The 70′s can’t be recollected by anyone without thinking about one of the most emblematic songs of the decade: “They Long To Be (Close To You)”. The song, which is possibly the first song that comes to mind when someone talks about The Carpenters was composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and was recorded for the first time by actor and singer Richard Chamberlain. Several contemporary covers were made since it became The Carpenter’s signature song, including one made by the Irish band The Cranberries.
Richard Chamberlein’s version of the song is actually good: despite the fact that its orchestration, backing vocals and Chamberlein’s deep voice tune inevitably show the mood of the time, the cheerful piano chords and the subtle bossa-style percussion give a sorta delicate and refreshing mood to it.
Richard Chamberlain – “They Long To Be Close To You” (from Twilight of Honor album)
The Carpenter’s rendition of the song is so famous and emblematic that any comment made about it will sound pretty obvious. Be the incredible balance of its rhythm, the utterly precision of the various melody cues or the charm of the brothers-singers, everyone has already said something about this undoubtedly wonderful song. But I bet most of you didn’t know that there is a second version of the song, a longer one on which the brothers bring a kind of an encore of the chorus. Listen it for yourselves below.
The Carpenters – “(They Long To Be) Close To You” (from Close To You album)
In The Cranberries’s cover of the hit the strings disappear to give room to the band’s characteristic pop, rock and folk fusion: mellow guitar and bass riffs and some harmonica blowing makes the whole basis of the soft and quiet melody. It’s not as beautiful as the Carpenter’s brilliant recording but it’s surely the less obvious among so many covers recorded until the present day.
The Cranberries – “(They Long To Be) Close To You” (from No Need To Argue (The Complete Sessions 1994-1995) album)