Monday, August 08, 2022

Song of the Day: 'I Won't Last a Day Without You' by the Carpenters


Day six of my excruciatingly painful series of Songs That Peaked at No. 11: This one's yet another miscarriage of musical justice, albeit a rather circuitous one. While a whole other post could be written about the Carpenters' string of No. 2 hits -- with "We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days and Mondays," "Superstar," "Hurting Each Other," "Yesterday Once More" all peaking at Numero Dos, perhaps only Madonna has been robbed more egregiously -- that this Roger Nichols/Paul Williams gem failed to reach the Top 10 after 10 of their singles did makes no sense. 

Perhaps its unusual road to being a single explains it somewhat, although 50 years later I still find it hard to take its chart placement as a compliment. As many of you are aware, albums and singles were really strange back then, with artists sometimes putting out two LPs in one year or including the same song on multiple albums. "I Won't Last a Day Without You" was released as a single in 1974 ... from the duo's album "A Song for You," which had come out close to two years earlier and had already included four hit singles ("Bless the Beasts and Children," "Hurting Each Other" and "It's Going to Take Some Time" and "Goodbye to Love"). The Carpenters then issued “Sing” and “Yesterday Once More” from their "Now & Then" (1973) -- before going back to their "A Song for You" album for their 13th charting single, “Top of the World,” which hit No. 1 for two weeks in December 1973. (According to Wikipedia, the Carpenters originally intended the song to be only an album cut but reconsidered after country singer Lynn Anderson's cover became a No. 2 Country hit.) They then released "I Won't Last a Day Without You" as their 1972's album's sixth single, which then peaked at No. 11. (Confused?) But all I can say is that if a years-after-the-fact "Top of the World" -- a far inferior song -- could still hit No. 1, it makes no sense that "I Won't Last a Day Without You" couldn't at least land in the Top 5. Over the years lyricist Paul Williams, Diana Ross, Al Wilson and Maureen McGovern all covered it. But none of them could hold a candle to Karen's harmonic vocals and innocent delivery. 

If I thought explaining Shields and Yarnell to my 10-years-young partner was tough, where do I begin with Paul Williams?!!!

1 comment:

bentley1963 said...

Dear Kenneth-This series is wonderful and depressing at the same time.This song was robbed but to me still endures to this day.Keep up your great work!