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Classic Album: “Tapestry” By Carole King

May 19, 2017

As the title of this ongoing series suggests, we explore those music masterpieces that have stood the test of time. We’ve looked at such legendary artists as The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen and Fleetwood Mac. While Carole King’s Tapestry certainly fits the qualifications of this series, it’s an album that is not mentioned as often as the great works from the aforementioned artists. It’s an album that today’s generation might not immediately recognize, and yet, if you were around in the 70s when Tapestry was released, there is no doubt in your mind that it deserves its legend status. Not only did it become one of the 70s biggest albums, it also was a perfect example of how music was changing at this time.

While Carole King had yet to truly establish herself as a solo performer at the time, she certainly commanded a great deal of success in the music industry. King was a tremendously successful songwriter, writing songs for solo performers like Aretha Franklin and inspire artists like The Beatles. She was one of the most important people working in pop music, but she remained behind the scenes. As the 60s ended, the age of the singer-songwriter began to emerge. Due to urging from the likes of James Taylor and Joni Mitchell, King began performing her own songs. Releasing two albums in fairly quick succession, 1970’s Writer was a fairly modest hit, but Tapestry was a sensation. Along with new songs, King reinterpreted some of her own written songs that other artists had made famous.

The album was a massive hit, especially with female music fans who latched onto the image of a woman coming out from behind the curtain to pave her own path and be recognized for her genius. The album was nominated for several Grammys, including Album of the Year and it has become one of the best-selling records of all time.

Best track

While it’s tempting to give the honour to one of the songs King was able to make her own, but there’s no denying the power of hearing her give her version of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”. The fact that King would even attempt to follow in the footsteps of such a vocal master as Aretha Franklin deserves our praise. But King managed to take the song in a whole other direction, separating it from what Franklin had done before and taking it back for herself.

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