I've blogged about albums from the Beatles and the Stones, Pink Floyd, Springsteen, and U2. But sometimes, Mick Jagger or Bruce can be a little harsh on the ears. At those times I can turn to mellow Crosby Stills and Nash or jazzy Steely Dan.
But a nice change of pace is to turn to albums from the fabulous female singer-songwriters of the 60's and 70's. The Carly Simon' catalogue and Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark are near the top, but can anything compare to Carole King's 1971 multi-million selling masterpiece, Tapestry?
I didn't know who Carole King was, but when It's Too Late first hit the radio airwaves, I was hooked. It lasted as the best break-up song from a female singer until Adelle took a different approach to the subject with Rolling in the Deep almost 40 years later.
You've Got a Friend, Natural Woman, Where You Lead, Will You Love me Tomorrow are all classic songs, interpreted by many different artists, but all hanging together on Tapestry to set a mood and a time. There's lots more great material, including Smackwater Jack and So Far Away.
The album had plenty of competition for my attention that year, and I have no objections to those who say 1971 was the greatest year in rock music. But I could only listen to so much Who's Next or Led Zeppelin IV without needing a break from the volume. Tapestry was there for me. It became the soundtrack for a summer high school romance. And as the coup de grâce, there was even a cat on the cover. What could have been more Beautiful?
As Jon Landau said in Rolling Stone in 1971:
"(Tapestry) is an album of surpassing personal-intimacy and musical accomplishment and a work infused with a sense of artistic purpose. It is also easy to listen to and easy to enjoy."
..and since you asked, yes we did see Beautiful on Broadway a few years ago, with Jessie Mueller in her star turn as Carole King. It's a fun biomusical, filled with many wonderful songs and King's story of love, hurt, and competition. See it if you can.
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