On April 10, 1971, Carole King’s Tapestry was a new entry at #79 on the Billboard Top LP’s chart. In 11 weeks, it would go to #1 and remain at the top of the album charts for the next 15 weeks. (Tapestry was finally knocked back to #2 on Oct. 2 by Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells a Story.) For decades, the LP consistently charted as one of the 200 best-selling albums in America, every week, for more than 300 weeks, from 1971 to 2011.
Although Tapestry was Carole King’s second solo album (Writer, her debut LP, had been released in 1970), King had a long history of fame as a songwriter with her husband, lyricist Gerry Goffin.
Goffin-King were part of the Brill Building music collective of writers and publishers. The duo wrote numerous hit songs in the ’60s (“Hi-De-Ho,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Chains,” “The Loco-Motion,” “Go Away Little Girl” and “Up on the Roof” to name but a few). Even after their divorce in 1968, King and Goffin continued to write together.
Tapestry generated two singles, with solid B-Sides to complement the A-Side:”It’s Too Late”/”I Feel the Earth Move,” which went to the top of the singles chart for five straight weeks, and “So Far Away”/”Smackwater Jack,” which hit #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. “You’ve Got a Friend” was identified as a potential single, but James Taylor recorded and released his version of King’s song first. Taylor had played acoustic guitar on the Tapestry version of the song.
Carole King received four Grammy awards for her work, including Album of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. “It’s Too Late” was given Record of the Year and “You’ve Got a Friend” was Song of the Year.