Carole King at a recording session at RCA Studio B in New York City when she was just 17 in these photos. At that age, she married Gerry Goffin in a Jewish ceremony on Long Island in August 1959 after King had become pregnant with her first daughter, Louise. They left college and took daytime jobs, Goffin working as an assistant chemist and King as a secretary, while writing songs together in the evening at an office belonging to Don Kirshner’s Aldon Music at 1650 Broadway opposite the Brill Building.
“Basketball Jones” was a song from Cheech & Chong’s 1973 Los Cochinos (“The Pigs”) record, and is about teenage Tyrone and his love of basketball sung in a falsetto voice by Cheech Marin. That’s not the ‘wow’ part, though. Listen for the backing band: George Harrison, Klaus Voorman, Carole King, Nicky Hopkins, Tom Scott and Billy Preston. The Blossoms with Darlene Love, Ronnie Spector and Michelle Phillips were the voices of the singing cheerleaders. The song was released as a single in September 1973 and reached #15 in the US charts, and animated short film of Basketball Jones was created to promote the release of the single.
Carole King once told The Telegraph that words didn’t always come as easily when she was a teen, calling herself “lyrically challenged.” She said that the true magic started happening when she met lyricist and future ex-husband Gerry Goffin at college in New York. Then, everything changed. Leading the way for every songwriter across all genres since the early 60s whether they realize it or not, her 1971 release Tapestry is still a monumental release, and still one of the landmark albums in music history. Here are 15 fun facts about the album that never deserts you, even if your friends and lovers do.
1. Carole King wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album, several of which had already been hits for other artists such as Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (in 1967) and The Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (in 1960).
2. The cover photograph was taken by A&M staff photographer Jim McCrary at King’s Laurel Canyon home. King is holding a tapestry she hand-stitched herself, and that’s her cat Telemachus at her feet.
3. Tapestry was number 1 on the Billboard 200 for 15 consecutive weeks, and held the record for most weeks at number 1 by a female solo artist for over 20 years until surpassed by Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album in 1993.
4. Tapestry has been listed on the Billboard 200 for over 300 weeks between 1971 and 2011, the longest by a female solo artist.
5. Upon release, two of the biggest music critics had it right about Tapestry – Robert Christgau felt that her voice, raw and imperfect, free of “technical decorum”, would liberate female singers while Jon Landau in Rolling Stone felt that King was one of the most creative pop music figures and had created an album of “surpassing personal-intimacy and musical accomplishment“.
6. The first 22 seconds of “I Feel The Earth Move” is used for the earthquake room exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) in Portland, Oregon.
7. On July 26, 2011, the funeral of Amy Winehouse in London ended with a rendition of King’s “So Far Away.”
8. King’s version of “It’s Too Late” peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts‒on the Hot 100 as a double A-side with “I Feel the Earth Move”.
9. “You’ve Got a Friend” was written by King during the January 1971 recording sessions for Tapestry, and James Taylor’s album Mud Slide Slim. King’s album was recorded in an overlap with Taylor’s, and King, Danny Kortchmar, and Joni Mitchell perform on both. The song is included on both albums.
10. “Where You Lead” was inspired from the Book of Ruth, where it says: “Where you go, I will go” and King re-recorded for the theme song of Gilmore Girls with her daughter Louise Goffin.
11. “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”, also known as “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, was originally recorded by The Shirelles, and was the first song by an all-girl group to reach #1 on Billboard.
12. She was only 18 when she wrote that song. Think about that for a moment.
13. The last song on the album was inspired by Atlantic Records co-owner and producer Jerry Wexler. He had been mulling over the concept of the “natural man”, when he drove by King on the streets of New York. He shouted out to her he wanted a “natural woman” song for Aretha Franklin’s next album. And that’s how the title “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” came to be.
14. Tapestry is one of the best-selling albums of all-time, with over 25 million copies sold worldwide. It received four Grammy Awards in 1972, including Album of the Year, thanks to the lead single, “It’s Too Late”/”I Feel the Earth Move” having reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and remained on the chart for 17 weeks.
15. King also won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year (“It’s Too Late”), and Song of the Year (“You’ve Got a Friend”), making King the first solo female artist to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, and the first female to win the Grammy Award for Song of the Year.