The Best of Carole King

The eighth piece in the concert is entitled The Best of Carole King. It includes four songs from the popular singer-songwriter from the early 1970s. This arrangement was written by Johnnie Vinson (see below) in 2009.

Carole King Klein (born Carol Joan Klein; February 9, 1942) is an American singer-songwriter and musician who has been active since 1958. One of the most successful female songwriters of the latter half of the 20th century in the US, she wrote or co-wrote 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

King's major success began in the 1960s when she and her first husband, Gerry Goffin, wrote more than two dozen chart hits, many of which have become standards, for numerous artists. She has continued writing for other artists since then. King's success as a performer in her own right did not come until the 1970s, when she sang her own songs, accompanying herself on the piano, in a series of albums and concerts. After experiencing commercial disappointment with her debut album Writer, King scored her breakthrough with the album Tapestry, which topped the U.S. album chart for 15 weeks in 1971 and remained on the charts for more than six years.

King has made 25 solo albums, the most successful being Tapestry, which held the record for most weeks at No. 1 by a female artist for more than 20 years. Her record sales were estimated at more than 75 million copies worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. She has been inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a performer and songwriter. She is the recipient of the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the first woman to be so honored. She is also a 2015 Kennedy Center Honoree.

The first song in our medley, “It’s Too Late”, was first releasted on Carole King’s second studio album, Tapestry, in 1971. Toni Stern wrote the lyrics and King wrote the music. It was released as a single in April 1971 and reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts. Sales were later platinum-certified by the RIAA. Billboard ranked “It's Too Late” and its fellow A-side, “I Feel the Earth Move”, as the No. 3 record for 1971.

The lyrics describe the blameless end of a loving relationship. Lyricist Toni Stern told author Sheila Weller that she wrote the lyrics in a single day, after her relationship with James Taylor ended. The recording won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1972, and the song is included in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 2003 the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The second song in our medley, “Jazzman”, is from Carole King’s album Wrap Around Joy of 1974. King composed the music for the song, while David Palmer (formerly of Steely Dan) wrote the lyrics.

Curtis Amy, saxophonist, composer, and former musical director for the Ray Charles band (and a frequent collaborator of Carole King’s), was the ‘jazz man’ of the song. After being released in August, the song rose on the Billboard Hot 100. It peaked at the #2 spot for a week in mid-November 1974 (stuck behind "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" by Bachman Turner Overdrive). In King's hometown of New York, "Jazzman" hit No. 1 on the WABC Musicradio 77 Survey for the week of November 12. The song also reached No. 4 on the Billboard easy listening chart. The B-side of the “Jazzman” single was “You Go Your Way, I'll Go Mine”.

“You Got a Friend” is the third song in our medley. It was first recorded by King and included on her second studio album , Tapestry in 1971. Another well-known version is by James Taylor from his album Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon. His was released as a single in 1971, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The two versions were recorded simultaneously in 1971 with shared musicians.

“You've Got a Friend” won Grammy Awards both for Taylor (Best Male Pop Vocal Performance) and King (Song of the Year). In 2001, the version by James Taylor was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The version by Carole King was

inducted in 2002.

King has stated that “the song was as close to pure inspiration as I've ever experienced. The song wrote itself. It was written by something outside myself, through me.” According to Taylor, King told him that the song was a response to a line in Taylor’s earlier song “Fire and Rain” that “I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend.” King's album was recorded in an overlap with Taylor's, and Taylor and Danny Kortchmar perform on both versions of the song. The song is included on both albums; King said in a 1972 interview that she “didn't write it with James or anybody really specifically in mind. But when James heard it he really liked it and wanted to record it.”

As mentioned earlier, the final song in our medley, “I Feel the Earth Move”, was written and recorded by Carole King. for her second studio album Tapestry. Additionally, the song is one half of the double A-sided single, the flip side of which was “It’s Too Late”. Together, both “I Feel the Earth Move” and “It’s Too Late” became among the biggest mainstream pop hits of 1971.

The song peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated June 19, 1971. It remained there for five consecutive weeks. It also peaked at number 6 in the

United Kingdom.

Given its upbeat nature, Ode Records selected “I Feel the Earth Move” as the A-side to Tapestry's first single. It achieved airplay, but then disc jockeys and listeners began to prefer the slower, lamenting B-side “It’s Too Late”. Both sides received airplay for a while, but eventually “It’s Too Late” dominated. In fact, on the concurrent Cash Box singles chart, which still tracked the progress of both sides of a single separately, “It’s Too Late” spent four weeks at number 1 while “I Feel the Earth Move” did not chart at all. Regardless, since Billboard had declared the record a double A-side and their chart gradually became seen by many as the “official” singles chart, it is generally listed in books and articles that both “I Feel the Earth Move” and “It’s Too Late” reached number 1.

Arranger Johnnie Vinson was Director of Bands and Professor of Music Emeritus at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. He received bachelors and masters degrees in Music Education from Auburn, and a doctoral degree in Music Theory from the University of Mississippi.

Dr. Vinson retired from Auburn University several years ago after a long career with the Auburn Bands. Prior to joining the Auburn faculty, he taught in the public schools of Columbus, Georgia, and worked as a graduate assistant with the bands at the University of Texas and University of Mississippi. At Auburn, he supervised the overall band program, conducted the Symphonic Band, and taught conducting and band arranging.

With over 500 published arrangements and compositions, Dr. Vinson is an internationally recognized writer of music for band. He and his wife Nancy, a professional flutist, live in Auburn, Alabama. They have two adult sons, Lee and Ed who are also professional musicians.

The music for The Best of Carole King was provided for the band

by Marian and Tom Jensen.