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

Which side is your favorite?

  • Side A: "Only Yesterday"

    Votes: 43 91.5%
  • Side B: "Happy"

    Votes: 4 8.5%

  • Total voters
    47

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I never thought Only Yesterday ever really worked when performed live. It’s so intricate, so complex (especially where the multilayered vocals are concerned), that it’s virtually impossible to recreate in a live setting. Richard once said in an interview that the song contained more vocal overdubs than anything they ever recorded. Increasing the tempo when performed live didn’t really help either. This is one of those songs that just can’t be beaten or even rivalled when done live.
 
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Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
^^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.
"As an aside, I wish I had seen the C's live at some point." You and me both, David! Instead of sitting in the nosebleed section at the Forum in Inglewood trying to see Led Zeppelin thru the marijuana smoke, I wish I would've paid $7.50 a ticket and seen the Carpenters perform!!:doh:
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
One of their best singles as the "B' side is actually a strong track in itself! "Only Yesterday" gets the honor of being my 4th favorite Carpenters single. I also love this album's cover. I think Karen peaked vocally by this point, a bit of a mix of her younger self and the maturing woman she was becoming, vocally. This is one of Carpenter/Bettis' finest pop moments. I just wish they could of kept writing such great songs! Everything about it is pop perfection. This is a song I never tire of hearing, it still sounds relevant in 2018. Karen and Richard still had plenty of great stuff ahead, but nothing as exceptional as this track, it was an end to an era of sure fire hits.

10/10
 

Chris

Well-Known Member
As with Please Mr. Postman,
I believe the song Happy,
is rather underrated.
Both songs are filled with great vocals and each has a great arrangement.
As I was listening to Horizon LP for the nth time,
I could not help but marvel at the richness of
Happy !
Agreed that it's underrated. I'm always impressed with "Happy" whenever I hear it. It doesn't top the perfection of "Only Yesterday", but it has so much going for it. Her vocal is unbelievably divine. I love the lyrics, the arrangement, the use of the synth that takes it into the heavens. When she sings the line "...if it's the stars they're surely on my side." She sounds like she's touching the stars or has the richness and depth of the galaxy. Never has there been a more masterful female voice. Hearing her is a spiritual experience on the Horizon tracks in particular.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
When she sings the line "...if it's the stars they're surely on my side." She sounds like she's touching the stars or has the richness and depth of the galaxy.
I'm not wild about the song but the best thing about that line is the lush, overdubbed backing vocals that echo it.
 

adam

Active Member
Hi
Only yesterday .chart facts.

Australia 16
Brazil 8
Canada 2
Germany 43
Ireland 5
Japan 12
New zealand 10
Uk 7
USA 4
Zimbabwe 1
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Agreed that it's underrated. I'm always impressed with "Happy" whenever I hear it. It doesn't top the perfection of "Only Yesterday", but it has so much going for it. Her vocal is unbelievably divine. I love the lyrics, the arrangement, the use of the synth that takes it into the heavens. When she sings the line "...if it's the stars they're surely on my side." She sounds like she's touching the stars or has the richness and depth of the galaxy. Never has there been a more masterful female voice. Hearing her is a spiritual experience on the Horizon tracks in particular.
Nice summation, I couldn't agree more.

Concerning Karen's voice, I like the story Joe Osborn told on Chris May's "Down Load" radio show about hearing Karen sing for the first time:

"Somewhere during the night, Richard played the old song Ebb Tide and she sung it. I think she was 16 at the time and I thought; ‘my God’."

Later in the interview, he further comments:

"I'll tell a story of how I met them in my garage, my garage? She stood up there 16 years old, a chubby little kid with piano and sung that song Ebb Tide. Not an easy song as far as I can tell. She sung that song and that voice was there, and the way she sung was there. She was born with that. She didn't learn that."
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
[QUOTE="Carpe diem, post: 180972, member: 3184]Later in the interview, he further comments:

"I'll tell a story of how I met them in my garage, my garage? She stood up there 16 years old, a chubby little kid with piano and sung that song Ebb Tide. Not an easy song as far as I can tell. She sung that song and that voice was there, and the way she sung was there. She was born with that. She didn't learn that."[/QUOTE]

For those who were with them early on or involved in helping them get their big break, it must have been immensely gratifying to watch them develop as artists as their career really took off. If it had been me, I wouldn’t be able to help thinking that I’d been there from the start, hearing her sing in the house or the garage studio.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Billboard Magazine, May 31, 1975, page 71:
"Japanese retailers report that the best selling international
single during the first two weeks of this month (May) was
the Carpenters' Only Yesterday."
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I never thought Only Yesterday ever really worked when performed live. It’s so intricate, so complex (especially where the multilayered vocals are concerned), that it’s virtually impossible to recreate in a live setting. Richard once said in an interview that the song contained more vocal overdubs than anything they ever recorded. Increasing the tempo when performed live didn’t really help either. This is one of those songs that just can’t be beaten or even rivalled when done live.
I can't think of any songs outside of medley's that I prefer the live version to. They really were a studio group primarily for the greatest result.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
As with Please Mr. Postman,
I believe the song Happy,
is rather underrated.
Both songs are filled with great vocals and each has a great arrangement.
As I was listening to Horizon LP for the nth time,
I could not help but marvel at the richness of
Happy !
"Happy" could have been more fun if it weren't for the heavy-handed production. I'm also not a fan of Richard's calling card - the oboe. The strings are really overdone too for my tastes. They cheese things out a bit too much for me. It'll never happen but I'd love to hear many of these tunes stripped of all this orchestration. He overdid it often and sometimes, it's hard to find the song. This isn't one of those cases but I'd love to hear this without all the...stuff. It didn't need it. The song was all the way there. The melody is great and the changes are too. It has a fun lyric too.

Ed
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
"Happy" could have been more fun if it weren't for the heavy-handed production. I'm also not a fan of Richard's calling card - the oboe. The strings are really overdone too for my tastes. They cheese things out a bit too much for me. It'll never happen but I'd love to hear many of these tunes stripped of all this orchestration. He overdid it often and sometimes, it's hard to find the song. This isn't one of those cases but I'd love to hear this without all the...stuff. It didn't need it. The song was all the way there. The melody is great and the changes are too. It has a fun lyric too.

Ed
I remember that he hated the synths he used at the end of Happy, and while I can understand why he thinks it dates it, I think it adds a little needed zing at the end. The song is a bit choppy and doesn't flow nearly as well as the all around genius of Only Yesterday, but I really do like the track and much is right about it
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I remember that he hated the synths he used at the end of Happy, and while I can understand why he thinks it dates it, I think it adds a little needed zing at the end. The song is a bit choppy and doesn't flow nearly as well as the all around genius of Only Yesterday, but I really do like the track and much is right about it
I agree - I think the synth sounds great. It makes it more fun. If the strings were gone, we'd really have a winner. They just weight the tune down, IMHO.

Ed
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I think the drums are to blame for that, they are far too busy in parts, particularly the “falling in love, falling in love with you” section.
That's really the part that stops it from moving as fluidly as it could for sure.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Let Go...Let God (ONJ)
Wow....interesting to read everyone's opinion regarding
Happy...
I must say, I absolutely LOVE
the entire arrangement.
Drums (especially), strings, oboe, synth...everything !
The only problem I have about this song is that once I play it...takes days to get out of my head. I’ll even start singing this song to myself when I haven’t even played it for months.
 
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