• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is available for ordering here.

Anyone read this?


Well-Known Member
Sibling Duo “The Raynors” Have Arrived!Posted by Michael St. John on Jul 6, 2014 - 5:42:56 AM
HELLO AMERICA!—During the seventies, the singing brother and sister act of “The Carpenters” were considered America’s sweethearts. Their songs were easy to listen and dance to; their smooth, beautifully arranged melodies and lyrics stuck in your mind, there was hope, life was good.
Their music was so powerful that Wanda Ray Willis and her brother Eldon Raynor decided to rearrange and musically reshape in the music in album form but as a video as well. They needed to make sure the world remembers what beautiful music represents the genius of The Carpenters time in the spotlight.
Wanda offers that the Carpenters songs’ represents love, survival and understanding. “Their songs made sense,” she said. This is why she and her brother were determined to get one of the best arrangers and musicians in the industry to work with them. “As far as I was concerned,” she said, “HB Barnum had to be the man for us. He goes deep into the music, to make a song fly and gives it the color that penetrates all reality. The man is magic with words and sounds itself. Working with HB has been the most exciting thing that we’ve experienced as musicians. We learned so much about ourselves as well as music. It’s been a beautiful journey working on the video and album. All the hard work was worth it.”
The album “The Raynors Sing the Music of the Carpenters” has been welcomed with tremendous approval by critics and fans across the country.“We’ve not only received a great response from those of our generation,” Willis said, “but from this generation, too. Especially the video, kids really enjoy the dancing and the love songs.”
In the mean time, “The Raynors” are preparing for a national tour and media appearances in major cities throughout the country.“It’s a dream come true,” Willis noted. “We hope the album and video remind people of the kind of music that made our country so unique and special.”


Well-Known Member
A short piece regarding Carpenters (fantastic!) radio jingle (rather sad, if true):

"KFRC would ask artists to sing along with the "You" jingle track at the station.
The Carpenters took the track to their own studio and worked their buns off on it, resulting in this masterpiece.
The sad truth is that they weren't deemed hip enough at the time (late 70s) so the PD didn't play their version much, if at all.

Darryl Hall spent over an hour working out the harmonies when he and John Oates came to the station. (With Jan Smithers in tow).
Stevie Wonder disregarded the instrumental track and wrote an entirely new melody and jingle in his own studio.
Those were heady times in radio."

Source: http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2014/06/karen-also-sang-jingles.html


Well-Known Member
This tidbit caught my eye:
Friday, July 11, 2014
Singer-songwriter Mac Davis also tries TV, movies, Broadway stardom
Lubbock native Mac Davis would turn down an opportunity to star in Broadway’s “The Will Rogers Follies” three times before his wife emphatically changed his mind. Prior to that, he already had succeeded in far more than crossover success in pop and country music.
At 32, he hosted his own network television show and, from there, would act in films and plays. With his biggest screen and stage successes arriving early, he assumed at the time he was a “natural actor.”
“What I am,” he now softly concludes, “is a songwriter.” In 2000, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the only surprise being voters waited that long.More than anything, he enjoys headlining acoustic concerts.
“Just me and the basics,” said Davis. “After I opened for the Carpenters and the Fifth Dimension tours, I also did a ton of college dates."

My Question:
Did any member of this forum see Mac Davis open for Carpenters?
When would those concert dates have occurred?

I do know he is the songwriter for Two Sides,the great song from Passage.

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
My Question:
Did any member of this forum see Mac Davis open for Carpenters?
When would those concert dates have occurred?

I do know he is the songwriter for Two Sides,the great song from Passage.

Hi Gary,

Richard answered a fan's question about Mac Davis and said that he opened for them in 1971, it sounds like it was several shows too.
Question #8


I also read that Mac Davis was a guest on the "Make Your Own Kind of Music Specials" 1971 series.
August 31 - Regulars on the show: Al Hirt, the Carpenters, Mark Lindsay, comics Patchett & Tarses, and the New Doodletown Pipers. Guest: Mac Davis and Helen Reddy

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I found this, it appears Mac Davis and Carpenters performed at Ohio State Fair
Scroll through the OCR Text shows:
"Thursday Ohio State Fair opens, The Carpenters and Mac Davis in Expositions Center, 2 and 8 p. m"

I'm not 100% sure the newspaper article at the top is for the OCR text at the bottom but I would think it should be and if so they are saying the date is Sunday, August 22, 1971 it's on page 66

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
It appears they played again at this venue Monday, May 17, 1971

OCR Text says:
The Carpenters, a brother · sister recording team, and songwriter - S i e g e r Mac Davis will highlight the 1971 Ohio State Fair free grandstand entertainment program. Fair manager Jerry L. Kaltenbach has also announced t h e Budweiser Clydesdales will be at the fair's horse show for the 12 - day - vent. The Carpenters h a v e made hit recordings of "Close to You" and other songs by writer Hurt Bacharach. Davis p e n n e d "Watching Scotty Grow," recorded by Bobby Goldsboro, and "In the Ghetto," sung by Elvis Presley. He will perform his own songs at the fair.


Well-Known Member
Thanks so much, Chris!
I appreciate the information!
Mac Davis is such a versatile songwriter/performer, yet, I have never come across any interviews
where he offers any insight regarding Karen and Richard.
Perhaps, even a comment on what he thought of their Two Sides interpretation, would be interesting.
Needless to say, I am glad they recorded his song.


I Know My First Name Is Stephen
On LP Passage, the song Two Sides is credited to "Scott E. Davis",
otherwise known as Mac Davis.

He got the dubious privilege of having his song included as the flip side of the last Carpenters single released in Karen's lifetime:

Beechwood 4-5789 (A&M 2405)
Release date: March 2, 1982 (Karen's 32nd birthday)
Billboard Chart: #74
Adult Contemporary Chart: #18


Well-Known Member
Well, I have at one time, or another, attempted to obtain nearly all of Mac Davis' works... His own records, and stuff recorded by O.C. Smith, Nancy Sinatra, Gary Puckett, John Davidson and Sammy Davis, Jr., that Davis, himself, never did...

And this song might have only been peddled to Karen, if so far, I don't believe he'd ever recorded it, himself... There are a few other songs like this that Mac sold to other artists, and just never, himself, recorded...

-- Dave


Well-Known Member
Thanks for the input regarding Mac Davis, and the song Two Sides.
Such a great song, and to my knowledge only ever recorded by Carpenters.
I, too, wondered if Mac Davis specifically pitched this song to Karen and Richard for recording.
His artistic output, as I am now finding out, is quite impressive.
Once again, this forum has provided me with informative content due to the wide-ranging
expertise of its members!


Well-Known Member
The book:
Pop, When the World Falls Apart (an anthology) has an interesting piece by Tom Smucker referencing Carpenters,
“The best essays in this brooding, often brilliant collection both reflect and reflect upon struggle and trouble, whether it’s the sonics of the Iraq conflict, the post-Katrina culture war threatening New Orleans’ jazz scene, or the self-annihilation of those Nixon-era popmeisters, the Carpenters. Pop When the World Falls Apart is an indispensable document of what cultural criticism reads and rocks like during these hard and bewildering times.”—Alice Echols, Professor of English.
“This collection covers a varied terrain: ghostwriting celebrity memoirs; Karen and Richard Carpenter’s reassuring pop songs, whose darkness bubbled below a syrupy surface of melody and lyrics: Retro-Soul’s appeal to middle-class whites; and Morris Holt—a.k.a. ‘Magic Slim’—as the last keeper of traditional Chicago Blues. While some of the articles stray from the book title’s promise, together they offer a stimulating view of popular music’s indelible cultural imprint.”
(Karl Helicher ForeWord Reviews)

Here is an example of his writing from The Village Voice:
The Carpenters: Forbidden Fruit

The Carpenters were one of those groups I thought I shouldn't like but kept thinking sounded good when I heard them on the radio. Being the person I am, I both set up and felt compelled to break strictures against enjoying them, driven to taste the forbidden fruits of middle-class culture.
The posters for their Now and Then album on the subway walls enticed me, with the Matisse-like super-real album cover. Karen and Richard are frozen in a moment in time, driving an air-conditioned sports car down a Southern California suburban street. Nothing is happening but the moment is so perfect, so normal, that it's luminous. Like those opening scenes in a monster movie that are so average you know something weird is about to happen.
And so I rehearsed how and where I would attempt my Carpenters' record purchase. Trying to overcome my worst case of consumer stage fright since I first bought rubbers years ago. What would the man behind the counter say when I walked up with my Carpenters record? Would he yell out something embarrassing to his buddy at the other end of the store?
But A&M Records saved me. They put me on their freebies list just long enough to send me Now and Then in the mail. In a plain brown envelope. I didn't know what it was when I opened it, honest. For all I knew, it could have been something good, like Phil Ochs. Or Herb Alpert. And once it was opened I had to take it home and play it, right?
What a record!
Karen Carpenter has a voice in the great tradition of Judy Collins, Joan Baez, and other white middle-class women. Somehow expressive and full of allusion in its basic mournful/depressed inexpressiveness. Both presenting the surface of middle-class life and suggesting its deepest hidden feelings. Like the cover of Now and Then.
Karen's is the ultimate for me. Both more bland (or smooth) and more resonant than any other. And, woven into Richard's fabulous Beach Boys-Beatles-Bacharach inspired arrangements and productions, musically intelligent and a joy to listen to.
When I went to see them at the Westchester Premier Theatre last Monday I was both excited and apprehensive. I half expected a blinding suburban epiphany. But I also thought, because of their prowess in the studio, that they might be exceptionally lame as a live group.
I shouldn't have worried. For all the Carpenters' overdubbing and studio intelligence, Karen's voice is still a natural marvel. As fantastic as her recordings from the moment she opened her mouth.
And although their live sound could never match the intricacies of their studio work, it was still polished and flawless. Karen, Richard, and the band flubbed less than five notes all night. The essence of "tight."
But their live stage presence was nothing like what I expected. I guess I thought visually and physically they would be as tight and polished as their sound. Or at least some kind of ultimate suburban symbol. Like a singing Tricia Nixon maybe. But both Carpenters are angular and almost artless on stage. Looking normal the way you and I look normal. Just regular folks who are really into their music.
Unfortunately, tight live music runs the risk of not involving the audience, and for this reason I most enjoyed the "sloppier" oldies medley that closed the show. My friend Ray, who likes jazz more than me, was more impressed by Karen's flawless run through a long Bacharach medley. And I'll have to admit she looked most at home singing this stuff.
Their new album is supposed to be out in a month. In the meantime I highly recommend their greatest hits package -- The Singles. Unlike most other compilations of this type it really flows and holds together on its own--aided by some slick additional studio work from Richard. Buying it in person once I already ownedNow and Then was almost effortless, too, as it turned out.
Tom Smucker, Village Voice
Source: http://www.tomsmucker.org/pearlevie.htm


Well-Known Member
Fascinating analysis of "Superstar" and its various incarnations in musicology:
You're Not Really There:
Authorship, Nostalgia & the Absent 'Superstar'
Freya Jarman-Ivens
Lecturer in Music, University of Liverpool, England
"The 1994 tribute album If I Were a Carpenter features a host of Carpenters-wannabes covering the most famous of the sibling duo's tunes. The album presents a variety of musical styles, in which the characteristically smooth timbres and intimate harmonies of Karen and Richard — emergent on Offering (1969; re-released as Ticket to Ride), exemplified in 'Intermission' on A Song For You (1972), and saturating their work by Now And Then (1973) — are sometimes imitated, but more often replaced by other variations of sonic nuance, both instrumental and vocal. Intriguingly, though, a number of the songs on the album were not written or first recorded by the Carpenters, although they have since become most associated with the pair. Songs on the album that fall into this category include 'Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft' (first released by Canadian group KLAATU on 3:47 EST, also known as KLAATU, (1976)), 'We've Only Just Begun' (originally sung by Paul Williams for a television commercial), and 'Close To You' (first recorded by Richard Chamberlain in 1963). Certainly the last two of these are indelibly associated with Richard and Karen, and this speaks loudly of the extent to which recordings allow a song to be linked with a performance. This point seems to illustrate well the potential intensity of association between an artist and a song, in spite of any prior or subsequent history, and it is this particular relationship that I want to explore here.
Although many of the songs on If I Were a Carpenter engage playfully with the versions released by the Carpenters themselves (for instance 'Goodbye To Love' or 'Top of the World'), I have chosen one song in particular as an interesting case study: 'Superstar', recorded for the tribute album by Sonic Youth. This song has undergone extensive and varied treatment throughout its recording history.[1] Yet despite the variations, and as significant as those variations may be, what stands out with respect to 'Superstar' is that, in its post-Carpenters recording history, artists have mostly seemed to take the Carpenters' recording as a major point of reference, over and above the pre-Carpenters recordings by each of the song's authors. In this article, I will argue that the Carpenters' recording maintains a significant and conspicuous influence on post-Carpenters recordings of the song, an influence which cuts across the different genres in which the song has been recast, and that this influence is achieved not only through melodic features, but also through the construction of kinds of nostalgia. The song as an ongoing concept, then, is one example of the cover-of-a-cover, a kind of hall of mirrors effect of losing a sense of 'original' (as tenuous as that may ever be).
'Superstar': post-Carpenters
It seems that most post-Carpenters recordings take at least two of these significant factors — the introduction, the trumpet fill-in, or the sense of nostalgia — and deploy it in such a way as to invoke the lingering authorial presences of Karen and Richard.
The recording of 'Superstar' by Sonic Youth, for the tribute album If I Were a Carpenter, is also highly referential to the Carpenters' recording, and this is in a sense to be expected because of the nature of the album as a project (as a tribute to the Carpenters' work). Equally, the song's appearance on this album makes quite clear the Carpenters' centrality in the recording history of the song, something which I am arguing can already be garnered from the subsequent recordings.
The reasons for the enduring centrality of the Carpenters' recording of 'Superstar' in post-Carpenters recordings are not obvious, although the success of their recording as a single in 1971 is almost certainly a significant contributing factor. Post-Carpenters recordings of the song display a marked tendency to refer to the Carpenters' recording lyrically, melodically, and thematically, thus ensuring a sense of referential presence. These surface details — the trumpet fill-in, the introduction — allow the listener to understand post-Carpenters recordings of the song not simply as covers of 'Superstar', but covers of the Carpenters' cover of 'Superstar'. The various genres in which the recordings operate obviously impact significantly on many of the musical decisions made in each recording, and yet generic conventions do not explain fully the insistent presence of the Carpenters' authority on the song's post-Carpenters life. So, although the fact that Dogstar assign the introductory melody to electric guitars (shunning the romantic orchestration of the Carpenters' recording) may be explained by their generic commitment, it does not explain their decision to include that melodic fragment. Similarly, as much as jazz conventions allow for the significant amounts of improvisation which Pam Bricker's recording features, the space allowed for improvisation in jazz also opens up great potential for an infusion of nostalgia, which is projected strongly by Bricker's recording. Underlying the surface of the song is a gradually emergent sense of ways in which formations of nostalgia also contribute to an overarching sense of the song as having a history in which the Carpenters' role is absolutely crucial. Between the melodic surface and the nostalgic undercurrent, it is as if 'Superstar' has become fixed at a post-original point (even though, as we have seen, the idea of an 'original' is already a particularly troublesome concept with respect to this song). In turn, this process underlines the possibility for a significant relationship between artist and song that may have little to do with other authors. The modes of reference to the Carpenters' recording vary significantly, including parody (such as Elkie Brooks' orchestration, or Thurston Moore's vocals), simple reference with some recasting (such as Dogstar's introduction), and the complex layering of nostalgia with melodic reinvention (as in Ruben Studdard's melismas). In different ways, each of these later versions will surely feed back into the history of 'Superstar' and, I would suggest, ensure a continuing perception of the Carpenters' version as a central point of reference. Moreover, this ongoing dialogue among covers, originals, and perceived originals, as well as the nostalgia that infuses the song's continuing identity, will collectively add to the already complexly layered problem of authorship in popular music recordings."

Entire Article Here:

Don Malcolm

Well-Known Member
Ah, those British academics...can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

It strikes me that Richard's arrangements reach across a series of styles/genres and this characteristic is why anyone covering their biggest hits (particularly the early ones, where the "mash-up" of these divergent sounds is more pronounced) is going to wind up having to reference some of that in whatever they choose to do.

And it's pretty clear that there will an "intensity of association" whenever you have a vocalist so unmistakable as Karen. Friends of mine who don't particularly like the Carpenters (including a few who've made a conscious effort to avoid their work) have absolutely zero trouble identifying her, even in songs they've never heard.


Well-Known Member
Coleman's Biography contains some material from the November 20, 1976 Melody Maker.
In the (albeit unlikely) event that some folks do not have access to the entire issue, I have lifted
a few additional quotes from that issue:
"Carpenters as you've never seen them before!"
"Karen and Richard have performed major surgery on the stage act which they bring to Britain this week.
Gone is the coy and stilted look of 1974. In its place is a speedy production routine which accentuates theatrics
rather than the songs that have made them famous."
"Their act has been shaken, rattled and rolled into a frantic production routine."
"Right now, after a couple of inferior albums and a failed battle to wipe out their antiseptic image, they are at
a crossroads, prepared to be adventurous, even dangerous."
"A show reversing the emphasis on Karen's voice into a slick two hours whizzo of entertainment."

My two cents (some scattered thoughts, if you will):
Did Author Coleman believe Horizon to be inferior? (With respect to what standard ?)
As I have always maintained, de-emphasizing Karen's voice was a mistake. (just my opinion)
And, of course, I could be wrong, as I never had the privilege of attending a Carpenters' concert.

Note, too, that the :
People Magazine Article, 1976, has it that Karen and Richard
built the apartment complexes (the ones with Only Just Begun and Close to You on them).
I thought they were simply a real-estate investment, then they asked permission for the song names to be placed on them.
People Magazine,1983:
Has it that Karen saw her therapist two hours daily, for one year.(Is that correct?)
Also, that Agnes Carpenter urged Karen to meet Burris at a dinner date. (I believe that is at variance with Randy's Biography).

Needless to say, insignificant minutiae, this I realize.
But, I do note, as I peruse various sources, that they do not necessarily agree on details.
In any event, Karen and Richard Carpenter remain somewhat of an enigma to me.
But,what an enjoyable enigma!


A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
Gary: It's been stated in other sources that Karen's therapy sessions were one hour sessions five days a week.



Well-Known Member
Disturbing health report, today:
Mortality Rates for Anorexia Remain Unchanged in 2014
Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa remain a potent, but silent killer for young women.
The mortality rates and negative health statistics for anorexia nervosa presented by the National Institute For Mental Health and other expert sources are mind-numbingly bad and still have not improved in 2014, as compared to previous years.
According to the NIMH, the anorexia mortality rate is12 times higher than any other cause of death in women ages 15 to 24. People with anorexia nervosa are 18 times more likely to die early compared with people of similar age in the general population. Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc.has said that without treatment up to 20% of people diagnosed with anorexia nervosa die from the physical havoc caused by this mental disorder.
After seeing so many innocents lost to the storm of this devastating illness, Robyn L. Goldberg, RDN, CEDRD, expressed her frustration toThe Fix. "As a certified eating disorder registered dietitian on the front lines of the anorexia battle, it is so difficult to watch these lovely young women who have their whole lives in front of them literally destroying themselves because of this powerful and pernicious eating disorder,” Goldberg said.
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by emaciation, an unrelenting pursuit of thinness and an unwillingness to maintain a healthy weight. Brought on by a profound body dysmorphia amped by an intense fear of gaining weight, some patients simply stop eating or reduce their food intake to miniscule amounts, leading to self-starvation. Many sufferers shed weight by the combination of exercising excessively and extreme dieting while others lose body mass by self-induced vomiting, or misusing laxatives, diuretics, and enemas.
Statistics from 2014 show that between 1 to 5% of all female adolescents and young women are anorexic, with the average age of onset being 17 years old. Kaaren Lynn Ray, Director of the mentored youth program SIPPP!, expressed the devastating impact across the globe when she said, “The combinations of factors impacting people with eating disorders in the American population (numbering 14 million affected people) and the worldwide population (affecting 70 million) are staggering…Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.”
If left untreated, anorexia can lead to abnormally low heart rate and blood pressure, osteoporosis, and severe dehydration. Heart damage, which ultimately killed singer Karen Carpenter, is the most common cause of death for people with anorexia. "The cardiac tolls are acute and significant, and set in quickly," said Dr. Diane Mickley, co-president of the National Eating Disorders Association.


Well-Known Member
Thanks for that last article Gary. It's incredibly sad that over 30 years after Karen died, with all the research that has been done, and the treatment options that are available now that weren't then, that essentially the same percentage of sufferers are still dying of this horrible disease! :sad:


Well-Known Member
Drumming's Leading Ladies By Kristin Bartus ,Originally published in the April 2012 issue of DRUM! Magazine
(Edited for reasons of space-Nice Photo of 1971 Karen Carpenter drumming is the lead-off):

“I just wanted to play,” said Pauline Braddy, drummer for swing era band International Sweethearts Of Rhythm.
That was her simple explanation — in the book Jazzwomen — why she became a drummer back in the 1930s and ’40s, when female role models in the business were virtually nonexistent. Through the years, many a lady drummer has given a similarly simple response when questioned why she chose to play the stereotypically male instrument.
“Why not?” said Karen Carpenter in a 1976 TV special.
“Why not?” echoed The Donnas’ Torry Castellano in a 2007 DRUM! interview.
The sensational Cindy Blackman has even said drumming is as natural as breathing for her.
Girls can play drums too. We get it. In fact, we’ve gotten it for years. Haven’t we? Yet, 164 years after the seeds of the women’s suffrage movement were sown in Seneca Falls, New York, guys and gals still don’t seem to be viewed as equals in many arenas — including drumming.
Don’t believe me? Just check out your local message boards. The male chauvinist pig is alive and well and cracking wise about how drum kits don’t fit in kitchens. Then again, Internet message boards aren’t exactly the best place to base judgments on the sensibility of human beings, drummers or otherwise.
The issue runs deeper, though. Last year, when Rolling Stone asked readers to name the greatest drummers of all time, there was nary a woman in sight. Even the powers-that-be at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum realized they were treading on delicate territory when grouping females together in the recent “Women Who Rock” exhibit. The L.A. Times quoted Lauren Onkey, the museum’s vice president of education and public programs, as saying, “there is no one linear argument to be made about what or who women were or are — it changes all the time. It’s a big story to grapple with and it’s not just one story … I think if you emphasize their artistry, whatever form that took, and you put it in dialogue with the culture, within music and outside of it, you do okay.”
Well put.
So gender-blindness may not quite exist yet in 2012, but there is no doubt that great strides have been made. Back in Pauline Braddy’s day, she had to adhere to rules of conduct and an impractically girlie dress code. Today’s female drummers not only choose what they wear and how they act, they run their own record labels. Both consciously and unconsciously, each new generation of women drummers has built on the gains of the previous generation. But one thing remains the same: They just want to play.
In the swing-era days of Pauline Braddy and the International Sweethearts Of Rhythm, all-girl bands were a novelty. The Sweethearts started up in the late ’30s as a group of African-American and racially mixed girls from a school in Mississippi. After spending some time touring around on behalf of the school, according to Sally Placksin’s book Jazzwomen, they felt they weren’t being treated fairly. So they started touring on their own. By then, with so many men being shipped off to war, the women’s musical services were needed more than ever. Braddy noted, however, that the integrated Sweethearts were popular with African-Americans, but that the white audiences didn’t know anything about them.
One of the most popular white all-girl groups that gained fame during the ’30s and ’40s was Phil Spitalny’s All-Girl Orchestra. During those two decades, they could be heard weekly on the Hour Of Charm radio show. Spitalny also made records and films that featured the orchestra. Helming the drums in Spitalny’s swinging orchestra was Mary McClanahan. McClanahan broke new ground for women drummers in November 1939 when she appeared in The Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Company’s ad for Metronome Magazine. The spunky Ms. McClanahan stood over her Gretsch-Gladstone drum set banging away while dolled up in one of the orchestra’s signature long dresses.
Although female musicians were still an anomaly in the 1950s, Dottie Dodgion did her best to carve out a career for herself. Growing up, Dodgion’s professional drummer father would play records by his favorite musicians and tell her to “really listen.” She started as a singer in San Francisco and performed with such jazz greats as Charles Mingus and Dizzy Gillespie. When she turned her focus to the drums, she says she was able to cross gender lines and get hired because she knew how to listen. The octogenarian continues to play weekly with her trio in Pebble Beach, California.
As the idealistic days of the 1950s morphed into the turbulent ’60s, some seriously rockin’ drummer chicks emerged.
Perhaps no drummer embodies the spirit of the decade more than The Velvet Underground’s Maureen “Moe” Tucker. Remembered by many for its experimentations, improvisations, and collaborations with Andy Warhol, The Velvet Underground would go on to be considered one of the most influential rock groups of all time. For her part, Tucker brought a unique style of drumming to the mix. She was known to play standing up, with a bass drum turned on its side and tom toms, often using mallets instead of drum sticks. She rarely used cymbals. Simple but exotic it has been said of Tucker’s style.
Tucker’s contemporaries included drummers Ginger Bianco and Helen Wiggin, of the all-girl groups Goldie & The Gingerbreads and The Shaggs, respectively. Bianco and her bandmates came together in the early ’60s and were one of the first all-female rock bands signed to a major record label. At the time, there were very few all-female bands. According to Gillian G. Gaar’s book She’s A Rebel, The Gingerbreads found success touring and charting singles in Europe, but never made a name for themselves at home in the U.S. After some band mismanagement, they broke up in 1968.
Around that time, Helen Wiggin’s father had decided she and her sisters should form a musical group. Most deemed the group’s one album unlistenable, but as time went on others decided it was groundbreaking and avant-garde. A Rolling Stone review famously described them as sounding like “lobotomized Von Trapp Family Singers.” Frank Zappa and Kurt Cobain, however, sang their praises. Helen Wiggin certainly wouldn’t be the last woman criticized for her simplistic drumming style.
None of these three bands lasted very long, nor yielded much commercial success in their day, but they were paving the way for future female rockers to make even more musical headway.
Likely influenced both by the surging feminist movement and the burgeoning presence of women in rock, the ’70s were a better time for female artists.
As the decade began, Karen Carpenter was transitioning from being a teenage jazz drummer to part of a hit-making singing duo. There’s no denying she made beautiful music as a songbird, but unfortunately it meant her getting forced out from behind her beloved drums. She was a natural when she began performing with her brother Richard as part of a jazz trio. Even once she started singing, Carpenter still considered herself a drummer who sang. Her true passion shows in a 1976 TV special when she gleefully runs all over stage performing an extended drum solo on various percussion instruments.
Meanwhile, across the pond, Palmolive experienced a totally different music scene. Palmolive (aka Paloma McLardy) had moved to London from her native Spain just in time for the punk-rock revolution. She dated The Clash’s Joe Strummer, who introduced her to Sid Vicious. Palmolive played in a band with Vicious for a spell before hooking up with Ari Up to form the all-female punk band The Slits. Palmolive earned a reputation of being a wild woman on stage. Her stint with The Slits ended after just a couple of years due to intra-band tensions. And after only six months with another female punk band, The Raincoats, she reportedly got sick of the music business. But she had definitely made her mark. As Hall Of Fame inductee Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders says in the “Women Who Rock” exhibit, “That was the beauty of the punk thing: [Sexual] discrimination didn’t exist in that scene.”
By the time the ’80s arrived, things were really starting to come together for women in music. Riding the punk wave in late 1970s Los Angeles, The Go-Go’s secured the drumming services of steady-handed Gina Schock. They evolved into more of an upbeat pop group and within a few years became the first all-female band in history to top the charts. Their first album went triple platinum and they earned a Best New Artist Grammy nomination. Finally a group of women writing and playing their own songs had found mainstream success, with Schock’s drumming playing no small part in it. “Gina Schock is one of the toughest drummers in rock history,” declared Rolling Stone. The Go-Go’s went on to produce a number of chart-making singles before they split in 1985. After the band broke up, Schock continued to have a career in music as a writer and producer.
Whenever someone starts talking about The Go-Go’s, the conversation almost inevitably turns to The Bangles. Mostly what the two bands have in common is they are both all-girl groups who found mainstream success on the pop charts in the ’80s. Gaar notes in She’s A Rebel that while The Go-Go’s origins were more of the punk variety, The Bangles were more rooted in the sounds of rock’s golden age. “The chemistry was there instantaneously. It just clicked,” drummer Debbi Peterson recalls of the band’s formation.
Although The Bangles’ first full-length album, in 1984, was not a commercial success, the band garnered enough attention that Prince ghostwrote the song “Manic Monday” for their album Different Light in 1986. That album went multiplatinum and scored them two Top 5 hits. Their next album, in 1988, also went multiplatinum and brought another pair of Top 5 hits, but clashes over outsider input on the album contributed to the band splitting up a short time later. These days, the original trio (Debbi, sister Vicki, and Susannah Hoffs) are back making music together.
As the ’90s rolled in, female musicians were soaring down the path their predecessors had been pounding out for so many years. More than ever, they took their creativity and careers into their own hands.
Virtuoso Cindy Blackman, inspired and mentored by Tony Williams and Art Blakey, had spent much of the ’80s playing jazz. The groove-driving Blackman recorded, composed, and even led her own band. But in 1993, she hooked up with Lenny Kravitz and decided to do the rock thing. I dare anyone to try to sit still while listening to Blackman tear it up on live youtube videos of “Are You Gonna Go My Way.”
Blackman had good company as a rocker chick in the ’90s. A slew of alt-rocker drummer gals were showing the world what they had, often with a group of likeminded female musicians. Dawn Richardson helmed the drums for the mostly female rock group 4 Non Blondes. The band released its first album in 1992 and hit the big time with the song “What’s Up?” The song made it into the Billboard Top 20, but more importantly it was a massive radio hit. As anyone listening to pop radio in the 1990s knows, these two women were the beatmakers behind two of the most played tunes of the decade. Now that’s progress.
Demonstrating even more headway being made in the early ’90s, former Beastie Boys drummer Kate Schellenbach got together with the hip-hop-tinged alt-rocker girls Luscious Jackson, who say they draw inspiration from none other than The Slits. Not only did Luscious Jackson create a Top 40 hit in the song “Naked Eye,” their tour of the ’90s included stops at Saturday Night Live, Lollapalooza, and Lilith Fair. The story behind Lilith Fair is that songstress Sarah McLachlan was sick of being told by the music industry that listeners only wanted women in small doses, so she pulled together a tour of all female performers. It was a smashing success.
21st Century Rise
It remains to be seen whether the day will come when female musicians will become known simply as musicians, but at the very least the new millennium seems to have brought women more diverse career opportunities.



Well-Known Member
The slippery slope of writings referencing Karen Carpenter, and her battle, are emphasized
no where better than this error-prone (as far as referencing Karen) tome:
Written by an 'historian': (Editorial)"Brilliant--. A masterful blend of history and contemporary issues."--Journal of Social History
Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa,Random House,2000,Joan Brumberg.

Page 15,"disclosure...January 1983..."
Page 48,"Use of food as symbolic language.."
Page 284,"Chemical imbalance.. causing..was low serum Potassium."
BackMatter: Photo of Karen placed, or implied ,as January 1983.

I, would, once again, emphasize that accuracy should remain paramount in everyone's discourse with regard to Karen Carpenter.
The above, author/historian, actually won the Berkshire Prize in history and the John Hope Franklin Prize in American Studies
for this publication.
Granted, the slip-ups may be minor when placed within the context of the entire book.
But, if I can't rely on accuracy for the simple (verifiable) things, how to have confidence in the entire manuscript?
Then, again, it did win some prizes.

I may purchase the book, just to get an over-all view on where this author is "coming from and going to".

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