• 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.

"Her drumming was not given more attention - the attention it deserved"


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Harry, how wonderful that you got to see them three times, and so experienced three different versions of their live show. I saw them only once: Terre Haute on Oct. 28th, 1972. I was in the seventh grade. Now & Then hadn't been released yet, but they performed the oldies medley, which was an unexpected treat. Cubby O'Brien had joined the band by that time, so he and Karen drummed together, and then he drummed solo whenever Karen moved to the front of the stage.

We had lived in Terre Haute for three years, then moved to a small town about an hour's drive away. This concert was supposed to be a surprise birthday present for me, but of course I kept up with all the Carpenters' news and knew they were going to be performing there. As soon as I found out about the concert, I asked my mother if we could go, and she told a big, fat lie (which I fell for completely): "No, we can't afford it." Needless to say, I was completely crestfallen.

And yet I still didn't catch on when we went out to eat in Terre Haute the day of the concert. As I recall, my father had to be in Terre Haute to clear some hurdle with his dissertation at Indiana State University, where he'd completed his master's degree and only needed to finish his dissertation to complete his doctorate. I still hoped that my parents would miraculously change their minds and take my older sister and me to the concert. I probably thought that if I looked wistful enough, they'd give in. I remember thinking, "I can't believe we're in the same city, but we can't go to the concert!"

Then Dad drove us to the ISU campus, and I didn't even catch on until we drove past the sign announcing that they were performing that night. (Of course, I was trying to figure out how I could escape from the car and sneak in!) Then Dad parked the car in the lot nearby, and I think I looked around and asked, "Are we getting out?" Then we all got out and started walking toward the auditorium. That's when it finally dawned on me that they'd all kept this big secret from me, and I went from being totally depressed to completely over the moon. That was probably my best birthday present ever!


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Perhaps she was reasserting herself regarding her playing toward the end.

In their final special she again is featured in a drum solo. She plays drums/percussion on 2 tracks in MIA...the first time since Horizon. And she discussed with Olivia the possibility of her guest drumming during her '82 tour.

Good on her. Maybe she'd feature more in the planned '83 album.


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There’s a Karen Carpenter reference on tonight’s episode of “The Connors.” on ABC Whoppi Goldberg plays a character that was a drummer in the high school, I believe. Jacqui says she was Karen Carpenter!
Whoopi says she gets that a lot …. The irony that her real name is Karen too. Anyway I’ll watch to see how it plays out. Could be fun.
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