(They Long to Be) Close to You
|"(They Long to Be) Close to You"|
A-side label of U.S. 7-inch single
|Single by The Carpenters|
|from the album Close to You|
|B-side||"I Kept on Lovin' You"|
|Released||May 14, 1970|
|The Carpenters singles chronology|
"(They Long to Be) Close to You" is a song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. The most well-known version is that recorded by American duo The Carpenters for their second studio album Close to You (1970) and produced by Jack Daugherty. Released on May 14, 1970, the single topped both the US Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts. It also reached the top of the Canadian and Australian charts, and peaked at number six on the charts of both the UK and Ireland. The record was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in August 1970.
The song was first recorded by Richard Chamberlain and released as a single in 1963 as "They Long to Be Close to You". However, while the single's other side, "Blue Guitar", became a hit, "They Long to Be Close to You" did not. The tune was also recorded as a demo by Dionne Warwick in 1963 and re-recorded with a Burt Bacharach arrangement for her album Make Way for Dionne Warwick (1964), and was released as the B-side of her 1965 single "Here I Am". Dusty Springfield recorded the song in August 1964, but her version was not released commercially until it appeared on her album Where Am I Going? (1967). Bacharach released his own version in 1971. But the version recorded by Carpenters with instrumental backing by L.A. studio musicians from the Wrecking Crew, which became a hit in 1970, was the most successful.
In 1970, "(They Long To Be) Close To You" was released by the Carpenters on their album Close to You (1970), and became their breakthrough hit. The song stayed at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks.
Bacharach and David gave Herb Alpert the song after he scored a number one hit in 1968 with "This Guy's in Love with You", which the duo had also written. Alpert recorded the song, but was displeased with the recording and did not release it. After The Carpenters achieved their first chart success with "Ticket to Ride" in 1969, Alpert convinced them to record their version of the song, believing it was well-suited for them.
Carpenter and Alpert collaborated on the song, and the finished product was a 4-minute, 36-second long song. When A&M Records decided to remove the extended coda and release it as a 3-minute, 40-second long single 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 number two song for 1970.
"(They Long to Be) Close to You" earned the Carpenters 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. The song was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on August 12, 1970. Reaching number six in the UK Singles Chart in 1970, in a UK television special on ITV in 2016 it was voted fourth in The Nation's Favourite Carpenters Song.
Richard had originally written the flugelhorn solo part for Herb Alpert, but when he was unavailable, Chuck Findley was brought in. Richard later commented: "Chuck didn't play it that way at first, but I worked with him and he nailed it. A lot of people thought it was Herb – Bacharach thought so, too. But it's the way Findley is playing it."
- Karen Carpenter – lead and backing vocals
- Richard Carpenter – backing vocals, piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, harpsichord, orchestration
- Joe Osborn – bass
- Hal Blaine – drums
- Chuck Findley – trumpet
- Bob Messenger – flute
- uncredited – vibraphone
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||200,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||1,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
Other notable versions
- Diana Ross recorded a version for her 1970 album Everything Is Everything and performed it on her TV special Diana! the following year.
- This song was on Isaac Hayes' 1971 album Black Moses.
- In 1971, Tina Charles performed a live version of the song on an episode of the BBC comedy series The Two Ronnies.
- Bobby Womack in his 1971 album Communication (Bobby Womack album) sings the song in a medley, after the monologue about producers pushing him to be 'commercial'.
- 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.
- Dionne Warwick recorded a second version for her 1972 album Dionne.
- In 1972, Stevie Wonder covered the song, along with the Jackson 5's Never Can Say Goodbye on a live television appearance.
- In 1976 another hit version was released by B. T. Express, peaking at number 31 on the R&B chart.
- Gwen Guthrie had a UK number 25 hit with a version released in 1986.
- Matt Monro covered it in 1988; this version was used in From Paris with Love, starring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
- The Cranberries have a version of this song as a bonus track on No Need to Argue: The Complete Sessions 1994–1995.
- In 2001, the Argentinian band Dancing Mood released a version of the song featuring Mimi Maura as their third song of their first album.
- Josefine Cronholm recorded a version for the 2005 film MirrorMask and was included on the film's soundtrack.
- In 2014, the young English singer, arranger, composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier covered the song.
- In 2015, the character played by Chord Overstreet covered the song on the television program Glee.
- In 2016, Frank Ocean recorded a short cover of the song that samples Stevie Wonder's 1972 version. Close To You was featured on his sophomore album Blonde, released on August 20, 2016. The album was met with critical and commercial acclaim.
In popular culture
- In the 1978 TV special Mickey's 50, on which The Carpenters made a guest appearance, Karen Carpenter sings the lyrics "M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E" to the opening bars of the song.
- It was a theme song for the 2002 Hong Kong action film So Close, starring Shu Qi, Zhao Wei, and Karen Mok.
- In the film Parenthood, Nathan (played by Rick Moranis) serenedes his teacher wife Susan (Harley Kozak) during one of her classes with this song in an attempt to win her back.
- In the 2014 miniseries Olive Kitteridge, Martha Wainwright performs a cover of the song.
- In 2015, the song was played in the South Korean drama She Was Pretty.
- On the television series The Simpsons, it is Homer and Marge's song. It was first featured in the episode "The Way We Was" which depicts Homer and Marge first getting together, and has been used numerous times since. It is revealed in The Simpsons Movie that they danced to the song at their wedding.
- In the 2019 animated film Spies in Disguise, during the chase scene's climax when Lance (in his pigeon form) and Walter narrowly escape Marcy, Eyes, Ears and the UTIV and as Lance's Audi spy car careened off the highway and began a hilarious slow-motion scene, the song plays whilst Lance and Walter were hit by several objects from the latter's backpack before the spy car perfectly lands on top of a mobile truck.
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