Watch: Karen Carpenter's Drumming Skills in Action in a '76 TV Special

When soft rock duo the Carpenters gently glided across radio sets in the early '70s, few listeners may have realized what a monster drummer Karen Carpenter could really be.

Listening to early hits like "Close to You" and "Only Just Begun," one could be forgiven for not hearing her skills on the kit. Karen's brother Richard wove dense arrangements, with Karen's voice front-and-center and their vocal harmonies further padding the aural pillow.

But Karen's music career began as the drummer—playing rock, R&B, and jazz in the Richard Carpenter Trio, the first band the siblings had together. Her vocal talents were noticed later, but, once found, became the focus of the Carpenters. After achieving fame, she played drums less and less in order to focus on singing and fronting the group.

However, in the Carpenters' 1976 television special, Karen's drum skills were on full display. After deriding the glockenspiel, the instrument her high school band director first assigned her to play, she makes her rounds through different drum setups and different playing styles. Check her out below.

Karen Carpenter drum solo from 1976 TV special.
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