Now & Then is the fifth studio album by American music duo Carpenters, released on May 1, 1973. It reached No. 2 on the Billboard Top LPs & Tape chart on July 21, 1973, and ranked No. 20 on the Cash Box year-end pop albums chart. The title, suggested by Karen and Richard's mother Agnes, was taken from a leftover song that did not appear on the album.
Now & Then is one of only two albums for which Karen Carpenter performed all or most of the drumming, the other being Offering (later re-released as Ticket to Ride). She plays all of the drum tracks with the exception of "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)", for which session drummer Hal Blaine played drums.
The album was released on May 1, 1973, the same day on which the Carpenters performed at the White House following a state dinner for West German chancellor Willy Brandt.
The album's lead track, "Sing", was written by Sesame Street's frequent composer Joe Raposo. Karen and Richard had first heard the song while on the set of a Robert Young television special. A&M Records did not wish to release it as a single, but Richard insisted, confident it would be a hit. "Sing" reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 on April 21, 1973.
Richard wrote "Yesterday Once More" after hearing the melody in his head while driving one day. The temporary lyrics for the chorus, which he intended to change later, were kept after lyricist and former bandmate John Bettis told Richard, "This 'Sha-la-la-wo-wo-wo' stuff sounds pretty good!" The single peaked at No. 2 on July 28, 1973, and became the duo's biggest worldwide hit.
"Yesterday Once More" was issued as a promo single in the UK in 1973 and "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" was issued as a promo single in the UK in 1974.</ref>
The LP album features a three-panel cover that folds out, showing a panoramic view of Karen and Richard Carpenter driving past the Carpenter family home on Newville Avenue in Downey, California. Karen and Richard had bought the five-bedroom house for their parents in 1970. Karen collapsed in the upstairs bedroom of the house while suffering the heart attack that ultimately claimed her life in 1983. The property also contained an annex, now destroyed, that served as Richard and Karen's home studio and housed their awards and certification plaques.
In February 2008, fans created a worldwide awareness campaign about the impending demolition of the Carpenter family house that appears on the album cover, which had become a tourist attraction. The home's owners, who had purchased it in 1997 from Richard Carpenter after his mother's death in 1996, were frustrated with fans coming to the house and asking to be shown around, and they wanted to raze it.