Tuesday, December 13, 2011
No blog on the 70's would be complete without mention of the wonderful and enduring music of The Carpenters. They were the #1 selling American music act of the 1970s. During a period when louder and wilder rock was in great demand, Richard and Karen produced a distinctively soft musical style that made them among the best-selling music artists of all time.
Despite the lukewarm chart performance of "Ticket to Ride" from their debut album, the Carpenters persevered and achieved success with the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song "(They Long To Be) Close To You", which was released in 1970. It debuted at #56, the highest debut of the week ending June 20, 1970. It rose to #1 on July 25, 1970, and stayed on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks.
Shortly afterward, Richard had seen a television commercial for Crocker National Bank featuring a song entitled "We've Only Just Begun" written by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols. Richard realized the song's hit potential, and three months after "(They Long To Be) Close To You" reached #1, Carpenters' version of "We've Only Just Begun" reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song became the first hit single for Williams and Nichols and is considered by Richard Carpenter to be the group's signature tune. "Close to You" and "We've Only Just Begun" became RIAA Certified Gold Singles and were featured on the best-selling album Close To You, which is placed #175 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. (It was!)