Yesterday Once More

In one of my previous posts (Herb Alpert’s “This Guy’s in Love with You,” February 11, 2020), I tell a story about Saturday shopping trips with my parents and what felt at the time like an ordeal, following them around women’s clothing stores all day.

In that post, I mention that Alpert’s songs remind me of songs used in TV commercials for those downtown stores. And as I mention in my April 26, 2020 post on the American easy-listening duo the Carpenters’ “Top of the World,” today’s selection is one I definitely remember hearing as the background music to one such store’s commercials. It might have been Clifford’s or Dayton’s; I can almost picture it, but not quite. (Incidentally, it was Alpert who signed the Carpenters to his label, A&M Records, in 1969.)

“Yesterday Once More” comes from the Carpenters’ album Now & Then (1973). The song was a massive hit for them, peaking at number two on the Billboard 100, held back from the top spot by the ballad “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce (1943-1973).

Richard Carpenter wrote the song with American lyricist Richard Bettis (who also co-wrote “Top of the World”). “Yesterday Once More” reminisces about the music of the past and the feelings and memories evoked by favourite songs.

When I was young
I’d listen to the radio
Waitin’ for my favorite songs
When they played I’d sing along
It made me smile

Those were such happy times
And not so long ago
How I wondered where they’d gone
But they’re back again
Just like a long lost friend
All the songs I loved so well

Every Sha-la-la-la
Every Wo-o-wo-o
Still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling
That they’re startin’ to sing’s
So fine

When they get to the part
Where he’s breakin’ her heart
It can really make me cry
Just like before
It’s yesterday once more

Lookin’ back on how it was
In years gone by
And the good times that I had
Makes today seem rather sad
So much has changed

It was songs of love that
I would sing to then
And I’d memorize each word
Those old melodies
Still sound so good to me
As they melt the years away

Every Sha-la-la-la
Every Wo-o-wo-o
Still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling
That they’re startin’ to sing’s
So fine

All my best memories
Come back clearly to me
Some can even make me cry
Just like before
It’s yesterday once more

Every Sha-la-la-la
Every Wo-o-wo-o
Still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling
That they’re startin’ to sing’s
So fine

Every Sha-la-la-la
Every Wo-o-wo-o
Still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling
That they’re startin’ to sing’s
So fine

(“Yesterday Once More,” by Richard Carpenter, John Bettis.
Unofficial lyrics courtesy of AZLyrics.com.)

An article I read today reminded me that in addition to being the lead singer of the brother and sister duo, Karen Carpenter (1950-1983) was the group’s drummer which, strangely, still seems to be an unusual role for women.

The Carpenters had a heavy touring schedule in the 1970s, which put a lot of pressure on the pair. At the same time as Karen struggled with anorexia nervosa, Richard had a drug addiction after suffering depression, anxiety, and insomnia. He took a year off to recover and rest, but Karen’s condition would eventually claim her life.

Hearing the song reminds me of memories from childhood. It also reminds me of the tragedy of Karen Carpenter’s illness and death and the similar, serious struggles many people face, often silently and alone.

Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the video for the song from the Carpenters’ official YouTube channel:

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