"(They Long to Be) Close to You" (1970)
Prolific as the Hungarian guitarist Gabor Szabo may have been, he appeared only once as a singles artist in Billboard, reaching #40 on the easy listening chart with "(They Long to Be) Close to You)." Szabo mostly channeled Wes Montgomery in his reinterpretation of what was then the latest Bacharach-David standard, with his own distinctive style eventually manifesting itself in bends and chitters. "Close to You" had been floating around since 1963 in versions by Richard Chamberlain, Dionne Warwick, and Dinah Washington, but the Carpenters' 1970 hit recording became the definitive one, prompting this cover by Szabo. A moody take on Alex North's Spartacus film theme, with shimmering orchestral strings, fills up the flipside. Having lived in the US since he was 20, Szabo returned for a visit to his home country in 1982, where he died of liver and kidney disease at the age of 45.
Side B: "Love Theme from Spartacus"