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The Carpenters Make First US Conquest With ‘Close To You’

In July 1970, the seven-year-old Burt Bacharach & Hal David song ‘Close To You’ gave the siblings their first US No. 1.

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Close To You Carpenters

She was just 20. He was 23. The song was seven years old, and their previous single had only reached No. 54 in America. But on 25 July 1970, everyone’s favourite new pop duo were the Carpenters, as their version of Burt Bacharach & Hal David’s ‘(They Long To Be) Close To You’ climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The chequered history of the song included an unlikely first recording as a 1963 single by actor Richard Chamberlain, from which it was the b-side, ‘Blue Guitar,’ that became the hit. The following year, Bacharach arranged the version by the singer rapidly emerging as Burt and Hal’s favourite interpreter of their material, Dionne Warwick. British singer and actress Janie Marden released her reading of the song as a UK single on Decca in 1965.

Warwick’s recording was an album track and a b-side; Bacharach’s own version came out in 1968, after Dusty Springfield included her rendition on the album Where Am I Going? late the year before. But when Karen and Richard Carpenter released their interpretation in May 1970, the field was clear for their breakthrough hit.

As Richard Carpenter told the New Musical Express soon after the song became one of the duo’s signature hits: “One day we were talking with Herb Alpert and he said, ‘Have you heard this song ‘Close To You’?’ He gave me a lead sheet on it and said, ‘Why don’t you see what you can do with it?’ So we did!”

The sibling duo had only made mid-chart with their first single, a bold remake of The Beatles’ ‘Ticket To Ride,’ a few months before, but ‘Close To You’ was a different story. Debuting on the 20 June chart, it hit the top in just six weeks, climbing 56-37-14-7-3-1. The Carpenters’ story had only just begun.

‘Close To You’ is on the album of the same name, which can be bought here.

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Follow the official Carpenters Best Of playlist.

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. robin stansberry

    July 26, 2014 at 1:45 am

    they were awesome

  2. anitabreakone

    July 26, 2014 at 4:36 am

    I love the Carpenters. Karen’s voice is so beautiful, especially on “Superstar”. I think it was made for her voice. Still listen to her.

  3. kyaw khin

    July 26, 2014 at 4:39 am

    I like Carpentar ‘ songs .

  4. romeo dioso

    July 26, 2014 at 4:50 am

    i really love listening to this song of Carpenters.

  5. ophelia R. Tabigne

    July 26, 2014 at 4:57 am

    old songs are so nice to punder. Carpenters u are d best

  6. Wilhelmina Flandorp

    July 26, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Love the Carpenters’. I had no idea though that my favorite song came out on the.year that I was born.

  7. Diana

    July 26, 2014 at 7:16 am

    One of my all-time favorites……

  8. julita gabriola

    July 26, 2014 at 10:24 am

    can you send me copies of the carpenters songs with lyrics…

  9. Peggy

    July 26, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    I loved The Carpenders. I still listen to their music.

  10. Becky

    July 26, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    I was so Carpenter crazy in high school and still am. I remember my brother throwing a pillow at me and hitting the arm of the stereo as I was playing this Carpenter album and scratched the record beyond use. He was not too compassionate, but when he saw my sad reaction, he bought me a brand new album. I still have them both.

  11. Ken

    July 26, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    No mention of Paul Williams????

  12. Ken

    July 26, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    Never mind…confused myself with We’ve Only Just Begun!

  13. Wendy

    July 27, 2014 at 2:36 am

    I always loved the Carpenters. Karen had a wonderful voice and it was in the lower range where I am most comfortable as well so I could sing along. I still love listening to their music and have a couple of their CDs. It was a very sad day when we lost Karen.

  14. John

    July 27, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Former music theory professor (in 1980’s)said to study contemporary showmanship, consider Barry Manilow, but to study great contemporary arraigning accomplished well, follow Richard Carpenter.

  15. roberto

    July 28, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Carpenters. beautiful.

  16. Sharon

    July 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    My first concert was the Carpenters

  17. Sharon

    July 28, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    My very first concert I went to were the Carpenters. My grandmother took me even I was around ten.

  18. Jack Spencer

    July 25, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Simply the greatest Pop/easy Listening song ever.

  19. Ed Tobin

    July 25, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Actually the Carpenters version of Ticket To Ride was better than the Beatles and much more soulful.

  20. ANDRES ESPASANDIN

    July 25, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I am a fan of The Carpenters, his melodies escorted to my wife and me from 15 years. Karen is an angel, singing. A new generation, like.

  21. Jeff

    July 26, 2015 at 4:14 am

    Their music is STILL great! They lived in my home town (Downey, CA), went to my Highs School and lived 5 minutes from me.

  22. Robin

    July 26, 2015 at 4:56 am

    The Carpenters were my first concert to ever attend. Couldn’t believe my parents let me skip Sunday night church to attend!!! 🙂

  23. amie

    July 27, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Amazing voice!

  24. Khai Do

    July 27, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I love Carpenters, without whose songs life should go differently.

  25. maureen

    July 25, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    One my favourite Carpenter songs is ‘Desperado’ Brilliant.

  26. Lynette Dyke

    April 26, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Karen’s voice and Richards arrangement made a wonderful blend. Her voice seemed effortless, to appreciate it , just try singing along with those tunes yourself.The last ingredient for Magic?Hal David and Burt Bacharach’s unforgeable song.Some songs are just timeless icons.

  27. John E Snith

    July 25, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    I always remember my long deceased wife Kathy singing/humming this song whilst nursing our infant son Garry….

  28. Mel Davies

    July 26, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    What a tragic waste, Karen I will never forget your voice and love singing your songs, as I feel such a connection each time.

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