Lead Sister: The Story of Karen Carpenter

Lead Sister: The Story of Karen Carpenter

by Lucy O'Brien author of Lead Sister: The Story of Karen Carpenter
Lead Sister: The Story of Karen Carpenter

Lead Sister: The Story of Karen Carpenter

by Lucy O'Brien author of Lead Sister: The Story of Karen Carpenter


    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Check Availability at Nearby Stores

Related collections and offers


"This may well become the definitive biography of Carpenter....Pop music fans will appreciate this strong biography." —Library Journal, Starred Review

Named a Financial Times 2023 Best Book of the Year – Pop Music
Named one of The Times and The Sunday Times, UK 17 best rock and pop music books of 2023

A groundbreaking biography reevaluating the life and legacy of transcendent musician Karen Carpenter

As one of the biggest-selling acts of the 1970s, the Carpenters are celebrated for their melodic pop and unforgettable hits like “Close to You,” “Yesterday,” and “Top of the World.” Though Karen is rightly recognized as one of the greatest singers in popular music, the tragedy of her early death in 1983 at the young age of just thirty-two sometimes overshadows her incredible achievements. She has often been portrayed as a victim, controlled by her family and exploited by the music industry.

Forty years after her death, this biography reframes her life and legacy as a pioneering woman with her own vision and agency. With exclusive interviews with friends, musicians, and collaborators, bestselling author Lucy O’Brien explores Karen’s contributions as a singer, drummer, arranger, and producer, and traces the roots of the Carpenters’ iconic sound. Lead Sister also honors Karen’s triumphs in the face of her struggle with anorexia, providing contemporary perspectives on eating disorders and mental health. Despite the chronic nature of her illness, Karen Carpenter was, above all, a creative, dedicated, and assured artist whose music delivers an emotional resonance that has transcended generations—and that is how she should be remembered.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538184462
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 10/15/2023
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 6,938
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Lucy O’Brien is the bestselling author of She Bop: The Definitive History of Women in Popular Music, It Takes Blood And Guts, Dusty: The Classic Biography, and Madonna: Like An Icon. She has contributed to Q, Mojo, NME, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Cosmopolitan, and Marie Claire and is also a TV & radio broadcaster. She co-produced Righteous Babes, the Channel 4 film about women in rock and scripted the BBC Radio 2 series She Bop. She lives in London, and her website is www.lucyobrien.co.uk. @LucyOBrienTweet.

Table of Contents



Book 1: Offering

1. 1950–1963

2. 1963–1966

Book 2: Sing

3. 1967–1968

4. 1969

Book 3: Superstar

5. 1970

6. 1971

7. 1972

8. 1973

Book 4: Horizon

9. 1974

10. 1975

11. 1976

12. 1977

Book 5: Help

13. 1978

14. 1979

15. 1980

16. 1981

17. 1982

18. 1983



Carpenters: Select Discography


Notes and Sources

From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews