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Watch Karen Carpenter Doing What She Loved to Do More Than Anything


Watch Karen Carpenter Doing What She Loved to Do More Than Anything

I grew up with ’70s music. I feel a lot of us at Inspirer did. That means that growing up with Karen Carpenter in our trajectories was a given. Karen Carpenter was the sweet-voiced songstress that formed one half of The Carpenters (the other half being her brother that I like to call, The Other One).

Despite knowing songs by The Carpenters and that one was called Karen and that she’d died young, while the other essentially remained nameless and of no interest to anyone but himself — I call this Jim-from-The Corrs-itis — I had no fucking idea she was a drummer. Not just that, either. I had no idea that Karen Carpenter was an incredible drummer.


“I had no idea whether I could play ’em or not, but I wanted to and I was very determined… but the band director said, “That’s not really normal.” Of course, all you have to tell me is that something’s not normal and I’ll go for it!”


It wasn’t until I hit my teen years, when my Sonic Youth obsession collided with the first time I heard the album Goo. On Goo, there’s a track that’s sung by Kim Gordon called Tunic (Song For Karen)and it wasn’t long before Tunic was my favorite track on the record; a hard feat considering Goo is jam-packed full of classic tunes and

I’d forked out for the Deluxe CD.

Karen Carpenter

The Karen in question, I found out, was Karen Carpenter.

In the bridge of Tunic, Karen tells her mother she’s finally made it to heaven and she’s playing drums again too (I’m playing the drums again too/don’t be sad, the band doesn’t sound half bad) Drumming was all she wanted to do and never really had the chance to, not for The Carpenters.

Some wicked soul on youtube pieced together some snippets of Karen’s performances, both in audio and on video, and to watch her play the drums is to see somebody who wasn’t happy in herself, for a while, be just that. This video is definitely worth a watch!

How proud would Karen be to see all you badass drummers out there now who just, like, happen to identify as female?



A proudly queer, freelance music journalist, Em splits her time between Durham and London. When she's not at a gig, mouth-agape, she'll be camped outside of a Parisian bistro taking photographs of strangers. The little pleasures in life are the most meaningful to her: Her dog, family-and-extended, and Milkybar buttons. Her motto -- a snippet from Alexander Pope's Essay on Man -- is, "hope springs eternal."

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