Hi everyone. Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing. But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.
The Carpenters have the distinction of being one of the greatest duos of all time thanks to the talents of siblings Richard and Karen Carpenter. Their sound was distinctive thanks to Richard’s knack for song writing, his ear for pop melodies punctuated by layered arrangements that highlighted the absolute beauty of his sister’s voice. Karen was born on March 2, 1950 in New Haven, CT. Her family relocated to Downey, CA in 1963 to help Richard, a musician from childhood, pursue a career in music.
Karen went through a few instruments before deciding on the drums, making her one of the first female percussionists to rise to prominence. By 1965 they were playing as a jazz trio with an upright bass player. After he departed the siblings continued together. In 1969 they signed to A&M Records after label co-founder Herb Alpert heard their demo. Karen was 19 years old and it was her vocal tracks that would help make the duo achieve the international success that followed.
It began with a cover of The Beatles song, “Ticket To Ride” followed by the song that launched their career, “Close To You”, written by the iconic songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It went to #1 for four consecutive weeks in the summer of 1970. After that a slew of hits followed, including today’s song, which was a #2 hit in 1971.
Alpert was the one who convinced the duo to record their first #1 song. In a 2011 interview he gave to “CBS Sunday Morning” he spoke about Karen, who died in 1983 from complications related to an eating disorder. He said, “She never realized how great she was. She never really accepted the fact that she really had it”. Alpert also got choked up thinking of her, because even though nearly 30 years had passed since Karen’s death, he still found her loss incomprehensible. I think that pretty much sums up how all her fans feel.
“What I’ve got they used to call the blues
Nothin’ is really wrong
Feelin’ like I don’t belong“.
Karen and Richard Carpenter circa 1971. (Image found online. Original source unknown.)
The Carpenters: “Rainy Days & Mondays” (1971, written by Roger Nichols and Paul Williams).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.