The Downey City Library is pleased to introduce the Carpenters Collection, materials that chronicle the career of Richard and Karen Carpenter, one of the greatest popular music duos of our time.
In 1963, the Carpenter family moved to Downey, where Richard and Karen attended Downey High School. They helped form an instrumental trio in 1965, which won a battle of the bands at the Hollywood Bowl. They were signed to a recording contract, but their songs were never released. After disbanding, Richard and Karen formed a new vocal group at California State University, Long Beach, where they both had enrolled. This group was also short-lived.
Phenomenal success was just around the corner, though. Richard and Karen signed a contract with A&M record in 1969. Their first single, "Ticket to Ride," was a modest hit, but their next release, "Close to You," was a number one best seller, with over one million copies bought. During the next several years, the Carpenters achieved fame with a string of top 40 hits and sold-out concerts around the world. They were three-time Grammy winners and made numerous television appearances.
In 1983, after a long battle with anorexia nervosa, Karen suffered a heart attack and died at her parent's home in Downey. She lives on in the many recordings that feature her beautiful voice, and in the work of several vocalists who acknowledge her influence. Richard continues to write, arrange, produce, and perform music, and was a driving force in the establishment of the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center - www.carpenterarts.org - at California State University, Long Beach. And their recordings continue to be treasured by old and new fans alike.
The Carpenters Collection comprises numerous CDs, books, songbooks, albums, videocassettes, a fan club newsletter series, and publicity materials. Many of the books, CDs and videos may be checked out. Other materials are housed in a display case located near the circulation desk.
The Downey City Library is grateful to Richard Carpenter for a generous donation of Carpenters recordings and to the Friends of the Downey City Library for a substantial grant which enabled the Library to purchase other materials.