By 1974, Karen was brought out in front on stage. Mostly during the ballads. Everyone couldn’t see Karen sitting behind her set of Ludwigs so she reluctantly fronted the band. She still considered herself as always, “the drummer who sang”. You can see in the beginning she was very nervous and uncomfortable with her movements and stage presence. With practice and experience she became more animated and looked to be having fun, but I’m sure it was added pressure on her.
Richard’s birthday….family dinner at the Newville Ave home. The family first noticed Karen’s disinterest in eating shortly after she began to seriously diet. Using sugar substitutes, sugar-free jelly. Karen then started to take over house food tailoring to her diet. Autumn Marked the start of the decline that later proved deadly. Karen walked into A & M studio and everyone commented on how great she looked. She smiled triumphantly. She then made remarks of wanting to lose a few more pounds and received replies from everyone that she did not need to lose any more weight. Richard remembers vividly one conversation showing her determination to continue to lose weight no matter what. At this point she was 115 pounds and 5’4″ tall wanting to get down to 105 pounds.Evelyn Wallace voiced her concern over Karen’s “diet” saying it may be an unheard of disease after reading about a 12 year old girl who was dieting rigidly with something called Anorexia Nervosa.
1974 was a very busy year for the Carpenters with 203 concerts. Extensive touring in 1973-74 left the duo with little time for recording new material. As a result, the Carpenters did not issue a new album. The Carpenters were also asked to perform at the White House in 1974 during a state dinner. While Richard continued to play the piano on their recordings, Karen’s drum work became restricted to their stage act.
In June of this year, Richard and Karen decide to move into the Lubec Street house located in Downey, Ca. This did not work out as great because the two of them did not get along as well and Richard had mentioned that Karen watched over him like their mother did while living in the Newville house. Karen soon moved out and bought a condo in which she did not move into until late 1976.
The single “Please Mr. Postman” made it’s debut on the US singles chart in November 1974 and reached #1 in January 1975 becoming their biggest selling hit single worldwide.
Lubec Street House
Newsletter #38 August 1974:
Regretfully we announce the passing at Lola Saunders, the Carpenters Personal secretary. Lois drowned in the Yosemite river on 23rd June. The Carpenter family, colleagues at the fan club, and many prominent people connected with the music world packed the chapel for the funeral service of our dear friend Lois, who was a great lady we will miss very much. I’m sure those of you who corresponded with her will miss her cheerful letters. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to her husband Joe And their family.
Pictured left was in Rolling Stone Magazine, 1974. She looks happy and healthy.
From Newsletter December 1974: Richard & Karen sincerely regret the postponement of several concerts scheduled for November. During their TV taping, Karen developed laryngitis and was unable to talk or sing. Her doctor ordered her to rest and forbid her to sing until she was completely recovered. The concerts were reschedule for the end of December.