The Carpenters were a vocal and instrumental duo, consisting of siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter. Carpenters was the #1 selling American music act of the 1970s. Though often referred to by the public as "The Carpenters", the duo's official name on authorized recordings and press materials is simply "Carpenters", without the definite article. During a period in the 1970s when louder and wilder rock was in great demand, Richard and Karen produced a distinctively soft musical style that made them one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
The Carpenters' melodic pop produced a record-breaking run of hit recordings on the American Top 40 and Adult Contemporary charts, and they became leading sellers in the soft rock, easy listening and adult contemporary genres. Carpenters had three #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and fifteen #1 hits on the Adult Contemporary Chart (see the Carpenters discography). In addition, they had twelve top 10 singles (including their #1 hits). To date, Carpenters' album and single sales total more than 100 million units.
During their fourteen-year career, the Carpenters recorded eleven albums, five of which contained top 10 singles (Close to You, Carpenters, A Song for You, Now & Then and Horizon), thirty-one singles, five television specials, and one short-lived television series. They toured in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, the Netherlands and Belgium. Their recording career ended with Karen's death in 1983 from cardiac arrest due to complications of anorexia nervosa. Extensive news coverage of the circumstances surrounding her death increased public awareness of the consequences of eating disorders.