Andy Williams

Solitaire

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One doesn't usually think of Andy Williams as someone ahead of the curve in popular music trends, but in 1973 he anticipated the comeback of Neil Sedaka by recording the songwriter's tune "Solitaire" and using it as the title track and lead single of an album. Unfortunately, getting out in front of fashions is as commercially dicey as falling behind them, and while Sedaka himself went on to commercial resurgence in 1974 and "Solitaire" became a hit for the Carpenters in 1975, Williams did not benefit from his prescience (except in the U.K., where his version made the Top Five). With his record sales falling, Williams did not make a spring album in 1973, waiting until the fall to issue Solitaire, on which he not only cut his interpretations of recent pop hits ("You Are the Sunshine of My Life," "My Love") but also worked a little harder at song selection, resurrecting the Everly Brothers oldie "Walk Right Back" and covering LP tracks by George Harrison ("That Is All") and Nicky Hopkins ("The Dreamer"). There was also an excellent movie song, "Last Tango in Paris," with lyrics by Dory Previn. In keeping with the tone of the title track, the arrangements and Williams' tone tended to emphasize melancholy, so that even "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" sounded somewhat sad. Solitaire was a cut above most Andy Williams albums, but commercially that didn't matter. The singer had not found a way to reverse his career decline, and the album barely grazed the charts.

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