Thursday Inspiration #116 (They Long to Be) Close to You

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word follow, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘(They Long to Be) Close to You’, or by going with another song by The Carpenters, or anything else that you think fits.  ‘(They Long to Be) Close to You’ was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and The Carpenters recorded it on their second studio album Close to You in 1970.  The single with instrumental backing by L.A. studio musicians from the Wrecking Crew topped both the US Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts and it reached #6 on the UK charts.  The Carpenters won a Grammy Award with this song for Best Contemporary Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus in 1971.  The Carpenters were signed with A&M Records, which was co-owned by Herb Alpert and he produced the arrangement for the Carpenters.

Karen Carpenter was the lead singer and drummer in this group, but she was reduced to just being the singer when Herb Alpert brought in Hal Blaine to take her place, while Richard Carpenter stayed on piano, Joe Osborn played bass, Chuck Findley played trumpet, Bob Messenger played the flute and the vibraphone player went uncredited.  Richard created the arrangement for this song and he composed a flugelhorn solo for Herb to play, but he was unavailable at the time, so session player Chuck Findley was hired for the task and he was coaxed into playing it in the same style of Herb Albert.  Richard was always going to be in the shadow of his sister’s wonderful singing, but he did a great job on this song.

Richard said that he encountered a problem arranging the ending of this tune, because he didn’t like fade-outs and he always tried to avoid them.  He had the background vocals doing the wah-ah-ah-ah-ah part and then wondered what should come next, so he thought, how would Bacharach do this?  He liked what Burt did at the end of ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head’ which B.J. Thomas recorded for the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.   Bacharach told BJ that he could do his own thing on this song, after he did it precisely how it was written, so BJ threw in the “meeeee” at the end.  This is why Richard decided that the song should end with the wahs, then Karen came up with the idea to push syncopate (place the accents on beats that are normally unaccented), and it came out great.

This was the Carpenters second single and their breakthrough hit.  This song is sweet and pretty, and also corny, but some people feel that it may be the greatest love-song ever written.  It is also a sad song, as this girl falls in love with this guy who couldn’t be more perfect, but he probably doesn’t even know she’s alive.  She is longing to be with him because the angels got together deciding to create a dream come true, sprinkling moon dust in his gold hair and starlight in his blue eyes, making him the most popular guy in town.   The Carpenters have sold over 90 million records with three #1 singles and five #2 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and fifteen #1 hits on the Adult Contemporary chart, in addition to twelve top-10 singles.

The Carpenters were an American vocal and instrumental duo consisting of siblings; singer and drummer Karen (born March 2, 1950, in New Haven, Connecticut) and musician, record producer, songwriter, and music arranger Richard Carpenter (born October 15, 1946). They first performed together as a duo in 1965 and formed the jazz-oriented Richard Carpenter Trio followed by the MOR group Spectrum, before settling on The Carpenters when they were signed to A&M by an impressed label owner and legendary trumpeter Herb Alpert in 1969.

That is why all the girls in town
Follow you all around
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you

24 thoughts on “Thursday Inspiration #116 (They Long to Be) Close to You

    1. When she slimmed down from 145 to 120 lbs., everyone thought that was good, but her weight plummeted to 90 lbs. in the mid-1970s, and everyone realized that she was in trouble.

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      1. Some lasting good came out of her struggle though. Anorexia (for that’s the disease/condition Karen Carpenter had) was largely ‘hidden’ (nobody talked about it) prior to her very public demise from it. Ironically she was in recovery when she died. One thing that anorexia does is damage the heart. I always thought she was so beautiful, I just didn’t understand it at the time. It was years later, when I attended a support group for people with ‘eating disorders”, that I began to understand how the people who suffer with the problem see themselves. They don’t see themselves (physically) as they are, they see themselves as fat or ‘wrong’ somehow. Very sad indeed. Here’s my contribution to your nice prompt yesterday:

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