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Carole King wrote this with Toni Stern, a free-spirited painter and lyricist from Los Angeles who complemented King very well. Said Stern: "I'm sure there was a California quality in me that appealed to Carole. She was moving from a familial, middle class lifestyle to Laurel Canyon, where she started to let her hair down, literally and figuratively. We worked off our contrasts."
Stern would usually agonize over lyrics, but she wrote these very quickly. Stern also worked with King on the Tapestry
track "Where You Lead
This intimate song is a great example of the singer/songwriter sound that King helped popularized. Over a moody melody, King sings about how she realizes her once-promising relationship is over. While she's putting on a brave face, she's feeling tormented inside.
This was released as the B-side to "I Feel the Earth Move." After a few weeks of continuous airplay with "I Feel the Earth Move," many DJs all over the States decided to give "It's Too Late" an equal amount of airplay. Soon, it came to the point where everyone preferred "It's Too Late," which ended up topping the charts by May of 1971. "I Feel the Earth Move" never charted.
In the "You're So Vain
" vein, this song was rumored to be about James Taylor, who was good friends with King and played on the Tapestry
. In early 1971, Taylor and King toured together with King the opening act. Many people tended to think that this song was about a short romance between the two. King never confirmed these rumors, and Taylor later dated and married Carly Simon.
This song won a Grammy for Record Of The Year in 1972. In addition, her song "You've Got a Friend
" won a Grammy for Song Of The Year, and her album Tapestry
won Grammys for Album Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female.
Some people saw a political message in this song, as the idealism of the '60s had faded and the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy in 1968 had left a young generation jaded, believing that "It's too late" to change things.
Other artists who have covered this song include Gloria Estefan, Denise LaSalle, Johnny Mathis, The Stylistics, Kyle Vincent and Andy Williams. (thanks, Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for all above)
This was used in the 2006 movie The Lake House starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. (thanks, Erik - Fairfield County, CT)
Curtis Amy played sax on this song, and his wife at the time, Merry Clayton, sang backup on some songs for the album. Amy played the sax solo on The Doors' "Touch Me
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