The Carpenters' 20 Best Songs - Ranking! (2023)

20th Street Ode (1972)

The Carpenters' biggest album remains the compilation Singles 1969-1973, on which the duo remixed and re-recorded their hits and turned them into a glorious torrent of sound, but 1972's A Song for You comes close in that the album tracks are as good as they are the singles, as in this gorgeous portrait of a musician tired of touring.

19. Another Song (1971)

Many early '70s albums ended with a free-form jam, but of all the exponents of that form, the Carpenters were the least likely: Another Song unexpectedly and quite excitingly unravels into psychedelic guitar and occasionally atonal electric piano improvisation, underpinned by frantic drums. They never did anything like that again.

Karen Carpenter: Starved for Love, by Randy Schmidt | ExcerptRead more

18. If I Had You (recorded 1980, released 1989)

The day before her death, in February 1983, Karen Carpenter called producer Phil Ramone to talk about "our damn album" — the 1980 solo album her label refused to release. When her content was revealed on posthumous Carpenters albums, her decision seemed startling, as evidenced by I Had You: her patented brand of melancholy given a smooth, lustrous funk makeover.

17. Touch Me When We Dance (1981)

(Video) TOP TEN: The Best Songs Of The Carpenters [RETRO]

Made in America (1981) was a cautious return after a hiatus prompted by Richard Carpenter's drug addiction and the anorexia that would eventually kill his sister, but the single Touch Me When We're Dancing was great and very gently beckoned a touch from disco into the luxurious world of sound of the carpenter.

16. It's Gonna Take Time (1972)

co-written byCarol König— a decidedly hipper songwriter at the time when the Carpenters typically worked with him — It's Going to Take Some Time offers the delightful if seldom heard sound of Karen picking herself up and dusting herself after a failed romance rather than describing her anguish heartbreaking detail.

The Carpenters' 20 Best Songs - Ranking! (1)

15. Aurora / Evening Time (1975)

By the mid-'70s, the Carpenters' albums sounded formulaic and stuffed full of stuff, but they still managed to pull out the occasional greatness between hits. The fragile loveliness of Aurora and Eventide - two versions of the same song that ended Horizon in 1975 - is a perfect example of this.

14. I can't survive a day without you (1972)

Paul Williams — who went on to write evergreens, score Bugsy Malone to music and work on Daft Punk's Random Access Memories — was the Carpenters' big songwriting discovery after they covered his promotional soundtrack We've Only Just Begun, the superb, bittersweet one I Won't Last A Day Without You among them.

13. All I Can (1969)

You can hear the Carpenters' jazz roots on All I Can Do, a song unlike anything they've recorded: layers of Swingle Singers-style harmonies and an electric piano solo over a 5/4 rhythm, fueled by Karen's hyperactive drumming. Incredibly, it sounds remarkably like late 90's Stereolab.

(Video) Top 20 Songs of The Carpenters

The Carpenters' 20 Best Songs - Ranking! (2)

12. There's a Kind of Silence (1976)

Karen objected to the duo's image being "impossible for Mickey Mouse to believe": if they were considered cute, it was because of their uptempo songs, which rarely carried the emotional weight of their ballads. But sometimes they were so beguiling they were hard to resist: There's a Kind of Hush has rounded edges but is genuinely charming.

11. This Masquerade (1973)

The Carpenters were seldom mediocre: 1973's Now and Then was either unspeakable (the gruesome singing backed by the children's choir; a cover of Hank Williams' Jambalaya, a song about as fitting for the Carpenters as The Dead Kennedys' Holiday in Cambodia) or exquisite, as on this beautiful, sleepy but dark version of Leon Russell's song about a failing relationship.

10. (They Long to Be Near You) (1970)

Richard's skill as an arranger is easily overlooked - audibly influenced by the sounds of the Pet Sounds eraBrian Wilson, he was always overshadowed by his sister's singing – but (They Long To Be) Close to You is fantastically done: a gentle epic of soaring harmonies and cinematic strings

Perhaps the Carpenters, who covered an eight-minute song about an alien invasion — by forgotten Canadian Beatles impersonators Klaatu — seemed less WTF? 1977 as now: It was the year of Star Wars fever and Close Encounters. It's rich in melody and utterly ludicrous: Karen's voice also makes it strangely moving.

(Video) The Nations Favourite Carpenters Song

8. Ticket to Ride (1969)

The Carpenters slowed Ticket to Ride's tempo, changing its mood from airy bitterness to languid sadness. Today, it sounds strangely - and entirely unintentionally - like a muted eulogy to the '60s meant to stand alongside Let It Be or Bridge Over Troubled Water, a song that ushered in the period of exciting musical innovation that morphed into wistful melancholy.

7. For All We Know (1971)

A song that looks at a budding romance more timidly than its predecessor We've Only Just Begun - there's an odd shrug at the refrain line 'love may grow, for all we know' - this is both beautiful and beautifully arranged, an English horn, that wraps around the voice.

6. We've Only Just Begun (1970)

A song with an oddly circular life: originally commissioned for a US bank ad and sung by Smokey Roberds, then opportunistically covered by the Carpenters, it's currently playing on... a UK bank ad, albeit in the usual sad-sounding indie ad the modern era soundtrack style – one that pales next to the Carpenters' alternately cheerful and tender version.

5. Hurt Each Other (1971)

Perhaps the greatest expression of Karen's extraordinary voice—understated, velvety, but unspeakably sad—was on Hurting Each Other. Filling the seemingly upbeat opening lines with sadness, the drop in temperature at the end of the chorus - as she slowly sings "without ever knowing why" - is authentically chilling.

4. Yesterday Again (1973)

In a way, this absolutely sublime paean to oldie radio is the Carpenters' less wordy answer to Don McLean's American Pie, a song about both the enduring fandom and the loss of innocence of US pop throughout the '60s: The New Decade feels "quite a shame so much has changed".

(Video) Top 20 Greatest The Carpenters Songs - The Carpenters Full Album

3. Rainy Days and Mondays (1971)

Rainy Days and Mondays sounds like a beautiful, sensitive portrait of what feminist Betty Friedan called "the problem with no name": the weary emptiness that housewives of the '70s were prescribed Valium for. The vocals shift from resigned misery to glassy indifference ("nice to know someone loves me"), at odds with the warm, coaxing sound.

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2. Superstar (1971)

Karen was an unlikely candidate to play the groupie in love, but her performance on Superstar is astounding: She so fully inhabited the lyrics' uneasy mediation at the artist-fan boundaries that every previous version of the song — including Delaney and Bonnie's more daring original – immediately extinguished.

1. Goodbye to Love (1972)

Such was the Carpenters' saccharine image that the distorted guitar solo playing over the final burst of harmony from "Goodbye to Love" was seen as a risky move. But then again, Goodbye to Love itself seems like a risky move. Much of the Carpenters' appeal stemmed from their ability to wrap sadness in super-slick arrangements, but the sheer despondency of Goodbye to Love's lyrics would have made Joy Division pause: "No one ever cared if I live or die... anything I do." Knowing about love is how to live without it.” Karen's voice is a master class in restraint, her eerie calm only adding to the song's emotional impact. Scoff easy listening at your own peril: this is a great record.

(Video) What Is The Carpenters Greatest Song?


How many top 10 songs did the Carpenters have? ›

During their career, the duo scores 1 number one album and another 4 Top 10 albums on Billboard 200, 3 number ones singles, 12 top 10 singles and 20 top 40 hits on Billboard Hot 100.

What was Carpenters number one song? ›

"Top of the World" is a 1972 song written and composed by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis and first recorded by American pop duo Carpenters. It was a Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit for the duo for two consecutive weeks in 1973.

How many #1 hits did the Carpenters have? ›

They had three number-one singles and five number-two singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and 15 number-one hits on the Adult Contemporary chart, in addition to 12 top-10 singles.

Did Karen Carpenter have a perfect voice? ›

In 2010, Rolling Stone ranked Carpenter No. 94 on its list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, calling her voice "impossibly lush and almost shockingly intimate", adding "even the sappiest songs sound like she was staring directly into your eyes".

What are the 5 most recorded songs of all time? ›

Here's 5 of the most covered songs in history
  • “Yesterday” by The Beatles. ...
  • “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. ...
  • “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones: ...
  • “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. ...
  • “Over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg, sung by Judy Garland.
Mar 24, 2022

Who has the most top 10 songs of all time? ›

With 40 top 10 hits in the Hot 100 over her career, Swift surpassed Madonna as the woman with the most top 10s in the chart's history. (Madonna has 38 top 10 singles.) Swift is only surpassed by Drake, who counts 59 top 10 hits.

What is Number 1 song of all time? ›

Blinding Lights

What is the longest number 1 song ever? ›

"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks.

What is the number 1 most played song of all time? ›

There's even a dispute over the exact title. Yet “It's a Small World,” also known as “It's a Small, Small World” and “It's a Small World (After All),” is very likely the most played song in music history — nearly 50 million times.

Is Karen Carpenter one of the greatest singers of all time? ›

Karen Carpenter had one of the greatest voices of all time during her days as part of the Carpenters with brother Richard. Her death at the age of 32 in 1983 shocked the music world but her legacy lives on.

Who has the most 1 hits? ›

The Beatles earned the most number-one hits (18 songs) and remained the longest at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart (55 weeks) during 1958–1969.

Which producer has the most 1 hits? ›

Max Martin, meanwhile, is tied with George Martin for the most Hot 100 No. 1s among producers, each with 23.

What made Karen Carpenter's voice so unique? ›

Karen normally sang as a contralto, but she had the rare ability to transition from that more typical female register to a much lower range—something she called her “basement.” Thanks to Richard's songwriting and song selection, her basement voice was used masterfully on music that tended toward the melancholy, the “ ...

Who has the most bass voice? ›

Tim Storms (born August 28, 1972) is an American singer and composer. He holds the Guinness World Record for both the "lowest note produced by a human" and the "widest vocal range".

What is the best song in Guinness World Records? ›

Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" holds the Guinness World Record for the best-selling single of all time. According to Guinness, this iconic Christmas tune is the best-selling single of all time, with an estimated 50 million copies sold around the world.

Who is the #1 selling artist of all time? ›

Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.

Who has more #1 hits than the Beatles? ›

No artist has sold more albums than The Beatles, and no group or solo performer has posted more No. 1 hits than the Fab Four, either. Going just by the music the band made from 1963-70, The Beatles can claim 20 Billboard No.

What artists have #1 hits in 4 decades? ›

Mariah Carey Confirmed As The First Artist To Top The Billboard Hot 100 Chart Across Four Decades.

What is #1 Hot 100 song of all time? ›

The Weeknd's “Blinding Lights” shines brightest among the nearly 30,000 titles ever to hit the Billboard Hot 100 over the chart's 63-year history, as the single, released in November 2019, is the newly crowned No. 1 on Billboard's Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Songs recap.

What's the number one song in America? ›

Taylor Swift, “Anti-Hero”

What are the top 3 songs of all time? ›

Top 10 Best Songs of All Time
  • 1 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen. ...
  • 2 Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin. ...
  • 3 Imagine - John Lennon. ...
  • 4 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana. ...
  • 5 One - Metallica. ...
  • 6 Hotel California - Eagles. ...
  • 7 Hey Jude - The Beatles. ...
  • 8 Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd.

What is the shortest #1 song? ›

The Shortest Hot 100 Hits

While it just misses the second list above, Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs' “Stay” is the shortest No. 1: just 1:38 in length. The classic led the Nov. 21, 1960, Hot 100.

What is the most played song ever on the radio? ›

BMI today announced the Top 100 Songs of the Century, listing the most played songs on American radio and television.
'You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' ' Is Number One.
1.You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'Barry Mann, Phil Spector, Cynthia Weil
2.Never My LoveDonald & Richard Addrisi
98 more rows
Dec 13, 1999

What song has made the most money? ›

In 1893, the Hill sisters needed a song for their kindergarten class to sing on birthdays. Fast forward 120 years and "Happy Birthday" is by far the richest and most profitable song of all time. The Ownership of "Happy Birthday" has changed hands a few times in the last 100 years.

Who is the best heavy metal vocalists of all time? ›

Top 50 Heavy Metal singers of all time!!
  1. Ronnie James Dio. Former Black Sabbath and solo frontman Ronnie James Dio has been selected the best Heavy Metal singer of all time.
  2. Rob Halford. ...
  3. Bruce Dickinson. ...
  4. Ozzy Osbourne. ...
  5. Geoff Tate. ...
  6. James Hetfield. ...
  7. Brian Johnson. ...
  8. Sebastian Bach. ...
Jan 24, 2023

Who has the best rock voice of all time? ›

Lithe, raspy, and with a soaring range, Tyler's voice can raise up blues songs about elevator sex to Hall of Fame-worthy levels.
  • Elvis Presley. ElvisPresleyVEVO. ...
  • Chris Cornell. SoundgardenVEVO. ...
  • Stevie Nicks. Fleetwood Mac. ...
  • Tina Turner. Tina Turner. ...
  • Ann Wilson. smyletuneage. ...
  • Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stones. ...
  • Janis Joplin. ...
  • Robert Plant.
Dec 3, 2019

Who has the best rock and roll voice of all time? ›

1. Bruce Springsteen. Bruce is the link between folk, '60s R&B, punk, and of course, rock and roll.

Who had 7 consecutive #1 hits? ›

Music historians cite Whitney's record-setting achievements: the only artist to have seven consecutive number one Billboard Hot 100 hits ("Saving All My Love for You," "How Will I Know," "Greatest Love of All," "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)," "Didn't We Almost Have It All," "So Emotional" and "Where Do ...

Who has the most number one albums of all time? ›

  • As a musician, Paul McCartney has the most No. 1 albums, with 27. This includes 19 albums from his work with The Beatles, three solo albums and five albums as a part of his 1970s group Wings. ...
  • Barbra Streisand is the only artist to have No. 1 albums in six different decades.

What song has been on the Billboard charts the longest? ›

22-dated ranking: Most Weeks Spent on the Billboard Hot 100: 91, “Heat Waves,” Glass Animals.

Who is the number 1 songwriter of all time? ›

Top 10 songwriters
1Bob DylanMay 24, 1941 – present
2Paul McCartneyJune 18, 1942 – present
3John LennonOctober 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980
4Chuck BerryOctober 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017
6 more rows

Who has the most songs with 1 billion streams? ›

The Top 10 Artists
RankArtistSongs With 1 Billion+ Streams
1Ed Sheeran11
2Post Malone9
2The Weeknd9
7 more rows
Nov 25, 2022

Who can sing 7 octaves? ›

The seventh octave is the range of notes between C7 and C8. It is easier for very high coloratura sopranos to sing in this octave, but some people who are capable of singing in the bass range (like singers Adam Lopez, Virgo Degan, Nicola Sedda or Dimash Kudaibergen) can do it.

Who is the best male singer? ›

The 20 best male singers of all time, ranked in order of pure...
  • Elton John. EltonJohnVEVO. ...
  • Paul McCartney. Mercury. ...
  • Rod Stewart. Rod Stewart. ...
  • Andy Williams. burtmurdoch. ...
  • Tom Jones. ...
  • Michael Bublé ...
  • Art Garfunkel. ...
  • Stevie Wonder.
Jan 3, 2023

What actor has the most famous voice? ›

1 Mel Blanc

The man of 1,000 voices himself, Mel Blanc, is still the standard that voice actors are held to. Like many, Blanc began his career in radio broadcasting. At the age of 19, he was noticed for being able to voice multiple characters that sounded nothing alike.

What singer sounds like Karen Carpenter? ›

Anne Murray and k.d. lang are two singers whose vocal gifts are not exact to each other much less to Karen C. But all three of them have warm, pleasant voices capable of painting a picture with a song.
  • Linda Ronstadt.
  • Aretha Franklin.
  • Barbra Streisand.
  • Whitney Houston.
  • Pat Benatar.
  • Chrissy Hynde.
  • Gladys Knight.
  • Donna Summer.

How good of a singer was Karen Carpenter? ›

Specifically, Karen Carpenter's contralto vocals and her distinctive three-octave range have marked her place in history as one of the best singers of her generation.

Is Karen Carpenter a good drummer? ›

Karen Carpenter is one of rock's greatest singers, with her three-octave range being one of the reasons Carpenters sounded like no-one else. But Karen was also an incredible drummer, and actually started off as the duo's full-time drummer.

What is the rarest voice type? ›

A countertenor is a male singer who can sing as high as a soprano or mezzo-soprano. The countertenor is the rarest of all voice types.

Who can sing 10 octaves? ›

This is Tim Storms, a singer in possession of an incredible 10 octaves!!! He's a Guinness World Record Breaker and has recorded material, although has never seen significant success in the industry.

Who can sing 6 octaves? ›

Singers in History With their Respective Vocal Ranges:

Dimash Kudaibergen(World's Widest Vocal Range 2019)- 6 Octaves. Mariah Carey- 5 Octaves. Paul McCartney- 5 Octaves. Whitney Houston- 5 Octaves.

What songs did the Carpenters win Grammys for? ›

At the 13th GRAMMY Awards, "(They Long To Be) Close To You" won the Carpenters Best Contemporary Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group or Chorus.

How many Grammys do the Carpenters have? ›

Throughout the 1970s, Karen and Richard were nominated numerous times for Grammy Awards. Richard Carpenter was also nominated for a Grammy Award for their instrumental song, "Flat Baroque". They won three Grammy Awards, and had two songs inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Who has the most recorded songs in history? ›

1. Most recorded artist in music history - Asha Bhosle. India is the country that reads the most and it's also the world's most prolific filmmaking nation, ahead of Nigeria in second place.

Who has the most hit songs of all time? ›

Though unclear for how long, the Beatles still reign supreme as the artist with the most No. 1 songs of all time.

Who is the most successful GRAMMY winner of all time? ›

Beyoncé made history at the 2023 GRAMMYs by becoming the artist with the most GRAMMY wins — ever — when she won the GRAMMY for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for her 2022 album, Renaissance. Beyoncé now counts 32 total GRAMMY wins.

Who has won the most GRAMMYs at a time? ›


Who was stripped of a GRAMMY? ›

Lip sync fails are not uncommon these days. But November 19, 1990 saw the culminating moment of one of the most shameful not-actually-singing debacles in pop music history: it was the day Milli Vanilli was stripped of their Grammy.

Which artist has won the most amas? ›

The record for most American Music Awards won is held by Taylor Swift with 40 awards. The record for most American Music Awards won by a male artist belongs to Michael Jackson, who has collected twenty-six awards.

Who has 7 Grammys and is in the Hall of Fame? ›

Taylor Swift - 7 Grammy Award Wins.

What metal band has won the most Grammys? ›

Metallica holds the record for the most wins in this category, with a total of six. Tool has received the award three times. Black Sabbath, Nine Inch Nails, and Slayer have each received the award twice.

What is the biggest song ever in history? ›

According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.

What is the #1 rock song of all time? ›


From its original birth in the fabled Bron-Yr-Aur cottage, to accusations of backwards Satanic messages, to copyright lawsuits, to the famous Gibson doubleneck guitar, it's rightly gone down in legend as the greatest rock song ever.

What is the number one most listened to song of all time? ›

The World's Most Beloved Music
RankSongStreams (In Millions)
1"Shape of You"2,500
3"One Dance"1,855
6 more rows
May 21, 2020


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