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Carole King Releases "Tapestry"

June 7, 1971
Carole King portrait
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Carole King, 2008.

Singer-songwriter Carole King achieved stardom with the release of her album Tapestry on June 7, 1971. The album won four Grammy awards and eventually sold more than 10.5 million copies, more than either Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water (9 million) or the Beatles' Abbey Road (6 million). Though it was King's second solo album and greatest success, Tapestry was far from her first venture into the music industry.

Born in Brooklyn in 1942, King briefly attended Queens College, where two of her classmates were Paul Simon and Neil Diamond. After a year, she left college to marry Gerry Goffin, who also became her songwriting partner. They had their first hit in 1961, when the Shirelles took their "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" to the top of the charts. Later, the team wrote "(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman" for Aretha Franklin and "Pleasant Valley Sunday" for the Monkees, among many other successes. When singers began shifting from the work of songwriters to using their own material in the late 1960s, King and Goffin dissolved both their marriage and their artistic partnership. King struck out on her own, releasing her first solo album, Writer, in 1970. Though later records never matched the phenomenal sales of Tapestry, two more records released in the 1970s, Music and Wrap Around Joy, did reach gold status.

In 1987, King and Goffin were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame; in 1990, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1989, King received the National Academy of Songwriters Lifetime Achievement Award.

A 1999 concert at New York's Madison Square Garden honored her lifetime of achievement with performances of her songs by a long list of successful vocalists. King's own performance was called "warm and welcoming" by the New York Times, whose reviewer also wrote that "melodies like Ms. King's are indeed beyond fashion." King released Love Makes the World in 2001 and The Living Room Tour in 2005.

In 2010, King went on tour with James Taylor. During the Troubadour Renuion tour, King released two albums, The Essential Carole King and Live at the Troubadour, the latter of which debuted at No. 4 in the United States with sales of 78,000 copies. Thursday, May 10, 2012, King announced that her tour with James Taylor would probably be her last, saying that it "was a good way to go out."

Her autobiography A Natural Woman: A Memoir was published by Grand Central in the United States on April 10, 2012.

To learn more about Carole King, visit Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia.

See also: Jewish Women and Jewish Music in America.

Sources: Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, pp. 739-740; Mitchell S. Cohen, Carole King: A Biography in Words and Pictures (New York, 1976); James E. Perone, Carole King: A Bio-Bibliography (Westport, CT, 1999); Washington Post, May 24, 1973; New York Times, October 16, 1999; Top Hits, Billboard.com; Carol King: "It would be lovely to retire," Billboard.com; Carole King retires, Noise11.com

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Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History - Carole King Releases "Tapestry"." (Viewed on April 17, 2014) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/jun/07/1971/carole-king>.