I was 9 years old when Karen Carpenter died at the age of 32. That means I completely missed The Carpenters, a vocal and instrumental duo, consisting of siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter.
I primarily know The Carpenters for two things. They had a hit with "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and I know that song well as the song we hear in the wonderful Simpsons episode "The Way We Was". And, they also had a hit with "Superstar", a song covered by Sonic Youth. Sonic Youth's "Superstar" absolutely haunts me and makes it onto just about every MP3 playlist I create.
Those are my two brushes with the career of The Carpenters, but you'd have to be living under a rock not to be familiar with "We've Only Just Begun", "Sing" (from Sesame Street!), "Top of the World" and "Rainy Days and Mondays" as well.
I don't know if it's because Karen died at such a young age or if it's the squeaky clean easy listening shiny toothed vibe these siblings gave off, but I always found their singles to be rather creepy. I heard "We've Only Just Begun" recently in the John Cusack film 1408 and it was used to personify a chilling moment. The Carpenters' catalogue is truly chilling stuff from where I'm sitting.
Here they are with "We've Only Just Begun". Watch and listen, if you dare...
And here's the haunting cover of "Superstar" by Sonic Youth.