Watch Carole King’s Iconic "It's Too Late" BBC Performance with Session Legend Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar
The Laurel Canyon classic gets a live airing with one of the best guitarists in the business.
On this day in 1971, Carole King released her second album, Tapestry. Considered an era-defining masterpiece this Grammy Award-winning multi-platinum LP remained on the Billboard 200 for several years throughout the decade.
While King’s unparalleled output as a songwriter has seen her heralded as one of the most influential musical artists of all time, Tapestry was her breakthrough album as solo performer.
Embellishing the recording was King’s long-time collaborator Danny Kortchmar – an ace session guitarist and producer whose phenomenal list of credits also includes James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, David Crosby and Graham Nash.
“For the Tapestry sessions, we were cutting three tracks a day at A&M studios,” Kortchmar told Guitar Player.
“Everybody was in the room sitting very close together, playing live. For a lot of the songs we had chord sheets, but for ‘It’s Too Late,’ Carole sat at the piano and played the song; I just had to absorb it.
“When it came to the solo, I was told, ‘Play something melancholy.’ I was using a Telecaster and probably a Princeton amp. I think I did two or three passes, and everybody seemed pretty pleased.
“I have to be honest: At the time, I wasn’t feeling crazy about my playing on it. I thought it was kind of lazy. I had no idea that the song was going to be a Number One record, and that I was going to be listening to it in supermarkets and drug stores my whole life.
“Over the years, I’ve learned to dig the solo, and I realized that what I played was very authentic and fit the song perfectly.”
Buy Tapestry here (opens in new tab).
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World (opens in new tab), Guitar Player (opens in new tab) and MusicRadar (opens in new tab) in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.