February 10, 1971: Carole King Releases ‘Tapestry’

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She had already proven herself a formidable songwriting talent during the previous decade or so with such major hits as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “The Loco-Motion,” “Up on the Roof,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and other pop hits. Her second solo album, Tapestry, made Carole King a star and set records and trends.

Powered by the double-sided #1 hit single “It’s Too Late”/”I Feel the Earth Move,” Tapestry hit #1 on the Billboard 200 on June 17, 1971 and remained there for 15 consecutive weeks – a record the album held for most weeks at number one by a female solo artist for over 20 years until Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album spent 20 weeks at number one in 1993. It remained on the album charts for over six years, also setting a record for longest run on the charts until 1980, when Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon broke that with its 303rd week. It has sold over 25 million copies and was the best selling album ever until 1976.

In 2023, Best Classic Bands asked Lou Adler, the album’s producer and owner of Ode Records, about the choice of Tapestry‘s 12 perfect songs. “We finished the album and I came out of the studio with [guitarist] Danny Kortchmar,” he recalled, “and he said, “What did you think?” And at the time, Love Story was the biggest movie, and it had the tagline, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” And I said I think we have the equivalent of Love Story in the music business. I think it’s the soundtrack of a lot of people’s lives. We picked 12 of the 14 we recorded. And every song was so solid.”

Pictured (L-R) at a Tapestry recording session at A&M Records’ Studio B, engineer Hank Cicalo, Carole King and Lou Adler (Photo: Lou Adler Archives; used with permission)

Related: King performed a rare live set at the 2019 Global Citizen Festival

At the 1972 Grammy Awards Tapestry won Album of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. King also earned Record of the Year for “It’s Too Late” and Song of the Year for “You’ve Got a Friend.” She was the first solo female artist to win the Grammy for Record of the Year, and the first woman to win for Song of the Year.

Related: A look back at the Grammy nominees for Album of the Year, 1970-1974

Tapestry helped launch the singer-songwriter movement of the early 1970s along with albums like Sweet Baby James by her friend and tour mate at the time James Taylor, who also recorded her song “You’ve Got a Friend” on that disc. It obviously captured the tenor of the times. Although nothing King later released came even close to the success of Tapestry, it remains a key factor in such honors as her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song (first woman to win it) and the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors.

King, born February 9, 1942, was 29 years-old when Tapestry was released.

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6 Comments so far

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  1. JCB
    #1 JCB 11 February, 2019, 10:40

    Everybody in the early 70’s owned that album. Very sad that Carole is not in the R+R Hall of Fame as a performer. She deserves to be, only in as a songwriter together with Gerry Goffin. She has been a touring musician for 45 years. The dump in Cleveland never gets it right.

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  2. Jack
    #2 Jack 10 February, 2020, 19:58

    IMO has only been equaled once by Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour 47 years later.

    Reply this comment
  3. T
    #3 T 11 February, 2020, 12:07

    Yes she deserves to be in the hall of fame. Many people relaxed to her music

    Reply this comment
  4. Dean
    #4 Dean 11 February, 2020, 13:27

    Agree with JCB: It’s odd we have Eminem performing at the Oscars while brilliant musicians languish.

    It’s a testament to the absurdity of the times we live in.

    Reply this comment
    • Judy
      Judy 12 February, 2020, 16:06

      Agreed! She was my heart in the 70s. She said everything I was feeling.

      Reply this comment
  5. Al
    #5 Al 12 February, 2020, 16:43

    Grew up in the 70’s. Age 12 – 21. Getting back in contact with 70’s friends. Thank you for this. You lightened a few hearts.

    Reply this comment

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