"Every sha-la-la-la, every whoa-whoa, still shines..."Carpenters (absolutely not "The Carpenters") were a brother and sister pop duo consisting of Richard (born 1946) and Karen (1950–1983) Carpenter. Karen started out as the drummer but was gradually phased off the instrument once it became clear she had a superlative singing voice; Richard wrote the material, played piano, and provided backing vocals.They were active from 1969 until Karen's death in 1983. During this time, they were very prolific and scored numerous hits, only a few of which are commonly known to people who weren't there in The '70s. Their biggest hit, and probably their best-remembered song, is "(They Long to Be) Close to You"; others include "We've Only Just Begun", "For All We Know", "Rainy Days and Mondays", "Superstar", "Hurting Each Other", "Sing", "Yesterday Once More", "Top of the World", and "Only Yesterday".
—"Yesterday Once More"
- All Drummers Are Animals: Erm... Karen Carpenter? A trope can't get more averted than this.
- Christmas Songs: Their 1970 single "Merry Christmas Darling" is still an annual radio staple. There are also two full albums of Christmas music, one released in Karen's lifetime (1978's Christmas Portrait) and the other following her death (1984's An Old-Fashioned Christmas).
- Cover Version: Several, including "Ticket to Ride" (The Beatles), "Please Mr. Postman" (The Marvelettes), "There's a Kind of Hush" (Herman's Hermits), and "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" (Klaatu).
- Downer Ending: Karen's death at 32, of complications stemming from her severe anorexia nervosa. On the bright side, it actually did a lot to open up awareness of the disease.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out:
- In the song "I Believe You." The first time you hear what appears to be the final verse that slows down and stops a bit, you think it's over but then, BAM! A repeat of the bridge and the final verse again, this time once more.
- Same with "(They Long to Be) Close to You:" After they say "Close to You" one last time, the song plays out slowly to end and you think it's over, until BAM! The last few lines of the chorus play again until fade. Notorious for catching disc jockeys off guard when the song started back up a few seconds into whatever was coming after it.
- Hating On Monday: "Rainy Days and Mondays."
- Real Life Writes the Plot: After Karen broke up with him, songwriter Tom Bahler wrote what would eventually become a Michael Jackson hit, "She's Out of My Life."
- Self-Backing Vocalist: A major component of their fame. Most of their singles involve Richard and Karen overdubbed numerous times on backing vocals, often using chords most rock bands have never even heard of.
- Self-Titled Album: Their third release.
- Shave and a Haircut: At the end of "Piano Picker."
- Silly Love Songs: Another major selling point.
- The "The" Title Confusion: Karen and Richard as individuals are (some of) the Carpenters in the same way that you and your immediate family are (some of) the <Your Last Name>s, but the name of the duo is specifically and deliberately "Carpenters" without a definite article because Richard thought it was cooler that way.