Billboard celebrates Carole King‘s 75th birthday (Feb. 9) by looking back at her biggest hit songs on the Billboard Hot 100 and her career highlights. Most notably, the legendary singer-songwriter’s album Tapestry is among the longest-leading ever on the Billboard 200 chart.
King has notched 15 entries on the Hot 100, with four peaking in the top 10. Most notably, her double-sided single “It’s Too Late”/”I Feel the Earth Move” hit No. 1 on the chart dated June 19, 1971, and ruled for five weeks. It also ended 1971 as the year’s No. 3 single. “It’s Too Late” also topped the Adult Contemporary chart for five weeks in 1971 and went on to win the 1972 Grammy Award for record of the year.
King’s most decorated studio album, Tapestry, spent 15 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 (beginning June 9, 1971) and ended the year as the No. 2 album on the list; to date, it places at No. 10 on the chart’s all-time ranking. The LP won King two Grammys in 1972: for album of the year and best pop female performance. Tapestry includes songs written by King but previously recorded by other artists, including “You’ve Got a Friend,” popularized by James Taylor, whose version hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 in July 1971, and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” first made a hit by Aretha Franklin, who had taken it to No. 8 on the Hot 100 in 1967. “Friend” also won the 1972 Grammy for song of the year (awarded to a song’s writer).
Carole King’s Biggest Billboard Hot 100 Hits as an Artist
1, “It’s Too Late”/”I Feel the Earth Move” (No. 1, five weeks, 1971)
2, “Jazzman” (No. 2, 1974)
3, “Nightingale” (No. 9, 1975)
4, “Sweet Seasons” (No. 9, 1972)
5, “One Fine Day” (No. 12, 1980)
Carole King’s top five Billboard Hot 100 hits chart is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100, through the Feb. 18, 2017, ranking. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, eras are weighted to account for different chart turnover rates over various periods.
While the chart above ranks King’s top hits as an artist, she began her career as a songwriter with then-husband Gerry Goffin. The two wrote classics including the Hot 100 No. 1s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by The Shirelles (two weeks, 1961), “The Loco-Motion” by Little Eva (one week, 1962) and “Go Away Little Girl” by Steve Lawrence (two weeks, 1963), as well as The Chiffons‘ “One Fine Day” (No. 5, 1963). (Donny Osmond‘s cover of “Girl” also led for three weeks in 1971 and Grand Funk‘s version of “The Loco-Motion” spent two weeks at No. 1 in 1974.)
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, a Broadway show depicting King’s life, opened on Jan. 12, 2014, at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in Manhattan, where it continues to run. The musical won the 2015 Grammy for best musical theater album, as well as two Tony Awards in 2014, including best leading actress in a musical for Jessie Mueller’s interpretation of King.
Thanks to her legacy of hits and the musical, King continues to be revered. To date, more than 400 of her songs have been recorded by approximately 1,000 artists (according to her website). She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 as a solo writer. In 1990, she was inducted, along with Goffin, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the non-performer category; the duo has also been awarded the National Academy of Songwriters’ Lifetime Achievement Award and Trustees Award from The Recording Academy. In 2015, King was feted with The Kennedy Center Honors.