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Died This Day In LA: Karen Carpenter

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A gifted drummer, virtuoso vocalist, and cautionary tale, Karen Carpenter was half of the dulcet brother/sister duo Carpenters that dominated the charts in the 70s with their decidedly easy listening style and mellifluous pop sensibility.

Karen Carpenter and her brother Richard moved to Downey with their parents in 1963 and shortly after formed a jazz group called the Richard Carpenter Trio. By 1968, they had changed the name to Carpenters, changed the tone to pop, and changed the role of Karen to singing drummer. A year later, they were signed by A&M Records.

In the early 70s the Carpenters bought a pair of Downey buildings as an investment, renaming the apartments "Close To You" and "Only Just Begun" to celebrate their new found success. Both buildings still stand at 8356 and 8353 5th Street.