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Official Review [Single]: 12. "YESTERDAY ONCE MORE"/"ROAD ODE" (1446-S)

Which side is your favorite?

  • Side A: "Yesterday Once More"

    Votes: 27 73.0%
  • Side B: "Road Ode"

    Votes: 10 27.0%

  • Total voters
    37

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
“YESTERDAY ONCE MORE"/"ROAD ODE"

YOM.png YOM Single.png RoadOde.png
Side A: Yesterday Once More 3:50 (Carpenter/Bettis)
Side B: Road Ode 3:50 (Sims/Woodhams)


Catalogue Number: A&M 1446-S
Date of Release: 5/16/73
Format: 7" Single
Speed: 45 RPM
Country: US
Chart Position: #2

Arranged and Orchestrated by Richard Carpenter
Side A taken from A&M SP-3519 album "Now & Then" / Side B taken from A&M SP-3511 album "A Song For You"
Producer, Side A: Richard and Karen Carpenter / Producer, Side B: Jack Daugherty

For more definitive information regarding each single, you can visit our Carpenters - The Complete Singles page in our Carpenters Resource.
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
This one was tough for me, ultimately going with my gut. Yesterday Once More brings a feeling of warmth and a connection with my youth, as this was the first non-Christmas Carps album I'd owned and played the crud out of as a kid.

On the flip side (pun intended), Road Ode had and still has a chill factor for the grown up musician in me; the 3-part harmony at the end of verse 2, Joe's bass line at the second chorus, and of course the triplets at the end of the solo. Ultimately I went with the 'A' side, as nothing beats nostalgia, or should I say returning to 'yesterday once more'.

On a separate note, there's a nice piece of trivia about this song in the interview I conducted with Hal Blaine and Joe Osborn. Joe went on to tell the story about how the song was assembled rhythmically in two sections and how remarkable Karen's time was to be able to match the second take with the first perfectly, with no click. For those who haven't heard it, here's a link to that interview:

 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
I echo your thoughts, Chris! Although I'm no musician I've come to really love Road Ode.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
These are two of my very favorite Carpenters songs so it's pretty hard to pick one of them, but I think I would say "Yesterday" would win out, because (for me, anyway) "Road Ode" is not complete without hearing "Crystal Lullaby" before it, and "A Song For You (Reprise)" afterward.

They're both just perfect pop songs in my humble opinion.
 

Toolman

Simple Man, Simple Dream
Agree with all of the above. Considering that "Yesterday Once More" was written about a specific cultural moment, it holds up remarkably well (for me, anyway). Something about the melody, the character of Karen's vocal, and lyrics like "...makes today seem rather sad, so much has changed..." just work regardless of era. "Seem rather sad..." It's not really all that melancholy, just reflective, wistful and comforting.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
By the way, above details state (under the 45-photos) :
Side B Druscilla Penny 3:50......
Surely in need of alteration !


Thanks, Chris May, for refreshing my memory with the interview with Hal and Joe.
I love it when Hal Blaine says (16m32s):
"Karen was a great drummer,
She was terrific 'live' ...Karen was great at playing those drums,
she just knocked the heck out of those drums
......."

That being quoted, next said:
Joe , "...but, she was a light player..." (17:05)
then,
Hal, "....I guess so, ya..."

Hal goes on to say, Herb brought him in because Karen didn't have "...the studio experience..."
 

theninjarabbit

Well-Known Member
Perhaps the single with the best a-side/b-side combination. "Yesterday Once More" is currently one of my favorites and it's not hard to understand why -- a reading like no other by Karen, perfect arrangement by Richard, and one of the best songs with John Bettis (aside from "Top of the World"). Stirring, powerful, and melancholy. Since I am one to bring up remixes, I think the remixed version of the song is one of the few that surpasses its original. It sparkles. I particularly enjoy the '85 version with the more pronounced digital keyboard during the second verse: I get goosebumps every time.

"Road Ode" is the song that seems like "Let Me Be The One" and "Happy", in terms of its surprising strength and sound. I sometimes wonder if it, too, could've made a single. It's a beautiful song throughout, and you almost vicariously feel the pain of the band, who were constantly out on the road at the time. I'm partial to the remix myself, but I love the french horns at the end either way.


'85 mix
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Excellent points, theninjarabbit !
Although, I am not normally in favor of remixes,
that 1985 remix for Yesterday Once More is a great one !

An interesting thread would be A-Side/B-Side Combos:
as I believe the Single Solitaire/Love Me For What I Am
is the best Combo !
 

Rudy

ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ
Staff member
Site Admin
I'm going with "Road Ode." I just find the hit side to be way overplayed and have grown tired of it over the years--it seems that when anyone wants to play a Carpenters song (be it radio, or whatever), it's always this one. I originally liked it in context with the oldies. But today, enough already. Not as obnoxious for me as "Sing" was, but it's another I'd not go out of my way to listen to.

On the flip side (pun intended), Road Ode had and still has a chill factor for the grown up musician in me; the 3-part harmony at the end of verse 2, Joe's bass line at the second chorus, and of course the triplets at the end of the solo.
Definitely. It also (somewhat) tells a story about road-weary touring musicians, which they could certainly relate to at that point (it's autobiographical).
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I struggled with this because they're both stellar songs, but went with the B-side. The hit single is still one of my favourites but I've heard it just a few times too many.

The B-side however remains as enchanting today as the day I first heard it. Wistful, dark, melancholic but instantly recognisable as Carpenters. Almost a sibling track to Another Song. The remix, with its cold ending, adds a new chill but I'm happy with the original version too. It was beautifully placed on the album with the segues into and out of it. One of their very best album tracks and highly underrated.
 

K.C. Jr

Well-Known Member
Yesterday Once More is my favorite Carpenters song ever, so naturally I would have to choose it over Road Ode. It has such a beauty and is wonderfully crafted. Karen sings it to perfection! To me, it describes much of what the Carpenters stand for today.

Road Ode is one of their best album cuts although I thought it was an odd choice for the B-side. I love the harmonies and the blatant truth of the lyrics.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Hands down, it's 'Road Ode' for me. An interesting and darker song that's seemingly about tour fatigue but is imbued with a performance from Karen that makes you wonder whether the disillusionment goes much deeper than that. It's also one of the last 'Spectrum'-sounding tracks in terms of have some rock leanings in its arrangement. Whilst they weren't exactly stuck for single material on A Song For You, I do wonder whether releasing this track as a single might have been an interesting move and helped to give them a bit more credibility. However, I only rate the original mix - the 1980s remix of it is *horrible*!

I'm sure this will be a minority opinion but I've never liked 'Yesterday Once More' - it's probably my least favourite single from the 1970-1975 era. When I first bought the Only Yesterday album in 1990, it was only 'Goodbye to Love' and 'Yesterday Once More' that I didn't much care for. As the years went by, I grew to love 'Goodbye to Love', but I still normally skip 'Yesterday Once More'. For me, there's a massive disconnect between the subject matter of the lyrics and the arrangement/performance that just doesn't work. You have Karen giving this mournful vocal but have her singing 'sha la la las', 'shing-a-ling-a-lings' and 'shoo-bee-doo-lang-langs' - the two don't gel at all. Still, it was a big hit, so it worked for someone...
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Thread Starter
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For me, there's a massive disconnect between the subject matter of the lyrics and the arrangement/performance that just doesn't work. You have Karen giving this mournful vocal but have her singing 'sha la la las', 'shing-a-ling-a-lings' and 'shoo-bee-doo-lang-langs' - the two don't gel at all. Still, it was a big hit, so it worked for someone...
That's a great observation, and one I haven't heard mentioned before!

I will go as far as to say (on the other side of the coin) however, that it was precisely what you're referring to here that created the tension and mystery surrounding most, if not all of Karen's vocal work. She just had that built into her brain and voice, regardless of what she sang. Kind of like "Hey guys, here's me...I'm happy and singing about my joy in this happy song!", all the while she's wrestling with something that goes beyond her scope of ability to overcome emotionally. Ultimately it was this major ingredient that helped sell those records! Just my $.02 worth anyway.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
I think that maybe Rumbahbah, being UK-based, might have missed the significance of the timing of "Yesterday Once More". As mentioned in the recent "Goofus" thread, there was, in the '70s, a massive change in radio in the US as some stations began devoting their entire playlists to all oldies, all the time. Karen and Richard are singing wistfully of hearing those old songs on their radios and how they stir up old memories when they hear those songs again. That's the brilliance of the piece, tapping into how songs can bring back powerful memories of listening to them the first time.

We all have memories like that. Some song we heard evokes a memory of where and when we first heard it. It's as powerful as a picture, a sound, a smell that can flood a person with past experiences.

And the song is perfectly used to bookend the Oldies Medley on NOW & THEN, by actually presenting us with some of those old songs that the Carpenters want us to remember with them. No, overplayed as it is, and as wonderfully evocative as "Road Ode" is, I cannot deny the power of "Yesterday Once More".
 

theninjarabbit

Well-Known Member
After sitting here playing song samples (for a half an hour!), I believe I made a mistake...this is the '85 mix (albeit with spelling mistakes galore). Ears are not firing on all cylinders today. It really has a distinctive keyboard sound and a different, "lighter" feeling to my ears-- profound to me that such subtle changes turned a song that I listened to "every once and a while" to one I can't get enough of. Mr. Carpenter, your remixes confuse me to death sometimes, for the record, but thanks for doing it anyway. It certainly makes for interesting discussion.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
I particularly like the timelessness of the nostalgia built into the lyrics of this song. I mean at the time the guys were singing about a period of time only 10-15 years earlier. . .but here we are 43 years later and "those good old days" could be the 60's 70's 80's 90's or naughties. A great song.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I think that maybe Rumbahbah, being UK-based, might have missed the significance of the timing of "Yesterday Once More". As mentioned in the recent "Goofus" thread, there was, in the '70s, a massive change in radio in the US as some stations began devoting their entire playlists to all oldies, all the time. Karen and Richard are singing wistfully of hearing those old songs on their radios and how they stir up old memories when they hear those songs again. That's the brilliance of the piece, tapping into how songs can bring back powerful memories of listening to them the first time.

We all have memories like that. Some song we heard evokes a memory of where and when we first heard it. It's as powerful as a picture, a sound, a smell that can flood a person with past experiences."
Oh certainly, I don't deny that it was a clever move to capitalise on the growing popularity of the resurgence of oldies that was going on at the time in the US (and it's true that this wasn't something that really occurred at the time in the UK) and that the song acted as a good 'anchor' for the oldies medley on Now & Then, which might have seemed a bit incongruous without it.

However, my problem with 'Yesterday Once More' is that it's just too morose and downbeat to really capture that bittersweet element in nostalgia. I'd say a song like 'The Way We Were' , which originally came out in the same year and also deals with our relationship with the past, does a better job of conveying the fact that nostalgia is both a happy and sad experience. To me, a subject like that covered in 'Yesterday Once More' should have had more light and shade, rather like 'Only Yesterday'; instead, it has sad oboes agogo and an arrangement much closer to 'Rainy Days and Mondays' or 'Superstar'. Those tracks required such a musical setting - I just don't feel that 'Yesterday Once More' did.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Not to forget:
Yesterday Once More and China:
(1998) The Rebirth of Shanghai
Until the birth of the People's Republic, Shanghai was China's artistic center. Can it regain its former glory?
By John Leland and Anna Esaki-Smith
The Gap restaurant in Shanghai's French concession is a squeaky-clean place, all checked tablecloths and stylishly bland Chinese food.
But over dinner there, the journalist Yu Lei's mind runs to illicit thrills. Yu, 29, who writes for the state-run Shanghai Star, has a studious look,
set off by a stark buzz cut and bookish glasses. When he was a kid, he recalls, Western arts and media were still banned in China,
so one of his teachers recorded an American song off the shortwave radio. Huddling the students behind closed doors, and warning them not to tell anyone,
the teacher wrote the lyrics on the blackboard and taught the class to sing along. It was dangerously exciting, the lure of forbidden fruit.
But what struck Yu most was the sweetness of the melody, the purity of the singer's voice.
The singer was Karen Carpenter, who shortly became one of the first Western performers sanctioned in China.
Years later, as the Filipino band at the Gap shinga-linga-lings into the Carpenters' "Yesterday Once More,"
Yu can still hear the sweet strains of revolution. Karen Carpenter, he declares, "was the beginning of the opening of China."
Source:
Newsweek: The New China »

(2016) Trends in Music Information:
"Teaching English pop songs, such as Yesterday Once More....has always been regarded as vital in encouraging Chinese students to learn English."
(2009)Rupke and Blank:
'Country Roads: Understanding Popular Music in China,' What is your favorite American song ? "....all these students knew this tune..."
Source:
“Country Roads” To Globalization: Sociological Models for Understanding American Popular Music in China »
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Notes: Also available with Copper/Silver A&M label (as label was changing over to new design at time of release).
That's interesting. I didn't realize that there were original singles pressed on the silver & tan label. My copies (3 of them) are all white-label promos, two with picture sleeves, all with "Yesterday Once More" in mono on the flip side. They're in the style of the ochre labels. The stereo sides are all CSG processed!
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
That's interesting. I didn't realize that there were original singles pressed on the silver & tan label. My copies (3 of them) are all white-label promos, two with picture sleeves, all with "Yesterday Once More" in mono on the flip side. They're in the style of the ochre labels. The stereo sides are all CSG processed!
I'm looking to see if I can find any scans. So far I've been unsuccessful, and have removed this bit of information from the notes until I can find something a little more definitive!
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
In realizing that do not own a 45 with "Road Ode" on it, it occurred to me that the first time I ever would have heard that single edit would have been on the Japanese Single Box. And just now, in comparing that Japanese single version with THE COMPLETE SINGLES from Public Broadcasting, there's a bit of a difference. The Japanese version comes in earlier while the wind-chimes are still audible, whereas the newer COMPLETE SINGLES version starts a second or so later.

Without a 45 to check, I'd like to know if anyone can verify that the 1446-S version matches the COMPLETE SINGLES set.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Just listened to that '85 remix of YoM. I was instantly taken back to 1973. Good stuff!
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
I enjoy the original 45 / Singles'73 mix best. This was the first single I ever bought and I had to choose between Seals and Croft's Diamond Girl and Carpenters' Yesterday Once More. But when listening to the radio, the enterance of the song was so smooth and vocally pure and by the time the part when Karen sings "but they're back again, just like a long lost friend" I was hooked. So, I chose Yesterday Once More, and like many of you, I have bought many of them with the many different remixes through the years. As mentioned, I like the one on the Singles 1969-1973 best, and to my ears at the time was the same as the 45 version. The Now and Then version sounds incomplete in comparison, but I like it too. My favorite part is when it gets to the part when he's breaking her heart, it can really make me cry... I think this is their best song. A great trio of Karen, Richard and John. I have been hooked on Karen's voice ever since and with the Singles album I learned of all songs that I was not aware of at time was credited to them and actually them. Plus, I was just starting to listen to Casey Casem's American Top 40 back then and was pleasantly surprised at their record breaking charting status! It was a pinnacle song and the pinnacle of their career!
One part of Chris's Download interview surprised me with reality that the family did not consider Karen the talent in the group for without Karen there would have never been a pinnacle peak. Her voice was the trumpet that magically carried their songs, and I believe from all we have read, that Richard felt this too, and he perfectly arranged the songs (as if a magic flute) to frame her voice, perfectly. It was her voice that sold the records! It was certainly her voice that captured me and bended my decision to choose Carpenters over Seals and Crofts. Now, I like most of what Richard has done over the years, for he truly is the author of the Carpenters' sound, but it was Karen's voice that I craved and still do crave and it is her voice that will continue to make me reach into my pocket to hear. This song has everyone at their best and to me, molds this song as the best of the best!
 
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