(They Long to Be) Close to You

Song Review by

Dionne Warwick once quipped about the Burt Bacharach/Hal David songs she recorded first that later became huge hits for others: B.J. Thomas ("Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head") and the Stylistics ("You'll Never Get to Heaven"). Probably the best-known example is the Carpenters' hit "(They Long to Be) Close to You." The duo was initially signed to RCA Records by A&R man Neely Plumb in 1966 and later signed with Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss' A&M Records. Bacharach liked their 1969 mid-charting pop cover of the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride" and contacted them about performing at a benefit. Alpert suggested that they perform "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and later had the duo record the song, advising Richard not to listen to Warwick's original version so that the young arranger could come up with a new arrangement. Richard also added the parenthesized "They Long to Be" to the song's title. Alpert had a 1968 gold number one pop single with the Bacharch/David song "This Guy's in Love With You." It would be one of their many hits which featured the Wrecking Crew, a cadre of top West Coast session musicians which included bassist Joe Osborn and drummer Hal Blaine. Produced by Jack Daugherty, the million-selling single parked at number one pop for four weeks and went to number one adult contemporary in the summer of 1970. The sweet number earned them a Grammy for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group, or Chorus and Best New Artist, while racking up a Record of the Year nomination. The Close to You album went gold, peaking at number two pop and yielding the number two pop single "We've Only Just Begun." There are several tasty covers of "(They Long to Be) Close to You": one by virtuoso guitarist Gabor Szabo and a Top Ten R&B/pop-charting duet by Jerry Butler and Brenda Lee Eager. In an example of turnabout is fair play, Warwick's cover of Alpert's hit "This Guy's in Love With You," written by Bacharach and David, titled "This Girl's in Love With You," was a 1969 number seven pop single.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1972
Various Artists
A&M 3:40
The Singles 1969-1973 1981 Pop-u.s. / A&M 3:43
From the Top 1991 A&M 3:42
Interpretations: A 25th Anniversary Celebration 1995 A&M 3:42
Their Greatest Hits 1996 A&M 0:00
The Look of Love: The Classic Songs of Burt Bacharach 1996
Various Artists
Polygram 4:31
Love Songs 1997 A&M 3:42
Startrax: The Best of the Carpenters 1998 Import 3:38
The Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection 1998 Rhino 3:43
Yesterday Once More: Greatest Hits 1969-1983 1998 A&M 3:40
Gold: Greatest Hits 2000 Import 3:41
By Request 2000 Polygram 3:41
The Essential Collection [1965-1997] 2002 A&M / Universal 4:34
Gold/20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection 2002 Pop-u.s. / Universal Distribution 6:21
Twenty Two Hits of the Carpenters 2003 Universal Distribution / Japanese Import 3:40
Chronicles 2005 A&M 4:36
Gold 2005 A&M 0:00
The Ultimate Collection [3 CD] 2006 Universal International 4:31
Gold 2006 Hip-O 3:40
Magic Moments: The Definitive Collection 2008 Rhino 4:33
40/40 2009 A&M 3:41
A&M 50: The Anniversary Collection 2012
Various Artists
A&M 3:42
Icon 2014 A&M 3:41
No Image Pickwick