing) at that. She was voted one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time by Rolling Stone in 2008 and, posthumously in the fall of '83, The Carpenters received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Carpenters' first international, smash #1 was the Bacharach/David "Close to You." Their many hits include "Superstar," "Rainy Days and Mondays," "We've Only Just Begun" and so many more. Their sound helped define contemporary pop ballads for an era.

In 1979, Karen recorded a self-titled solo album on the A&M label with the late, legendary producer, Phil Ramone. It contained more provocative lyrics, had a disco edge to it and Ramone pushed Karen's upper register to good effect. Unfortunately, Richard Carpenter (Karen's brother, a piano prodigy who was record producer, arranger, pianist, lyricist and composer for the duo) pressured A&M CEO Herb Alpert to shelve the album. It was finally released in 1996.

Karen Carpenter remains, to this day, a beloved and influential recording star. Dj Buddy Beaverhausen respectfully remembers her.

Play a Carpenters song tonight on the anniversary of her passing and relive the beauty of those classic pop tunes illuminated by that extraordinary and timeless voice.

Below, The Carpenters on The Carol Burnett Show 1971, with Karen on drums.

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