Where You Lead

Album: Tapestry (1971)
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Songfacts®:

  • While it is a love song rather than an inspirational song, the lyrics to "Where You Lead" 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 Orpah. 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 Orpah goes off to found her TV show... ha! No, that's 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.
  • Carole King got help with the lyrics from Toni Stern, who also collaborated with King on "It's Too Late," another song from King's landmark 1971 album Tapestry.

    "Where You Lead" wasn't released as a single, but as part of Tapestry it got a lot of plays. Tapestry was the #1 album in the US for 15 consecutive weeks, the longest run any female solo artist ever had at the top of the albums chart, and it was on the Billboard 200 albums chart for over 300 weeks. The album is certified Diamond by the RIAA for over 10 million sold.
  • King was uncomfortable singing about following a man around and nixed the song from her concert 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.
  • 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. Her version hit #40 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart; a 1972 live version by Streisand hit #37 on the Hot 100 as a medley with the song "Sweet Inspiration."
  • Faith Hill covered "Where You Lead" for the multi-artist album Tapestry Revisited: A Tribute to Carole King in 1995.

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