One Of the Great Breakup Songs

This breakup song ‘It’s Too Late’, doesn’t involve a person being upset or becoming heartbroken about the end of their relationship, it is a simple recognition that the couple isn’t working anymore, and that it’s time for them to move on and the girl couldn’t be nicer with the way she blows this guy off.  Carole King was finalizing her divorce from her first husband and former songwriting partner Gerry Goffin, when she moved from New York City to Laurel Canyon the rock mecca section near Los Angeles to find herself.  They were married in August 1959 and this ended in divorce in 1968, as their growing lifestyle differences became irreconcilable.  Goffin wrote the lyrics and King wrote the music for many hits in the 60s and these songwriters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.  Carole is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century in the US, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Toni Stern a free-spirited painter, poet and lyricist from Los Angeles wrote the lyrics for the song ‘It’s Too Late’ after her relationship with James Taylor ended and he moved on to Joni Mitchell, but she won’t confirm who this song is about.  Timing plays a critical role for success in any relationship and when you are too late, you missed the boat and there is no going back once everything starts to disintegrate.  Having the wrong timing, almost guarantees an expiration date for your relationship and when you reach a certain point, all you can do is cherish the good memories, and try not to have too many regrets.  People change over time and they learn that they want different things and this could lead one of them to stop trying to make it work.

The day before Tapestry came out, Carole King turned 28, and that was a long time since she made her first record ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’, at age 3, on the boardwalk at Coney Island.  Carol began piano lessons at age 4, and when she was 8, she appeared with a classmate on the live television show The Horn & Hardart Children’s Hour, singing ‘If I’d Known You Were Coming, I’d Have Baked a Cake’.  Born Carol Klein on February 9, 1942, in Manhattan, New York, and raised in Brooklyn, while she was at James Madison High School, she chose the new last name “King” for herself as a stage name and formed her first quartet, the Co-Sines.  After years of being a songwriting housewife, she divorced Gerry Goffin and she started to hang out with musicians James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and she met Toni Stern who helped her transition from writing songs with Goffin to writing songs on her own.  During her time at Laurel Canyon, Carole became friends with James Taylor and went on tour with him.  This tour proved to be a defining moment of her career, as Taylor asked the shy and reluctant performer King to perform her song ‘Up on the Roof’ with him one night and this gave her the confidence that she lacked.

King brought her two young daughters to California, where she discovered her voice as both an individual songwriter and as a recording artist.  King signed with Lou Adler’s Ode label who was already famous for his work with Sam Cooke and the Mamas and the Papas.  King briefly formed a group called The City with Danny Kortchmar and Charles Larkey who she married in 1970.  The group only put out one album, Now That Everything’s Been Said.  They didn’t tour because King had stage fright, thus the album was never fully promoted and The City fell apart.  By the end of 1970, King began to devote herself exclusively to singing her own songs.  Her first album was titled Writer and it was released in 1970, but it was not a commercial success.

Tapestry was recorded in just three weeks, costing only $22,000 to make, as the composer was trying to raise her young children.  This album was #1 on Billboard for 17 weeks, it received four Grammy Awards in 1972, including Album of the Year and remained on the Billboard charts for 313 weeks and still holds the record for most consecutive weeks at number one by a female solo artist.  Carole King did little to promote it and it stayed on the charts for five years.  When the Grammy Awards were announced in 1972, Carole King’s album received four awards, more than any one artist had received in one evening up until that time.  Tapestry is one of the best-selling albums of all time, with over 25 million copies sold worldwide.  It was certified Diamond by the RIAA in the United States, with more than 10 million copies sold.  In 2003, Tapestry was ranked number 36 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.  ‘It’s Too Late’ received a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance, it was certified gold by the RIAA and it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003.

Stayed in bed all mornin’ just to pass the time
There’s somethin’ wrong here, there can be no denyin’
One of us is changin’, or maybe we’ve just stopped tryin’

And it’s too late, baby, now it’s too late
Though we really did try to make it
Somethin’ inside has died
And I can’t hide and I just can’t fake it
Oh, no, no, no, no, no
(No, no, no, no)

It used to be so easy, livin’ here with you
You were light and breezy, and I knew just what to do
Now you look so unhappy and I feel like a fool

And it’s too late, baby, now it’s too late
Though we really did try to make it (we can’t make it)
Somethin’ inside has died
And I can’t hide and I just can’t fake it
Oh, no, no

There’ll be good times again for me and you
But we just can’t stay together, don’t you feel it, too?
Still I’m glad for what we had and how I once loved you

But it’s too late, baby, now it’s too late
Though we really did try to make it (we can’t make it)
Somethin’ inside has died
And I can’t hide and I just can’t fake it
Oh, no, no, no, no

It’s too late, baby
It’s too late now, darling
It’s too late

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the theme is breakup songs.

20 thoughts on “One Of the Great Breakup Songs

  1. I’d call this one a bit of a classic 🙂

    Whhooaa, whhooaa, whhooaaaa

    I get the same old dreams, same time every night
    Fall to the ground and I wake up
    So I get out of bed, put on my shoes, and in my head
    Thoughts fly back to the break-up

    These four walls are closing in
    Look at the fix you’ve put me in

    Since you been gone, since you been gone
    I’m outta my head, can’t take it
    Could I be wrong, but since you been gone
    You cast a spell, so break it
    Oooohhh – Whhooooaaa – Ooooohhh
    Since you been gone

    So in the night I stand beneath the back street light
    I read the words that you sent to me
    I can take the afternoon, the night-time comes around too soon
    You can’t know what you mean to me

    Your poison letter, your telegram
    Just goes to show you don’t give a damn

    Since you been gone, since you been gone
    I’m outta my head, can’t take it
    Could I be wrong, but since you been gone
    You cast a spell, so break it
    Oooohhh – Whhooooaaa – Ooooohhh
    Since you been gone

    If you will come back
    Baby you know
    You’ll never do wrong

    Huhhhhh

    Since you been gone, since you been gone
    I’m outta my head, can’t take it
    Could I be wrong, but since you been gone
    You cast a spell, so break it

    Oooohhh – Whhooooaaa – Ooooohhh

    Ever since, you been gone
    Since you been gone, since you been gone
    I’m outta my head, can’t take it
    Since you been gone, since you been gone

    Source: Musixmatch

    Songwriters: Russell Ballard

    Since You’ve Been Gone lyrics © Russell Ballard Ltd.

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    1. Yes Christine I found that interesting also. I skipped over her successful years with Gerry Goffin because I think that everyone knows about that and they had so many hits, which would have made my post much longer.

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      1. I know some people who live near me haven’t got it yet. It’s not divided with democrats and republicans here…I know both and they both give the same reason. They are more afraid of the long term-effects of the vaccine than getting covid. It’s totally up to them though.

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  2. Tapestry is, indeed, one of the very best albums. The message in the song you chose from Carole King is very similar to the song I chose, “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” recoded by Bonnie Raitt.

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