how do birds suddenly appear

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Perhaps some people Google this question in search of an explanation for the sudden appearance of birds – before an electrical storm, say, or on the second day of Christmas. Most, though, are looking for Burt Bacharach’s famous song, using its first line rather than its clumsy title: (They Long to Be) Close to You. The song was a huge hit for the Carpenters, and the question it opens with – “Why do birds suddenly appear / Every time you are near?” – is the one I’m going to answer.

To state the obvious, it’s a rhetorical question. As the singer well knows, it’s because she is in the sweaty yet vice-like grip of infatuation. This state of mind is the point of the song, which doesn’t tell any kind of story. Who she is, who he is, where they met (if they’ve even met), we don’t know. (And before you ask: no, she’s not a stalker – as the gentle sway of the tune makes plain, there is nothing sinister about this crush.)

Richard Chamberlain was the first to record the song, in 1963, at which point the last verse said “all the boys in town / Follow you around”. For female vocalists these boys were changed to girls, so there’s no sexism in the use of the diminutive: this overpowering attraction is a unisex one. The “hair of gold” and “eyes of blue” in verse three, on the other hand, were never altered, which might help explain why Dionne Warwick’s version never caught on in the way the Carpenters’ did. Did an African-American soul star swooning over a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy not have quite the same ring in 1964 as the all-American, white Karen Carpenter did when the single shot to No 1 six years later?

My husband’s job is to write about pop music, and while I don’t I’m used to talking about it. But my breezy offer to write about this song, made after my choir sang it, felt over-hasty as soon as I’d made it. I’m far from expert on the prolific, brilliant songwriting partnership of Bacharach and lyricist Hal David (they wrote Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, Walk on By and I Say a Little Prayer among other standards).

Not everyone at choir loved the song. Some of David’s words – his blond-haired, blue-eyed dreamboat; his angels sprinkling moondust and starlight – feel as though they’ve walked out of a book of romantic cliches. But you can’t argue with that first line – so sweet and yet so serious. Why does the world look different when we fall in love? Why do those we lust after appear enchanted? Are these things really happening, or are our minds playing tricks on us? The singer is curious, but aren’t we all?

I could have attempted a scientific explanation all about hormones and chemicals – how testosterone, oestrogen, oxytocin and serotonin are part of the story of sexual attraction. Do birds suddenly appear when we are fertile?

Or I could have written a psychoanalytic one, about how the feeling of falling in love reawakens some of our earliest experiences of gratitude. Do birds suddenly appear because our capacity for appreciation has been fed by secret springs of emotion?

Both answers might be true, but neither says anything about the tune – without which the words would be nothing. So I phoned Lis Stewart, the music teacher who runs my choir, to ask her what it is about the melody that has made it stick around for half a century. She said the trick is the way the rinky-tink introduction, so familiar and stuck in one place, suddenly stops – so the three notes that follow (Why do birds … ) come as a surprise. Also, the intervals between these notes are unusual: “It’s not moving step by step, it’s kind of leaping, it’s the rising intervals that always sound hopeful.”

There’s no verse-chorus structure either, which makes the whole thing more fluid. It also means that while the chorus is usually the catchy bit of a song, here it isn’t. Instead, of course, we remember that upwardly lilting question: “Why do birds suddenly appear / Every time you are near?”

Not everyone at choir loved the song. Some of David’s descriptions, such as his blonde, blue-eyed dreamboat and his angels dotting the sky with stars and moondust, sound like they could have been taken straight out of a romantic romance novel. That opening line, though, is unarguable—it’s both endearing and serious. The singer is curious, but aren’t we all: why does the world look different when we fall in love? why do those we lust after appear enchanted? Are these things really happening, or are our minds playing tricks on us?

Or I could have written a psychoanalytic one, about how the feeling of falling in love reawakens some of our earliest experiences of gratitude. Do birds suddenly appear because our capacity for appreciation has been fed by secret springs of emotion?

Richard Chamberlain was the first to record the song, in 1963, at which point the last verse said “all the boys in town / Follow you around”. For female vocalists these boys were changed to girls, so there’s no sexism in the use of the diminutive: this overpowering attraction is a unisex one. The “hair of gold” and “eyes of blue” in verse three, on the other hand, were never altered, which might help explain why Dionne Warwick’s version never caught on in the way the Carpenters’ did. Did an African-American soul star swooning over a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy not have quite the same ring in 1964 as the all-American, white Karen Carpenter did when the single shot to No 1 six years later?

While both responses may be accurate, neither discusses the melody, which is essential to the meaning of the words. I therefore called my choir’s music teacher, Lis Stewart, to find out what it is about the melody that has endured for fifty years. The trick, according to her, is how the rinky-tink introduction, which is so recognizable and stuck in one spot, ends abruptly, making the three notes that follow—”Why do birds…”—surprising. Additionally, there is something unusual about the intervals between these notes: “It’s not moving step by step, it’s kind of leaping, and the rising intervals always sound hopeful.” ”.

Perhaps some people Google this question in search of an explanation for the sudden appearance of birds – before an electrical storm, say, or on the second day of Christmas. Most, though, are looking for Burt Bacharach’s famous song, using its first line rather than its clumsy title: (They Long to Be) Close to You. The song was a huge hit for the Carpenters, and the question it opens with – “Why do birds suddenly appear / Every time you are near?” – is the one I’m going to answer.

The Carpenters’ first cover of a Burt Bacharach/Hal David song was “(They Long to Be) Close to You.” The song was repeatedly recorded in the 1960s, but until the Carpenters’ rendition, it did not perform well at all. It became the first Gold single certified by the RIAA and the first single by Richard and Karen Carpenter to reach the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. It became the Carpenters’ signature song and remained at number one for four weeks. The Carpenters’ second studio album, Close to You, was released in August 1970. The pair’s song “(They Long to Be) Close to You” helped the Carpenters become well-known throughout the world for ten years.

FAQ

Why do birds suddenly appear when you are near meaning?

To state the obvious, it’s a rhetorical question. As the singer well knows, it’s because she is in the sweaty yet vice-like grip of infatuation. This state of mind is the point of the song, which doesn’t tell any kind of story. Who she is, who he is, where they met (if they’ve even met), we don’t know.

What movie is why do birds suddenly appear in?

In the 1989 film “Parenthood”, Nathan (Rick Moranis) comes to his wife Susan’s (Harley Jane Kozak) class and sings the song to serenade her. In the Red Dwarf episode “Back in the Red”, the Cat quotes the song when he says “There’s a six-month waiting list for birds to suddenly appear every time that I am near!”

Who is the original singer of close to you?

The song was first recorded by Richard Chamberlain and released as a single in 1963 as “They Long to Be Close to You”. However, while the single’s other side, “Blue Guitar”, became a hit, “They Long to Be Close to You” did not.

Why do the birds song?

In general, we define bird song as a structured, usually complex vocalization serving either or both of two purposes – to defend territories and to attract mates. Most bird song is by males, though females do also sing territorially or for pair bonding, especially in the tropics.