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The album cover features the barefoot, 29-year-old singer sitting on a window sill in the living room of her Laurel Canyon home while her cat, Telemachus, peers into the camera. King holds a needlepoint tapestry she's recently finished, which gave her the idea for the title track and inspired the album's concept.
Before the release of Tapestry, most were unfamiliar with Carole King, at least by name, but they certainly knew her work. During the previous decade, King and her then-husband Gerry Goffin were Brill Building scribes (via Aldon Music) who churned out enduring hits like "The Loco-Motion," "One Fine Day," "I'm Into Something Good" and the Aretha Franklin anthem "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman." King identified as a songwriter and only performed as a means to share her songs – plus she had stage fright. After her close friend James Taylor encouraged her to pursue a singing career, she recorded her debut album, Writer. But it's Tapestry that brings her, and the singer-songwriter genre, to the heights of fame.
With producer Lou Adler at the helm, Tapestrydips into the Goffin-King oeuvre with King's intimate renderings of her hits for other artists, including the Shirelles' 1960 chart-topper "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and Franklin's "Natural Woman." Her mature and sensitive examinations of troubled relationships in the lead single "It's Too Late" and its follow up "So Far Away," along with the uninhibited sexiness of "So Far Away" ring true with listeners and the sentimentality of "You've Got a Friend," which James Taylor turns into a #1 hit, pulls all the right heart strings.
Seth Swirsky, a Chappell Music staff songwriter-turned-solo artist, spoke to Songfacts about Tapestry's significance: "It turned out to be an album that hit everybody, what they were thinking and feeling, right at that moment. America in the '60s, everybody was moving away to San Francisco, and flowers in their hair, and it was tumultuous. But here it was a Tapestry of home again."
Adler keeps the production simple to focus on King's raw vocals and emotional lyrics and brings lots of talent on for support, including Taylor (acoustic guitar, backing vocals), Joni Mitchell(backing vocals), Danny Kortchmar (guitars, congas), Charles Larkey (bass), Curtis Amy (sax, flute), and prolific session drummer Russ Kunkel, among others.
By June, Tapestry hits #1 on the albums chart, where it stays at the top for 15 consecutive weeks and on the tally for six years. King also becomes the first woman to take home the top Grammy prizes for Album of the Year, Record of the Year ("It's Too Late"), Song of the Year (for Taylor's version of "You've Got A Friend") and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.