Close to You is the second studio album by the American music duo the Carpenters, released on August 19, 1970. In 2003, the album was ranked No. 175 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list. The album contains the hit singles "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and "We've Only Just Begun". The success of the title track earned Carpenters an international reputation. 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.
|Close to You|
|Studio album by|
|Released||August 19, 1970|
|The Carpenters chronology|
|Singles from Close to You|
The album and its singles earned Carpenters eight Grammy Award nominations including Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Record of the Year. Carpenters won the Best New Artist and Best Contemporary Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus for the album.
Background and song information edit
According to session drummer Hal Blaine, the Carpenters' parents were in the recording studio for the Close to You album and "you could tell right away they ruled the roost." Blaine said that Karen's mother dictated her singing style and was unhappy that Karen did not perform as a drummer for all of the songs. Blaine countered that although Karen was a capable drummer, she was accustomed to playing loudly for live performances and thus was unfamiliar with the requirements of recording in a professional studio. However, she had been informed beforehand of Blaine's involvement and indicated her approval.
"(They Long to Be) Close to You" was the first Burt Bacharach/Hal David composition that Carpenters covered. The song was recorded several times by various artists during the 1960s but without popular success. It became Carpenters' first RIAA-certified Gold single, as well as their first Billboard Hot 100 single to reach the top 10. It remained at #1 for four weeks and became one of the Carpenters' most iconic songs. Richard devoted the song to Karen.
"We've Only Just Begun", composed by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols, first appeared in a 1970 Crocker-Citizens Bank commercial that depicted a married couple beginning their life together. In August 1970, it became Carpenters' second RIAA-certified Gold single.
Originally written by Ralph Carmichael for the early contemporary Christian musical Tell It Like It Is, "Love Is Surrender" was a song that Richard and Karen heard during their teenage years.
"Maybe It's You" was written by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis for their previous band Spectrum. The oboe solo was played by Doug Strawn.
"Reason to Believe" was composed by Tim Hardin in the 1960s, and Rod Stewart charted with a version of the song in 1971. Karen loved the song is because it was among the first that she performed with Richard as a group.
"I'll Never Fall in Love Again" is another Bacharach composition and was included in a medley on the following year's album Carpenters. The song was originally included in the score for Bacharach and David's 1968 musical Promises, Promises, and Dionne Warwick's version hit the top ten in January 1970.
"Crescent Noon", composed by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis, was originally performed by Karen and Richard when they were members of the California State University, Long Beach choir in 1969.
"Mr. Guder" was dedicated to Vic Guder, Richard and Bettis's boss at Disneyland who had fired them. They had been 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 songs that the patrons requested.
Critical reception edit
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Close to You was nominated for Record of the Year and Album of the Year at the 13th annual Grammy awards. "Close to You" won Carpenters a Grammy for Best New Artist and another Grammy for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus that same year.
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.
Track listing edit
All lead vocals by Karen Carpenter except where noted.
|1.||"We've Only Just Begun" (lead vocals: Karen and Richard Carpenter)||3:04|
|2.||"Love Is Surrender" (lead vocals: Karen and Richard Carpenter)||Ralph Carmichael||1:59|
|3.||"Maybe It's You"||3:09|
|4.||"Reason to Believe"||Tim Hardin||3:02|
|6.||"(They Long to Be) Close to You"||4:34|
|7.||"Baby It's You"||2:50|
|8.||"I'll Never Fall in Love Again"||2:56|
|11.||"I Kept On Loving You" (lead vocals: Richard Carpenter)||2:13|
- Karen Carpenter – vocals, drums
- Hal Blaine – drums
- Richard Carpenter – vocals, keyboards, arrangements and orchestration
- Joe Osborn – bass
- Danny Woodhams – bass
- Jim Horn – woodwinds
- Bob Messenger – woodwinds
- Doug Strawn – woodwinds
Weekly charts edit
|Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)||16|
|Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)||1|
|Japanese Oricon LP Chart||53|
|UK Albums (OCC)||23|
|US Billboard 200||2|
Year-end charts edit
|US Billboard 200||3|
|United States (RIAA)||2× Platinum||2,000,000^|
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
- 175) Close to You : Rolling Stone
- "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.
- Jazz, All About (May 7, 2012). "Jazz news: Hal Blaine on Karen Carpenter". All About Jazz News. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
- "Karen Carpenter 1950-1983". Modern Drummer Magazine. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
- "Carpenters: The Singles 1969-1973". www.richardandkarencarpenter.com. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
- Live in Budokan, 1972
- Eder, Bruce. Close to You at AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
- 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.
- "GRAMMY Award Results for Carpenters". Recording Academy. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Top RPM Albums: Issue 3735". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
- "– Yamachan Land (Archives of the Japanese record charts) – Albums Chart Daijiten – Carpenters a-カーペンターズ" (in Japanese). December 30, 2007. Archived from the original on November 11, 2007. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
- "Carpenters | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
- "Carpenters Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
- 1971 Year-end Albums – The Billboard Pop Albums. December 25, 1971. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
- "Aussie Success" (PDF). Cash Box. Vol. 33, no. 51. June 10, 1972. p. 33. Retrieved January 29, 2020 – via American Radio History.
- "American album certifications – Carpenters – Close to You". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
- "Carpenters". Billboard. November 17, 1973. p. 18. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 11, 2023.