Thirty-Seven Years Ago Today Marks the Passing of Karen Carpenter
On February 4, 1983, the music world lost one of it's most beautiful voices. Karen Carpenter passed away from complications stemming from an eating disorder. She was only 32 years old.
Karen suffered from a condition that was largely unfamiliar to the general public at the time: Anorexia Nervosa. Her death was officially diagnosed as a heart attack brought on by the stress on her system from anorexia. Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder but it's also a psychological condition marked by extreme self-starvation due to a distorted body image. And sadly, the number of people who have this condition has greatly increased over the years.
When I was younger, there was a period of time where it was considered "uncool" to be a Carpenters fan. It wasn't until I began to grow older and my musical tastes expanded that I discovered my appreciation for the Carpenters. Karen Carpenter possessed what I consider to be the perfect "pop" voice. Lovely....Angelic....Haunting....Beautiful.
And apparently, what I discovered only later, millions of people discovered right off the bat. Just look at the string of hit singles Karen and her brother Richard released over a decade plus career.
"(They Long To Be)Close To You", "Sing", "Top Of The World", "Rainy Days And Mondays", "Superstar", "Bless The Beasts And Children", "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft", "Hurting Each Other", "Yesterday Once More"....
You get the idea. Even if you don't recognize the titles, chances are you'll recognize the songs themselves. Here, take a listen. In terms of "pop" music, the Carpenters were at the front of the pack. And yes, credit must also go to Richard Carpenter for his fantastic song arrangements. But it was Karen's voice that brought them to another level. Karen, you are missed.