One of the freshest music DVD releases out there is from the 1970’s soft pop duo, The Carpenters. THE CARPENTERS LIVE RARITIES on the IMV Blueline label comprises rare concert footage of the brother and sister act performing live in England and Australia.
For much of the 1970’s, this act were a powerful chart-topping singles act with their soft approach to music and the excellent vocals of sister Karen Carpenter, who was later to die as a result of a severe eating disorder.
The Carpenters actually had a long climb to success that started with Karen Carpenter’s 1966 flop single, “Looking For Love”, which didn’t even chart. In 1969, and a new contract with A&M Records, the duo also flopped with an easy listening version of The Beatles’ classic song, “Ticket To Ride”. But, in the Summer of 1970, the vocal duo finally hit gold with the monster #1 chart success of “Close To You”. A follow-up single, “We’ve Only Just Begun” did nearly as well as “Close To You”, proving to the record world that a really soft pop act could get some real strong chart action, although plenty of songs by harder rock acts as well as soul acts were strong on the music charts.
With the success of country music oriented acts like Olivia Newton John as well as many older easy listening acts seeking some new traction on the country music charts, The Carpenters experimented with two country-flavored singles in 1973 and 1974, that included “Top Of The World” and a remake of “Jambalaya(On The Bayou). “Top Of The World” returned the vocal duo to a #1 hit once again. But, the group soon returned back to their old familiar style of doing soft pop remakes of old classics with, “Please Mr. Postman”, a remake of the old soul girl group classic that returned The Carpenters to #1 chart position once again on the pop charts. But, in 1975, “Only Yesterday”, was to be their biggest hit in later years, peaking at #4 on the charts as the soft music duo began to fall out of favor with the record buying public somewhat, that started turning to other acts, and the duo had a string of mostly unsuccessful singles and slower selling albums than during the previous years of success from 1970-1975.
Karen Carpenter died of cardiac failure in 1983 as a result of her battle with the severe eating disorder, anorexia nervosa. Some solo record release attempts by Richard Carpenter or some releases of some Karen Carpenter rarities or older recordings just never had much success after her 1983 death. The duo’s last moderately successful single was in 1978 with “Touch Me When You’re Dancing”, which only peaked at #16 on the pop charts. Most of the other singles just couldn’t even make the top forty anymore. The vocal group never was part of the disco, new wave or punk rock craze of the late 70’s, and just seemed too square and out of step with the times by then. The vocal duo was never a progressive act by any means, but had an appeal for their soft sound, especially among female record buyers.
But, this brand new freshly released music DVD remembers this vocal duo in far happier times, when they were a big hit not only in the U.S., but had a little traction in Canada, the U.K. and Australia as well. This DVD is a pretty nice package to remember this act that once was a huge part of the early 1970’s pop charts.