Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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Carole King


A behind-the-scenes legend steps out on her own and launches the ’70s singer-songwriter era.

Carole King’s second solo album, 1971’s Tapestry, virtually defined the singer-songwriter era of the 1970s. Its warm, intimate tone; the simple, piano-based arrangements; and the cozy living-room feel of the album captured a moment in time and rightfully turned the limelight onto a songwriter who’d crafted so many classics for others over the preceding decade.

King had shaped American pop music by speaking for women as a group, articulating previously masked vulnerability on The Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and daring, earthy sensuality on Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman.” But on Tapestry, her second album as a soloist, King reclaims those songs, using them to tell her own story. She also introduced new compositions destined to become standards in their own right (“I Feel the Earth Move,” “It’s Too Late,” “So Far Away,” and “You’ve Got a Friend,” which would become a hit for James Taylor, who played on the album’s sessions).

So it’s no surprise Tapestry played like an instant greatest-hits album even upon its release; after six years parked in Billboard’s albums chart (including a record-setting 15 weeks on top of it) and five decades of ubiquity, it can hardly be thought of as anything else.

“I can never say enough about this album. You can sit and listen to Carole King play piano like a rock star and sing like an angel. But the key to all of it is her songwriting.”

Shania Twain