Richard Carpenter (musician): Wikis


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Richard Carpenter

Background information
Birth name Richard Lynn Carpenter
Born October 15, 1946 (1946-10-15) (age 63)[1]
New Haven, Connecticut
Origin Los Angeles, California,
United States
Genres Pop
Instruments Piano
Electric Piano
Years active 1965–present
Labels A&M
Associated acts Carpenters
Karen Carpenter
Website Richard and Karen Carpenter
Notable instruments
Wurlitzer Electric Piano, Fender Rhodes

Richard Lynn Carpenter (born October 15, 1946[1]) is an American pop musician, best known as one half of the brother/sister duo The Carpenters, along with his sister Karen Carpenter.



Richard Lynn Carpenter was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He was named after his father's younger brother, Richard Lynn Carpenter. Coincidentally, Carpenter and his uncle both married women named Mary.[2]

He frequently played the piano while his sister, Karen, played baseball outside.[3] He and Karen also liked to listen to the children's records his father bought for him when he was young.[3] He was introduced to Perry Como and Ella Fitzgerald, among many others, and by the age of twelve, he knew he wanted to be in the music industry.

The Carpenter family moved from New Haven to Downey, California in June 1963. They wanted Richard to further his music career, and the family was fed up with the cold New England winters. At the time, Richard was sixteen years old. Richard studied music at the California State University at Long Beach. There, he met Frank Pooler, a conductor and composer. Pooler wrote the lyrics to the Christmas classic "Merry Christmas Darling" in 1968. He also met good friend John Bettis, who co-wrote songs with Richard.

The Richard Carpenter Trio and Spectrum

Carpenter created the Richard Carpenter Trio in 1965 with sister Karen and friend Wes Jacobs. Richard played the piano; Karen played the drums, and Wes played the tuba and bass.

In 1966, the Richard Carpenter Trio played "Iced Tea" and "The Girl from Ipanema" at the Hollywood Bowl Battle of the Bands. They won the competition, and shortly after recorded three songs at RCA Studios: "Every Little Thing," "Strangers in the Night," and the Carpenter original, "Iced Tea." "Iced Tea" is the only recording that was officially released to the public.

Around 1967, Richard and Karen joined four other student musicians from Long Beach State to form a sextet, Spectrum, consisting of:

Although Spectrum played frequently at LA-area nightclubs such as Whisky A Go-Go, they met with an unenthusiastic response - their broad harmonies and avoidance of rock 'n roll limited the band's commercial potential. Yet Spectrum was fruitful in another way, providing the raw material of future success: Bettis went on to become a lyricist for Richard's original compositions, and all the other members except Leslie Johnston went on to become members of the Carpenters.


Richard and Karen finally signed with A&M Records on April 22, 1969. "Let's hope we have some hits," Herb Alpert told the two. According to Richard, Herb Alpert had given them carte blanche in the recording studios, and after Offering was released, and was not a big seller, people were asking Alpert to release the Carpenters from A&M, but he told his colleagues he would give them one more chance.

Alpert suggested that the Carpenters record a Burt Bacharach song called "(They Long to Be) Close to You." Though he worked up the arrangement only after Alpert's insistence, Richard's arranging talents shone in the finished product. His arranging and musical talents, as well as Karen's vocals, helped the song go to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stay there for a month. "(They Long to Be) Close to You" gained public recognition overnight. According to Richard, even though the song became popular overnight, the Carpenters themselves did not.

Sitting at home one night, Richard was watching TV and saw a commercial for Crocker National Bank. He recognized the voices of Paul Williams and Roger Nichols, two A&M songwriters. It was the song "We've Only Just Begun." Richard confirmed their involvement and asked if there was a full version of the song, which Williams affirmed. Carpenter managed to turn a bank commercial jingle into an RIAA certified Gold Record. It peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and has become a common wedding song. The song also successfully launched the careers of Nichols and Williams with multiple hits to follow for the Carpenters and other artists.

Richard composed many of the Carpenters' hits, such as:


While Karen was suffering from the anorexia nervosa that would ultimately claim her life, Richard suffered from an addiction to quaaludes. They had been prescribed for him by his doctor as sleep aids, but his usage got out of hand. He eventually sought treatment for his addiction at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, checking into the clinic in 1979 for an eight-week treatment program, which proved successful.


Carpenters' star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Three days before his 37th birthday, the Carpenter family celebrated the unveiling of the Carpenters' new Hollywood Walk of Fame Star. He said in his speech 'this is a sad day, but at the same time a very special and beautiful day to my family and I, My only regret is that Karen is not physically here to share it with us, but I know that she is very much alive in our minds, and in our hearts'. [3].

He started recording a solo album on June 26, 1985 and finished the album on July 5, 1987.[5] The album was called "Time." It featured Dusty Springfield and Dionne Warwick. Springfield sang "Something in Your Eyes," and Warwick sang "In Love Alone." Richard created a song dedicated to Karen called "When Time Was All We Had." It starts off as an a cappella, but then Richard's piano fades in, as well as Herb Alpert's flugelhorn. Lyrics included:

Our hearts were filled with music and laughter,
Your voice will be the sweetest sound I'll ever hear and yet,
We knew somehow the song would never end,
When time was all we had to spend.

In 1984, Richard married Mary Rudolph (whose brother, Mark Rudolph, was the Carpenters' road manager, as well as the radio call-in "contestant" in the [Oldies] "Medley" on the 1973 album, Now & Then). Richard and Mary have five children: Kristi Lynn, Traci Tatum, Mindi Karen, Colin Paul and Taylor Mary. The children and Richard sometimes perform music together at various Carpenter-related events. The family today resides in Thousand Oaks, California. He also funds an annual talent show for people with artistic abilities that is held at the Thousand Oaks Civic Center.

Recently, Richard helped in the productions of the documentaries "Close to You: Remembering the Carpenters" (1997) and "Only Yesterday: The Carpenters Story" (2007). He released the DVDs "Gold: Greatest Hits" and "Interpretations." Carpenter is also mastering a new Christmas album to be released in 2009 or 2010.


  1. ^ a b Carpenters biography 2005, Richard and Karen Carpenter
  2. ^ Coleman, Ray. The Carpenters: The Untold Story, 30.
  3. ^ a b c Close to You: Remembering the Carpenters
  4. ^ "Popular Musicians" Steve Hochman/Mcrea Adams 1999 page 168 book
  5. ^ Time, Richard Carpenter. "Recording for this album commenced on June 26, 1985, with the final session in mix-down occurring on July 5, 1987.

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