How Carole King Changed Music In The 70s Forever

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Carole King, an extraordinary singer-songwriter, made an indelible impact on the music industry in the 1970s. From her early successes as a songwriter in the Brill Building to her groundbreaking solo album, “Tapestry,” Carole King redefined the music scene with her introspective lyrics, captivating melodies, and relatable themes. Let’s delve into the journey of a woman who transformed the 70s music landscape forever.

The Brill Building Era: A Foundation for Success

In 1960, Carole King’s composition, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” performed by The Shirelles, became the first #1 US hit by a Black female group. This breakthrough marked the beginning of a remarkable career for King and her then-husband Gerry Goffin. The couple established themselves in New York City’s Brill Building, a hub of songwriting talent, where they crafted pop tunes for various artists to record.

Their collaborative efforts yielded a string of chart-topping hits that showcased King’s exceptional songwriting abilities. Artists such as Bobby Vee, The Chiffons, The Monkees, and Aretha Franklin climbed the charts with songs penned by King and Goffin. Their work set the stage for Carole King’s future endeavors and foreshadowed her profound impact on the music industry.


Transitioning into a New Era

As the late 1960s unfolded, both the music scene and society underwent significant changes. Carole King found herself at a personal crossroads, as recounted in her memoir, “A Natural Woman.” The evolving musical and cultural landscape, coupled with the dissolution of her marriage to Gerry Goffin, prompted King to seek a fresh start. In 1968, she left New York for the vibrant musical community of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles.


Laurel Canyon: A Haven for Musical Expression

In Laurel Canyon, Carole King joined a community of singer-songwriters who embraced introspective songwriting, sharing their personal stories and emotions through their music. Artists like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and Neil Young became known for their authentic and heartfelt compositions. Inspired by her surroundings, King began to explore her own creative voice while retaining the solid songcraft she honed during her Brill Building days.


The Triumph of “Tapestry”

Carole King’s first solo recording went relatively unnoticed, but it was her second album, “Tapestry,” released in 1971, that propelled her to unprecedented heights of success. “Tapestry” resonated with audiences on a profound level, earning King Grammy Awards for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year, making her the first female solo act to achieve such recognition.

In Carole King’s own words, “Tapestry changed my life.” Not only did it provide financial independence, but it also opened doors to new opportunities. Released during the rise of second-wave feminism, the album’s lyrics struck a chord with women who found themselves seeking fulfillment beyond traditional roles. In contrast to Joni Mitchell’s confessional album “Blue,” “Tapestry” embodied a sense of quiet resilience, becoming a hallmark of the soft rock sound that defined the 70s.

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