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Official Review [Single]: 2. "(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU"/"I KEPT ON LOVING YOU" (1183)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, May 7, 2016.

Which side is your favorite?


    33 vote(s)
  2. Side B: "(I KEPT ON LOVING YOU)"

    7 vote(s)
  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter


    CloseToYou.png AM-1183-Close-Kept.jpg KeptOnLovingYou.png
    Side A: (They Long To Be) Close To You 3:40 (Bacharach/David)
    Side B: I Kept On Loving You 2:20 (Williams/Nichols)

    Catalogue Number: A&M 1183/1183-S (Second Pressing)
    Monarch Delta numbers in dead wax: Δ80874-X & Δ80874
    Date of Release: 5/20/70
    Format: 7" Single
    Speed: 45 RPM
    Country: US
    Chart Position: #1 (4 weeks)

    Arranged by Richard Carpenter
    Produced by Jack Daugherty
    Taken from A&M SP-4271 album "Close To You"

    For more definitive information regarding each single, you can visit our Carpenters - The Complete Singles page in our Carpenters Resource.
  2. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    My first Carpenters purchase. Detailed many times on these pages, I was on the way to the Jersey shore with my parents in the summer of 1970 and "Close To You" had been played by my favorite radio station. It was catchy, and I liked it a lot. And I remembered that old "Ticket To Ride" song by this Carpenters group. We stopped at some strip mall for something or other in one of those variety stores of the day, like K-Mart, Woolworths, or a Two Guys or something like that. Most stores in those days had record departments with at least the top singles for sale and this one was no exception. And they had "(They Long To Be) Close To You" - and the best part was that it was on Herb Alpert's A&M label. With THAT knowledge, I was just SURE that the trumpet part was played by Herb, but that wasn't true as I found out much later on.

    Holding on to that single with no record player in sight was a burden, but I pulled through, and was thrilled with the b-side almost as much as the a-side. This "group" was something to be investigated, which I did as soon as the album came out and then I managed the OFFERING album later that year.

    Chris May likes this.
  3. K.C. Jr

    K.C. Jr Well-Known Member

    Definitive of everything Carpenters. The overdubs, the intro..I could go on and on. Karen really sounds superb here and this song shows her deep style very well. I always loved the light, summery feel of "Close to You". "I Kept In Loving You" is, in my opinion, Richard's best vocal. A good choice for a single, as well.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation and byline like this.
  4. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    I'm a loner, I voted for I Kept On Loving You. I have always liked this song and the clean open first heard on the Japan Single Box Collection was a huge bonus, it was so great to finally hear those opening notes so clean and loud in the left channel. I was happy to find it was also added to the U.S. The Complete Singles. I personally also added it to my homemade Sweet Memory Disc 7 titled "Yesterday"
  5. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    Where to begin...both are great songs in their own right. Love the trumpets in both tracks, first off. "Close To You" possesses real magic -- I've listened to it hundreds of times and that shuffle-beat still gets me. I don't even think I need to mention that a real angel sings it, too. :) Can I mention the album version of the song? I remember the thrill of discovering it. "I Kept On Loving You", much like many of their early album cuts, is an underrated gem and one of Richard's best leads (in my opinion).
    byline, Don Malcolm and K.C. Jr like this.
  6. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    "Close to You" is one of my top 5 favorite songs by Carpenters. Both sides of the single are great. I first heard "Close" on the radio while having dinner with my parents, and I first heard the other song via my sisters having the Close To You LP.

    I also thought it was probably Herb on trumpet (but then, I also thought Herb played the outro for "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" ... pretty much any trumpet solo, I thought was probably Herb).

    I like listening to Herb Alpert tell the story of how he came to get the song and record it himself, only to reject it on the advice of Larry Levine ("You sound terrible on this song, man"), and how he gave it to Richard, but then rejected several of their attempts at recording it because it needed to be "funkier." Now I never thought of "Close to You" as a "funky" song, but apparently that's what Hal Blaine and Joe Osborne added to it...funk. Who would have guessed!
    Don Malcolm, K.C. Jr and Chris May like this.
  7. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I'm in the minority here...I voted for I Kept On Loving You.

    The A-side has never really been one of my favourite Carpenters tracks, I appreciate it was their breakthrough song but I'm going to stick my neck out here and say I've always thought it was in too high a key for Karen, so there are none of her trademark basement vocals present that we heard a little later on in songs like Superstar or Yesterday Once More. That said, I can imagine the impression this song must have made when first hearing it in 1970. In the words of Joan Pennisi when first hearing it on the radio in her car, "I almost hit a telegraph pole...that's Richard and Karen? Wow!".

    The B-side is very reminiscent of the tracks on Offering and I can easily imagine it sitting on that album. It's fresh, catchy, full of their trademark harmonies and I put it in the same category as songs like Love Is Surrender. It's full of energy and the innocence of youth that was so present in their early album tracks.

  8. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I also voted for the b-side - because it was such a happy discovery - and the fact that it holds something unique, the clean opening, which makes that side special. Yes, I still love "(They Long To Be) Close To You" and this was a tough voting choice. The a-side is STILL a great track all these years later. It's easy to fall into the song's reputation of its fluffy lyrics, but every time I listen to it, it still manages to grab me.
    Don Malcolm and K.C. Jr like this.
  9. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    That same issue has been brought up (not by me, by someone else in my family) about "Love Is Surrender" -- "not in her range", they say. Then she goes from that to the lower voice on "Cresent Noon"... the basement was nearly complete but still under construction, I guess :laugh: I appreciate the early sound either way.
    K.C. Jr, Don Malcolm and Chris May like this.
  10. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    :laugh: Love that!
    theninjarabbit likes this.
  11. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    Ha that gave me a good laugh this a.m. :laugh: that was funny.
    theninjarabbit and Chris May like this.
  12. Don Malcolm

    Don Malcolm Well-Known Member

    Two great songs from what our earlier "Top 20" exercise clearly revealed to be my favorite Carpenters' LP. "Close to You" made my Top 20, while "I Kept On Loving You" would definitely be in the tier of the next 20. I agree with Ninja that this is one of Richard's best moments as lead singer--he really brings it off!

    Chris May, I would love to see recording dates for the tracks on the Close to You LP. IIRC there were tracks being worked on as potential single releases prior to the work on "Close To You" (the song); one of these was "Help!" and I would not be surprised to discover that "I Kept On Loving You" was in that earlier period, given that (as Stephen notes) it seems to be taking the production style forward from Offering and giving it a more fully realized, bouncy edge. That seems like a logical step forward from where they'd left off, whereas "Close To You" is more of a synthesis of influences that is stunningly seamless, with so many of what became the Carpenters' signature sounds flowing through the track.

    I love Karen singing high, and of course I love her singing low, and both "Close To You" (the single) and Close To You (the 10-song LP) provide us with terrific examples of both registers.

    So if you have any info on that, Chris, I'm sure we'd all be fascinated to see it. And BTW, many thanks for starting these new threads--a great idea that will keep us busy for quite awhile...brilliant, sir!!
  13. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Here's a little bit of insight:
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  14. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Regarding my above post with the union contract for the sessions, I always found it interesting that Louis Shelton never got credit on the album for his guitar contributions on I Kept On Loving You. He's been considered one of "The Wrecking Crew" for decades.
  15. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    byline and GaryAlan like this.
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Originally (upon first hear of single) I was not a fan of the song "Close To You",
    to be sure there are nuances in Karen's vocals that are fantastic, here, plus the harps and drums get to me every time !
    But, it always seemed a bit plodding to my ears. Then, the Album cut really sold me.
    Then.....much later, I happened on some kind of alternative (still Carpenters) take:
    a shorter instrumental intro, almost an a cappella beginning, different nuances on the lyric "together",
    more pronounced vocals altogether---and, whoa ! I am a solid fan of this song !
    Thus, an evolution of sorts.
    I love it, now.
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  17. Don Malcolm

    Don Malcolm Well-Known Member

    What I remember (as a fairly young boy) when "Close To You" just dominated the summer of 1970 was how different it was from everything it was surrounded by on AM radio. While I would defer to Harry and Mike in terms of the historical context, I really got the impression that it was "Close To You" that opened the doors for the wave of "soft rock" that followed (with Bread's "Make It With You" going to #1 a few weeks after the Carps' astonishing 4-week reign). And so much of it became so popular that the counter-trend quickly became a source of contempt amongst the "kick out the jams" contingent and K&R got much more than their fair share of the abuse (if, indeed, that there actually was a "fair share" to be doled out--like most of us, I would say "hell no" to that!).

    I think Alpert and Bacharach have it right--Richard just nailed the arrangement, and the extra work in the studio permitted them to hone the song to perfection. Karen crosses over from fantastic young raw talent to a fully-realized singular presence here, and every time I hear her sing the middle-8 ("On the day that you were born...") I always get that same magic chill that I remember from my youth--from that low opening note as the melody makes its serpentine journey toward her ethereal higher register--and it was the literally the birth of something uniquely special... Right then--right there!
    David A, Jamesj75, Tapdancer and 2 others like this.
  18. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    May 15, 1970 --I can't imagine what the Carpenters camp was thinking as they waited to see what this single would do! Fortunately (and retrospectively, perhaps unfortunately), it changed their lives forever... 46 years ago...
    David A and Jamesj75 like this.
  19. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    With the charting success of this single, I guess one could say that this song started the summer (instead of Memorial Day) in the year of 1970. I can still listen to this song with the same excitement as I first heard it. It is full of starlight and moondust at every listen. i don't think anyone can match the skill used to make this record the success it became.
  20. Eyewire

    Eyewire Well-Known Member

    I voted for (They Long To Be) Close To You. Both songs are great, but Close To You is the song that put the Carpenters on the map.

    On paper the lyrics are incredibly corny and cheesy.
    Who writes drivel like this? Birds following some guy? Angels sprinkling moondust in his hair? Stars falling from the sky just because he walks by? Lol, are you kidding me?

    But the way Karen sings it, I am 100% completely SOLD. I'm totally MESMERIZED. She's THAT good.
    GaryAlan and Mark-T like this.
  21. byline

    byline Active Member

    I have had hearing loss for most of my life. Not profound, but enough that it can interfere with my understanding of words in conversation, or failing to hear sounds that others hear. That's part of why I love music which is arranged or orchestrated to create overtones: barbershop quartet, drum and bugle corps, Aaron Copland, Carpenters ... they all have it. Because of the chord structures (augmented fourths, diminished fifths, etc.), my brain "hears" sounds that aren't physically present in the notes being sung and/or played. So what a revelation the choral harmonies in "Close to You" were! I could have listened for hours on end without tiring of it. Karen's intimate voice in the lead vocal, and the instrumentation, probably would have been enough. But it was the sonorous vocal chorus at the end, creating a powerful wall of sound, that hooked me.
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Every time I hear Close To You,
    it reminds me of the song
    Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.
    The songs seem almost to have the same structure and tempo.
    Any one else hear that similarity ?
  23. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Many Burt Bacharach songs have what I call the "Bacharach bounce" and those two are prime examples.
  24. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Nice one Harry! I always wondered what we should be calling that! Just keep shufflin' along... :dancing:
    theninjarabbit and GaryAlan like this.
  25. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Late to the party once again, here's my fruit salad!! I chose side A. At 13 yrs old in the summer of 1970, I still remember the first time I heard Close To You. On the beach. Everyone seemed to have a radio on their blanket. It stood out, that voice, it was so DISTINCTIVE and well...beautiful. Like nothing I had heard before. When I finally saw The Carpenters, I believe it was on American Bandstand, I finally saw who was in possession of THAT VOICE . She looked no older than a high school kid, with stringy hair, very Plain Jane; but I couldn't get over that a girl was playing the drums & singing! As the song faded from the charts and was played less, any interest I had in The Carpenters evaporated. Didn't become a fan of the duo until much, much, much later in my life. I like side B also, but side A was their break-out hit. It made a 2nd album a guarantee in my opinion and if it had flopped, there would've been a real possibility A&M would have broken them off completely. I Kept On Loving You is a good song and a very good lead vocal by Richard. It certainly was on a par with anything David Cassidy was coming out with at that time. The reason I mention him is because the song reminds me a little of I Think I Love You which I believe was #1 around that time.
    song4u likes this.

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