Happy 65th Birthday, Karen Carpenter: 10 Times She Blew Our Minds

03.02.15 2 years ago

Just like me, you long to be close to Karen Carpenter, the legendary vocalist who would've turned 65 today. Yes, that's right: It's only now that Karen Carpenter, who died 32 years ago, would've been a senior citizen.

It's impossible to over-celebrate this woman's contributions to popular music. With her brother Richard and his brilliant arrangements, Karen Carpenter left a legacy of beautiful, palpably emotional music that felt both vulnerable and steely. Her delicate enunciation was a trademark, but the brutal resonance of her smooth alto was always her most beguiling quality. She's the rare singer who felt more emotional the more she was note-precise. A sterling and timeless talent.

Let's revisit ten times she blew our minds. 

1. The isolated vocals of “Close to You” will make you shiver. 

Yes, Whitney Houston's isolated vocals on “How Will I Know” are also a fabulous treat, but there is something about Karen Carpenter's isolated vocals that feel devastating in their raw, flawless crispness. This isolated vocal from “Close to You” proves that Karen was a master at transmitting vulnerability, whimsicality, melancholy, strength, and love in a single song. 

2. Her incredible skills at the drum set

Karen wasn't just an astounding vocalist. She could also kick ass at a drum set — or multiple drum sets, if given the space. Watch here as Karen thrills us with some hi-hat action during one of her variety specials.

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