Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Solitaire (Neil Sedaka song)

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Released  July 18, 1975
Recorded  Late 1974
Length  4:40
Format  7" single
Genre  Pop
B-side  "Love Me for What I Am"

"Solitaire" is a ballad written by Neil Sedaka and Phil Cody. Cody employs playing the card game of solitaire as a metaphor for a man "who lost his love through his indifference"—"while life goes on around him everywhere he's playing solitaire". The song is best known via its rendition by the Carpenters.

Contents

Early versions

Neil Sedaka recorded "Solitaire" as the title cut for a 1972 album recorded at Strawberry Studios, Stockport, England: 10cc members Lol Creme, Kevin Godley and Graham Gouldman accompanied Sedaka while Eric Stewart also of 10cc engineered the session. Appearing on 1972 album releases by both Tony Christie and Petula Clark, "Solitaire" had its first evident single release in February 1973 as recorded by the Searchers; however it was an autumn 1973 single by Andy Williams which would reach number 4 in the UK and afford Williams a number 1 hit in South Africa. The title cut from an album produced by Richard Perry, Williams' "Solitaire" also became a US Easy Listening hit at number 23. In 1974 Neil Sedaka's 1972 recording of "Solitaire" was included on his comeback album Sedaka's Back. Later in 1975, a live-in-concert version recorded by Sedaka at the Royal Festival Hall was issued as the B-side of The Queen of 1964. This is the version of "Solitaire" that was released as part of Razor & Tie's 2007 Definitive Collection album.

The Carpenters version

The Carpenters recorded "Solitaire" for the 1975 Horizon album; Richard Carpenter, familiar with the song via the versions by Neil Sedaka and Andy Williams, was "not crazy" about the song but felt it would showcase Karen Carpenter's vocal expertise and Richard Carpenter would assess Karen Carpenter's performance on "Solitaire" as "one of [her] greatest" adding "she never liked the song [and]...she never changed her opinion."

"Solitaire" was issued as the third single from Horizon; for the single version a guitar lead was added between the first verse and chorus. It hit number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, their least successful single since "Bless the Beasts and Children" in 1971; it signaled a downturn in the group's popularity which, consolidated by the Top Ten shortfall of the lead single and title cut of the 1976 album A Kind of Hush, would prove irreversible. "Solitaire" did afford the Carpenters their twelfth of fifteen number 1 Easy Listening hits.

Personnel

  • Karen Carpenter - lead and backing vocals
  • Richard Carpenter - backing vocals, piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, orchestration
  • Joe Osborn - bass
  • Tony Peluso - guitar
  • Jim Gordon - drums
  • Earle Dumler - oboe
  • Other cover versions

  • Clay Aiken
  • Tony Christie
  • Jann Arden
  • Iveta Bartošová ("Solitér" Czech)
  • Shirley Bassey
  • Beat Crusaders
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Gallon Drunk
  • Johnny Goudie
  • Sissel Kyrkjebø
  • Johnny Mathis
  • Joe McElderry
  • Nana Mouskouri
  • Jane Olivor
  • Patricia Paay #24 (Netherlands) 1983
  • Elvis Presley
  • The Searchers
  • Brett Smiley
  • Westlife
  • Roger Whittaker
  • Andy Williams
  • Marco T Spanish version
  • Mark Lanegan on his 2013 album Imitations
  • Siv-Inger (Siw Inger) "Ensamhet", 1979 [Swedish]
  • Different version of the lyrics

    There are significant differences between the lyrics in the Neil Sedaka, Andy Williams and Carpenters versions. Andy Williams makes the lyrics personal, perhaps reflecting his then current separation from his wife, while the Carpenters take some of the Andy Williams changes but elsewhere keep Phil Cody's original lyrics.

    References

    Solitaire (Neil Sedaka song) Wikipedia


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