Now & Then (1973)

Now & Then (1973)

Carpenters Now and Then album cover 1973It’s 1973 and Carpenters have now been full-fledged worldwide superstars for a few years. Karen Carpenter’s voice is recognizable to almost everybody alive in the world. The fifth studio album is released on May 9, 1973 and legions of Carpenters fans rush out to purchase the release they have eagerly awaited. The album reaches #2 in the US and sells two million copies. This is Carpenters’ fourth album in a row to reach the Top 5 on the US charts, at this point in time they are considered a sure bet. In many ways “Now & Then” was the beginning and end of Carpenters’ mega-popularity. “Now & Then” continued building momentum, the album charted in even more countries than the previous album “A Song For You” and the hit singles “Sing” and “Yesterday Once More” received tons of airplay throughout the world. Not only were the current hit singles being played but the entire catalog of prior Carpenters hits were also in heavy rotation. By the time “Now & Then” was released there were ten Carpenters songs in heavy rotation – you could not escape them. If you turned a radio on you were certain to hear them several times in the day. The heavy radio airplay was a good thing for A&M Records and Carpenters as it turned into consistent record sales of the entire Carpenters catalog. All their album; “Ticket To Ride,” “Close To You,” “Carpenters,” “A Song For You” and “Now & Then” were selling in large numbers. 1973 found Carpenters performing 174 concerts, which means approximately one concert every two days. Newspapers and magazines around the world featured articles on them. Carpenters were riding on top of the music world. Carpenters were now part of the music elite joining the ranks of Elton John, Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand and Stevie Wonder. It’s the dream come true for any musician but dream has it’s downside and as the year wore on Carpenters began feeling the downside. The downside was over-exposure. As much as fans loved the hits singles “Sing” and “Yesterday Once More” there were just as many people that found these songs to lack the emotional power and strength of earlier Carpenters hits such as “Goodbye To Love,” “Superstar” or “We’ve Only Just Begun.” Carpenters were now becoming the “butt” of many jokes and people (outside of the diehard fans) were calling songs such as “Sing” and “Yesterday Once More” kitsch. Richard Carpenter was very aware of this growing phenomenon of people viewing Carpenters as nothing more than “sticky sweet.” This bothered him and he mentioned this quite a bit in interviews through 1973 and 1974. Despite the sprouting critique Carpenters’ popularity continued to increase with the release of their first greatest hits compilation “The Singles 1969-1973” which released in November 1973.

“Now & Then” acquired many accolades, most interestingly, for it’s album cover. The LP album featured a three-panel cover that folded out, showing a panoramic view of Karen and Richard Carpenter driving past the Carpenter family home on Newville Avenue in Downey, California. The car pictured on the cover was a 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 (“Daytona”) owned by Richard. The album cover caught the eye of many music buyers and was considered one of the best album covers of 1973 (and went on to be regarded one of the best covers of the entire decade of the 1970’s). Quite a few people, that did not care for the music, bought the album just for the cover itself.

The album was the first to list Richard Carpenter as the producer. Richard had said that all along he had been doing the lion’s share of producing Carpenters’ albums despite the credits listing Jack Daugherty as producer. With the rigorous touring schedule for 1973 very little time was slated to record “Now & Then” and once again Carpenters were rushed through the process. Richard commented, “I always believed that Carpenters were first and foremost a recording act; all of the success stemmed from the popularity of the records, so management should have placed the utmost importance on the recording process, not on excessive touring.” As it went when they began recording “Now & Then” there was only enough material to complete one side of the album, including “Jambalaya,” which they recorded a year earlier. Around this time several radio stations began playing oldies (from the 50’s and 60’s) due to the popularity of the television show “Happy Days,” Richard decided to capitalize on this and wrote “Yesterday Once More,” which reflected this fact. Karen and Richard introduced an oldies medley into their concert shows starting in the summer of 1972, and it met with such an enthusiastic response, that they decided to feature a version of it on side two of “Now And Then,” complete with Top 40 radio DJ performed by Carpenters guitarist Tony Peluso. The “Oldies Medley” was a huge hit on the album and was featured on many radio programs as a special feature.

One of the album’s most notable tracks is “This Masquerade,” a smoky jazz influenced song written by Leon Russell. Many fans have commented that this song should have been released as a single. The song is considered to be one of Karen Carpenter’s finest vocal performances of her entire career, perfectly suited for her deep and dark voice. In subsequent years Richard Carpenter has noted the song’s popularity and has included it on several compilations including “Yesterday Once More,” “Interpretations,” “Love Songs,” “The Singles 1969-1981 (SACD),” “Gold: 35th Anniversary Edition,” “40/40,” “Icon” and others. The song was released (by A&M Records) as a single in Mexico.

In 1974, Carpenters achieved a sizable international hit with an up-tempo remake of Hank Williams’s “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)”. While the song was not released as a single in the U.S., it reached the top 30 in Japan, #12 in the United Kingdom and #3 in the Netherlands

Another highlight of the album, one that makes fans very happy, is the fact that Karen Carpenter plays drums on all the songs (except “Jambalaya,” which was recorded a year earlier). Karen displays her finesse as a pop and jazz influenced drummer and especially shines on “This Masquerade.”

Standout tracks on this album are: “This Masquerade,” “I Can’t Make Music” and “Jambalaya (On The Bayou)”

Album Information

Release Date: May 9, 1973
Catalog Number: SP-3519
Chart Positions: #2 US, #2 UK, #2 Canada, #3 Australia, #1 Japan, Holland #2, Norway #12
Certifications: 2x Platinum (US), Gold (UK)
Singles: “Sing,” “Yesterday Once More”
B-Sides: “Heather” (b-side of “Top of the World”), “This Masquerade” (b-side of “Please Mr. Postman’)

Click Here to Purchase Now & Then

Album Credits

  • Produced by: Richard and Karen Carpenter
  • Arranged and orchestrated by: Richard Carpenter
  • Richard Carpenter – keyboards, lead and backing vocals
  • Karen Carpenter – drums (except on “Jambalaya”), lead and backing vocals
  • Hal Blaine – drums on “Jambalaya”
  • Joe Osborn – bass
  • Bob Messenger – flute, tenor sax
  • Doug Strawn – baritone saxophone
  • “Tom Scott – recorder
  • Tony Peluso – lead and rhythm guitars, spoken word (DJ) on “Oldies Medley
  • Gary Sims – rhythm guitar
  • Buddy Emmons – steel guitar
  • Jay Dee Maness – steel guitar
  • Earl Dumler – oboe, bass oboe/English horn
  • Gayle Levant – harp
  • Tommy Morgan – harmonica
  • The Jimmy Joyce Children’s Chorus – backing vocals on “Sing”
  • Engineered by: Ray Gerhardt, Assistant: Roger Young
  • Mastering engineer: Bernie Grundman
  • Art direction: Roland Young
  • Photography (front cover): Jim McCrary
  • Illustrations: Design Maru (front cover); Len Freas (inside cover)
  • Ron Gorow – special thanks


Billboard Magazine Album Review (May 26, 1973)

A unique concept – that of placing new versions of old tunes such as “Johnny Angel” and “Our Day Will Come” in the form of an old DJ radio show with DJ and everything sets this LP above other LPs. Some radio stations are playing that entire side as a separate radio “show.” But the flip side is also jammed with hits and Karen Carpenter’s charming voice, clear and melodious, virtually turns this LP into a classic.
Best cuts: “Sing,” a hit single; “This Masquerade,” which would be great programming for MOR stations; “Heather,” which shows the piano artistry of Richard Carpenter; and the country prone “Jambalaya (On The Bayou.”
Dealers: This should be another million-seller for the duo: good packaging; backed by a hit single or two.

Carpenters Now and Then album cover 1973

Carpenters Now and Then back cover 1973









Carpenters Now and Then CD back 1973

Carpenters Now and Then interior credits









Carpenters Now and Then inner sleeve 1 1973

Carpenters Now and Then inner sleeve side 2 1973












Carpenters Now and Then label side 1 1973

Carpenters Now and Then label side 2 1973










Carpenters Now and Then disc 1973


Carpenters Now and Then gatefold open 1973









Carpenters Now and Then Sing 1973 Carpenters Now and Then Yesterday Once More 1973









Carpenters Now and Then This Masquerade 1973 Carpenters Now and Then Jambalaya 1973









Carpenters Now and Then Sing Advertisement february 17 1973 Carpenters Now and Then Billboard advertisement june 2 1973










Carpenters Now and Then Billboard review May 26 1973

Carpenters Now and Then tour book 1973









Carpenters Now and Then directors chairs 1973 Carpenters Now and Then tour van 1973












Carpenters now and then richard ferrari 1973 Carpenters Now and Then Ferrari








Carpenters Now and Then Karen Carpenter 1973 Carpenters Now and Then Karen Carpenter yellow sweater 1973









Carpenters Now and Then Karen Carpenter Promo shot 1973


Carpenters Now and Then set 1973











Carpenters Now and Then gatefold cover 1973






Now & Then (1973)

Discography Links:
Offering (1969) Click Here
Close To You (1970) Click Here
Ticket To Ride (1971) Click Here
Carpenters (1971) Click Here
A Song For You (1972) Click Here
Now & Then (1973) Click Here
Horizon (1975) Click Here
A Kind Of Hush (1976) Click Here
Passage (1977) Click Here
Christmas Portrait (1978) Click Here
Karen Carpenter (Solo)(1980 – Released 1996) Click Here
Made In America (1981) Click Here
Voice Of The Heart (1983) Click Here
An Old Fashioned Christmas (1984) Click Here
Lovelines (1989) Click Here
As Time Goes By (2001) Click Here




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