Only Yesterday: The Carpenters' Story

Synopsis: Documentary on the complex story of the 1970's duo The Carpenters.
Genre: Documentary

Karen and Richard Carpenter looked like well-scrubbed youngsters from middle America

who've come up with a sound the public likes - lightning striking a fortunate pair.

# Don't you remember you told me you loved me, baby... #

There was something magical about the way Richard and Karen worked together.

That's the beginning.

# Sharing horizons that are new to us... #

Karen Carpenter could sing the phonebook and it would sound good!

Her voice was like a piece of silk.

Patsy Cline was the closest to me. Both of them shared the same emotion.

And it was struggle and depression.

# I'm on the top of the world... #

When she was forced out from behind the drums to the front,

she didn't enjoy it at all.

# ..I can find... #

I think that Richard and Karen both could have extremely viable careers today,

had some different decisions been reached then.

# Every... #

All of our success came from the records.

You don't forget the records and go touring around the world.

She was the most truthful person I think I've ever met.

But she lied like a trooper about the anorexia situation.

# Only yesterday... #

Every now and then, we throw that word around - "it". That person has it.

Well, she had the "it" whatever the "it" is! She had it.

# And it's the way Only yesterday... #

The story began in New Haven, Connecticut,

with Richard and Karen being born into a typical suburban middle-class family.

I was born with an interest in music.

By the time I was two-and-a-half or three, I was

interested in the records that my dad was playing.

He had quite an extensive and eclectic collection of 78s which I wanted to get at.

# Here's what a world

# Is waiting for this summer... #

Les Paul and Mary Ford probably had the biggest impact on me...

well, with anybody,

because of the over-dubbed sound.

With these four switches, I can take Mary's voice and multiply it.

And with this switch right here, I can take the one guitar and multiply it into an orchestra.

Right there, by the time I was four years old - left such an impression on me.

And I couldn't figure... I knew it was Mary Ford.

Mary's voice...

# All alone... #

Two voices...

# Of you I'm dreaming... #

So I asked my mother, "How do you do that?"

What's my mother going to say? Nobody knew, except at that time,

Les and Mary and a couple of people in the business!

So it was like, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Practice. My mother said, "She practises."

# All night long... #

So I'm going around the house at four or five years old going...

# Mm-mm-mm... # ..trying to get all these voices to come out.

And later I learned.

# All night long... #

Karen, when I think back on it, would be downstairs and she'd sing it.

And, boy, did we take to it - Karen and I! The whole multi-track thing.

# And all the stars there never were

# Are parking cars and pumping gas... #

My mom wanted me to have piano lessons and I just didn't like it!

So, after a year, it was mutually agreed between my folks and the teacher -

"He really doesn't seem to have much talent or interest in..."

But several years later, all of a sudden, I'm picking things up by ear and I found I could...


- this kind of stuff

all on my own and play by ear. And so by now, my parents said, "We need to find him another teacher."

I think Agnes was a great mom. I think she knew what she wanted for her children.

I think she had insight for Richard.

And I think she loved her children dearly.

During the summer, the windows are open, everybody's outside playing in the street,

and Richard would be playing his musical scales up and down the piano.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Only Yesterday: The Carpenters' Story" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 22 Jun 2021. <'_story_15303>.

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