“Every sha-la-la-la, every wo-o-wo-o still shines,” the Carpenters’ sang in “Yesterday Once More,” their hit 1973 tribute to the songs of the past.
It could be the tagline of a new book on the work of Richard and Karen Carpenter, which seeks to set aside the noise surrounding the duo and focus on their harmonic creations.
“Carpenters: The Musical Legacy” (Princeton Architectural Press), coming 50 years after the duo’s earliest hits, was co-written by Richard Carpenter, along with Associated Press journalist Mike Cidoni Lennox and Chris May.
Carpenter has passed on many retrospective projects, after facing decades of questions about his sister’s inner life and her death in 1983 from heart failure, a complication of anorexia, at age 32. This was a chance to do something different.
“It was the focus on the music itself, that’s primarily it,” Carpenter told the AP as he sat at his piano in his Southern California home. “It touches on things that we hadn’t touched on before or that if we had, it had been ignored.”