About The Song

The Carpenters’ “Yesterday Once More” can transport you back to the time and place you first heard it, no matter how long ago.

Released in 1973 off their album Now & Then, the song peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was The Carpenters’ biggest-selling record worldwide. It is also the duo’s best-selling single in the United Kingdom.

Written by the one-half of the hit 70s duo Richard Carpenter with lyricists John Bettis, “Yesterday Once More” is about a song’s wistful power. It’s reminiscing about songs of a generation gone by, how’d they’d come back just like a long-lost friend when you start listening to them.

“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,” the song goes.

In one documentary, Richard Carpenter said that it was his favorite of all the songs that he had written. “The oldies were enjoying a resurgence in popularity during the early ’70s, much to Karen’s and my delight,” he said.

“I thought it would be nice to write a song about this and use the piece to bookend the oldies medley we were planning to record for the second side of our first album release for 1973, Now and Then. The resulting ‘Yesterday Once More’ became our eighth domestic gold single, and one of our biggest hits worldwide.”

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Bettis also clearly remembers the day the hit came to fruition. “Yesterday Once More” was written during the time when The Carpenters were on the road a lot, and Richard no longer had the time to find new materials, so he enlisted Bettis’ help.

“I wrote maybe five pages of (song) titles. There must have been 70 of them, and I got them over to Richard’s house. He never said anything to me. I didn’t know which one he took if any,” Bettis recalled to Tennessean. “I showed up in his piano room and saw my sheets of paper all over the floor. I saw a circle, and it was ‘Yesterday Once More.’” However, Richard and Bettis could not figure out how to do the verses and ended up wasting about five hours of the two to three days left for them to write some songs.

“Karen was always checking on us. She wouldn’t bother us, but she’d make sure we weren’t just fooling around,” Bettis continued. “She came in and said, ‘What have you got for me?’ We said, ‘Well, it’s not done.’ We played her the chorus, and she, of course, loved it.”

Even though The Carpenters were only able to record together for some fourteen years before the untimely death of Karen Carpenter, the duo has given us enough songs that would make us think it’s yesterday once more! Tune in and watch The Carpenters’ remarkable performance of the timeless song in the video below.

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Video

Lyrics

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

 

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