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First Issue of "Entertainment Weekly" Published (February 8, 1990)

The Death of Songbird Karen Carpenter (February 4, 1983)




Singer Karen Carpenter died on Feb. 4, 1983, one month shy of her 33rd birthday (the Post headline has her age wrong).  She died from heart failure brought on by the strain of weight gain after struggling with anorexia (which at the time was a relatively new medical condition).  She and her older brother Richard formed the popular singing duo known as "The Carpenters".  Besides singing, Karen also played the drums. The Carpenters had twelve top-10 hits in the first half  of the 1970s, beginning with Close to You, then quickly followed by We've Only Just Begun, and Merry Christmas, Darling.  In addition to their initial burst of hits, other favorite Carpenters songs of mine include For All We Know, Top of the World and Touch Me When We're Touching (and an honorable mention goes to Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft!).




Gay men seem to be drawn to Karen, but why?  Perhaps it was the pretty songs she sang about love and heartache that "sensitive" boys could identify with.  Or was it the gender incongruity of Karen expertly playing the drums while singing so beautifully (and often while wearing a gown)?  Seeing Karen sitting behind the drums made her different from "girlie" girls, almost like a big sister. 





The first 45-single I ever bought was the Carpenters' Rainy Days & Mondays in the summer of 1971.  Back then I had no clue about my sexual orientation, but a survey of my album collection was certainly an indicator.  In addition to the Carpenters you'd find Carly Simon, Carole King, Bette Midler and ABBA.  




Finally, on Jan. 1, 1989 a TV movie about Karen's life, The Karen Carpenter Story aired on CBS.  It was the third highest rated TV movie of the 1980s.   



A Voice Crafted From Pure Gold!

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