Album: Horizon (1975)
Charted: 32 17
  • There was a man, a lonely man
    Who lost his love through his indifference
    A heart that cared, that went unchecked
    Until it died in his silence

    And solitaire's the only game in town
    And every road that takes him, takes him down
    And by himself, it's easy to pretend
    He'll never love again

    And keeping to himself he plays the game
    Without her love it always ends the same
    While life goes on around him everywhere
    He's playing solitaire

    A little hope, goes up in smoke
    Just how it goes, goes without saying
    There was a man, a lonely man
    Who would command the hand he's playing

    And solitare's the only game in town
    And every road that takes him, takes him down
    And by himself it's easy to pretend
    He'll never love again

    And keeping to himself he plays the game
    Without her love it always ends the same
    While life goes on around him everywhere
    He's playing solitaire

    And solitare's the only game in town
    And every road that takes him, takes him down
    While life goes on around him everywhere
    He's playing solitaire Writer/s: Neil Sedaka, Phil Cody
    Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management, DistroKid
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 28

  • Ginny WhiteI have heard and read that Karen really did not like this song
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 31, 1975, Neil Sedaka performed "Solitaire" on the Philadelphia-based syndicated television program 'The Mike Douglas Show'...
    And also on that day the Carpenters' covered version of the song was in it's first week on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at #76, seven weeks later it would peak at #17 {for 1 week} and it spent 10 weeks on the Top 100...
    On August 31st it reached #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    The song was composed by Neil Sedaka and Phil Cody, and was track four on side two of his album of the same name...
    Neil Sedaka celebrated his 78th birthday four months ago on March 13th, 2017.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 31st 1980, Peter McIan performed "Solitaire" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    This "Solitaire" was written by Peter McIan, and is completely different from the Carpenters & Laura Branigan's...
    It entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart on March 30th, 1980 at position #90; five weeks later on May 4th, 1980 it would peak at #52 {for 1 week} and it stayed on the chart for 7 weeks...
    It was his only Top 100 record, but he did produce the 1982 #1 hit record "Who Can It Be Now?" by Men at Work...
    His version of "Solitaire" is available on You Tube.
  • 350hunny from Shizuoka, JapanIn an article of Newsweek, Neil mentioned something to the effect that he was glad that the song had been recorded by Karen.
  • Diana from Woodinville, WaOh and he only lived for one more year after this recording.
  • Diana from Woodinville, WaClay's version is as wild and unruly as his hair. Love Neil, but he has co-authored a masterpiece beyond his vocal gifts. I love the Carpenters version. But Elvis will blow your socks off! When the full force of his pipes slam the hook "And solitaire's the only game in town." It will punch you in the stomach. He half talks the words - there is the connection too of Elvis' solitary life - trapped by fame. He understands these lyrics better than most.
  • Rumley from Ottawa, OnI have a recording of Solitaire by Glenn Yarbrough. Can anyone tell me when it was recorded or released and on what album (original album rather than a later compilation or best of)?
  • Henry from Manila, PhilippinesI have heard all of the versions of this song and I don't know how one can say that this is not the best rendition of it.
    Those who say that the Carpenters ruined this song don't have any clue of what they're sayin'.
    Bubble gum, vanilla, sweet coated candy, whatever you call Richard and Karen's music, it's either you take it or you
    leave it. This is the Carpenters love them or leave them, I happen to love them.
  • Henry from Manila, PhilippinesYou gotta be 3 things to say Sedaka's version is better than the Carpenters'.
    1) You're an old avid avid avid fan of Neil sedaka and his music (with all due respect)
    2) You're deaf.
    Those who say that the Carpenters runied this song have no good taste in music! The Carpenters made one
    hell of a gem from a so so standard song of Mr. Sedaka, and that with the help of course of Richard Carpenter.
    Richard Carpenter was undeniably a musical genius. Bubble gum, sugar coated candy whatever you define Carpenters music is,
    It's either you take it or you leave it. And a lot of people happened to love them for giving the world
    such classic songs as this one.
    pieces as this one.
    It's either you take it or you leave it!

    3) You're freakin' kidding and or you are a combination of the mentioned.
    I heard all of the versions of this song from the original Neil Sedaka version to Clay Aiken and You gotta bebe kidding m
  • Coowallsky from Detroit, MiMorli, shame on you. Your closed mind is but one indication of your station in life.
  • Coowallsky from Detroit, MiJim for Arcata is so full of it. First, Richard Carpenter is an extremely talented arranger and especially at the age he was at during their heyday. His arrangements are lush and though some get heavy, his instrumentation choices and scores are topnotch.

    Neil Sedaka's version is sweet music to the ears. It is indeed a surprise to people when they find out that he is not only the singer but the songwriter.
    That's said, Karen Carpenter's handling of this song flies over the top of Sedaka's. Her modulation and volume control with the many changes surpasses Sedaka's.

    Jim, at best you're a worst, a myopic manure spreader.
  • Jonathan from Lowell, MaFirst of all, Siansonea from Denver, CO, precisely.

    Secondly, I just listened to the Neil Sedaka version, and while I love the use of the piano, Mr. Sedaka, in my opinion, has a fairly common, "vanilla" sounding voice. And as far as Cher goes, if I want to listen to screaming, I'll listen to her version. But to each his own.
  • Jonathan from Lowell, MaI think this song is a gorgeous masterpiece (as performed by the Carpenters), a feast for the ears. Karen's voice and this song are perfectly suited for each other, both being inately melancholic.

    I cannot find a single sappy "bubblegum" element to their recording. However, I do find that element in some of their other songs, but not this one.

    I can't imagine anyone singing this song as beautifully as Karen does, and the musical arrangement is lovely.

    If you can come up with a vocalist whose voice is more touching, warm, sincere, silky smooth, sweet, comforting, etc., etc., etc. than Karen's, let me know.
  • Morli from Columbia, Mo- Jim, Arcata, CA nailed it. My thoughts exactly.
  • Morli from Columbia, MoI agree with - Jim, Arcata, CA 100%. The Carpenters ruined this song. I love this song even though it brings me great sadness for the loss of my first husband. I could never even listen to the Carpenter's cover and feel anything close to what Neil Sedaka did with this song and I've not an avid fan of Sedaka's either. Shame on them is right.
  • Hal from Louisville, KyI feel that original artists lack true recognition. Whereas Neil Sedaka was the catalyst, Karen Carpenter was the shining star. Without him she only would possess a nonpareil voice, an empty jewel without its creator. Its time we acknowledge the true artist in life, and that is us, Neil Sedaka, and Karen and her brother.
  • Siansonea from Denver, CoThe Carpenters version is my favorite. To my ear, Clay Aiken's version was too bombastic, more of a showcase of his vocal register than a meaningful interpretation of the song. Karen Carpenter had a beautiful voice, but her songs worked because of the authenticity of emotion, not timbre or pitch.
  • Timmyt from Brea, CaI've heard Neil Sedaka's version of this song - both versions - and can not fathom either. Neil Sedaka's voice is quite nasally and he just does not have good pitch or intonation. His arrangements at best are only good. Sedaka was a great songwriter - but a less than adequate singer.

    Carpenters' arrangment of "Solitaire" is intensely deep and dark. Karen's vocal performance is sublimly crystal clear. When she hits those deep notes it gives me that "chill" factor.
  • Richard from Talladega, AlI agree with Jim in Arcata. While the Carpenters' version was the first I'd heard of this song, I heard Neil's years later (as well as some live versions by Neil) and his version beats the Carpenters' version hands down. Not that I don't like their version. I like this song so much, it would sound good howled by a pack of coyotes.
  • Jim from Arcata, CaIt is my opinion that Richard Carpenter ruined most of the Carpenters' songs, despite the fact Karen had a tremendous voice. Almost every song had to have some syrupy fa-la-la bubblegum background arrangement, often for almost the entire song. My favorite Carpenters' song, by far, is "Goodbye to Love," because I think Karen's lead vocal and that tremendous lead guitar dominate the song, but even there, Richard had to throw in a few bars of refined sugar in the form of sappy backing vocals. (You know, Richard, you didn't have to write harmony vocals like Lennon-McCartney-Martin or Brian Wilson, but did you have to write such a relentless barrage of tripe?)

    I also like the song about the Interplanetary Craft (whose specific title escapes me), again because Karen's voice is allowed to shine without all the syrup for most of the song. And "Close to You," despite having been played to death in 1970, and despite having its moments of bubblegum-backup, is a great, great performance by Karen. If it hadn't been played to death when I was in high school, it might join "Goodbye to Love" (#23) on the list of my 70 favorite songs of all time.

    But the vast majority of their hits, in my opinion, were ruined by Richard's arrangements, which sound like they were for the sugar-addicted, unsophisticated taste buds of 10-year-olds. Obviously the great tragedy of Karen's life is her losing battle with anorexia, but the great tragedy of her career is that, with her voice, she could have done so much more, but for the tediously saccharine "contributions" of her brother.

    Ahhh, what might have been....
  • Chris from Seattle, WaThe Carpenter's version of "Solitare" is THE BEST THERE IS. I have recordings of this song by other great artists (Shirley Bassey, to name one), but it's as if this song was meant for Karen's voice. And the orchestratios is SUPERB. NO "sappy bubble-gum rubbish" whatsoever.
  • Jim from Arcata, CaThe only version of this song anyone seems to know is the Carpenters' cover version, and that's really a pity. In my opinion, they destroyed this song--and I mean, they really desecrated it.

    I'm not a Neil Sedaka fan, for the same reasons most people aren't Neil Sedaka fans, but his original version of this song is one of my 10 favorite recordings ever. He calls it his "most deeply moving and introspective song." I think that's understating it. I think it's emotionally overwhelming, both lyrically and in its presentation.

    I've played Sedaka's "Solitaire" for a lot of people over the past 35 years. I never tell the listener who it is, because if he/she hears me say "Neil Sedaka," that will be the end of it and there's no way he/she will give the song a fair listening. When the song has run its 5 minutes and 3 seconds course--the same length as the Beatles' incredible "A Day in the Life," one of only 8 songs I like better--the listener is almost always overwhelmed and wants to know who it is. They are then stunned to hear the answer, having previously felt Sedaka was capable only of shallow bubble-gum music.

    It's a masterpiece.

    But not the way the Carpenters did it. They put all the bubblegum they could think of into it, and even deleted the great line "and still the king of hearts is well concealed"... an egregious mistake.

    The song is supposed to be about a desperate loner who is in control of his own little kingdom, but at the expense of solitude and great pain--a Roy Orbison-like theme to which many can relate, especially as they age. The Carpenters turned it into just another song about a specific lost love ("without her love it always ends the same"), draining it of its lyrical profundity, along with its musical majesty.

    One never likes to hear one's favorite songs covered by someone else, but I find the Carpenters' version of this song especially unforgivable. It is the bright, shining 5-carat diamond in Neil Sedaka's career work, and the Carpenters turned it into sappy bubble-gum rubbish.

    Shame on them.
  • Curt from Clinton Township, MiThis was one of Karen's least favorite recordings. I Need to be In Love being her #1.
  • Bivel Dan Djoko from Cimahi, Indonesiai often play this song in my's a beautiful song.
  • Ron from Williamsburg, VaWhen Tony Bennett recorded Blue Velvet in 1951 there was a song on the flip side called Solitaire--Not sure if it is the same as that which you say was a great hit by Karen Carpenter-I recall it was a Bennett hit also, as was the case with "B" side songs of the 50's ie recordings by the 4 Aces and 4Lads
  • Shirley from Poole, Dorset, EnglandI remember Andy Williams also doing a cover version of this song - not sure when but quite some years ago
  • AnonymousI loved Clay Aiken's version from American Idol.
  • Janetlee from Panama City, FlOh how I LOVE this song ! It is lovely ! When I was watching TV some years ago, I heard Cher sing it on the Sonny and Cher Show. I never knew who the original singer was until I got the internet and looked it up. Cher did well on this song, but Karen had her beat by a thousand miles ! :)
see more comments

80s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

MTV, a popular TV theme song and Madonna all show up in this '80s music quiz.

Curt Kirkwood of Meat PuppetsSongwriter Interviews

The (Meat)puppetmaster takes us through songs like "Lake Of Fire" and "Backwater," and talks about performing with Kurt Cobain on MTV Unplugged.

Album Cover InspirationsSong Writing

Some album art was at least "inspired" by others. A look at some very similar covers.

Spot The Real Red Hot Chili Peppers Song TitlesMusic Quiz

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have some rather unusual song titles - see if you can spot the real ones.

Rick SpringfieldSongwriter Interviews

Rick has a surprising dark side, a strong feminine side and, in a certain TV show, a naked backside. But he still hasn't found Jessie's Girl.

Best Band LogosSong Writing

Queen, Phish and The Stones are among our picks for the best band logos. Here are their histories and a design analysis from an expert.