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Music / Tapestry

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"An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view..."

"Travelling around sure gets me down and lonely
Nothing else to do but close my mind
I sure hope the road don't come to own me
There's so many dreams I've yet to find"
"So Far Away"

Tapestry is the second studio album by Carole King, released in 1971. At the start of that year, King was best known as a writer of songs for others, particularly in partnership with her husband Gerry Goffin. In 1962 her own recording of a song she wrote for Bobby Vee, "It Might As Well Rain Until September", was a one-off hit; modestly in her own country but top 5 in Britain. Her debut album Writer from 1970 made the lower reaches of the Billboard 200 and had little impact abroad. So when this album came out, there wasn't much anticipation for it. As it turned out, its sudden success was and remains a phenomenon. It was the biggest-selling album by any solo artist until overtaken by Michael Jackson's Thriller from 1983. With 25 million copies sold worldwide, it remains the biggest-selling album by a female solo artist, and in the age of free downloads that record seems likely to stand indefinitely. It won the 1972 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. In 2003 it was added to the US Library of Congress's National Recording Registry. Tapestry remained in the Billboard 200 for a total of 513 weeks, a record surpassed only by Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon. The album combines original songs with King's own interpretation of songs written for others.

What makes Tapestry so special? Firstly, it's a collection of songs written and simply performed by a master of the craft. None of them are blockbusters but all of them are memorable. Secondly, the theme that runs through them is of emotions that are grounded in the everyday. There is no love-at-first-sight, no raging lust, just the warmth of people who have been through a lot together and are comfortable in each other's company, or the longing for a partner who is away, the sweet sadness of an affair that has run its course, reflection on a life nearing its end. The artist herself is packaged here as Everywoman, unmade-up, dressed for comfort with her craft-work and her cat, in a domestic setting that may in truth be Laurel Canyon but made to look like the house next door. The singer and her songs might be your neighbour, touching your own life.


Side One

  1. "I Feel the Earth Move" (3:00)
  2. "So Far Away" (3:55)
  3. "It's Too Late" (3:54)
  4. "Home Again" (2:29)
  5. "Beautiful" (3:08)
  6. "Way Over Yonder" (4:49)

Side Two

  1. "You've Got a Friend" (5:09)
  2. "Where You Lead" (3:20)
  3. "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" (4:13)
  4. "Smackwater Jack" (3:42)
  5. "Tapestry" (3:15)
  6. "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (3:59)

Will You Trope Me Tomorrow?:

  • Age-Progression Song: "Tapestry".
  • Am I Just a Toy to You?: "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?"
    Tonight with words unspoken
    You say that I'm the only one
    But will my heart be broken
    When the night meets the morning sun
  • Animorphism: The "man of fortune" in "Tapestry".
    Soon within my tapestry along the rutted road
    He sat down on a river rock and turned into a toad
    It seemed that he had fallen into someone's wicked spell
    And I wept to see him suffer, though I didn't know him well
  • Break-Up Song: "It's Too Late". An unusually mature break-up by popular music standards.
    There'll be good times again for me and you
    But we just can't stay together, don't you feel it too
    Still I'm glad for what we had, and how I once loved you
  • Broken Record: "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman".
    You make me feel
    You make me feel
    You make me feel like
    A natural woman
  • Captain Obvious: "Home Again".
    ''Snow is cold, rain is wet"
  • Character Title: "Smackwater Jack".
  • Cover Version: Carole King wrote or co-wrote all tracks on the album but some were recorded earlier by other artists.
    • "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" was originally a 1960 hit for The Shirelles and was covered many times before being included on this album.
    • "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" was a hit for Aretha Franklin in 1967 and became one of her signature songs.
  • Cats Are Superior: Carole's cat Telemachus appears to think he's the subject of the cover portrait.
  • Did the Earth Move for You, Too?: "I Feel The Earth Move". It certainly does for the singer.
    I feel the earth move under my feet
    I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down
    I feel my heart start to trembling
    Whenever you're around
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: "Tapestry", a song in which the singer reflects on their life in old age.
    As I watched in sorrow there suddenly appeared
    A figure grey and ghostly beneath a flowing beard
    In times of deepest darkness I've seen him dressed in black
    Now my tapestry's unraveling, he's come to take me back
  • Face on the Cover: Full-length, sitting on a window seat in half shadow, barefoot and casually dressed in sweater and jeans, clutching a piece of her own tapestry work and upstaged by a large tabby cat. Very domestic and far from glamorous.
  • A Friend in Need: "You've Got A Friend"
    You just call out my name
    And you know wherever I am
    I'll come running to see you again
  • Friendship Song: "You've Got A Friend".
  • Home Sweet Home: "Home Again".
    I won't be happy till I see you alone again
    Till I'm home again and feeling right
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • "It's Too Late", with a side of It's Not You, It's Me.
    • "Where You Lead" is about following your love's desires at the expense of your own.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Smackwater Jack" is a bouncy song about an outlaw who commits a mass shooting, then gets captured and hanged for it.
  • One-Man Song: "Smackwater Jack"
  • One-Word Title: "Beautiful", "Tapestry".
  • Pep-Talk Song: "Beautiful".
    You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
    And show the world all the love in your heart
    Then people gonna treat you better
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: "Smackwater Jack"
    Now Smackwater Jack, he bought a shotgun
    'Cause he was in the mood for a little confrontation
    He just let it all hang loose
    He didn't think about the noose
    He couldn't take no more abuse
    So he shot down the congregation
  • The Sheriff: "Smackwater Jack"
    Now Big Jim the chief stood for law and order
  • Title Track: "Tapestry"
    My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
    An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
    A wondrous, woven magic in bits of blue and gold
    A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold