Close to You (The Carpenters album)

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Close to You
Studio album by The Carpenters
Released August 19, 1970
Recorded 1970
Genre Pop, Easy Listening, Adult Contemporary
Length 38:35
Label A&M
Producer Jack Daugherty
The Carpenters chronology
Offering/Ticket to Ride
(1969)
Close to You
(1970)
Carpenters
(1971)
Singles from Close to You
  1. "(They Long to Be) Close to You"
    Released: May 15, 1970
  2. "We've Only Just Begun"
    Released: August 21, 1970

Close to You was the second album by the Carpenters, released in August 1970. In 2003, the album was ranked number 175 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[1] The album contains the hit singles "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and "We've Only Just Begun". "(They Long to Be) Close to You" was the duo's first big hit that gained the Carpenters international reputation for a decade. The album topped the Canadian Albums Chart and peaked at #2 on the U.S. Billboard albums chart. It was also successful in the United Kingdom, entering the top 50 of the official chart for 76 weeks during the first half of the 1970s.

Song information[edit]

"We've Only Just Begun" started out as a commercial for Crocker Citizen's Bank in 1970, composed by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols. The commercial showed a couple getting married and starting their life together. In August 1970, it became the Carpenters' second RIAA-certified Gold single. Richard regards this as the duo's signature song.

Originally written by Ralph Carmichael for the early contemporary Christian musical "Tell It Like It Is", "Love Is Surrender" was a song Richard and Karen heard during their teen years. Several of the overtly Christian lyrics were changed for this version, notably from "Without Him, love is not to be found" to "Without love you are not to be found" and "Love is surrender to His will" to "Love is surrender if you care." The arrangement is based on one recorded by Carmichael on his album, "I Looked for Love". The original Carmichael recording was mid-tempo, but Richard recorded it up-tempo with extra percussion. The Carpenters' recording is one of only two tracks on the album on which Richard Carpenter performs lead vocals, and the only one on which both Carpenters perform lead vocals.

"Maybe It's You" is a song written by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis for their previous band, Spectrum. It's a very low-key song, with an oboe solo by Doug Strawn.

"Reason to Believe" is a song composed by Tim Hardin in the 1960s. Rod Stewart made a hit with it in 1971. Karen claimed in a live concert that the reason why they love the song is because it was one of the first songs they performed together as a group.[2]

"Help!" is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney in early 1965. Carpenters produced three Beatles covers ("Ticket to Ride", "Help", and "Can't Buy Me Love", the last from Your Navy Presents).

"(They Long to Be) Close to You" was the first Burt Bacharach/Hal David composition the Carpenters covered. The song was recorded time and time again during the sixties, but didn't do well at all until the Carpenters version. It became Richard and Karen Carpenter's first RIAA-certified Gold single, as well as their first Billboard Hot 100 single that reached the Top 10. It stayed at #1 for 4 weeks, and became the Carpenters' iconic song.

"Baby It's You" is a song composed by Burt Bacharach, Barney Williams, and Mack David. It was sung by Richard and Karen in 1970, and performed on their TV show, Make Your Own Kind of Music.

"I'll Never Fall in Love Again" is the third consecutive Burt Bacharach composition on the album. It was included on their medley the following year, on the album Carpenters. According to Tom Riddle of "Your Navy Presents", there was a 29 vocal harmony on the song. Originally part of the score for Bacharach and David's 1968 musical "Promises, Promises", the song had provided a top-ten hit for Dionne Warwick in January 1970.

Originally performed by Karen and Richard in the California State University Long Beach choir in 1969, "Crescent Noon" is a song composed by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis.

"Mr. Guder" was dedicated to Richard Carpenter and John Bettis's boss at Disneyland, Vic Guder. It was a bit of a last tease to the man who fired the duo. They were hired to play old-time music on piano and banjo at the park's "Coke Corner" on Main Street U.S.A., but they persisted in playing contemporary tunes that the patrons requested. The lyrics say:

You're everything a robot lives for: walk in at nine and roll out the door at five. You reflect the company image; you maintain their rules to live by. Shine your shoes, let's keep a neat haircut now that you're wearing a coat and tie.

Many of their later recordings that were composed in the late 1960s were written during their Disneyland career.

"I Kept on Loving You", a song written by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols, features Richard on lead vocal.

"Another Song" was another Carpenter/Bettis creation that was very different from the typical Carpenters song and is essentially a suite in three movements: a pop section (0:00–1:45), a medieval-influenced section (1:45–2:28), and a jazz section (2:28–4:22). The song opens with a short prelude based on the harmony and melodic contour of the accompanied recitative "And, lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them" from Part I of George Frideric Handel's oratorio Messiah (1742).

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2.5/5 stars[4]

Allmusic's retrospective review deemed Close to You "a surprisingly strong album", particularly praising Richard Carpenter's original compositions "Maybe it's You", "Crescent Noon", and "Mr. Guder", describing them as superlative displays of both Karen Carpenter's vocal work and Richard's arranging talents. They also derided contemporary criticism against the album, insinuating that the negative reaction stemmed from Close to You being a successful pop record at a time of great political turmoil.[3]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "We've Only Just Begun"   Roger Nichols, Paul Williams 3:04
2. "Love Is Surrender"   Ralph Carmichael 1:59
3. "Maybe It's You"   John Bettis, Richard Carpenter 3:09
4. "Reason to Believe"   Tim Hardin 3:02
5. "Help"   John Lennon, Paul McCartney 3:02
6. "(They Long to Be) Close to You"   Burt Bacharach, Hal David 4:34
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
7. "Baby It's You"   Bacharach, Mack David, Barney Williams 2:50
8. "I'll Never Fall in Love Again"   Bacharach, H. David 2:56
9. "Crescent Noon"   Bettis, Carpenter 4:09
10. "Mr. Guder"   Bettis, Carpenter 3:17
11. "I Kept On Loving You"   Nichols, P. Williams 2:13
12. "Another Song"   Bettis, Carpenter 4:22

Charts[edit]

Album credits[edit]

  • Producer: Jack Daugherty
  • Arrangements and orchestration: Richard Carpenter
  • All vocals: Karen and Richard Carpenter
  • Drums: Karen Carpenter and Hal Blaine
  • Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
  • Bass: Joe Osborn and Danny Woodhams
  • Woodwinds: Jim Horn, Bob Messenger, Doug Strawn
  • Engineer: Ray Gerhardt and Dick Bogert
  • Art direction: Tom Wilkes
  • Photography: Kessel/Brehm Photography

References[edit]

  1. ^ 175) Close to You : Rolling Stone
  2. ^ Live in Budokan, 1972
  3. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. Close to You (The Carpenters album) at AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
  4. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 140. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  6. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 14, No. 19, December 26, 1970". RPM. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  7. ^ a-カーペンターズ "- Yamachan Land (Archives of the Japanese record charts) - Albums Chart Daijiten - Carpenters" (in Japanese). 2007-12-30. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  8. ^ "Chart Stats - Carpenters - Close to You". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  9. ^ "allmusic ((( Close to You > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  10. ^ 1971 Year-end Albums - The Billboard Pop Albums. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  11. ^ "American album certifications – Carpenters – Close to You". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
Led Zeppelin III by Led Zeppelin
Canadian RPM 100 number-one album
December 5 – 19, 1970
Succeeded by
All Things Must Pass
by George Harrison