- The Crocker Citizen's Bank in California was launching a television
campaign to attract customers among young married couples. The theme
was to be :"You've got a long way to go. We'd like to help you get
Richard heard the 60-second, 2-verse part of the song commercial on
TV and felt it had been crafted for Karen with the haunting melody
and moving lyrics. There was indeed an extended lyric and melody when
Richard enquired the song producers Nichols and Williams. Karen invested
the theme with a sincerity essential for its target audience of newly
In May 1970, Karen recorded the song "We've Only Just Begun"
to stamp her voice on the international map.Thousands of young couples
on the threshold of marriage adopted the song as their anthem. "We've
only just begun" became the Carpenters second consecutive smash (a
mere 3 months after "Close to you") and clinched a gold record soon.
had twelve Top TEN HITS and a total of twenty Top 40. They were nominated
12 times and awarded 3 Grammys. Apart from the US, their albums/singles
have achieved gold/platinum records in Africa, Australia,, Canada,
Denmark, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands & the United Kingdom.
1971 - played 145 concerts, excluding European tour and TV shows,
plus ten TV appearances on U.S. TV, plus the "Make Your Own Kind Of
Music" series, and recording sessions.
1972 - they played 174 concerts, excluding a scheduled six-teen cabaret
performances at Eden Rock, Miami, which ended up as two due to contractual
dispute. That year they also did six TV shows and made the album A
Song For You
1973 - 174 concerts, plus the Now And Then album and three
1974 - 203 concerts
1975 - 118 concerts plus scheduled Japanese and European tours (46
shows) which were postponed into 1976. Another album Horizon.
Visit to the White House
As Karen became youth chairman of the American National Cancer Society
and the Carpenters donated profits that would eventually top $100,000
from their concert programs to aid research, their music and personalities
fell under the eye of President Nixon. He saw them as the ideal totems
of the kind of American youth he wanted to encourage: apparently against
drugs and perpetuating the middle-American ethic.
In September 1972, President Nixon invited the Carpenters to the White
House for a photo session where Nixon presented Richard with a set
of golf balls and cuff links and Karen with a gold powder compact,
all bearing the presidential seal. He then proclaimed Richard and
Karen publicly as as "young American at its best," he feted them by
inviting them to play during a state visit by the West German chancellor,
1973, pop fans suddenly realised they had a rich heritage that stretched
back two decades. One day early in 1973, driving to A&M, Richard "heard"
the melody and lyrics in his head for a song to reflect the nostalgia.
It would become one of their noted anthems: "When I was young, I would
listen to the radio.". By the time he reached A&M, he was able to
play the chorus to Karen. That night he wrote the first verse and
called in John Bettis to complete "Yesterday Once More".
When Richard mentioned the idea for the album to his mother - one
side of oldies, another more contemporary - she suggested the title
Now And Then.
Cry For Me Argentina
when Maddona was enjoying much popularity and media coverage after
recording "Don't Cry For Me Argentina", Karen had
already recorded it about 2 decades ago in 1977.
When he heard the song "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" from the musical
"Evita", Richard knew it would be perfect for Karen.
He wanted a symphonic arrangement. Impressed with the abilities of
the British conductor and arranger Peter Knight, he invited him to
fly in for the session.
Knight flew in LA on May 15, 1977, to begin a musical partnership
and friendship with the Carpenters. With Karen's stunning reading
of "Argentina" and Knights rich arrangement, the song was recorded
in 3 months.
This song included in their Passage album was however, censored/not
included in Argentina owing to political reasons.
"Because We Are In Love" (The wedding song) was co-written
by Richard and John Bettis for Karen's Wedding. The respected British
conductor and arranger, Peter Knights, was invited to fly in to score
it in time for the wedding. The choir on the album track was directed
by Frank Pooler, their former university tutor.