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January 17

Alabama’s “The Closer You Get”: the Song and the Album

“The Closer You Get” is a song that American country music band Alabama recorded. Released in April 1983, it was the title track and second single from their album: The Closer You Get….

In the year 1980, J.P. Pennington and Mark Gray of Exile penned the lyrics of “The Closer You Get”. However, the band did not instantly record the track. The two earlier versions were singles by Exile and singer Don King. Exile’s 0

recording failed to gain much attention. While in October 1981, Don King’s reached the 27th spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. In addition, Rita Coolidge made her own cover of the track for her album: Heartbreak Radio in 1981. Then, she released her version as a single.

The Closer You Get the Alabama Way

The band’s version was totally different from King’s acoustic version. According to Tom Roland, a country music writer, the song featured distorted guitars, a more complex arrangement, and a tainted vocal sound.

As a result, Alabama made great success as it turned to be their 10th chart topper on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. In addition, “The Closer You Get” registered enough airplay on Top 40 radio stations to peak at No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100. What is more is producers made a music video that CMT and Great American Country aired.

A few Tweaks to the Song

The single version is a minute shorter than the original album version. They deleted the first verse and the second refrain from the single. Alabama included the single edit on many of their compilation albums, namely Greatest Hits Vol. II and For the Record. We can hear the full album version of the RCA Award Winner’s compilation that they released in 1993.

Many say that we can see how talented Alabama is on this album. Throughout the album, the members traded lead vocal roles. It was the perfect song for the band, and the vocal harmonies still blended, unlike any other country band.

 


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Alabama, the closer you get


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