About the song

Ah, “(They Long to Be) Close to You” by The Carpenters. Now that’s a song that evokes a very specific era, wouldn’t you agree? Released in 1970, it became a defining anthem for the decade, capturing the essence of youthful innocence and a yearning for connection.

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The Carpenters themselves were a fascinating duo. Richard Carpenter, the younger brother, was the musical mastermind – a talented arranger and keyboardist with a keen ear for melody. His sister, Karen Carpenter, possessed a voice that was both powerful and pure, capable of conveying a wide range of emotions with a remarkable clarity. Their collaboration, while tragically short-lived, produced a string of hits that continue to resonate today.

But “(They Long to Be) Close to You” holds a special place in their catalogue. While not originally written for them, the song found its perfect home with The Carpenters. The original composition, credited to songwriting legends Burt Bacharach and Hal David, was intended for a different artist. However, Richard Carpenter recognized its potential and completely reimagined it.

His arrangement is what truly elevates the song. The gentle piano intro sets the stage, a cascade of tinkling notes that immediately transports the listener to a world of soft focus and pastel hues. Then, Karen’s voice enters, breathy and intimate, posing the question that forms the heart of the song: “Why do birds suddenly appear, every time you are near?” It’s a whimsical image, one that speaks to the all-encompassing power of love’s first blush.

The melody itself is deceptively simple, a testament to Bacharach’s genius for crafting timeless hooks. But it’s Richard Carpenter’s lush orchestration that elevates it further. Layers of strings and woodwinds weave a tapestry of sound, perfectly complementing Karen’s vocal delivery. There’s a sense of delicate beauty to the arrangement, a feeling that something precious and fragile is being held aloft.

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Lyrically, the song speaks to the universal desire for connection. The narrator is captivated by this unnamed object of affection, and their presence seems to have a magical effect on the world around them. The birds long to be close, the stars fall from the sky – it’s a world transformed by the power of love.

But there’s also a touch of melancholy beneath the surface. The line “That is why all the girls in town follow you all around” hints at a possible insecurity, a fear of not being the only one vying for this person’s attention. This subtle complexity adds depth to the song, making it more than just a sugary sweet love song.

“(They Long to Be) Close to You” became an instant classic, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks and propelling The Carpenters to superstardom. It’s a song that continues to be covered and sampled by artists across genres, a testament to its enduring appeal. So, put on your favorite headphones, close your eyes, and let yourself be swept away by the timeless magic of The Carpenters and “(They Long to Be) Close to You”.

Video

Lyrics

“(They Long To Be) Close To You”

Why do birds suddenly appear
Every time you are near?
Just like me,
They long to be
Close to you.

Why do stars fall down from the sky
Every time you walk by?
Just like me,
They long to be
Close to you.

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On the day that you were born the angels got together
And decided to create a dream come true.
So, they sprinkled moon dust in your hair of gold
And star light in your eyes of blue.

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

On the day that you were born the angels got together
And decided to create a dream come true.
So, they sprinkled moon dust in your hair of gold
And star light in your eyes of blue.

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

Just like me,
They long to be
Close to you.

Why? Close to you
Why? Close to you
Ha, close to you
Why? Close to you