Close to You (The Carpenters album)

Close to You is the second studio album by American duo The Carpenters, released on August 19, 1970. In 2003, the album was ranked number 175 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time,[1] maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list.[2] The album contains the hit singles "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and "We've Only Just Begun". The former was the duo's song that gained the Carpenters an international reputation for a decade. The album topped the Canadian Albums Chart and peaked at number 2 on the US 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.

Close to You
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 19, 1970
Recorded1969 – May 15, 1970
StudioA&M Studios, Hollywood
GenrePop, easy listening, soft rock
ProducerJack Daugherty
The Carpenters chronology
Offering/Ticket to Ride
Close to You
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

The album and its singles earned Carpenters eight Grammy Award nominations including Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year. It won the Best New Artist and Best Contemporary Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus for the single "(They Long to Be) Close to You".

Background and song informationEdit

Drummer Hal Blaine reported that the Carpenter's parents were in the recording studio for the Close to You album and "You could tell right away they ruled the roost."[3] According to Blaine, Karen's mother dictated her singing style and expressed disapproval that she did not perform as a drummer on all the songs. Blaine countered that though Karen was a capable drummer, she was accustomed to playing loudly for live performances and thus was not familiar with the different requirements of recording in a professional studio; however, she had been informed beforehand of Blaine's involvement and indicated her approval.[4]

"(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 number 1 for 4 weeks, and became the Carpenters' iconic song. Richard devoted the song to Karen.[5]

"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.[citation needed]

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 "You must surrender to His will" to "You must surrender if you care." The arrangement is very similar to an arrangement Carmichael did for the Valentine's Day 1970 broadcast by evangelist Oral Roberts. This version was released, along with other songs for that broadcast, on an album, "Love Is...". The Carpenters' recording is one of only two tracks on the album on which Richard Carpenter performs 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.[6]

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

"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 part 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 and despite being uncredited in the album's liner notes, a guitarist is playing on the song, possibly either Gary Sims or a Los Angeles-based session guitarist.

"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 baroque-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).

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [8]

Close to You was nominated for Record of the Year and Album of the Year at the 13th annual Grammy awards (1970). "Close To You" won the Carpenters a Grammy for Best New Artist and another Grammy for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group or Chorus the same year.[9] 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.[7]

Track listingEdit

All lead vocals by Karen Carpenter except where noted.

Side one
1."We've Only Just Begun" (lead vocals: K. and Richard Carpenter)3:04
2."Love Is Surrender" (lead vocals: K. and R. Carpenter)Ralph Carmichael1:59
3."Maybe It's You"
4."Reason to Believe"Tim Hardin3:02
6."(They Long to Be) Close to You"4:34
Side two
7."Baby It's You"2:50
8."I'll Never Fall in Love Again"
  • Bacharach
  • H. David
9."Crescent Noon"
  • Bettis
  • R. Carpenter
10."Mr. Guder"
  • Bettis
  • R. Carpenter
11."I Kept On Loving You" (lead vocals: R. Carpenter)
  • Nichols
  • P. Williams
12."Another Song"
  • Bettis
  • R. Carpenter




  • Jack Daugherty – producer
  • Ray Gerhardt – engineer
  • Dick Bogert – engineer
  • Tom Wilkes – art direction
  • Kessel/Brehm Photography – photography

Song creditsEdit

"We've Only Just Begun"

  • Recorded July 13, 20, and 28 of 1970
  • Produced by Jack Daugherty
  • Engineered by Ray Gerhardt
  • Pianist and Arranger: Richard Carpenter
  • Bass: Joe Osborn
  • Drums: Hal Blaine
  • Clarinet: Doug Strawn
  • Violins: Gerald Vinci (concertmaster), Jimmy Getzoff, George Kast, Bernard Kundell, William Kurasch, Wilbert Nuttycombe, Jerome Reisler, Jay Rosen, Ralph Schaeffer, Paul Shure, Marshall Sosson
  • Violas: Marilyn Baker, Samuel Boghossian, Dan Neufeld, Gareth Nuttycombe
  • Celli: Doug Davis, Jacqueline Lustgarten, Frederick Seykora
  • Harp: Gayle Levant
  • Lead vocals: Karen Carpenter

"(They Long to Be) Close to You"

  • Recorded March 24 and April 13, 1970
  • Produced by Jack Daugherty
  • Engineered by Ray Gerhardt and Dick Bogert
  • Pianist and Arranger: Richard Carpenter
  • Bass: Joe Osborn
  • Drums: Hal Blaine
  • Trumpet: Chuck Findley
  • Trumpet: Tony Terran
  • Violins: Gerald Vinci (concertmaster), Arnold Belnick, Bonnie Douglas, George Kast, Bernard Kundell, Jerome Reisler, Ambrose Russo, Ralph Schaeffer, Paul Shure, Marshall Sosson
  • Violas: Marilyn Baker, Samuel Boghossian, Dan Neufeld, Gareth Nuttycombe
  • Celli: Raymond Kelley, Frederick Seykora
  • Harp: Gayle Levant
  • Lead vocals: Karen Carpenter


Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (1970) Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[10] 16
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[11] 1
Japanese Oricon LP Chart[12] 53
UK Albums (OCC)[13] 23
US Billboard 200[14] 2

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (1971) Position
US Billboard 200[15] 3


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[16] Gold 35,000^
United States (RIAA)[17] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ 175) Close to You : Rolling Stone
  2. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  3. ^ Jazz, All About. "Jazz news: Hal Blaine on Karen Carpenter". All About Jazz News. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
  4. ^ "Karen Carpenter 1950-1983". Modern Drummer Magazine. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
  5. ^ "Carpenters: The Singles 1969-1973". Retrieved 2021-08-13.
  6. ^ Live in Budokan, 1972
  7. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. Close to You at AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "GRAMMY Award Results for Carpenters". Recording Academy. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 3735". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  12. ^ "– Yamachan Land (Archives of the Japanese record charts) – Albums Chart Daijiten – Carpenters a-カーペンターズ" (in Japanese). 2007-12-30. Archived from the original on 2007-11-11. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
  13. ^ "Carpenters | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  14. ^ "Carpenters Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  15. ^ 1971 Year-end Albums – The Billboard Pop Albums. 25 December 1971. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  16. ^ "Aussie Success" (PDF). Cash Box. Vol. 33 no. 51. June 10, 1972. p. 33. Retrieved January 29, 2020 – via American Radio History.
  17. ^ "American album certifications – Carpenters – Close to You". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 29, 2020.