Andy Williams

You've Got a Friend

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Andy Williams had his ups and downs during 1971 before the release of his summer album, You've Got a Friend. On the one hand, "(Where Do I Begin) Love Story," the theme song from the popular cinematic tearjerker, had given him his first Top Ten pop single in eight years that spring, stimulating sales of his Love Story LP, which would go on to sell a million copies. On the other hand, NBC canceled his variety series, The Andy Williams Show, after nine seasons, and it had its final broadcast on July 17. You've Got a Friend followed within weeks. On it, Williams offered his versions of 11 popular songs of 1970 and 1971, most of them previously recorded for hits by the likes of the Bee Gees, Bread, the Carpenters, the Fortunes, the Jackson 5, Carole King, Sammi Smith, and James Taylor. Record business logic of the early '70s held that this was the way for an easy listening artist like Williams to remain popular, and certainly he was less resistant to the approach than some of his slightly older peers. The arrangements closely followed those of the original recordings; the difference was that the voice on the track was Williams', not Michael Jackson's or Karen Carpenter's. But such soft rockers of the early '70s were more palatable to middle-of-the-road audiences than some of the ones from the '60s, making covers by people like Williams less necessary. He still retained enough of his audience for the album to rank among the 100 bestsellers for a few weeks, but without a strong single (the cover of Leon Russell's "A Song for You" was a minor pop singles chart entry), You've Got a Friend couldn't manage the kind of commercial impact Williams had been accustomed to for the previous decade.