Artist: Gwen Guthrie
LP: 7" single
Song: "(They Long to Be) Close to You"
[ listen ]
With nothing ready to post today, I went rummaging through my collection this morning and found a 1987 cover of this old Burt Bacharach/Hal David tune, best known as a 1970 hit for The Carpenters. Guthrie's version, which includes additional lyrics like "I wanna' get so close to you, I'll be stickin' like Krazy Glue," only made it to #69 on the U.S. R&B singles charts, but it went to #25 on the pop charts in the U.K. Born in Okemah, Oklahoma in 1950, Gwen Guthrie began her music career when she was asked to sing backing vocals on Aretha Franklin's "I'm In Love" single in 1974. She then worked with artists like Roberta Flack, Stevie Wonder and Madonna before launching a successful solo career in the 1980s, releasing a string of hits that were immensely popular on the dance floor. Guthrie became known for her "controversial" songs in which she demanded that a man be fiscally responsible before becoming romantically involved with her. An ally to the gay community and supporter of the fight against AIDS long before it was fashionable, Guthrie donated the proceeds from her 1988 "Can't Love You Tonight" single to the AIDS Coalition. Sadly, Gwen Guthrie died in early 1999 from uterine cancer. You can read more about her life and career here and here and find her obituary in the U.K. Independent here.
[ Gwen Guthrie: July 9, 1950 — February 3, 1999 ]