April 22nd, 2008
02:38 PM ET

Unspooling 'Tapestry'

Before there was “Millennium,” before the “Bodyguard” soundtrack, before “Thriller” and “Saturday Night Fever” and “Rumours,” there was “Tapestry.”

Carole King has been writing hit songs since the late 1950s.

Carole King’s opus, just released in a new, 2-CD “Legacy” edition, came out in March 1971 and quickly became the biggest, fastest-selling album of its time. It spawned a No. 1 hit – “It’s Too Late” – spent 15 weeks as the top album in the country, ranked as one of the top-selling albums of both 1971 and 1972, and stayed on the Billboard album charts for more than six years.

It also won King, who had risen to fame as one of the great Brill Building songwriters of the early ‘60s, the Grammy for album of the year.

Thirty-seven years later, it’s still a revealing record. King didn’t have overwhelming pipes, nor did she hide her voice behind a layer of coyness. She simply sang – about breakups, about sex, about death (in the rather cheerful “Smackwater Jack,” with lyrics by her ex-husband, Gerry Goffin), about life for a woman just turned 30.

“[‘Tapestry’] is an album of surpassing personal intimacy and musical accomplishment and a work infused with a sense of artistic purpose. It is also easy to listen to and easy to enjoy,” wrote Jon Landau in Rolling Stone, praising King’s “marvelously expressive” voice.

King’s quiet, polished directness was a staple of the singer-songwriter movement, a group that included Cat Stevens, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell and her friend James Taylor. (Others, including Neil Young, Paul Simon and Van Morrison, were also lumped into the genre at times, though “singer-songwriter” soon became synonymous with a kind of lightweight earnestness that Young, for one, couldn’t wait to leave behind.)

At 67, King is still making and performing music - and, given her amazing output (much done with Goffin), she has plenty to work with. But “Tapestry” remains a high point in a long and honored career.

- Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer

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soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Lisa

    Go Carole! She's so great.


    May 19, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Linda Smith

    This is by far the best source for
    blog information.

    So very up to date
    Very informative.

    Thank you for doing this.



    May 12, 2008 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. J. Mike Perkins

    The most amazing thing about Tapestry is how understated, subtle, and straight ahead it is. No gimmicks, just an incredibly gifted melody writer who writes beautiful songs and pours out her heart and soul while singing and playing the piano with simple, yet very effective, backing from a small but talented goup of musicians. Love, pain, and joy are all here and we can relate to Tapestry because we are all human. Today's songwriters and bands could learn a lot from this record. Mainly that less can be more and great songs, especially when performed with genuine feeling by a real human that people can relate to, are eternal and never go out of style. Anyone who has ever loved and lost can immediately relate to this record and it will be just as powerful and fresh 100 years from now.

    April 26, 2008 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Linda Smith

    You are right..she is the best and still going strong.

    Sun City, Ca


    April 25, 2008 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jacque

    I came to this site for news and saw "tapestry". Still have the CD in my car and play it whenever I need uplifting. I also have the greatest hits and yes JAZZMAN STILL TAKES MY BLUES AWAY

    April 25, 2008 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Greg A., Thousand Oaks, CA

    "Tapestry" was definitely a very high point in her career. But what a career! This woman was an architect who was responsible for helping lay the very foundation for modern popular music. She wrote or co-wrote "Up On The Roof," "The Loco-Motion", "Chains" [covered by the Beatles], "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Goin' Back" [covered by Dusty Springfield and the Byrds], "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman" [Aretha Franklin], "One Fine Day", "I'm In To Something Good," "Go Away, Little Girl", "Some Kind of Wonderful" and many, many others. She shouldn't be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She IS the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    April 25, 2008 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sarah

    What more can be said? Good music is fun to listen to, but GREAT music, like Tapestry, is enlightening to listen to. The CD will be as fresh today as the album was 37 years ago.

    April 24, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bill Smith, Birmingham Alabama

    "Tapestry" is a miracle of an album. Through every moment of my life, Carole King's music has been there. She has helped me celebrate with "I Feel The Earth Move," grieve with "So Far Away," reminisce with "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," and find the strenght to carry on with "You've Got A Friend." "Tapestry," has been the soundtrack of my life. The new version might be the Legacy edition, but Carole King will always be the LEGEND.

    April 24, 2008 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mark LaSalle

    I remember being just a kid of 8 or 9 and that album was playing in our house. Music has such a profound way of getting into your head and staying in your subconscious until its unlock when you hear a song later on, at least for me. I bought the Tapestry cd about a 1 year ago and I was amazed that I remember each song and the lyrics from when I was young. I used to sing "You got a Friend" to my daughter at bedtime and I can only hope that song is played when she gets married someday. Simply one of the best albums' to have !

    April 24, 2008 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nisi P

    I find it interesting that Ms King is almost 70 and every generation speaks of her music. In 40 years will anyone remember our present groups and what they sang?

    April 23, 2008 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rosemary

    I too of am the 50's age and had Tapestry in 1971 and like most, whenever I hear one of her songs, it brings a pleasant feeling over me. I was in high school in a time that school was school and the Friday night sock hops were the thing to do!!

    April 23, 2008 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Michele Arbour

    Carole King what an artist songwriter,singer.The, album Tapestry,pick some of my faves :Beautiful,So Far Away,You Got A Friend,Will You Love Me Tomorrow?, Tapestry.Miss King thank you for lyrics and the music.Peace.

    April 23, 2008 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cheryl M.

    Lovely, inspiring, moving, I cry just about everytime while listening to her songs. What a precious gift to the world. Nothing could be better. It is a feel great album that I MUST have in my car for trips of any kind. How can you have road rage listening to her? She is amazing.

    April 23, 2008 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cathy

    Her album, Tapestry, is fantastic. How coincidental?? I have Yahoo radio on and "Way Over Yonder" is playing as I'm reading this. Whenever I hear her sing I have wonderful memories brought back to me. She is great and I never get tired of listening to her sing. Thanks Carole!

    April 23, 2008 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. Paula

    What can I say, have worn out the album, the 8 track, the cassette and will try my best to wear out the cd. Every woman I know in my age (50) bracket, give or take, has owned many copies of Tapestry. It was and should be a staple for every woman, no matter the age. Okay, so some very special guys can like it too, way cool.

    April 23, 2008 at 4:23 am | Report abuse |
  16. KB

    I was about 10/11 and I remember getting the 45 "It's Too Late". I played that record to death. I still have the 45 though it is not in good condition due to my playing it so much. I now have it on CD and it is always in my car and I'm still playing it to death. Thank you Ms. King.

    April 22, 2008 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Steve S.

    "It's to late" came out my senior year and everyone can relate to this song. Relationships come and go ...King's music, unlike fickle young love, stays. Like so many that have commented, my alblum too, is worn out. But I still have it (always will). ss

    April 22, 2008 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Steve

    "Tapestry" is even more amazing when you consider it, as I do, part of a trilogy of albums – "Writer" came out a year or so earlier (a few critics recognized its brilliance at the time) and then "Music" a year or so after Tapestry. All are excellent albums that stood the test of time. Thanks to her label for coming out with the "legacy" version. I'm going to snap it up.

    April 22, 2008 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Jeffrey Jablon

    I have to comment. Tapestry is one of my most favorite of all albums/cd's and I always listen to it. Her songs have inspired me to learn guitar and sing that type of music. Her work is truly inspirational and my kids 6, 3 and 6 months listen to the music also. They will grow up learning that music and the classics of our generation. I am only 39, but I know when the best music was around, and it was the 70's.

    April 22, 2008 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  20. BAF

    Unpretentious, straightforward, honest, relevant, even fun - Carol King has always been a favorite. Her music will last and stand all kinds of tests over time.

    April 22, 2008 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Brad Faber

    This album , I think, was produced be Lou Adler , one of the sixties and seventies greatest hit-makers . For you younger folks Adler is the guy with the hat that you see sitting next to Jack Nickleson at the L.A. Lakers games on T.V.

    April 22, 2008 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Frank Luna

    It has been many years since this LP's release (1971), & I can still remember buying the 45 of "It's Too Late" for a $1.00. After which I bought the album. I still have this LP in my record collection (which is in pristine condition) & I can honestly say that I will never get tired of this LP. Now that it's on CD, I definately will add this to my ever growing music collection. I have been in Radio now going on 33 years & this LP as well as its singles are playing proudly at the radio station where I work at & as well as our listeners will never get tired of listening to. To Ms. King, "Tapestry" is one of my all time favorite album & may I say, it still continues to entertain. If no one has said this, Thank You for such a musical masterpiece! Don't Change A Thing!!

    April 22, 2008 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Susan

    First album I ever bought, and I wore it out. Loved "so far away."

    April 22, 2008 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  24. mijo

    classic album..must have for any music lover!

    April 22, 2008 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Rex Jacobsen, Mpls, Mn

    I've been a fan of hers ever since "Tapestry" was released-my older sister had gotten it as a gift when it first came out, and played and played that album, but I and my family never, NEVER got tired of the songs and their lyrics--simply a beautiful album, perfectly realized and has lost none of it's power over the years. I've probably bought 10 or more copies over the years, vinyl and CD, as gifts and also for myself when I've worn my copy out. Current artists could learn a thing or two from this album--songs do not have to be offensive, or sexually explicit to entertain, infact, they shouldn't be just for that reason!!! Kudos to Miss King and what certainly will always be a crowning achievement in the music industry.

    April 22, 2008 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |

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