Song of the Day, February 9: It’s Too Late by Carole King

Today’s song is It’s Too Late by Carole King. One of the most prolific and successful songwriters in the rock era, she is also an accomplished singer and a significant chart success on both fronts. Born Carol Klein in 1942, she co-wrote her first #1 hit, Will You Love Me Tomorrow? with soon-to-be-husband Gerry Goffin at the age of 18. That song has been covered by dozens of artists since the Shirelles took it to the top (the first “girl group” #1) and has had six Hot 100 versions. King is the most successful female songwriter on the Hot 100; with nearly 120 hits she is the 10th most successful songwriter overall. Her compositions have been successful on the R&B and Adult Contemporary charts as well. King has notched an impressive 16 #1s on the three charts as a writer; she is the only songwriter to have two hits top the Hot 100 by two different artists (The Loco-Motion by Little Eva and Grand Funk and Go Away Little Girl by Steve Lawrence and Donny Osmond). Including all three charts, she has logged 60 Top 10 hits and 161 Top 40s.

After divorcing Goffin, King launched a career as a solo writer and singer. Her second album, Tapestry, is one of the most successful albums of all time. It was #1 for 15 straight weeks, a record for a female solo artist; until just this year, when Adele’s 21 popped in and out of the top for a total of 22 weeks, it was the overall champ in that category. Tapestry also stayed on the charts for 302 weeks, also a record for a solo female act, and spent 296 further weeks on the Classic Albums chart. It set the standard for the singer-songwriter genre of the 1970s and remains a powerful example of pop craftsmanship. It also included her only #1 as a singer, It’s Too Late.

Of all King’s amazing compositions, this is my favorite. It is at once plaintive and powerful, recognizing that despite the best intentions of both parties the relationship it describes is doomed. Straightforward without being simple, it is a beautiful song. Enjoy this #1 hit and wish Carole King a very happy 70th birthday today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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