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Lead Sister: The Story of Karen Carpenter : A Times Book of the Year, Paperback / softback Book

Lead Sister: The Story of Karen Carpenter : A Times Book of the Year Paperback / softback

Paperback / softback


***Nominated for the 2024 Penderyn Music Book Prize***A Times Book of the YearA Financial Times Book of the YearA Waterstones Book of the Year'Reading the book made me want to give her a huge hug.

Anybody who is a fan should pick this up.' - ANITA RANI'A fascinating but tragic story.' 4/5 - MOJOWhen the Carpenters first toured Japan, a journalist mistakenly referred to Karen as the 'lead sister' of the band.

This designation stuck and Karen liked it so much that she had a T-shirt custom-made with the slogan, which she wore while drumming on the band's 1976 world tour.

The term also sums up the approach of this biography: a celebratory re-evaluation of a pioneering woman. As one of the biggest-selling acts of the 1970s, sibling duo Richard and Karen Carpenter created lush soundscapes of melodic pop, producing global hits like 'We've Only Just Begun', 'Top of the World' and 'Close to You'.

However, though Karen is rightly recognised as one of the greatest singers in popular music, the tragedy of her early death in 1983, at the age of just thirty-two, often overshadows all that she achieved.

She has long been portrayed as a victim, controlled by her family and exploited by the music industry. This book now seeks to reframe her life and legacy. Through fresh interviews with friends, musicians and co-workers, bestselling author Lucy O'Brien's fascinating profile explores Karen's contributions in the studio as a singer, drummer, arranger and producer, as well as tracing the roots of the Carpenters' sound and of Karen's distinctive vocals.

Forty years after her death, it also honours the lead sister's achievements in the face of her struggle with anorexia, as viewed through the lens of new perspectives on eating disorders and mental health.


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