(They Long to Be) Close to You
"(They Long to Be) Close to You" is a popular song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It was first recorded by Richard Chamberlain and released as a single in 1963 as "They Long to Be Close to You", without parentheses. However, only that single's flip side, "Blue Guitar", became a hit. The tune was also recorded as a demo by Dionne Warwick in 1963 and re-recorded with a Burt Bacharach arrangement for her 1964 album Make Way for Dionne Warwick, and was released as the B-side of her 1965 single "Here I Am". Bacharach released his own version in 1968. But the version recorded by The Carpenters, which became a hit in 1970, is the best known.
The first recorded duet of this song is attributed to Dinah Washington and Lionel Hampton. The latter released the album Jazz Moods (1995) with this song. A compilation album of Dinah, (label Bluenite, the Netherlands 1996) also contains this duet. It can be found at YouTube. As Dinah had died in late 1963, this is believed to be one of the first recordings of this song.
The Carpenters version
|"(They Long to Be) Close to You"|
Dutch 7-inch single
|Single by Carpenters|
|from the album Close to You|
|B-side||"I Kept on Lovin' You"|
|Released||May 15, 1970|
|Length||4:33 (LP version)
3:40 (7" single)
|Carpenters singles chronology|
In 1970, it was released by Karen and Richard Carpenter on their album Close to You, and it became their breakthrough hit. The song stayed at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. This song was originally given to Herb Alpert as a follow up to his Number 1 hit, "This Guy's in Love with You", another Bacharach-David composition. Alpert was not thrilled with his version and shelved the recording. Looking for a follow-up to their first A&M Records/Billboard No. 54 recording Ticket to Ride, in 1969 Alpert decided to give it to the Carpenters (Alpert's version was released in 2005 on the Tijuana Brass album Lost Treasures 1963–1974). Richard had stated that when Alpert introduced the song to him back in early 1970, he was a bit apprehensive about the song. He and Alpert collaborated on the song, and the finished product was a 4-minute, 36-second long song. When A&M Records decided to release it in May 1970, it became A&M's biggest hit since Alpert's "This Guy's in Love with You" from 1968. Billboard ranked it as the No. 2 song for 1970.
With "(They Long to Be) Close to You", the Carpenters earned a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus in 1971. It became the first of three Grammy Awards they would win during their careers.
- Karen Carpenter - lead and backing vocals
- Richard Carpenter - backing vocals, piano and Wurlitzer electric piano
- Joe Osborn - bass
- Hal Blaine - drums
- Chuck Findley - trumpets
- Uncredited - vibraphone
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||1|
|U.S. Billboard Easy Listening||1|
|Canadian Singles Chart||1|
|Oricon (Japanese) Singles Chart||71|
|UK Singles Chart||6|
In popular culture
"(They Long to Be) Close to You" is Homer and Marge's love song on The Simpsons. The song plays in the background when Homer sees Marge for the first time in "The Way We Was". The song would later appear in The Simpsons Movie, as the first song Homer and Marge dance at their wedding in a video, as well as in "Treehouse of Horror XXIII" (The Simpsons Season 24 Episode 2), when an alternate-universe Marge sees the pile of Homers having been defeated by Artie Ziff. The affection for this song can also explain Marge's melody choice when buying a musical doorbell in "Maximum Homerdrive" (The Simpsons Season 10 Episode 17).
In the 1989 film "Parenthood", Nathan (Rick Moranis) comes to his wife Susan's (Harley Jane Kozak) class and sings the song to serenade her.
In a 2013 episode of Coronation Street, characters Roy and Hayley Cropper danced to an organ version of the song in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
There is an achievement in the 2014 game Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty! entitled "Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear...?" which is an obvious nod to the line from the song. The achievement can be earned by dying in 15 different ways.
Other cover versions
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- In 1964, the song was recorded by Dusty Springfield, but released on her 1967 album Where Am I Going?.
- In 1970, a cover version was recorded for the Hanna-Barbera Saturday-morning cartoon series Josie & The Pussycats, with vocals by Patrice Holloway, Cheryl Ladd (credited as Cherie Moor), and Kathleen Dougherty (credited as Cathy Douglas.) It was released on LP, later on CD.
- In 1970, Hawaiian singer Al Stroud recorded the song as a demo, with Nick De Caro as the producer and arranger, just prior to the Carpenter's release. Artie Price told Stroud's managers the song would never be a hit.
- In 1970, Diana Ross recorded the song as "Close to You" for her album Everything Is Everything
- In 1971, Claudine Longet recorded the song and included some lyrics in French on her album, We've Only Just Begun. That same year, it was performed on The Burt Bacharach Show by the show's host and Barbra Streisand.
- In 1971, Frank Sinatra recorded the song for his album Sinatra and Company.
- In 1971, Isaac Hayes recorded a nine-minute arrangement of the song on his album Black Moses.
- Also in 1971, Cilla Black recorded the song for her 1971 album Images.
- The Ladybirds recorded the song for The Benny Hill Show (episode 9, recorded March 4, 1971 for broadcast Mar. 24, 1971)
- In 1972, the song again became a hit when recorded by Jerry Butler and Brenda Lee Eager. It went to number 6 on the Billboard R&B chart.
- In 1974, Andy Williams released a version as the B-side to his single, "Love's Theme".
- In 1974, The Clams recorded the song in a spoof style reminiscent of Spike Jones.
- Jazz pianist Erroll Garner played a highly re-worked instrumental version on the last album he recorded before his death, Magician, in 1973.
- In 1976, another hit version was released by B.T. Express, peaking at number 31 on the R&B chart. A year later it was performed on The Muppet Show by Connie Stevens with Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear.
- In 1977, Brazilian singer Ronnie Von covered the song on his self-titled album.
- In 1983, Circle Jerks covered the song as one of the six cover versions on "Golden Shower of Hits (Jerks on 45)", which appears on their third album with the same title.
- Gwen Guthrie had a UK number 25 hit with a version released in 1986.
- The song is sung a capella by Nathan (Rick Moranis) in the 1989 comedy movie Parenthood.
- An Indian translation was sung at Apu's wedding on the Simpsons. An Indian vocal group was hired to sing, while Alf Clausen wrote the instrumental part.
- Irish rock band The Cranberries recorded the song and released it as the B-side to their 1995 single "I Can't Be with You", from the album No Need to Argue.
- Carl Winslow (Played by Reginald VelJohnson) sang the song to his wife Harriet Winslow (Played by Jo Marie Payton) at the end of the episode "Talk's Cheap" on the sitcom Family Matters in 1995.
- In 1998, Japanese-American singer Hikaru Utada (using the stage name Cubic U) released Close to You as the first and only single from her 1998 album Precious.
- Cantonese pop–rock singer Karen Mok covered the song to promote the 2002 girls with guns action film So Close, in which she stars. Mok's version, titled Close to You, was used as the main theme of the movie.
- Paul Daniels recorded an intentionally off-pitch version, along with several other celebrities, for a series of commercials for Heineken in the UK, circa 2001.
- Corrinne May's cover version of the Burt Bacharach classic "Close to You" was featured prominently in the movie So Close released by Columbia-Tristar films (2002).
- The song was covered by Paul Weller on his 2004 covers album Studio 150.
- In 2004, the song was sampled in Janet Jackson's single "I Want You".
- The song has been recorded by many other artists, including Bobby Womack, Perry Como, Barenaked Ladies, Isaac Hayes (on Black Moses, 1971), Les Mouches, Jimmy Bo Horne, Ethyl Meatplow, Freya Lin, Corrinne May, Rie fu, Rick Astley, Emil Chau, Johnny Mathis, Vincy Chan Tuck & Patti and Tamia as a duet with Gerald Levert.
- In 2005, an eerie and very mechanical version the song was featured in the film MirrorMask Sung by Josefine Cronholm
- Vincy Chan, a singer from Hong Kong, released a cover for the song in her 2007 album "Close To You".
- In 2008, Tina Arena covered the song on her chart topping album Songs of Love & Loss 2.
- In 2008, Soledad Giménez covered a Spanish version with the name of "Junto a ti" on her album La Felicidad.
- In 2009, Japanese singer BENI covered the song for the Japanese tribute album for The Carpenters. In the same year the Japanese duo Every Little Thing covered the song, inserted in their single CD "Tsumetai Ame."
- In 2009, Faryl Smith covered the song in her album Wonderland.
- The song is the lead single from Harry Connick, Jr.'s 2009 album, Your Songs, and it was released exclusively on Amazon.com, on August 25, 2009, by Sony Music. The album is a collaboration between Connick and leading music executive Clive Davis, who recommended "(They Long to Be) Close to You" for the album. Connick sings backed by his big band, a piano, and a string orchestra. The song features New Orleans trumpeter Leroy Jones. Barnes & Noble streamed the song in its entirety, from two weeks before its release, on their website for the Your Songs album. On the single's release date, a music video of the song, featuring pictures and film from the recording of the album, was put up at Amazon.com.
- In Open Season 2, the song is parodied by many characters during the final scene.
- The Smashing Pumpkins released a cover of the song in their Live Smashing Pumpkins album series.
- The song was covered by saxophonist Gerald Albright on his 2010 album Pushing The Envelope.
- A cover version of the song by Ronald Isley and Lauryn Hill was leaked onto the internet on September 8, 2010. The duet will be on Isley's forthcoming album, Mr. I.
- Michael Feinstein sang the song, and partially accompanied himself, In Performance at the White House, aired May 21, 2012, on PBS, honoring Burt Bacharach and Hal David, 2012 recipients of The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize.
- Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1970
- "New 'n' Tasty's Trophies Revealed". Oddworld Inhabitants. 25 June 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
- "Benny's Place • Original Series, Episodes 1 - 11". Runstop.de. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "Sole Giménez "Junto a Ti" (Close To You)". YouTube. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- Harry Connick Jr. Announces New Album Produced by Clive Davis, vintageguitar.com, July 30, 2009. Accessed 2009-08-13. Archived 2009-08-15.
- Harry Connick, Jr. - Your Songs, Barnes & Noble. Accessed 2009-08-13. Archived 2009-08-15.
- "Pushing the Envelope overview". Allmusic.com.
- "Gerald Albright - Pushing the Envelope". Smooth-jazz.de.
- "NEW MUSIC: Lauryn Hill and Ron Isley ‘Close To You’ - Global Grind". Global Grind. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "In Performance at the White House - PBS". In Performance at the White House - PBS. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
"A Song of Joy" by Miguel Ríos
|Billboard Easy Listening Singles number-one single (The Carpenters version)
July 11, 1970 (six weeks)
"I Just Can't Help Believing" by B.J. Thomas
"Mama Told Me (Not to Come)" by Three Dog Night
|Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
July 25, 1970 (four weeks)
"Make It With You" by Bread
"A Song of Joy"
|RPM number-one single
August 8, 1970 (two weeks)
"As the Years Go By" by Mashmakhan
"In the Summertime" by The Mixtures
|Australian ARIA Singles Chart number-one single
October 19, 1970 (three weeks)
"Lookin' Out My Back Door" / "Long as I Can See the Light" by Creedence Clearwater Revival