Two For Tuesday: #1 – The Carpenters (High School Days)

During my high school days (June 1970-September 1974), Karen and Richard Carpenter dominated the airwaves, and spent a whopping 71 weeks in the Top Ten. They were one of the early Two For Tuesdays, and as I said then, “A lot of times you don’t realize how much you like a group’s music until many years later.”

Ten of their songs reached the Top Ten over the period, but oddly only two of them peaked at #1. The first was “(They Long To Be) Close To You,” a song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Released in May 1970, it reached the Top Ten on July 11 and was the #1 song in the country two weeks later. It spent a total of eleven weeks in the Top Ten.

Their other #1 was “Top Of The World,” a country-pop song written by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis. From their 1972 album A Song For You, they hadn’t intended on releasing it as a single until Lynn Anderson recorded the song in June 1973 and it rose to #2 on the Billboard Country Singles chart. They released their version on September 19, it entered the Top Ten on November 10 and reached #1 on December 1, spending two weeks there. It spent eight weeks in the Top Ten.

The Carpenters, your Two For Tuesday, August 29, 2017. And, that’s a wrap on the “High School Days” theme. Next week, we start a new series, “The Baby Boom Years: 1946-1964.”

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

21 thoughts on “Two For Tuesday: #1 – The Carpenters (High School Days)”

  1. When I was a kid, I was not into The Carpenters and couldn’t appreciate them due to my youthful stupidity. When she passed away, I was shaken because it looked like they came from a happy family and she got along with her brother. I then heard about anorexia and it stunned me. I started reading bout the disease and my heart just melted even though I was young because she was suffering in silence. If anything, her death brought this medical issue along with other eating disorders to the forefront. I just hope that her death somehow saved lives

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    1. I had the sense they didn’t get along as well as they appeared to. She was the focal point of the act with that amazing voice (and how many girls could drum as well as she could?) and I can’t help but think he felt a little sibling rivalry. Whatever the cause for her anorexia, her body took a lot of self-inflicted abuse. That was the first a lot of us had ever heard of it, and if nothing else it brought it out of the psychiatrists’ offices and into the public consciousness. I just wish it hadn’t come at the expense of a beautiful and talented young woman…

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  2. I have been a fan of the Carpenters since the beginning. I did see them perform in concert here. … Have you heard of the group called Shonen Knife? They do a fun cover version of “Top of the World”, among many other kinds of songs. 🙂

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  3. Always enjoyed The Carpenter’s. Sad about Karen’s early death. Hard to believe they knew so little about anorexia and other eating disorders as late as the ’70s.

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    1. That’s the way it is with a lot of diseases. I’m sure there were plenty of people who died of ALS, but we never heard about it until Lou Gehrig got it. Likewise, I can’t imagine there weren’t cases of anorexia nervosa before Karen Carpenter, but until she was being treated for it you never heard about it.

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  4. They definitely have some great sing along songs. Really sad about Karen. I was just looking at some videos of her during her anorexia stage. One was showing an interview session with her and Richard where the interviewer asked her about her weight loss. It was definitely a topic she didn’t want to discuss and they actually stopped the interview and did a retake. You could hear Richard ask not to talk about that subject during the next take. Funny the things you see when you go down the YouTube rabbit hole. Have a happy Tuesday!

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    1. Her drumming never really got as much respect as it deserved. No less a drummer than Buddy Rich said she was good, and he wasn’t the kind to throw compliments around. But it’s her voice that people remember, and it was heavenly.

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  5. I love the Carpenters. Such a talented duo. I’ve read a lot about Karen Carpenter and her life especially concerning her anorexia. It was sinful that the industry big-wigs put so much pressure on her to lose weight. And she was already thin, for God’s sake! They threatened her that their career would be over if she didn’t get down below 100 lbs. It was senseless. And horrible. She suffered severe depression as a result and her self-esteem was shot. I don’t consider her disease to be self-inflicted: it was brought on by the heartless power-mongers who held her career in their hands. Despicable. Sad as her death was, it brought the disease into the limelight.

    Every time I hear a Carpenters song, although I love the songs, I think about Karen’s sad plight.

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. People who loved their music and her voice couldn’t care less about her looks. It was her voice they loved. And I think her fans would have preferred her healthy and would have been horrified if they knew what they were doing to her.

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  6. I was a closet Carpenters fan in high school – it was SO not cool to like them! But Karen Carpenter’s voice…….oh, my. She could do no wrong.
    I had a 45 of “Top of the World” that I bought on a high-school trip to Quebec. It was called “Au Bout de Monde.” I think that’s what it was.

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    1. I blame the people that made her feel so fat that she abused herself like that. They had no right to do that. She was a better drummer than anyone gave her credit for and her voice was heaven-sent.

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    1. That’s an interesting pair, Julie the soprano, Karen the contralto. That’s what, four octaves between them?

      That’s a good song. Mancini wrote some of the best music ever and the lyrics are sweet, and Karen’s voice…. 💕💕

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      1. I hadn’t thought of Julie Andrews as a soprano, but yeah. Maybe that’s why I used to have a pretty good range for an alto. Not quite so good now, but okay. 🙂 ❤

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