Close to You (The Carpenters album)

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,[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 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
ReleasedAugust 19, 1970
StudioA&M (Hollywood)
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 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."[3] 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.[4]

"(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.[5]

"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.[citation needed]

"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.[6]

"Help!" was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney in early 1965, one of four Beatles covers that Carpenters recorded; the others were "Ticket to Ride", "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Nowhere Man".

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

"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.[citation needed]

"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.[citation needed]

Critical reception edit

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. "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.[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.[7]

Track listing edit

All lead vocals by Karen Carpenter except where noted.

Side one
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 Carmichael1:59
3."Maybe It's You"
4."Reason to Believe"Tim Hardin3:02
6."(They Long to Be) Close to You"4:34
Total length:18:50
Side two
7."Baby It's You"2:50
8."I'll Never Fall in Love Again"
  • Bacharach
  • David
9."Crescent Noon"
  • Carpenter
  • Bettis
10."Mr. Guder"
  • Carpenter
  • Bettis
11."I Kept On Loving You" (lead vocals: Richard Carpenter)
  • Nichols
  • Williams
12."Another Song"
  • Carpenter
  • Bettis
Total length:19:47

Personnel edit

Musicians edit

Technical edit

  • Jack Daugherty – producer
  • Ray Gerhardt – engineer
  • Dick Bogert – engineer
  • Tom Wilkes – art direction
  • Kessel/Brehm Photography – photography
  • Bernie Grundman, Richard Carpenter – remastering at Bernie Grundman Mastering

Charts edit

Weekly charts edit

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 charts edit

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

Certifications edit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[16] Gold 20,000^
United States (RIAA)[17] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^
Worldwide 4,000,000[18]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References edit

  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 (May 7, 2012). "Jazz news: Hal Blaine on Karen Carpenter". All About Jazz News. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  4. ^ "Karen Carpenter 1950-1983". Modern Drummer Magazine. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  5. ^ "Carpenters: The Singles 1969-1973". Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  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 August 20, 2019.
  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). December 30, 2007. Archived from the original on November 11, 2007. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  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. December 25, 1971. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  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.
  18. ^ "Carpenters". Billboard. November 17, 1973. p. 18. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 11, 2023.