Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Story Songs: It's Too Late

Singer-songwriter Carole King recorded one of the most powerful break-up and heartbreak songs ever with "It's Too Late," the No. 1 single off her mega-selling Tapestry album in 1971.

The song, with lyrics by Toni Stern and music by King, tells of a couple drifting apart. The narrator tries to explain why they are falling out of love:

"Stayed in bed all morning just to pass the time
There's something wrong here, there can be no denying
One of us is changing
Or maybe we just stopped trying"

As in many relationships, it's the intangibles that a partner senses that provide the initial clues:

"It used to be so easy living 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"

While the narrator believes there will be good times in the future, it won't be with each other. And the song closes with the repeat of the chorus:

"But it's too late, baby, now it's too late
Though we really did try to make it
Something inside has died and I can't hide
And I just can't fake it"

I like the narrator's powerful voice in realizing the relationship is over while the significant other may be surprised by the confession. And King's vocal rings so true in the song's delivery.

The tune was No. 1 on the Billboard chart for five weeks while Tapestry earned four Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year for "It's Too Late." Read more about this fantastic album here.


  1. I always believe in hope. When a relationship is worth hanging onto one goes with the ups and downs, hangs on and knows it's going to get better.

    1. Well said, Socorro, but sometimes relationships don't get better and it's best to bow out before it really sours. We all know about abusive relationships that women (and perhaps a few men) won't leave and it doesn't end happily ever after.

  2. King is one of my all time favorite performer. Thanks for honoring her.

    1. Thanks, Sandie. King is one of my favorites as well. As you know, she's written many hit songs over the past 50 years. And her songs are so timely. People will be listening to her songs 50 years from now.

    2. I forgot to mention that I met Carole personally. I didn't realize she was as TINY as she was. Very, very warm-hearted and lovely lady.

    3. Awesome, what an honor to meet her, and yes, she is a classic and we will hear her for a long time.