“Tapestry” by Carole King

The lyrics of Carole King’s “Tapestry” read like a fairy tale. It is arguable that Carole is attempting to put a cohesive narrative together or say something specific. For instance, she does begin by likening her “life”, her experiences so to speak, to “a tapestry”. But what really is a tapestry? It is basically a thick piece of fabric containing designs or pictures that are put together or woven using colored threads. Tapestries are often woven by hand. They are primarily used for decorations (mainly in the form of wall hangings).

A tapestry being used as a wall hanging.

That being said, Carole uses the idea of a tapestry throughout this song, which is why the entire song reads like a fairytale/fairy story. And as we all know, stories are very similar to tapestries in the sense that they are also woven to captivate an audience. The more creatively woven stories are, the more engrossing and captivating they are.

And this is exactly what Carol King is doing with this song. She is actually weaving a tale. And by the time all is said and done, there does appear to be a clear allusion to death in the tale she is weaving. In other words, the lyrics themselves are sort of a retelling of her life’s journey. And in between life and death, “a man of fortune” whom she “didn’t know… well” also plays a role.

But ultimately, according to King’s own explanation of the tune, “Tapestry” is more like an exercise in improvisation and freestyling. And she may have come up with the aforementioned metaphor between life and a tapestry subconsciously while needling her own ornament or curtain. So King didn’t really burden herself with making sure the wording of this song makes sense, if you will, to the reader. Rather it comes off like the talented musician’s own version of Alice in Wonderland.

Carole King's Tapestry
On the song’s album cover itself, we can see Carole holding a real tapestry which she wove herself. The cat in the picture was her pet cat named Telemachus.

Writing Credits for “Tapestry”

Carole King wrote this song along with a songwriter named Gerry Goffin. It’s important to mention that Carole and Gerry were actually married to each other from 1959 to 1969.

Release Date of Carole King’s “Tapestry”

This is the title track of Carole King’s most-celebrated project, her 1971 “Tapestry” album. Both the album and the song came out on 10 February of that year via A&M Records and Ode Records.

The producer of “Tapestry” is Lou Adler, a regular collaborator of the singer’s.

Lyrics of "Tapestry"

More about the “Tapestry” Album

“Tapestry”, which came out as the second studio project of Carole King’s career, is one of greatest studio albums ever released. For example, it has been included in many a famous “Greatest Albums of All Time” list, including that of Rolling Stone. In Rolling Stone‘s 2020 list, it appeared at position 25. In addition to being one of the greatest albums ever recorded, “Tapestry” is also considered one of the most commercially successful albums in the history of music. As of 2021, the album has sold over 10 million units around the globe.

In addition to the above, this iconic album was also the recipient of four Grammys at the 1972 edition of the awards ceremony.

Below are the Grammys “Tapestry” picked up in 1972:

  • “Album of the Year” for the entire album
  • “Song of the Year” for the single “You’ve Got a Friend
  • “Record of the Year” for the single “It’s Too Late”
  • Female “Best Pop Vocal Performance” for the whole album

Furthermore it went on to peak at summit of the prestigious Billboard 200. At the top of this record chart it stayed for approximately 15 weeks in a row. It further went on to remain on the aforementioned record chart for 318 weeks.


In all, four songs were released as the official singles from this iconic album. These songs are as follows:

  • “So Far Away”
  • “Smackwater Jack”
  • “I Feel the Earth Move”
  • It’s Too Late

In addition to King herself, a number of prominent singers were recruited to contribute backing vocals to multiple songs on the album. Some of these renowned singers included Joni Mitchell and James Taylor.

4 Responses

  1. Jan says:

    Awesome thanks.

  2. Steve says:

    Very instructive. Thank you.

  3. Valerie B. Foster says:

    Tapestry is just so wonderful a song. I just heard it for the first time about two days ago so I’m trying to understand her poetic lyrics. The song is clearly telling a story that I would like to interpret properly. Her life was perfect and rich and then the stiches to her tapestry or her world began to come apart. The old man represent death I guess and maybe that is where he came to take her. Great words and a wonderful melody!

  4. Stub Mandrel says:

    This misses a critical point – a true tapestry is a pictorial narrative that tells a story, not just a woven picture.

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