“It’s Too Late” by Carole King
On “It’s Too Late”, Carole King is addressing her lover, who is clearly on the verge of becoming her ex. Indeed as the title indicates, she has come to the conclusion that “it’s too late” for them to mend their relationship. And this situation does not appear to be anyone’s fault per se. Rather, as we would say in more-contemporary times, it appears that the two of them have grown apart. And the singer anticipates she and her partner moving on and eventually discovering “good times again”, though individually and not as a pair. For in her mind they “really did try to make” their romance work. But now she has deemed that all of such efforts have proven to be futile.
Did Carole King write “It’s Too Late”?
Yes. Carole wrote “It’s Too Late”. However, she didn’t write it all by herself. She composed it alongside another musician, Toni Stern. In fact as the story goes the lyrics are actually based on Stern’s relationship with James Taylor, another musician who contributed to Tapestry (1971), the album which this track is derived from. The producer of this track is Lou Adler.
Actually the lyrics of the song were written by Toni. And according to her, the lyrics were written in just a day. She further revealed that she wrote the lyrics shortly after her romantic union with James Taylor ended. Owing to this, it is safe to say that the lyrics are about the demise of her relationship with Taylor. A bona fide autobiographical song!
Release Date and Achievements of “It’s Too Late”
Ode Records released this track as a double A-side along with “I Feel the Earth Move” in April of 1971. What that means chart-wise is that the two songs were by and large counted together. And collectively they did top the Billboard Hot 100, in addition to reaching as high as number 6 on the UK Singles Chart.
But all things considered, “It’s Too Late” is the more celebrated of the two tracks. For instance, it has also been individually identified as topping Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks, the Cash Box Top 100 and Canada’s Top Singles.
Interesting to note is that “It’s Too Late” was actually knocked out of the number 1 position on the Hot 100 by a single the selfsame James Taylor dropped entitled “You’ve Got a Friend“. And that song also was written by Carole King.
King’s “It’s Too Late” has been named one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone and one of the 365 Songs of the Century by the RIAA, who also certified the track gold.
Also it has been used on a few movies, such as Keanu Reeves’s 2006 effort “The Lake House”.
“It’s Too Late” also won Record of the Year at the 1972 Grammy Awards, making Carole King the first female soloist to achieve that feat. And i should be noted that in winning the 1972 Grammy for “Record of the Year”, “It’s Too Late” beat four other songs, including James Taylor’s rendition of King’s own “You’ve Got a Friend”. George Harrison’s famed “My Sweet Lord” was also one of the four other songs “It’s Too Late” beat to win the prestigious award in question.
Actually King’s “Tapestry” album won approximately 4 Grammys in 1972. The album itself won two Grammys, including one for “Album of the Year”. “You’ve Got a Friend” (which also appears on the album) took home the “Song of the Year” accolade. In all the album sold over 10 million units around the world. Today, it is regarded as one of the music industry’s greatest album of all time.
A Song loved by Feminists
Over the years, a lot of feminists have praised this song for its feminist theme. And where does the feminism in this song come from? It mainly comes from the fact that the woman in the relationship is rather the one leaving the man.
A cover of this track was dropped by Gloria Estefan in 1995 and met with limited chart success. And other artists who have come out with their own renditions include the below:
- The Isley Brothers in 1972
- Isaac Hayes in 1973
- The Supremes in 1971
- Marcia Griffiths in 1972
- Culture Beat in 1991
- James Morrison in 2006
In all, as of 2021, there are over 40 certified covers of this Carole King classic.