Song: “It’s Too Late”
Artist: Carole King
Where I heard it: XM Channel 7
Carole King made her mark in the 1960s as a songwriter, penning words and music that made other artists famous. Despite her accomplishments as a songwriter, she had little success with her own recordings – until the landmark “Tapestry” album from 1971.
My sister got “Tapestry” for Christmas one year, probably 1974 or ’75. I listened to it more than she did and it stands today as one of the classic pieces of songwriting and performing and one of my favorites of all time. The album stayed on the charts for an unbelievable six years, holding the number one spot for 15 weeks and winning four Grammy awards. “Tapestry” was ranked 36th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and in 2003 was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.
“It’s Too Late” was one of several hit songs from the album. King wrote the music, but the lyrics, unlike most of the rest of the album, were written by Toni Stern. The song has been covered by a number of artists since then, including The Isley Brothers, Gloria Estefan and Amy Grant, and was featured in the 2006 film “The Lake House.”
King was a classmate of Neil Sedaka, and they each wrote songs about the other during their careers (predictably, “Oh, Carol” and “Oh, Neil”). Among the other songs written by King were “You’ve Got a Friend” (James Taylor’s hit song of 1971; King’s version, on “Tapestry,” was also a hit) and the Monkees’ “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” King also wrote a special theme song for the tv show “I Dream of Jeannie,” but it wasn’t included when the show was broadcast.
In the lyrics:
“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
“But it’s too late, baby, it’s too late | Though we really did try to make it | Something inside has died and I can’t hide and I just can’t fake it”