On This Day in 1971: Carole King Topped the ‘Billboard’ Albums and Singles Charts for the First Time

Starting in 1960 and throughout most of the decade, Carole King enjoyed huge success as a songwriter with her husband, lyricist Gerry Goffin, writing hits for many other artists. King and Goffin divorced in 1968, and Carole subsequently launched a career as a solo artist.

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King released her debut album, Writer, in 1970, and followed that in 1971 with Tapestry. Tapestry was not only King’s breakthrough album as a solo artist, but it went on to become the best-selling album ever at the time, and was hugely influential on the 1970s singer/songwriter genre.

[RELATED: The 5 Best Lyrics From Carole King’s Tapestry]

On June 19, 1971, Tapestry reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and began an impressive 15-week stay at the top of the chart. On the same day, King scored her first No. 1 hit on Billboard Hot 100 as an artist with the two-sided single “It’s Too Late”/“I Feel the Earth Move.”

More About “It’s Too Late”/“I Feel the Earth Move”

“It’s Too Late” and “I Feel the Earth Move” spent five straight weeks at the top of the Hot 100. They were King’s only songs as an artist to reach No. 1 on the chart.

The two-sided single knocked Honey Cone’s “Want Ads” from the top spot of the Hot 100, and was replace at No. 1 by The Raiders’ “Indian Reservation.”

More About Tapestry

Tapestry featured 12 songs, seven of which were written solely by King, including “It’s Too Late.” The album also included two songs King co-wrote with Toni Stern, among them “I Feel the Earth Move,” as well as three she co-wrote with Goffin.

Two of the Goffin co-writes were tunes that previously had been hits for other artists, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (The Shirelles) and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (Aretha Franklin).

King also scored a Hot 100 chart with another two-sided single, “So Far Away”/“Smackwater Jack,” which reached No. 14. King wrote the beautiful ballad “So Far Away” by herself, while “Smackwater Jack” was co-written with Goffin.

Other standout tracks on Tapestry included the empowering anthem “Beautiful” and the enduring ballad “You’ve Got a Friend.”

James Taylor played acoustic guitar on several tapestry tracks, including “You’ve Got a Friend,” as well as contributing backing vocals to some of the songs. Taylor, of course, also recorded his own version of “You’ve Got a Friend,” which became a No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 in July 1971.

Achievements and Accolades

At the 1972 Grammy Awards, Tapestry won the Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female honors. “It’s Too Late” received the Record of the Year trophy while “You’ve Got a Friend” took home the Song of the Year prize.

Tapestry has gone on to sell more than 14 million copies in the U.S. alone. The album was inducted in to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.

Rolling Stone ranked Tapestry at No. 25 on its latest list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

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