Carole King Albums Ranked

Carole King Klein (born Carol Joan Klein; February 9, 1942) is an American singer-songwriter who has been active since 1958, initially as one of the staff songwriters at the Brill Building and later as a solo artist. She 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. King also wrote 61 hits that charted in the UK, making her the most successful female songwriter on the UK singles charts between 1962 and 2005. 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. Here are all Carole King albums ranked.

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10. Pearls: Songs Of Goffin And King (1980)

“All songs represented here are common that they were originally written by King/Goffin for other artists. And so we hear songs from Carole King for the first time such as “The Loco-Motion” (1962) or “One Fine Day”, the latter was a world hit by the girl group The Chiffons in 1963.”

9. Love Makes The World (2001)

“Love Makes the World” starts with an updated rap sound and opens into a beautiful pop tune, “Can’t stop believing love makes the world go round & round.” “You Can Do Anything” starts with discouragement, but then breaks into a Back Street Boys-type chorus filled with a positive affirmation.”

8. Rhymes And Reasons (1972)

“Rhymes and Reasons contains the kind of music that most listeners associate with the singer-songwriter-fluid, piano driven, and melodic. One critic stated that this collection reflects the quiet life she found with Charlie Larkey, and musically I would agree that this is her most calm and calming album. Almost each song centers on Carole’s use of layering multiple piano tracks (the piano work on this album is a bit more ornate and better recorded than on Tapestry), a solid bass line, and her voice.”

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7. Really Rosie (1975)

“The tunes on “Really Rosie” are not only positively joyous and highly infectious, but they allow King to do things with arrangements and vocals which you would not ordinarily hear in her other music. It is constantly full of wonderful surprises. Each song weaves into the next with King’s two-fisted piano style in firm control. Best tracks? Impossible to choose. Certainly all of the tracks used for the TV special are among the best. “

6. Writer (1970)

“This album is, by far, Ms. King’s most underrated album. It includes classic ballads such as “No Easy Way Down”, in which Carole finds confidence in her voice and delivers a song that deals beautifully with the ups and downs of life and relationships. The slower version is much more evocative then Dusty Springfield’s cover on “Dusty in Memphis.” “Child of Mine” is a simple yet beautifully delivered song written for Carole’s daughter, Louise. “Goin Back” is another classic which expresses a deep yearning for the simpler things in life. Much like her songs, the simpler things in life are usually the best.”

5. Thoroughbred (1976)

“Thoroughbred” is one of the finest romantic albums of the mid-1970s, simultaneously joyful and painful in its sincerity and directness. Carole King wears her heart on her sleeve and places everything on the table emotionally with this collection of songs. With “Thoroughbred” there is a raw urgency in King’s voice, which was missing from a few earlier Carole King album”

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4. Wrap Around Joy (1974)

“”Wrap Around Joy” is top-notch from start to finish. More instruments are added into the mix on this one giving it a more polished feel. And musically it all sounds great. The production doesn’t take away from the songs in any way. It really only adds to it on this album. Carole has always had a way with a good melody, making the songs easy to remember. The lyrics are meaningful and down to earth.”

3. Music (1971)

“With “Music”, King experiments with some new sounds and styles, such as the R & B track “Brother, Brother” which opens the album with a sound reminiscent of the tune “What’s Going On?” The title track is a truly uplifting jazz waltz with an incredible sax improvisation as a centerpiece.”

2. Fantasy (1973)

“1973’s “Fantasy” is certainly one of Carole King’s greatest musical achievements and one of the most innovative albums of the early 1970s. The entire album works as a “sound suite” or “medley” as each song bleeds seamlessly into the next without any pause or interruption. King, of course, wrote, arranged and orchestrated all of the music, taking charge of conducting the string sections as well.”

1. Tapestry (1971)

“Tapestry features the two hit songs, “It’s Too Late” and “I Feel The Earth Move.” King’s piano pounds out a beat similar to drums on “I Feel The Earth Move” which is sure to have your head bobbing, while her soulful vocals lend to the sexual theme of the song, without being raunchy. King’s own version of “You’ve Got A Friend,” is notably the best song on the album. Even though most people relate “You’ve Got A Friend” to James Taylor, King’s rendition of her own song is equally compelling; the words of this song are the ultimate anthem of deep, dedicated friendship. Most of the other songs of the album speak of loneliness or a desire to be at peace with one’s self.”