Throwback! Carole King “It’s Too Late” (1971)


“It’s Too Late”(1971)  by Carole King

Which song was #1 exactly 45 years ago?!

—”It’s Too Late” by Carole King.

Released: April 1971. It was the first single off of "Tapestry."

#1 for 5 weeks (June 13 - July 17)

Genre: Soft Rock, Doo-wop 

Length: 3:51

Label:  -Ode Records

Writer:  -Toni Stern -Carole King

Producers:  -Lou Adler

My Thoughts:

“It’s Too Late” is the first song I have memory of singing along to (6 years old). My mom and dad played it in the car.

I still sing it—14 years later. Now, I’ve come to realize what a big hit it was in 1971.

In my opinion, this is THE breakup song.  Why?

-It has a terribly realistic viewpoint. Carole King isn’t saying, “you’re the one with the problem, I’m perfect.” Nor is she saying, “It’s all my fault.”

The lyrics are quite neutral on who is the culprit. One thing is for sure, Carole King knows that it’s over.

Music critics talk about the sadness of the song. I, on the other hand, don’t think it’s that sad. She sounds remarkably decided and confident during the choruses. One might argue the verses are sad. I think they are more pensive, and reflective then downright sad.

This track was a double A-side with “I feel the Earth Move.”

It was the #3 record of 1971 on the Billboard “Year-End Chart.”

“It’s Too Late” made Rolling Stones Magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

The song won a Grammy Award for “Record of the Year” in 1972.


(Tapestry era photo)

Fun Factoids:

Apparently Toni Stern (the other songwriter) had inspiration for it right after her love affair with James Taylor ended.

Favorite Lyrics:

1. “Stayed in bed all morning just to pass the time.”

What a fresh opening! And who hasn’t stayed in bed all morning when you’re feeling down and don’t know what your next move should be.

2. “They’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.”

She keeps an optimistic outlook on their separate futures, while still tipping her hat to their good times—Then the final chorus explodes!


Here is a link to the full lyrics on

Here are links to two videos for the song. One is an audio and the other is a live performance (the days before music videos existed).

1.  Audio:

2.  Live:

Review by: Gio Bradley.


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