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The Carpenters’ Great British Breakthrough

On 10 October 1970, The Carpenters made their British breakthrough, with the Burt Bacharach and Hal David composition ‘(They Long To Be) Close To You.’

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Carpenters Close To You

Richard and Karen Carpenter had a spectacular 1970. It started slowly, with their interpretation of The Beatles ‘Ticket To Ride’ stalling at No. 54 in the US, but by the summer, they were ruling the Hot 100, spending a month at No. 1 with the Bacharach & David composition ‘(They Long To Be) Close To You.’ Then came the Carpenters’ British breakthrough. The single, which charted in the UK in September, peaked at No. 6 on 10 October.

Close To You CarpentersTheir debut British hit made a cautious start on the bestsellers, edging up the chart, and in the last week of September, the track seemed to be running out of steam when it improved just one place to No. 14. But then came its surge into the top ten, as ‘Close To You’ raced eight places to No. 6. Seven days on, it fell two places, but still it wasn’t done, climbing back to No. 6 before starting a slow descent that earned it three more weeks in the top 20.

In the week of its first peak, with the Carpenters creating the hottest new sound in easy listening pop, Freda Payne was in the fourth of a six-week reign with ‘Band Of Gold.’ British record buyers were showing their affection for reggae (Desmond Dekker), hard rock (Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, side by side in the top five five with ‘Black Night’ and ‘Paranoid’ respectively) and more soul sounds by Diana Ross and Chairmen of the Board.

All the same, perhaps surprisingly, the Carpenters’ transatlantic success didn’t immediately lead to UK chart domination. The Close To You album only reached No. 23 there, and they would have to wait another two years for a second top ten single with ‘Goodbye To Love,’ backed with ‘I Won’t Last A Day Without You.’

The Carpenters’ Close To You album can be bought here.

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Follow the official Carpenters Best Of playlist.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Mercedes

    October 12, 2014 at 3:35 am

    Que pena que murió la chica que cantaba.

  2. Jackie

    October 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    They were fabulous, I grew up listening to them.

  3. Michelle Bampton

    October 12, 2016 at 9:13 am

    What an amazing era of music our kids are getting remakes, thinking they are originals thank goodness for sharing our era when our kids were little they appreciate music so much more?

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