First released by Nanette (released November 1970).
Also recorded by Cathy Carlson (released January 1971).
Hit album version by The Carpenters (released May 1971)
Hit single version by Jack Jones (MOR #18 1971).
Also recorded by Matthew Sweet (1994).
From the wiki: “The earliest evident recording of ‘Let Me Be the One’, written by Roger Nichols and Paul Williams, was made by Nanette Workman, one of five songs recorded with producer Tommy Cogbill in late June 1970 at American Sound Studio in Memphis, with her arrangement of ‘Let Me Be the One’ released as a UK single in November 1970 (credited to ‘Nanette’) with no apparent chart impact.
“The first recording to receive US distribution was recorded in December 1970 by Ontario, Oregon native Cathy Carlson, and released in January 1971 as the B-side to Carlson’s single, ‘God Bless the Child’. Carlson appeared regularly as a performer on ‘The Tonight Show’ in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, and on the annual Jerry Lewis Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy. Carlson and Lewis were such good friends, he became her daughter’s godfather.
“‘Let Me Be the One’ also appeared in 1971 on the album Carpenters by The Carpenters. The song was a potential Carpenters single release in 1971, but Richard Carpenter did not feel that it was likely to be successful. Three other songs instead were released as promotional singles from the album: ‘For All We Know‘, ‘Rainy Days and Mondays’ and ‘Superstar‘.
“A 1991 remix for ‘Let Me Be the One’ can only be found on the From the Top box set, from which it was released as a promotional single. This mix begins with Karen counting off, and Richard’s piano line is very different from the original 1971 mix found on the Carpenters album. In the original 1971 mix, the song fades out; the 1991 remix continues through to the point where Karen and the rest of the musicians create a conclusion.
“Jack Jones did chart ‘Let Me Be the One’ as a single with his 1971 cover, with it peaking at #18 on the easy-listening chart.
“In 1994, the tribute album If I Were a Carpenter was released. Among the star-studded covers on the compilation was Matthew Sweet’s tribute, ‘Let Me Be the One’.”
Cathy Carlson, “Let Me Be the One” (1971):
The Carpenters, “Let Me Be the One” original (1971):
Jack Jones, “Let Me Be the One” (1971):
The Carpenters, “Let Me Be the One” remix (1991):
Matthew Sweet, “Let Me Be the One” (1994):