• The new Carpenters recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is now available. Use this link to order, and help us out at the same time. Thank you!

Carpenters in 2019, what could it have been like?.

Wayne Crozier

Active Member
Thread Starter
I know it’s a question that will never be answered but I got to thinking where Richard and Karen would be now if things had turned out different?. I was thinking that they possibly wouldn’t be making music as regularly as they did in the 70s, and perhaps would have been doing Vegas residencies like a lot of their peers have done over the years. I wonder what music they would have made or indeed if they still would be a duo at all. As I say it’s a question there will never be any answers to but I wonder what was planned and never came about Tours, collaborations etc. Has anyone else considered this?. I for sure think they would have done MTV Unplugged as that would have suited them Piano and Vocals.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
This question, in one form or another, has been discussed many times here. As you might imagine, opinions vary greatly.

In my humble opinion, Karen (at least) would have retired from performing at some point; probably in her 40's. I do believe that they would have gone their separate ways at some point.

I could see them occasionally maybe doing a Christmas special concert or TV appearance together, but generally both retired long before 2019.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I do believe that they would have gone their separate ways at some point.
I sometimes think it took Karen’s passing for Richard to be freed up to settle down, marry and have a family. He was no longer inextricably tied to the duo and all the good and bad they had endured in Karen’s last years. In the same vein, I think had Karen lived, they would only have been free to go their own separate ways once Agnes had passed away. I believe while the matriarch was still around, there is no way she would have allowed them to break up the Carpenters and, out of loyalty to each other and their parents, they would have carried on (as stifling as I believe that would have been for Karen in the 80s and beyond).

I asked the panel at the 50th Anniversary convention your very question about where they would have ended up as a duo and Gayle Levant in particular offered a long and thoughtful explanation of where she could have seen them today, and why. Ultimately most of the panel agreed they would have gone off and done other things, but ultimately come back to the original formula of “duo performs simple love songs”.
 

Martin Medrano

New Member
I would think that they would have done MTV unplugged because it was meant for them with the way that richard plays piano and Karen's hauntingly beautiful voice.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Assuming their chart career continued in the direction it was heading at the time of Karen's passing, that is "downward," I think they might have made a country album. A number of Seventies acts found new chart life that way. Karen might have done one on her own.

After that, they probably would have reunited for a long, very profitable Vegas residency a la Donny and Marie. Toward the end of the 2010s they may have embarked on a nice long "farewell tour," like so many other legacy acts are doing these days.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
After that, they probably would have reunited for a long, very profitable Vegas residency a la Donny and Marie. Toward the end of the 2010s they may have embarked on a nice long "farewell tour," like so many other legacy acts are doing these days.
I think this is the most accurate assessment of what, realistically, they would have ended up doing in their golden years.
 
this question is too complex for me to think about and gives me a headache because of the different variables. at the end, the voice seemed to be going (at least in some of those videos I've youtubed). so IF the voice became damaged, she could have started on Phil Donahue and then made the Oprah circuit on coming forward. Step away to get better, then yes, do some kind of retro donny and Marie reunite thing in the early mid 90s. And ok. Look at Barry. He was butt of every 1980s jokes, like Breakfast Club type movies. But he managed to keep writing what he liked and did some fantastic collabs (2 am paradise cafe), then people woke up and realized they miss him and he hasn't stopped since. it's too bad harmony never made it to broadway. it's a great score. anyway, my brain hurts from this question.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
It's such a sad thing. . .she was a young woman of 32 just coming into her own. . .now she'd be on the eve of her 70th with it all over. Tragic.

I think she'd have made it her business to get some kind of solo album out there in the 80's. It was clearly important to her and once she got something into her head it just wouldn't go. . .Richard said as much. I also think she'd have gone after that musical role. . .be it film or Broadway.

I think she'd have been aware of her biological clock and would have been looking for a partner and a child before the end of the decade. When, and if, that happened her career would have taken a back seat.

As for her work with Richard, I think she loved working with him and was immensely proud of the music they made together. And I honestly can't see more than 3 or 4 years going by without her craving that "high" of being in the studio with him. In effect I could see them releasing another ten albums together throughout the rest of last century and into this one. And at least one solo offering as well.

Karen's voice was going nowhere. She practically whispered so no doubt she could have sung beautifully into her 60's. Richard may well have been pressured by her into "scoring her film" as she mentioned to an interviewer back in '81.

Again, these are all shots in the dark so who knows.

Best

Neil
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
^^ "Karen's voice was going nowhere. She practically whispered so no doubt she could have sung beautifully into her 60's."

I so agree with that sentence. Her voice was so anatomically perfect, with her amazing breath/diaphragm control, and uncanny interpretation of lyrics for the maximum emotional "punch". I feel she would've had a long career singing at a very high level if fate would have allowed it.
 
Last edited:

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I so agree with that sentence. Her voice was so anatomically perfect, with her amazing breath/diaphragm control, and uncanny interpretation of lyrics for the maximum emotional "punch". I feel she would've had a long career singing at a very high level if fate would have allowed it.
I wonder what a 69 year old Karen would have sounded like? It's common for singers' voices to change as they get into their golden years, what you usually find is they get lower, or lose some of the top end of their range. That wouldn't have mattered in Karen's case, because the money was in the basement anyway :laugh:
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
We also have to remember: this question must have haunted Richard over the years. He must sit and wonder sometimes what they would have been doing now, all the great songs they could have recorded and all the albums they could have gone on to make. As he himself has said, it must really be “like a thorn in your side”.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I'm not sure myself. Carpenters were hardly a huge success in the U.S. by the time Karen passed. They were very much yesterday's heroes chart wise. They managed a top 20 hit but that was it for the expensive "MIA" album. Any proper follow-up would have required a re-think and based on what was intended for said follow-up ("Now", "You're Enough"), that wasn't going to happen. Elevator music with an awful choir wasn't going to cut it if they were going to continue to be a chart concern. I'm not sure the Carpenters entity would have continued to go on too terribly much longer. If it did, it would only have flourished in Japan.

Ed
 

GDB2LV

Active Member
I disagree. Most MOR artists kept recording in the 80’s and 90’s with maybe a hit here and there. I think they could have kept recording, but without the huge budgets afforded them until 1981. They were A&M’s biggest money maker through the mid 70’s, and Herb Alpert loved Karen a lot. They probably would have done some country and hopefully light jazz, which they were very good at, and a few standards recordings as well, just like their contemporaries. Richard could have done some piano solo recordings of original songs, or maybe a movie score or two. Who knows, only speculation. Petula Clark was just here in my town, and sounds great at 85! Karen would only be 59, and I’m sure her voice would be just fine. Not the same as 25, but just fine.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
I'm not sure the Carpenters entity would have continued to go on too terribly much longer.
That's why I said they'd have eventually gone on to a Vegas residency. Everybody eventually goes to Vegas, the people who grew up in the 70s and 80s are now the ones heading there to see their favorite legacy acts. (We are going there in October to see Journey, in fact...even though Journey hasn't had a top ten hit in over 30 years.)
 

GDB2LV

Active Member
Oops, thanks Harry. It’s still early for me here. 69 it is!!!!!!
Seeing the Happy Together Tour tonight in Beverly Hills. The Turtles, Chuck Negron of 3 Dog Night, Gary Puckett and Union Gap, Buckinghams, Classics IV, and best of all the Cowsills. Should be great!!!
 

David A

Well-Known Member
I think I'd add to my previous comment that in my view, if Karen had found the right man for her, married and had a couple children, I'm even more convinced that she would have retired for some time, to concentrate on her family. Family life and the "white picket fence" was something important to her. She may have done spot things here and there.
 
Top Bottom