Close To You

Album: Bonafide (1990)
Charted: 7 1

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about a guy who is completely enamored with a girl. Even though he knows she's bad news ("Tellin' me lies when the truth was clear"), he can't resist her, as he's ruled by his burning desire. She keeps him off guard, like he's walking a tightrope, but when he's holding her in the midnight hour, all is well.

    The song has a very straightforward chorus, which has led many budding Romeos to put it on mix tapes and use it for seduction:

    I just wanna be close to you
    And do all the things you want me to
    I just wanna be close to you
    And show you the way I feel


    However, a listen to the verse lyrics reveals the dark side of this woman.
  • "Close To You" used a beat popularized by the group Soul II Soul that appeared on many songs of the era. The beat is derivative of the 1987 Erik B. & Rakim track "Paid In Full," which sampled the bassline from "Don't Look Any Further" by Dennis Edwards and Siedah Garrett.
  • Smoothed-out British reggae was big in America at this time: UB40 became the first UK reggae act to hit #1 on the US Hot 100 with their cover of "Red Red Wine" in 1988, and Maxi Priest became the second with this track. UB40 hit the top once again in 1993, this time with a cover of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling In Love."
  • Maxi Priest wrote this with the songwriters Gary Benson and Winston Sela. Benson's previous tracks include John Travolta's "Let Her In" and Stacy Lattisaw's "Miracles." Sela also wrote songs recorded by Lulu, Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams.
  • Three producers are listed on this track: Geoffrey Chung, Handel Tucker and Sly Dunbar. Chung and Dunbar were two of the most successful producers to come out of Jamaica, helping to craft tracks by Bob Marley, Max Romeo and Grace Jones, making this music accessible to wider audiences while retaining key elements of the sound.
  • Maxi Priest is known as the "King of Lovers Rock." His music is sometimes closer to R&B, and this song peaked at #2 in the Billboard R&B chart.

    Maxi Priest was born Max Elliott in London of Jamaican parentage. He was christened Max because his mother was a fan of the English 1950s all-round entertainer Max Bygraves and he took his professional name after his conversion to Rastafarianism. His other hits include a 1988 cover of the Cat Stevens song "Wild World" (#5 in UK, #25 in US), which was produced by Sly & Robbie, and "Set The Night To Music," a duet with Roberta Flack (#6 in US).
  • Ivan Hussey, known as "Celloman," did the string arrangements for this hit and also did the same for the British chart toppers "Dreams" by Gabrielle and "Babe" by Take That.
  • Maxi Priest compares his duplicitous lover to Jezebel, a wicked queen from the Bible known for her beauty and her treachery. As told in the book of Kings, she instituted worship of other gods and ordered the slaughter of Yahweh's (Hebrew word for God) prophets. After the throne was seized by a new king, Jezebel was thrown to her death and eaten by dogs.

Comments: 1

  • Leslie from AtlantaWith Maxi listed as a writer for this song, 'Close To You' , I would love to know who the woman was and his experience with her that inspired him to write such.
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