Great albums: Tapestry

This is the first of an occasional series looking at some great music from my past.

Carole King is now 75 years old. She is one of the most prolific songwriters of the modern era, and even if you have never heard her name, I guarantee you will know some of the countless songs she has been responsible for. She married Gerry Goffin when she was just 17, and the pair formed one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the 1960s. Just some of the songs they wrote at the time might jog your memory.
‘Halfway to Paradise’
‘The Locomotion’
‘It might as well rain until September’
‘Up on the roof’
‘Will you still love me tomorrow’
‘Going Back’
‘One fine day’
And many more.

Carole didn’t enjoy much success as a performer at first, despite recording some of her own compositions. But in 1971, her second album, ‘Tapestry’ caught the mood, and became a huge success. It went on to win numerous awards, and eventually sold 25,000,000 copies, making it one of the biggest-selling albums of all time. I bought my copy that same year, and I didn’t know anyone who didn’t have their own too. This is the original track listing. See how many of the songs are familiar to you now.

All songs written by Carole King except where noted.

Side 1
“I Feel the Earth Move” – 3:00
“So Far Away” – 3:55
“It’s Too Late” (lyrics by Toni Stern) – 3:54
“Home Again” – 2:29
“Beautiful” – 3:08
“Way Over Yonder” – 4:49

Side 2
“You’ve Got a Friend” – 5:09
“Where You Lead” (lyrics by Carole King and Toni Stern) – 3:20
“Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” (Gerry Goffin, King) – 4:13
“Smackwater Jack” (Goffin, King) – 3:42
“Tapestry” – 3:15
“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (Goffin, King, Jerry Wexler) – 3:59

I played the vinyl almost to extinction, and later bought the CD version, with its two bonus tracks. The songs delivered everything, from mournful ballads, simple love songs, and rocking piano-led beats. Carole’s voice suited her own songs in a way that all the cover versions could never capture. Her emotion came through on every track, and she sung each one right from the heart.

This album is listed high up in the definitive list of the greatest albums of all time.
And I can only agree with that accolade.

51 thoughts on “Great albums: Tapestry

  1. Yes. YES! You have written this story very well, Pete. When I was playing Tapestry to death on my old record player, loving every song, I didn’t know back then that she had also written some of the best songs to date. I still know what song follows the next on the album, much like I do on my Beatles albums.

    Last year our son asked me to bring along my record albums on a visit. Oh, the groans from hubby, as they took up half the space in the car. We listened to so many records together. I could go on. Bottom line, he asked me for some of the albums (gulp). “Of course” were the words I said, biting my nails. The three albums that pained me to let go were Tapestry, Big Brother and the Holding Company (early Janis Joplin) and The Temptations Greatest Hits. The best part was listening to Tapestry with our adult son. Good music never gets old. Thanks, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope that your son cherishes those albums and cares for them as you have. At least you are passing on a legacy of great music, and can easily get them cheaply on CD. And they are still in your family of course. 🙂 I also had that Big Brother album with Janis singing, but no idea where it is now.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can still see the laundromat we are pulling away from with our clean laundry and hearing “It’s Too Late” on the radio and knowing that it really was. I left him the next month, taking our daughter and began living without his violence and addiction.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was certainly a classic and so very present in its time, and mine, which was later in the 70s. I don’t know a person over maybe age 50 who ever lived in or went to the US who doesn’t know the album or at least most of the songs. I have not seen the Broadway show based on her life, but hear it’s been well-received.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Pete, I stumbled on this album when I was about fifteen; years after its initial success and not exactly in keeping with the punk-new wave vibe of the time. I thought the songs were well crafted and performed, and each song stood up well amongst the list of other great track on the LP. Alas I found the mournful undercurrent running through the album rendered it quite melancholy and depressing. I doubt I could face listening to it again. I wonder where my copy has gone! K

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    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has some sad love songs on it, I agree. But some of the greatest modern songs have been sad love songs. Just ask Adele, and Sam Smith. 🙂
      Cheers mate, love to all. Pete. x

      Like

  5. “You just call out my name
    And you know wherever I am
    I’ll come running to see you again
    Winter, spring, summer or fall
    All you have to do is call
    And I’ll be there
    You’ve got a friend”

    Some great songs and amazing lyrics! I can sing you every song on that album! Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was just listening to this album the other day and remembering when it was first released, how significant it was at the time, and still is. I had a similar experience with it to yours, Pete – buying the LP, playing it to death, replacing with a CD, and now listing to the songs online.

    “You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart …” Lyrics to live by!

    Cheers!
    Susan

    Liked by 1 person

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