The music of the Carpenters has survived an era, and is as popular today as it ever has been. They became an amazing success story, bursting on to the pop music scene in July 1970 with their first No 1 hit "Close to you". The music of Richard and Karen Carpenter has become legendary earning a special place in the hearts of the record-buying public. They have had nineteen Top 10 singles, releasing 17 albums in the 1970's, each selling over a million copies. In total the Carpenters sold over 80 million records world-wide, collecting two Grammy awards and one Oscar along the way. In 1971 Richard and Karen also had their own television series called "Make Your Own Kind Of Music."In Feb 1983, aged only 32, Karen tragically died of the then little known eating disorder anorexia nervosa.Background information Richard Carpenter was an extraordinary composer and arranger. He knew intimately the texture of the many instruments he used, but none more than the voices of himself and his sister Karen. These he mixed seamlessly with classical and contemporary instrumentation.The function of the voice in his music is far from background and is absolutely fundamental to the Carpenter's sound.Backing vocals today are often simple harmonisations of a lead line or basic washes of colour to enhance an already full piece of music. Richard, however used vocals in a far more complex and musically integrated manner. He would use them as other musicians may use a string or horn section. At a time when it was usual to use three, perhaps four parts, Richard would regularly write six or seven voice harmonisations of complex vocal lines, which themselves were often counter melodies to the lead. Almost imperceptible voices were regularly added to colourise the harmonies, lines often ran in opposing directions concurrently and complex melodies of huge range were effortlessly accompanied with rich backing vocals.It was, then, of vital importance that the greatest of care was taken to accurately replicate every subtlety of Richard's vocal arrangements. It took three months to completely transcribe the twenty or so songs included in the Karpenter's show.