With its masterful song art and backstory of personal reinvention, King’s 1971 landmark remains one of pop’s greatest declarations of independence

Carole King’s ‘Tapestry’ was born from a massive life change. Fifty years later, it can still inspire listeners to seek the same for themselves

All these decades later, it’s easy to take tapestry for granted.Like other staples from 1971, from Led Zeppelin IV to Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Carole King appeared to be second solo LP, released 50 years ago today and recently by Rolling Stone for the 25th greatest album of all time was chosen to always be there after its release, it was the country’s number one album for a staggering 15 weeks, a feat that seems unimaginable at the moment (Adeles 21 topped it after 24 weeks, but this is the most recent Exception) And subsequent generations may know it from the remake – with revised, less submissive lyrics – of “Where You Lead” for The Gilmore Girls

But sales, ubiquity, and Grammy Awards (Tapestry won Album of the Year and three other awards including Song and Record of the Year) have never been the sum of what Tapestry has accomplished. Within its dozen of songs, there was any number of Stories that gave him a resonance and scope rarely found in pop albums of his time, and some of those stories could now hold true

As anyone who’s watched the Broadway show Beautiful knows, King had a very different life before Tapestry: he lived on the East Coast, was married (to his songwriter Gerry Goffin), and had kids while he did demos as part of the frame of the Brill Building wrote and recorded song factory After King separated from Goffin and moved to California in 1968, he switched to a new phase and style of music – more Laurel Canyon and less Times Square Tapestry told this story smartly through his remake of “Will You.” Love Me Tomorrow “(a Goffin King hit for the Shirelles in 1960) that linked to King’s past The muffled, reduced arrangement indicated a more grown-up, less Top 40 sound

Tapestry rolled around in time for the burgeoning women’s rights movement. Later that year, Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” became the first big, straight feminist pop anthem, and in 1971 not only was Blue released, but Carly Simon’s self-titled debut Tapestry shared that cultural shift with, starting with the cover picture of King in a gray sweater curled up in her L near the window A home She was alone but looked safe, felt comfortable and felt comfortable with herself The pert hairstyles and dresses, that were seen in the photos from the Sixties were now relics of the past and another life

This newfound trust and strength have been reflected on the record. For the first time King wrote most of the lyrics himself. The opening song “I Feel the Earth Move” joyfully expressed the feeling of being carried away by a new love, however King’s piano and the back and forth solos between her and guitarist Danny Kortchmar conveyed strength and command (King always knew exactly what their records should sound like and always took responsibility for their sessions, even though Tapestry was officially produced by Lou Adler) Similarly, the narrator of “It’s Too Late” is almost a fact when investigating the end of a relationship it sounds rational, not disturbed. For the 50th anniversary, the album “Out in the Cold” was revived after it was first released as a bonus track on a new CD in 1999. He feels that he is confessor who is unfaithful to a lover and pays the price becoming rational and adult (if not fully empowered)

With its cameos of Mitchell and James Taylor (then a couple), Tapestry also fitted well into the singer-songwriter genre that was starting to take over pop on their “Youve Got a Friend,” which Taylor also made over the same year reported, and the plaintive “Home Away” King showed that she could be as contemplative and introspective as her new colleagues in their version of “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman” – a song they shared with a few years earlier Goffin had written – was equally stripped down and unadorned, especially after Aretha Franklin’s takeover of the song (King cut spectral remakes, even of her own work, long before the indie crowd got the idea)

But as much as we associate the album with King’s famous friends and the current balladeer-diarist style, Tapestry was above all a glorious pop record. King may have moved and left her New York studio days behind, but she has one Taken a feel for hooks and craft, which helped the album surpass the voice and guitar arrangements customary at the time. “Beautiful” had a show tune bounce, the outlaw rebel story “Smackwater Jack” galloped R&B and ” Where You Lead “(one of several songs with lyrics by her collaborator Toni Stern) conjured up the sparkling bop of the Brill building singer-songwriters who tried to sound” funky “could sound wooden, but King never did

The bigger story in Tapestry that may still be talking to people is personal reinvention.The songwriting days passed, replaced by bands and singers increasingly writing their own material and directly expressing their own feelings, while King had just turned 29 when Tapestry was released, but the album announced that she had found herself back in the ancient parlance as the Middle Ages loomed in the distance.Is that a story that could get just as much resonance in the Covid era if people were living their lives and rethink their careers and make the changes they always wanted to make? Time will tell, but when they make those decisions Tapestry will be there waiting for them

Carole King

World News – CA – ‘Tapestry’ at 50: Why Carole King’s masterpiece still challenges us

Source: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/carole-king-tapestry-tribute-1125496/