Sunday 10 July 2016

You've got a friend

Tapestry (with cat)
Tapestry (without cat)
Reading David Hepworth's riveting 1971 on the train to the Harrogate Literary Festival yeterday (to see David Hepworth and Mark Ellen speaking together), I was struck in an early chapter by just how pivotal Carole King's Tapestry album was to the history of rock music. Prior to 1971 precious few albums recorded by women had ever gone to the # 1 slot on Billboard - Janis Joplin and Bobbie Gentry being the notable exceptions, muscling their way in to what was a very testosterone fuelled environment. At its peak Tapestry was selling an eye watering 150,000 copies a week: every week for pretty much most of that year (it's now sold north of 25 million). And it soon became the bedrock of many a playlist on America's fledgling FM radio stations, where it hit the sweet spot - for men and women alike. It really did, and still does, sound like she was singing her intimate songs to you and to you alone. Especially 'You've Got a Friend'.

Often covered but never bettered - even when she gave the song to her good friend James Taylor who recorded it within days of King and with many of the same musicians.


  1. I still have that album, the original not a replacement (as was the case with many that I lent out/lost/warped/scratched)
    It used to be my 'skinning up tray/album'...
    Beautiful lyrics, voice and music ... all of it. Might just blow the fluff off the stylus and give it a whirl x

  2. I'm currently absorbed in the very same tome. The sheer quantity of records shifted in those days boggles the mind.

  3. The heavenly Carole King

  4. Spooky! I've just been reading about her phenomenal hit writing skill - 61 UK charting songs. My attempts in the past 2 days at singing the lovely, wistful 'Will you still love me tomorrow' reminded me of her rich and to some extent unnoticed contribution. It also reminded me of an afternoon at the age of 12 round at my Aunties, while the adults partied in the kitchen, I spent hours playing and replaying their new album - Tapestry on their record player. I distinctly remember a feeling of hearing something really special as I sat on the floor behind the PVC sofa poring over the album cover.


  5. BL/TS/M/OTH,
    I came to this album late: I remember when I first got a MiniDisc player fitted in the car it went everywhere with me. It's too Late still gets me every time - just beautiful.