Richard Lynn Carpenter (born October 15, 1946) is a musician, arranger, and composer and the older brother of the late Karen Carpenter. He is a 1964 graduate of Downey High School (located in Downey, CA), where he participated in band and the Viking Varieties talent show.
While still in high school, Carpenter landed his first music gig, playing in a local restaurant with a couple of friends. In 1965, he and Karen joined forces with a friend to form the Richard Carpenter Trio. Carpenter played the piano. They won the Hollywood Bowl Battle of the Bands a year later.
In 1969, after a brief stint with another band (called Spectrum), Carpenter and his sister broke away to sign a record contract. The duo (now known as the Carpenters) went on to have a string of popular songs, with Carpenter playing keyboards and providing backing vocals. He turned out to have a talent for arranging music as well, and the pair topped the charts with his arrangement of “(They Long to Be) Close to You.” Carpenter is an accomplished composer as well and wrote “Top of the World” (another hit) in addition to a number of other songs for the duo.
After Karen’s untimely death in 1983, Carpenter stood with his family for the official unveiling of the Carpenters’ new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Since then, he has recorded and released a solo album as well as an album with reworked Carpenters’ songs. He also helped produce two documentaries about the duo.