All the Songs on Carole King’s Masterful ‘Tapestry’ Ranked

Carole King proved her genius as a songwriter with Tapestry. This 1971 album stands the test of time as some of King’s most masterful songwriting, proving she doesn’t need much more than her thought-provoking lyrics and genuine voice to move the masses. Tapestry earned King critical and commercial acclaim, spawning such hits as “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” and “I Feel the Earth Move,” in addition to winning Album of the Year at the 1972 Grammy Awards. As one of the best-selling albums of all time, Tapestry demonstrated King’s veracity as a songwriter and solidified her legacy as one of the best of all time. Below, we rank all of the songs on Tapestry.

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12. “Smackwater Jack”

“Smackwater Jack” shows off King’s ability to write a playful story song. Here, she takes a break from exploring in-depth, personal emotions that are at the root of Tapestry to tell the tale of Smackwater Jack, a bandit who brings death and destruction to the unnamed town where a man named Big Chief is the sheriff out to get him for his crimes. King has the listener hanging on to every word, wondering how the story will end. It’s another example of King’s intriguing songwriting, yet not even Smackwater Jack can stand up to the album’s other gems.

11. “So Far Away”

As impressive as King’s songwriting is her singing on Tapestry. “So Far Away” is one of her best vocal offerings, as the beautiful song about the distance between two lovers, whether physically or emotionally, is simply exquisite.

10. “Where You Lead”

“Where You Lead” is one of Tapestry‘s more upbeat numbers. Showing off the soulful side of her voice and her piano-playing prowess, King shines on “Where You Lead.” It’s an underrated gem that got a second life when it was used as the theme song to the TV show Gilmore Girls, with King re-working the lyrics to fit the show’s mother-daughter theme, in addition to singing the theme song with her daughter Louise Goffin.

9. “It’s Too Late”

As naturally as she sings about friendship in “You’ve Got a Friend,” King sings about heartbreak and breakups. “It’s Too Late” falls into the latter category as she convincingly sings of a relationship that’s at a crossroads. A beautiful instrumental solo in the middle of the song adds a compelling touch.

8. “I Feel the Earth Move”

From the pounding opening piano notes, King kicks off Tapestry with a bang with one of her signature hits, “I Feel the Earth Move.” A little bit romantic, a little bit saucy, “I Feel the Earth Move” is classic King and proves how her musical style is a beautiful melting pot of genres.

7. “Home Again”

Home Again” is one of the few songs on Tapestry that didn’t make an impression on the charts, but that doesn’t make it any less meaningful. “Home Again” is King’s love letter to her native New York. Here, she beautifully captures the feeling of homesickness through such potent lyrics as Snow is cold, rain is wet / Chills my soul right to the marrow. “Home Again” is an underrated track on this gorgeous album that deserves as much attention as some of its more well-known hits.

6. “Way Over Yonder”

“Way Over Yonder” is one of King’s best vocal displays on Tapestry. Arguably the most soulful number on the album, King is slow and steady, letting each word simmer as she proclaims, Then trouble’s gonna lose me / Worry leave me behind / And I’ll stand up proudly / In true peace of mind / Talkin’ about / A way over yonder. King has a special way of infusing hope into her stunning lyricism, and “Yonder” is one of the many examples of this gift.

5. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”

King closes Tapestry with one of the most famous songs she’s ever written. Made famous by Aretha Franklin, “Natural Woman” got a stripped-down makeover on the folksy Tapestry. King’s understated delivery allows the lyrics to shine alongside her expert piano playing. “Natural Woman” brings the masterpiece that is Tapestry to a remarkable finish.

[RELATED: The 20 Best Carole King Quotes]

4. “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”

One of the many beautiful compositions King wrote with her ex-husband Gerry Goffin, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” is a stunning example of romantic writing. Here, King ponders if a night of romance is merely a one-night stand or the promise of something deeper. Expect to get chills as King sings, But will my heart be broken / When the night meets the morning sun / I’d like to know that your love / Is love I can be sure of. Her voice contains all the emotion needed to convey this message in an earnest way.

3. “You’ve Got a Friend”

“You’ve Got a Friend” is the uplifting anthem we all need. If there’s anyone who could craft a poetic song about friendship, it’s King. Lyrics like, Now, ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend / When people can be so cold? / They’ll hurt you, yes, and desert you / And take your soul if you let them / Oh, but don’t you let them, demonstrate how King creates beautiful poetry from the simplest of words.

2. “Tapestry”

The title track of Tapestry is arguably its most compelling. King tells a beautiful story of a drifter in torn and tattered cloth, with references to rich and royal blue and a coat of many colors adding even more color and wonder to the awe-inspiring piano ballad. “Tapestry” is not only one of the most stunning compositions on its namesake album but across King’s entire discography.

1. “Beautiful”

“Beautiful” is true to its name. This motivating song offers some of the most observational songwriting on Tapestry. King takes a close eye on the daily rat race, noticing how passersby on the street walk around with frustrated looks on their faces. Yet instead of letting their frustrations get her down, King turns it into a message of positivity where one line is as profound as the next as she proclaims, I have often asked myself the reason for the sadness / In a world where tears are just a lullaby / If there’s any answer, maybe love can end the madness. The lyrics are timeless and its message is one humans will always need to hear, earning its rightful place at the top of this list.

Photo by Jim McCrary / Courtesy of Shore Fire Media

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