• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline! The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy will be available on November 16, 2021 and can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is being released January 14, 2022, and is available for ordering here.

⭐ Official Review [Single]: 17. "ONLY YESTERDAY"/"HAPPY" (1677-S)

Which side is your favorite?

  • Side A: "Only Yesterday"

    Votes: 59 92.2%
  • Side B: "Happy"

    Votes: 5 7.8%

  • Total voters

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Thread Starter

OnlyYesterday.png OnlyYesterdaySINGLE.png Happy.png
Side A: Only Yesterday 3:45 (Carpenter/Bettis)
Side B: Happy 3:50 (Peluso/Bettis/Rubin)

Catalogue Number: A&M 1677-S
Date of Release: 3/75
Format: 7" Single
Speed: 45 RPM
Country: US
Top Chart Position: #4

Arranged & Orchestrated by Richard Carpenter
Produced by Richard Carpenter
Associate Producer: Karen Carpenter

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


I Know My First Name Is Stephen
The A-side for me. It's quintessential Carpenters: stunning lead vocal by Karen which showcased her beautiful contralto voice so well, a great home-grown melody and lyric, stunning arrangement and orchestration and those typical sibling harmonies. Richard once said in a U.K. interview that there are more harmonies on that track than any other Carpenters song.

I've never got the sentiment that the B-side could have been a single in its own right. It's not strong enough to my ears.


Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
I'm with Stephen here. The main single a-side is as good as it gets. This one and "Hurting Each Other" usually vie for top position in my book. The b-side is an OK filler song, but it would never have been strong enough to be a single in its own right. I know a lot of folks here like "Happy", and I do too, but not as a single.

K.C. Jr

Well-Known Member
"Only Yesterday" is one of the best Carpenters singles. It's sophisticated, classy, has excellent vocals and sounds amazing every time I hear it!

"Happy", well it certainly makes me happy! Maybe not quite strong enough for a single (especially compared to the "Only Yesterday"), but it's definitely a peppy song and a great album cut.


Well-Known Member
Only Yesterday is pure ear candy. Stunning vocal from Karen, as Mark said those opening lines are just wonderful, and a stunning arrangement. I think it is my favourite Carpenters song, it's certainly my go to song.

I love Happy too, such a joyous summery track.


Well-Known Member
Only Yesterday was the last Carpenters chart in Billboards Top 100. I remember the climb to number 4, but it had an almost instant drop off. I had thought that with Please Me. Postman and Only Yesterday that Horizon may have some more uptempo numbers than it did. Now, Horizon is my favorite, but I always said it needed two more uptempo songs. By this time, I was hooked on Karen's voice and Richard's arrangements and I craved every song that was to follow.
Happy is good in the verses but has a weak chorus comparatively. Of those I knew who bought the single, they liked Happy but I thought it was just B-side material at 14 years of age.
This was the last single any of my friends bought. Of course, I bought them all.
Sorry for the random thoughts, it's just what comes to mind with Only Yesterday. And I agree with Stephen, the opening phrases are among Karen's best.


Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Only Yesterday was the last Carpenters chart in Billboards Top 100.

Not true at all.

#74 BEechwood 4-5789
#72 Want You Back In My Life Again
#68 I Believe You
#63 Those Good Old Dreams
#56 Goofus
#44 Sweet, Sweet Smile
#35 All You Get From Love Is A Love Song
#25 I Need To Be In Love
#17 Solitaire
#16 Touch Me When We're Dancing
#12 There's A Kind Of Hush

"Only Yesterday's" claim could be that it was the last Top 5 hit for Carpenters.


Well-Known Member
One of my fondest memories is hearing the Carpenters perform "Only Yesterday" in concert in Atlanta in April 1975 as it was moving up the charts and receiving so much airplay! I especially loved the single's cover sleeve and the new updated logo of the duo. It truly is a dynamic song and single.

In contrast to what appears to be the majority of opinion so far on this post, I feel that "Happy" would have made a great single to follow "Only Yesterday" and would have proved to be a higher chart performer than "Solitaire". I realize it is a lighter song, but it is a very catchy tune with great vocals and competes well with other chart successes in that time period.


Simple Man, Simple Dream
Agree for the most part with everything stated earlier. I don't think I'd call "Happy" filler, though. The arrangement on that is one of Richard's best from that period. I find it mesmerizing in a good way -- maybe not Top 40 brisk and punchy, but certainly a well-crafted piece of music that contributed to making "Horizon" one of their most progressive records, and its less adventurous follow-up LP such a head-scratcher.


Active Member
I pretty much agree with everything said earlier. "Only Yesterday" is such a great song, even though I do like "Happy" as well, for me it just can't beat "Only Yesterday".


Well-Known Member
My Two Cents:
Only Yesterday
Few Pop Songs--spanning 3:45--encapsulate so much brilliance:
From the first drum beats and Karen's first spine-chilling note--
to the final chorus of Richard and Karen's background vocals--
adding which a creative, if not unique, arrangement--
all of the above, and more,
make this my number one choice of all-time favorite song.


¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
"Only Yesterday" just barely squeaks past the B-side for me--I had a hard time voting on this one. And I do feel "Happy" could have been a Top 40 hit--it had the same basic hit-making formula as the A-side, with a tune that had maybe slightly less of a bite to it. "Only Yesterday" was just hooks galore at this point, and it still surprises me that this charted lower than "Please Mr. Postman."


Well-Known Member
I voted for "Only Yesterday," as it's one of the best produced and performed songs in the Carpenters' repertoire. However, I love "Happy" because of its streamlined arrangement which features acoustic guitar, a rarity among Carpenters songs.


Well-Known Member
such a great "B" Side,
a catchy song with an excellent arrangement.
And, of course, Karen's interpretation is fantastic !

Now, while listening to the 1987 Japan Treasures Set,
Disc 2 begins with Happy...but,
notice how quickly the song fades out on this disc--that shortened
version bugs me to no end....the extended fade on the original is best.


Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
The fade on the TREASURES (JP) version is actually longer. The decrease in volume starts sooner and gets very quiet for a longer time, but I believe the actual length is maybe a second or so shorter. The other CD versions stay loud longer and fade more quickly. All end at around 3:41-3:43.


Well-Known Member
^^Very nice analysis of that difference, Harry !
I really could not interpret and put into words what the differences were !
I have been listening to the Jp Treasures version and comparing it to other versions,
and, no matter how I slice-and-dice it,
I do not care for what was done to the song in 1987.
Seems as if it was definitely "tinkered" with--in 1987-- to some extent.

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Love both sides, but it's Side A for me. Karen's vocals (especially that lower register at the beginning), Tony P's guitar solo, Jim Gordon's drumming, and of course those marvelous castanets! Just a great song from top to bottom - one of their best. Happy, nice ditty from the wonderful "Horizon" album but it pales in comparison with Only Yesterday. Thanks GaryAlan for bringing this thread back to life!:)


Well-Known Member

Above we have an interesting chart: Only Yesterday
along with its "Peak" (at #4) competitors.
I notice that Elton John's Philadelphia Freedom is timing at 5:38 (?)
(That quoted time must be wrong on the above chart, as 3:53 is listed on the actual 45 Vinyl !).
and Linda Ronstadt's When Will I Be Loved is timing at 2:06.

Oh well, no matter, Only Yesterday
should have charted higher and stayed longer !


Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Love "Only Yesterday" but only the album version. The radio edit is terrible as the modulated chorus is cut in half. Once I discovered the full version, I never bothered with the radio edit again.

Karen's lower range in the verses is money all day. The production is absolutely perfect. Of course, Richard's backgrounds arrangements are amazing and the whole thing is a sonic wonder. I'm also a sucker for Fender Rhodes and Richard's touch with one is pretty incredible.

"Happy" is a lot of fun too. I agree that it's a single that should have been. Karen's vocal is as bright and fun as the arrangement is. I even love the synth at the end. It's a whimsical touch that works perfectly for the tune.



Well-Known Member
^^Yes....the Single version of
Only Yesterday
falls short of the Album version.

Strange that the Single version of Mr. Postman
elevates the song compared to the Album version !
As with Solitaire...single far better than album version !
(Although, all three songs--in any version--gets my vote).


Well-Known Member
Funny thing happened today:
Only Yesterday--the Single version--played on the car radio,
in any event my passenger, who had never heard the song before--
really like it, his one comment:
it faded away too fast at the end.......
I pointed out that the album version is longer than the one which
had just played....


Well-Known Member
Only Yesterday....
It is no secret that this is my all-time favorite Carpenters' track.
Richard and John, Karen's leads, Jim Gordon's drumming....
all serve to create a fantastic pop song.
Now, I was reading elsewhere that the drumming on the song was
referred to as "Moonesque". And, of course, I was not sure what that meant !
Now, I know it refers to Keith Moon. (Group: The Who).
Then, I watch his concert style (thanks, Youtube). He is great.
Then, I watch Karen Carpenter's concert style. (Couldn't locate Jim Gordon's drumming Live).

Well, we all can come to our own conclusion, but,
Karen Carpenter was an excellent drummer.
She "drummed" on Postman, I always wondered Why not ? on Only Yesterday.
Although, I do love Jim Gordon's drumming here.
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