Song: “(They Long To Be) Close To You” by Carpenters
Reached #1: July 25, 1970 (their first, 4 weeks)
This wasn’t written for Karen and Richard Carpenter. “They Long To Be Close To You”, using the long title, was released first by Richard Chamberlain, then Dionne Warwick, then Burt Bachrach. Herb Alpert did a version of it, but didn’t release the song, instead giving it to the Carpenter family to rework. Not only did their version go to #1, it won a Grammy for best Contemporary Duo/Group Vocal.
Their official group name was “Carpenters”, not “The Carpenters” – a little bit of late-‘60s “hipness” drove the decision, which everyone ignored anyway…
Fittingly for a duo, they had more #2 hits (5) than #1 hits (3). The song Richard Carpenter considers their signature tune, the followup to “Close To You”, “We’ve Only Just Begun”, went to #2.
Unfortunately, it’s not the music we remember. It’s Karen Carpenter’s decline and death in the early ‘80s. She’d battled an eating disorder for years, and wound up in hospital in 1982 because of it. By early ‘83, she was divorcing her husband and getting back to work, as well as adjusting to a sizable weight gain from her hospital stay – and the stress of it all was the last thing her body could handle, leading to the fatal heart attack in February 1983. She was just 32.
Tomorrow, a bit of disco-era hustle…
Other songs that reached #1 on July 25:
1981 – “The One That You Love” by Air Supply (their first, 1 week)