Where You Lead

Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • "Where You Lead" was written by the long-standing pop solo artist Carole King with lyrics by collaborator Toni Stern, and included as the eighth track on her 1971 smash hit album Tapestry.
    While this song itself was not released as a single, the album Tapestry as a whole is a record-breaking charting album. It was the #1 album in the US for fifteen consecutive weeks, being the longest run any female solo artist has ever had at the top of the album charts, and has occupied a spot on the Billboard top-200 albums for a total of over 300 weeks. The album is certified diamond by the RIAA - that means over ten million sold.
  • While it is a love song rather than an inspirational song, the lyrics are inspired by the Biblical Book of Ruth. The relevant King James quote is found in the Old Testament Ruth 1:16: "whither thou goest, I will go..." The situation there is that Naomi has two sons who marry two women, Ruth and Oprah. The sons die and Naomi tells the daughters-in-law that she's releasing them to go back to their mothers and remarry; Ruth stays anyway and gives her famous loyalty speech while Oprah goes off to found her TV show... ha! No, not the same Oprah. This all happens in the middle of a deadly famine. Ruth reaps good karma for her loyalty by later marrying Boaz and having a son, and living a typical happily-ever-after ending. Incidentally, she also finds herself in the direct lineage of King David.
  • "Where You Lead" served as the theme song to the TV series Gilmore Girls, for which Carole King re-recorded it with her daughter Louise Goffin sharing vocals. King also appeared three times as a guest star on the series, as the proprietor of the music store in the fictional town of Stars Hollow. While the town was fictional, the record store was not: there really was a Record Breakers store in suburban Connecticut, where the show was set.
  • In a case of a famous cover showing what the original could have done, Barbra Streisand recorded the song for her August 1971 album Barbra Joan Streisand. It hit #40 on the Hot 100 #3 on the Adult Contemporary; a later live version hit #37 on the Hot 100 as well.
  • Faith Hill covered this for the multi-artist album Tapestry Revisited: A Tribute to Carole King in 1995.
  • King was uncomfortable singing about following a man around and nixed the song from her repertoire. "After I recorded it for the Tapestry album, we women decided that we didn't actually need to follow our men anymore," she said in a 2004 interview. She explained that Gilmore Girls gave the song a new lease on life by changing the message to reflect a bond between a mother and daughter.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Producer Ron Nevison

Producer Ron NevisonSong Writing

Ron Nevison explains in very clear terms the Quadrophenia concept and how Heart staged their resurgence after being dropped by their record company.

Does Jimmy Page Worship The Devil? A Look at Satanism in Rock

Does Jimmy Page Worship The Devil? A Look at Satanism in RockSong Writing

We ring the Hell's Bells to see what songs and rockers are sincere in their Satanism, and how much of it is an act.

dUg Pinnick of King's X

dUg Pinnick of King's XSongwriter Interviews

dUg dIgs into his King's X metal classics and his many side projects, including the one with Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam.

Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins

Tom Bailey of Thompson TwinsSongwriter Interviews

Tom stopped performing Thompson Twins songs in 1987, in part because of their personal nature: "Hold Me Now" came after an argument with his bandmate/girlfriend Alannah Currie.

Grateful Dead Characters

Grateful Dead CharactersMusic Quiz

Many unusual folks appear in Grateful Dead songs. Can you identify them?

Lori McKenna

Lori McKennaSongwriter Interviews

Lori's songs have been recorded by Faith Hill and Sara Evans. She's performed on the CMAs and on Oprah. She also has five kids.