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It's Too Late (Carole King song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"It's Too Late"
It's Too Late by Carole King US vinyl single double A-side.jpg
Artwork for US vinyl single, also used for the other side of the release
Single by Carole King
from the album Tapestry
A-side"I Feel the Earth Move"
ReleasedApril 1971
GenreSoft rock
Songwriter(s)Carole King, Toni Stern
Producer(s)Lou Adler
Carole King singles chronology
"He's a Bad Boy"
"It's Too Late" / "I Feel the Earth Move"
"So Far Away" / "Smackwater Jack"

"It's Too Late" is a song from Carole King's 1971 album Tapestry. Toni Stern wrote the lyrics and King wrote the music. It was released as a single in April 1971 and reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts. Sales were later gold-certified by the RIAA. Billboard ranked "It's Too Late" and its fellow A-side, "I Feel the Earth Move", as the No. 3 record for 1971.

Music and lyrics

The lyrics describe the blameless end of a loving relationship.[1] Music critic Dave Marsh saw implicit feminism because the woman left the man.[2] Marsh also remarked on the maturity of the theme.[2] Music critic Robert Christgau wrote that "if there's a truer song about breaking up than 'It's Too Late,' the world (or at least AM radio) isn't ready for it."[3] Marsh described the melody as Tin Pan Alley and the arrangement as a cross between light jazz and "L.A. studio craftsmanship."[2] Rolling Stone remarked that King's "warm, earnest singing" on the song brought out the song's sadness.[4] According to author James Perone, the feel of the song is enhanced by the instrumental work of Danny Kortchmar on guitar, Curtis Amy on saxophone and King on piano.[1] Kortchmar and Amy each have an instrumental solo.[1]

The sadness of the song is emphasized by its minor key.[5] Perone pointed out several melodic techniques used by King to help make the song a hit. She builds the melody out of syncopated rhythmic motifs which are modified and combined over the course of the song, in contrast to other songs' commonly repeated rhythmic phrases.[1] Perone also thought that she made the melody memorable by repeating the highest note several times before descending to the tonic.[1] This marks the highest and lowest notes in the listener's ear, aiding recognition.[1] An important emotional element of the melody is that rather than resolving on the tonic chord at the end, as most songs do, "It's Too Late" ends on the mediant chord, which is closely related to the tonic (being its relative major) but leaves a sense of inconclusiveness.[1] This contrasts with the lyrics, which imply that the singer has fully accepted the end of the relationship.[1]

Toni Stern told author Sheila Weller that she wrote the lyrics in a single day, after her love affair with James Taylor ended.[6][7] The recording won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1972, and the song is included in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.



"It's Too Late" has been featured in Hollywood films, including Fandango (1985), The Lake House (2006), and Invincible (2006).[8][9]

Awards and recognition

Chart performance

Gloria Estefan version

"It's Too Late"
Gloria Estefan It's Too Late Single.jpg
Single by Gloria Estefan
from the album Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me
ReleasedMay 9, 1995 (1995-05-09)
  • Carole King
  • Toni Stern
Gloria Estefan singles chronology
"Everlasting Love"
"It's Too Late"
"Cherchez La Femme"
Music video
"It's Too Late" on YouTube

In 1995, American singer and songwriter Gloria Estefan released her cover of "It's Too Late" as the third promotional single (in the US), and fourth overall single released from her fourth studio album, Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me.

Critical reception

AllMusic editor Eddie Huffman described the song as a "moment of genuine pathos" in his review of Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me.[21] Phil Shanklin of ReviewsRevues stated that "King’s voice does possess the same warmth as Estefan’s."[22]

Official versions

  1. Album version – 3:57
  2. Piano mix – 3:38
  3. Radio mix – 3:19

Chart performance

Formats and track listings

US promo CD single (ESK 77877)
1."It's Too Late" (Radio Mix)Carole King, Toni Stern3:19
2."It's Too Late" (Album Version)Carole King, Toni Stern3:57
3."It's Too Late" (Piano Mix)Carole King, Toni Stern3:58
Europe CD single (EPC 662040 1)
1."It's Too Late" (Radio Mix)Carole King, Toni Stern3:19
2."It's Too Late" (Piano Mix)Carole King, Toni Stern3:58
UK CD-maxi single (662044 2) [Cancelled / Unreleased]
1."It's Too Late" (Radio Mix)Carole King, Toni Stern3:19
2."It's Too Late" (Piano Mix)Carole King, Toni Stern3:58
3."Cherchez La Femme" (Radio Club Mix)August Darnell, Stony Browder, Jr.3:54
4."Cherchez La Femme" (Album Version)August Darnell, Stony Browder, Jr.4:58
UK promo CD single (XPCD 652)
1."It's Too Late" (Radio Mix)Carole King, Toni Stern3:19
Mexico promo CD single #1 (PRCD 96384)
1."It's Too Late" (Album Version)Carole King, Toni Stern3:57
2."Cherchez La Femme" (Album Version)August Darnell, Stony Browder, Jr.4:58
Mexico promo CD single #2 (PRCD 96605)
1."It's Too Late" (Radio Mix)Carole King, Toni Stern3:19
Australia CD-maxi single (662020 2)
1."It's Too Late" (Radio Mix)Carole King, Toni Stern3:19
2."It's Too Late" (Album Version)Carole King, Toni Stern3:57
3."It's Too Late" (Piano Mix)Carole King, Toni Stern3:58
4."Cherchez La Femme" (Doom Dub)August Darnell, Stony Browder, Jr.8:17
5."Cherchez La Femme" (Piano Mix)August Darnell, Stony Browder, Jr.6:41

Release history

Region Date
United States June 9, 1995[26]
Europe June 12, 1995

Other versions

The song has been covered by


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Perone, J.E. (2006). The Words and Music of Carole King. Greenwood Publishing. pp. 34–35. ISBN 9780275990275.
  2. ^ a b c Marsh, D. (1999). The Heart of Rock and Soul. Da Capo Press. pp. 312–313. ISBN 9780306809019.
  3. ^ Christgau, R. "Carole King". Retrieved 2014-04-15.
  4. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Tapestry". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-04-13.
  5. ^ Dean, M. (2003). Rock 'n' Roll Gold Rush. Algora. p. 256. ISBN 0875862071.
  6. ^ Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, volume 2. Scarecrow Press. pp. 326–327. ISBN 978-0810882959.
  7. ^ Sheila Weller (2009). Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon - and the Journey of a Generation. Washington Square Press. pp. 325–328. ISBN 9780743491488.
  8. ^ "Fandango". Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Toni Stern". Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  10. ^ a b Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  11. ^ "Item: 7739 - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  12. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  13. ^ a b c d Hawtin, Steve; et al. "Song title 422 - It's Too Late". Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  14. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  15. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles". Cash Box Magazine. 1971-07-17. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  16. ^ Joel Whitburn's Bubbling Under the Billboard Hot 100 1959-2004
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1971". 1971-12-25. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  20. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  21. ^ "Gloria Estefan - Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-02-24.
  22. ^ Shanklin, Phil (2015-11-22). "100 Essential CDs – Number 72 –Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me –Gloria Estefan". ReviewsRevues. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
  23. ^'s%20too%20late%22
  24. ^'s%20too%20late%20july%22
  25. ^
  26. ^'s%20too%20late%22
  27. ^ "Brother, Brother, Brother > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles" at AllMusic. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Quartz - It's Too Late ft Dina Carroll". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  30. ^ "Various- 80's Re:Covered - Your Songs With The 80's Sound". Retrieved 23 December 2015.

External links

This page was last edited on 23 June 2021, at 07:33
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