As a long time music collector, it is always impossible for me to come up with one of those "Twenty-Five Best Albums of All Time," type lists that magazines, blogs and other media outlets are so fond of creating. While I could never put my favorite albums of all time in any sort of numeric order, there are half a dozen that always pop into my mind, no matter the time or place; Are You Experienced by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones, Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder and Tapestry by Carole King. While those six choices run the gamut from rock to jazz to soul and musical genres in-between, they all have one thing in common: no matter how many times you listen to each album, the music seems fresh and you always hear something new.
Tapestry was released a couple of years before I was born, but the album was in the record stack at my house and "I Feel the Earth Move" was still a regular staple on AM radio when I was a little girl. I can still remember hearing the opening piano chords of "I Feel the Earth Move" and wanting to take piano lessons. Unfortunately for me, by the time I was nine years old, it was clear I had no talent for the piano.
Carole King, born Carole Klein, was not short on musical talent. She wrote her first number one song, "Take Good Care of My Baby," with partner Gerry Goffin in 1961 when she was only 19 years old. The song writing team followed that up with "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" sung by the Shirelles, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" sung by The Monkees and ""(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" sung by Aretha Franklin to name a few. All of these songs have subsequently been covered by other artists.
Despite her massive success as a songwriter in the '60s, Carole King had little chart success as a singer. Her first album, Writer, released in 1970 didn't make much of an impact on the music industry. Her second album, Tapestry made her a legend. The album spawned three number one hits, a top five hit and two number fourteen hits. Tapestry went on to sell more than 22 million copies worldwide and earned King four Grammy Awards including Album of the Year; Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female; Record of the Year ("It's Too Late"); and Song of the Year ("You've Got a Friend").
What makes Tapestry significant is its sort of quiet appeal. After the psychedelic and protest rock of the '60s, King brought things down a notch and sung about things like friendship, values and hearth over a soothing piano accompaniment. Tapestry is the kind of record you can put on to relax around the house or in your car to wind down after a long day at work.
Tapestry – Legacy Edition has recently been released. The new two CD set features the original eleven track album newly digitally remastered. The collection also features a second CD features the previously unreleased Live Tapestry which according to producer Lou Adler, "[are] selections taken from concerts at Boston, Maryland, Central Park, and San Francisco, 1973 to 1976, just piano-vocal – that's the way I heard the songs for the first time when Carole would come to my office and play them."
Live Tapestry is a very nice addition to the set. The versions of all the songs are stripped down to just Carole and her piano. You get a real sense of the Carole King's tremendous songwriting talent and the excitement of the audience.
Tapestry – Legacy Edition also includes extensive liner notes written by music journalist Harvey Kubernik. Even after all these years, Tapestry still remains a musically adept and inspirational record.