“The Closer You Get:” The Album
Released in March 1983, The Closer You Get… is the seventh studio album of Country music and Southern rock band Alabama. The band together with music industry executive and producer Harold Shedd produced the song for RCA Records. It is over forty minutes long with a total of ten singles.
In addition, three singles from this album all placed no. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs in 1983. Namely, these are “The Closer You Get” (the title track), “Lady Down on Love,” and “Dixieland Delight.” Interestingly, the song “She Put the Sad in All His Songs” was also recorded by Ronnie Dunn (who eventually formed the duo Brooks & Dunn in 1991). Simultaneously, Dunn also released his recording of the song in the same year.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified The Closer You Get… quadruple platinum.
Here are the songs included in the album:
- “The Closer You Get” (Written by J.P. Pennington, Mark Gray)
- “Lady Down on Love” (Written by Randy Owen)
- “She Put the Sad in All His Songs” (Written by Robert Byrne, Mac McAnally)
- “Red River” (Written by Bud McGuire, George Pearce)
- “What in the Name of Love” (Written by Bill Boling, Chris Deal, Rick Wayne)
- “Dixieland Delight” (Written by Ronnie Rogers)
- “Very Special Love” (Written by Teddy Gentry, Owen)
- “Dixie Boy” (Written by Jim McBride)
- “Alabama Sky” (Written by Larry Shell)
- “Lovin’ Man” (Written by Jeff Cook)
“The Closer You Get:” The Song
The song of the same title, on the other hand, was later released by Alabama in April 1983. It is the title track and the second single from the band’s album of the same title.
Moreover, “The Closer You Get” was penned by two of the members of the American rock band Exile namely, J. P. Penington and Mark Gray. They wrote the song three years earlier Alabama recorded it. In fact, two earlier versions were released as singles. First by Exile and second by country music singer Don King. Exile’s original version, however, did not gain much attention while King’s cover peaked at no. 27 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles in 1981. Another rendition was released by Rita Coolidge which she included on her 1981 album, Heartbreak Radio.
Hence, in 1983, while Alabama was recording songs for their would-be new album, “The Closer You Get” came across. The band’s version was substantially different from King’s acoustic rendition. Country music writer Tom Roland said:
“[the song featured] distorted guitars, a more elaborate arrangement and an altered vocal sound.”
“The Closer You Get” became a big hit for Alabama, producing their 10th no. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. It was one of the songs that made the career of the band in the ’80s down to the ’90s and present, a big hit.
WATCH Alabama performs 1983 hit, “The Closer You Get:”
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Alabama, Exile, the closer you get