Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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(They Long to Be) Close to You

First released (as “They Long to Be Close to You”) by Richard Chamberlain (1963).
Also recorded by Dionne Warwick (1963 |B-side 1964), Dusty Springfield (1964, released 1967), Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (1968, released 2005).
Hit version by the Carpenters (US #1/UK #6/CAN #1 1970).

From the wiki: “‘(They Long to Be) Close to You’ is a popular song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It was first released by Richard Chamberlain and released as a single in 1963 as ‘They Long to Be Close to You’ (without parentheses). However, it was the single’s flip side, ‘Blue Guitar’, that became a hit.

“Dusty Springfield recorded an early version of ‘Close to You’ in 1964, which was originally scheduled to be released as the follow-up single to ‘I Just Don’t Know What To Do with Myself’. However, it wasn’t until 3 years later, in 1967, that her version was released – as an album track – on Where Am I Going? (in the UK) and The Look of Love (in the US).

“Dionne Warwick, Bacharach-David’s go-to vocalist, had been the first to record ‘(They Long to Be) Close to You’ – as a demo – in 1963. She re-recorded the song with a Bacharach arrangement for her 1964 album Make Way for Dionne Warwick, and Warwick’s version was released as the B-side of her 1965 single ‘Here I Am’.

“A couple of years later, the song was given to Herb Alpert by Bacharach, intending for it to be the follow-up to Alpert’s 1968 #1 hit, ‘This Guy’s in Love with You‘. But, Alpert was not thrilled with his recording and shelved it. (Alpert’s version finally saw an official release in 2005 on a new Tijuana Brass release called Lost Treasures 1963–1974.) Instead, Alpert decided to give ‘Close to You’ to a new act he had just signed to his A&M Records label: the Carpenters.

“Richard Carpenter has stated that when Alpert introduced the song to him back in early 1970, he was a bit apprehensive about it. But, he and Alpert collaborated on the song arrangement and the finished product was released as the title track of The Carpenters’ second album, Close to You (1970), and was the album’s lead promotional single. Richard had originally written the flugelhorn solo part for Alpert, but when he was unavailable, Chuck Findley was brought in. Richard later commented: ‘Chuck didn’t play it that way at first, but I worked with him and he nailed it. A lot of people thought it was Herb – Bacharach thought so, too. But it’s the way Findley is playing it.’

“Along with topping the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in July-August 1970, not only the Carpenters’ first #1 hit but also their first Top-40 hit, ‘Close to You’ would also earn The Carpenters a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Performance by a Duo (Group or Chorus) in 1971.”

Dionne Warwick, “They Long to Be Close to You” (1964):

Dusty Springfield, “(They Long to Be) Close to You” (1964, released 1967):

Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, “(They Long to Be) Close to You” (1968):

The Carpenters, “(They Long to Be) Close to You” (1970):