The progressive rock group Family formed in Leicester, England as the Farinas, evolving into Family in 1967. They folded in 1973 before re-forming in 2013 for a series of live shows. "The Weaver's Answer," which was composed by the two leaders of Family, guitarist Charlie Whitney and lead vocalist Roger Chapman, was their signature song and most popular stage number.
"The Weaver's Answer" was conceived in the summer of 1968 during an overnight drive in the band's tour van, a journey hurried along by a selection of stimulants. By the time the track was cut for their second album, Family Entertainment, it had evolved into a five-minute progressive folk rock epic. Roger Chapman recalled to Uncut magazine:
"I know exactly where I was when I wrote 'The Weavers Answer.' We had a gig up north and I finished it overnight, in the van on the way. I was dozing, I woke up and just started writing it. What state I was in is another story! It was back in the days when people used to stay up for five nights on the trot. We didn't really let a day go by without some form of stimulation, a bit of dope or this and that and the other. I started writing and it all came tumbling out. I had no sense of the music when I wrote it, and I don't think there was much editing or revising. That was it, and it never changed it was normal for me to write quickly. I was quite prolific."
The song tells the story of an old man calling upon the "weaver of life" to reveal the cosmic pattern of his existence. Chapman recalled to Uncut:
"I don't remember thinking about the concept beforehand. Which is interesting, because it's a very clear idea. It's obviously about an elderly man, sort of on his last legs dash no comparisons, please! Going back into his life and thinking about the things which made him who he is. Getting married, having children, growing up, and into the sadness of old age. His wife is gone, and he's looking to follow her... and then the light in the distance. I don't remember any personal reason for writing it, other than it was a bit far out. For a life story, it's actually quite a short piece."
When Family performed their final concert on October 13, 1973, "The Weaver's Answer" was the last song in the set.