Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Nov 12, 2016.
Here is a clip of Jim Gordon performing with Derek and the Dominos on the Johnny Cash Show (1971):
Only Yesterday by a mile. This is perhaps my favorite "post-apogee" Carpenters song - powerful, deep, emotive contralto notes. This song, as John Bettis comments, is "rangy", and Karen pulls it off flawlessly. I cannot help but sing along every time I hear this one (I've worked out all of Richard's harmonies to back up Karen ), and it is on my routine Carpenters playlist.
Only Yesterday did get to no 1 in Zimbawe for 1 week on 23 August 1975.
I remember my excitement hearing "Only Yesterday" on the radio the very first time. I've always liked it. There's "so much going on" in this record, as Richard said (in so many words); in the Compendium interview, I think. My only complaint; as Richard also stated, it has a sort-of "manufactured" style ("constructed to be a hit single", or something to that effect). I never felt the chorus matched the verses; though the "baby, baby" bridges do their best to connect the pieces.
"Only Yesterday" will ALWAYS be my favorite Carpenters song. Karen and Richard did a masterful job on it. And like everyone else on this forum I prefer the long, or album, version of it. As for "Happy" I like it very much, just like every other song on "Horizon."
Only Yesterday - Love the song and the video. Seeing Karen with the headphones on, singing into the mic with her eyes closed in the opening, is a thing of beauty. The long camera shot of her walking alone down that hillside is very moving to me. There is something "spiritual" about it.
Omg that shot, I know exactly the one, could be a beautiful painting. The sax blaring behind her and all that. Her hair flowing in a warm, spring breeze...
It was a typo. It meant to say Top 10!
Happy’s main issue is that it’s just overproduced. No chance of getting this but I do wonder what the tune would sound like without all the orchestration. It’s just not needed. I like the synth and I LOVE the background vocals.
Richard orchestrated everything and a lot of the tunes didn’t need that.
Everything is fine with Happy but the phrase Falling In Love with You melody needs rewritten and not repeated. It cheapens the song. In fact, the entire chorus could use a rewrite. The verses are perfect.
I'd say Happy is quite a sparse production and that's why it stands out as a bit different to the norm. It's the first acoustic guitar driven track they did (I think) which they sort of revisited with Two Sides. Throw in some percusion, hand claps, a few strings here and there, the classic Carpenters oboe and harmonies and the new addition of the synthesiser and it all makes for a great combination to me. It has a great outro too, though I don't think I can hear that final top note of the sythesiser as well as I did in my youth!
Actually, is that an electric guitar on the right?
Only Yesterday is one of their finest.
such a thick and rich sound, and so fresh ! It actually sounds like it was recorded Only Yesterday. It has every ingredient of the perfect Carpenters song: Karen's one of a kind vocals, the choral overdubbed vocals of the duo, Richards lush arrangements and perfect song writing between Richard & John.
In fact, (I'm 17) and I let (made) my friend who is the same age, put his headphones into my phone for the chorus, he doesn't care for the Carpenters but he actually said wow that actually sounds good.
Happy is also a great song, could have been a single but not have the same legacy as Only Yesterday... Who's title is so special (am I the only one who feels something when they see those words "Only Yesterday" ! )
"Happy" how many other songs have the same title???? There are tons, from the top of my head there's Pharrell Williams, Nancy Sinatra, Rolling Stones, the list goes on.
Only Yesterday is a Gold standard!
So great, that you at such a young age are getting into this music! Wonderful!!
I always liked happy, but over the last year or so I've grown to really like it. I was never sure whether I agreed that this would have charted better than Solitaire but now I think it could've cracked the Top 10.
Solitaire should never have been released as a single. It’s dead in the water before it gets started. At nearly five minutes, it’s far too long, slow, depressing and plodding a song for radio. You never hear it on UK radio these days, whereas many of their other singles get regular airplay.
Granted it’s an amazing vocal, but then so were Karen’s leads on A Song For You and This Masquerade and they stayed firmly as album tracks (B-sides I don’t class as singles).
This Masquerade was almost a Double-A sided single with Please Mr. Postman considering that it seems to one of their better songs. Here in Canada it even showed up on their 2-disc Greatest Hits compilation The Carpenters Collection in 1978. Funny, just looking but Happy even shows up on the same Greatest Hits package. Makes you wonder if in Canada and the UK Happy & This Masquerade maybe charted or were popular AOR's.
What’s your source for that?
I'd always like Happy - I like the speed of the vocals leading into the 1st chorus. Only Yesterday is a good song.
It's just not one of my favorites but strangely enough I find myself humming and singing the opening without realizing it quite often. So I guess I like it more than I thought -HA!
Love Me For What I Am should have been the hit released in 1975. I agree that Solitaire is intriguing and it prompted an immediate replay upon first listening, but the summer of 1975 would have loved Love Me For What I Am with I’m Caught Between Goodbye and I Love You as the flip side. But the single version of Solitaire is better than the album version. I get chills at every listen. Only Yesterday was the last best single, even though I liked those that followed. Carpenters don’t get enough credit for those they have written during their career.
I’d disagree. Those two songs are almost identical, so they’re complete incompatible as the A and B sides of a single. The B-side would have to have been something uptempo like Happy or a similar song from a previous album.
Well, we agree on the hit side? I feel they are different enough but I could go for Our Day Will Come/One Fine Day as the flip side.
So, one thing about Only Yesterday puzzles my ears !
In the first verse, Karen begins with that ultra-low note "after long enough..."
but, notice the change in note when the lyric "everyone must face" arrives...it is distinctly higher,
there is no slide into that note from the previous low notes, it just thrusts itself in there.
I'm listening to recording from the Greatest Hits and Finest Performances cd.
Anyone else hear this ?
It is not as noticeable on all of the recordings of the song.
It is evident in the Osaka concert (12s):
I think that’s just an example of Karen varying her singing style when performing live. She often did that. A good example of a slight nuance is the way she held the note on “Rainy Days and Mondays always get...meeeee down”. Her extended pause before the last two words always used to drive Richard crazy too. I think it would have given me goosebumps to hear that in an auditorium with their amazing sound systems they used. I bet you could have heard a pin drop.
^^Yes. As has been mentioned elsewhere, it's probably an artifact of having sang the song so many times, the artist inevitably varies some things - or over time simply reinterprets the song. Another example is when Karen holds the first part of the word "long" in Superstar, as heard here:
As an aside, I wish I had seen the C's live at some point. To have heard their voice-over intro, like in this video, sends chills.