Top 10 Carole King Songs

Carole King Songs

Our Top 10 Carole King songs list looks back at the care of one of the most important and influential songwriters in classic rock history.

New York’s favorite daughter is simply one of the most successful songwriters in modern music history. Born in Manhattan, her father was a New York City Firefighter and her mother was a teacher. Carole King’s songwriting career began in 1958 with the release of the single “The Right Girl.” From that point on through the 1960s, Carole King enjoyed great success writing multiple hit songs for various artists.

Carole King’s Tapestry album would become for a time, one of the biggest selling albums in popular music history. It was a record that contained new songs, but also presented fans with new versions of Carole King songs she had written in the 1960s for various artists. Carole King continued to release albums thought out the 1970s on a consistent basis. Her recorded output slowed down in the 1980s and 1990s. Her last album of new material, Love Makes the World Go Around, was released in 2001.

Carole King has written so many wonderful songs that there are bound to be many people who will argue over certain songs that did not make this list. We tried picking the most important Carole King Songs as far as cultural impact goes. We also picked some of our favorites which is why these lists are always based on subjectivity. It is fun to pick songs, and it’s even more fun having to choose only 10. Let us know which ones you think we missed. But then you would have to take one away; that’s where it gets tough.

# 10 – City Streets

We open up our Top 10 Carole King Songs list may surprise some fans. Carole King has written so many classic numbers over the past fifty years, that it may seem odd that a relatively unknown song would make this list. But if you take one listen to this spectacular track, we are sure you will be won over. The song “City Streets,” was the title track from the album City Streets. The album was released in 1989,.

The album featured an all-star cast of musicians It doesn’t get much better than Eric Clapton on guitar. The man really lights it up on this one. Also featured in the song was the late Michael Brecker who stands as one of the greatest saxophone players of the jazz fusion era. Wayne Pedzwater played bass and the great Steve Ferr0ne sat in the drum seat.

# 9 – The Loco-Motion

Every generation yields at least one dance craze. In the 1950s and 1960s, there were multiple dance crazes that shook things up for teens from coast to coast. In 1962, Carole King and Gerry Goffin part in contributed to the dance craze madness by writing the “Loco-Motion,” for their babysitter Little Eva. The song became a huge hit for the trio as it reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard music charts.

A little over ten years later, the popular rock band Grand Funk Railroad scored another  Number 1 hit with their version of the “Loco-Motion.” And of course, three times the charm, because in 1987, Kylie Minogue’s recording of the song reached No.3 on the Billboard music charts.

# 8 – Oh No Not My Baby

Just the title alone brings shivers and tears to anyone who has ever been cheated on. This heartbreaking Carole King song was written in 1964 and released the same year by Maxine Brown. The song reached Number 24 on the Billboard music charts. The song has been recorded by many of the biggest names in the music business. Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, Cher, Aretha Franklin, Manfred Mann, Dusty Springfield, and of course Carole King herself have all recorded beautiful versions of this heartbreaking song.

# 7 – Been To Canaan

With a beautiful piano introduction, this warm-hearted song settles into a soulful laid-back groove that is pure perfection. Carole King’s sweet harmonies fill the song with complete wrap-around joy. “Been To Canaan,” was the lead single from Carole King’s Rhymes and Reasons album. The record was released in 1972. It’s interesting that although the song was the lead-off single to the album, it was placed as the last song on the album. The album was produced by Lou Adler.

# 6 – Jazzman

After the enormous success of Tapestry, it seemed to be an incredibly daunting task to follow up that amazing record. However, a few years later in 1974, Carole King did indeed rise to the occasion. With the release of her album Wrap Around Joy in 1974, Carole King once again hit Number 1 on the Billboard Album Charts. From the album, Carole King released two wonderful singles that were huge hits.

Both “Nightingale,” and “Jazzman,” broke the U.S, Billboard Charts Top 10 list. But it was the jazz-inspired riffs of Carole King’s “Jazzman,” that defined one of Carole King’s most unique singles of her career. With legendary saxophonist Tom Scott blowing throughout the tune, Carole King went on to record one of her finest vocals ever.

At the time in 1974, artists like Elton John,  Steely Dan, and Paul McCartney were dominating the airwaves with perfectly crafted pop gems. Carole King’s “Jazzman,” was a masterpiece that helped define that great year in popular music history. Although the song was a huge hit, we always felt it was one of her most overlooked songs because Carole King has simply has written just so many hits for such a long period of time.

# 5 – It’s Too Late

With all the legendary songs that were given new treatments on Carole King’s Tapestry album, it was a brand new song that became the album’s biggest hit. Released as the lead-off single, “It’s Too Late,” was a huge smash hit for Carole King. The song will definitely go down in history as having one of the greatest opening piano licks.

The song reached Number 1 on the Billboard music charts. On the other side of the 45 rpm single was the great track “I Feel The Earth Move.” It would be highly unfair to call that one a B-side. The song “It’s Too Late,” was written by Carole King and Toni Stern who wrote the lyrics.

# 4 – Up On The Roof

Some people love the Drifters’ version of this song, others prefer Carole Kings’. Regardless of which version one prefers, there is no doubt that “Up On The Roof,” is an all-time classic pop song. Most writers would give anything to write a song like “Up On The Roof,” in their career. Carole King has made a living writing classics just like this one. Most songwriters write bridges to songs to break up the monotony of the verses and chorus. Carole King’s bridges were often the highlights of many of her songs.

Listen to the bridge on this great track and you will understand what we are talking about. The song was originally recorded by the Drifters in 1962. It was also recorded by Laura Nyro in 1970, James Taylor in 1979, and countless others. Bruce Springsteen often performed it live in the mid-1970s. Carole King’s own version of the song was released on her 1971 album Writer.

# 3 – You’ve Got a Friend

The last top three songs on this Top 10 Carole King Songs list are pretty interchangeable as far as ranking goes. We switched them around multiple times and then just gave up. If we had to choose the most popular Carole King song of all time it would be “You Got A Friend.”

How many times in history can you count that two artists released the same song at the same time and huge hit singles with both releases? Well, Carole King and James Taylor did it back in 1971.  Carole King won the Grammy for Song of the Year for You Got a Friend in 1971. James Taylor won the Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for the song.

# 2 – Will You Love Me Tomorrow?

Out of all the songs that Carole King has written this one may just be her most beautiful one. The song was originally recorded in 1960 by The Shirelles. The Shirelles had a Number 1 hit with the song. Since its original release, the song has been recorded by hundreds of artists including The Four Seasons, Dave MasonLinda RonstadtBryan Ferry, and Amy Winehouse. But we feel the most beautiful version of all was Carole King’s own recording of the song that was released on her Tapestry album.

# 1 – (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

Choosing the Number 1 song on this Top 10 Carole King Songs list was no easy feat. However, the great recording of Carole King’s (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin is what sealed the deal.  It doesn’t matter who sings a song if there is not much of a song in the first place. However, when you take a great song and then pair it with perhaps the greatest rhythm and blues singers in history, well then you have something very special.

We love Carole King’s version. King’s version on Tapestry is as earnest as one can get. It’s beautifully sung, played, and produced. Nonetheless, Aretha Franklin’s talent helps to define just how great of a songwriter Carole King is. It was a moment in history when two of the best in their own fields came together to create one of the most incredible recordings in popular music history.

Photo:By Michael Borkson [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Top 10 Carole King Songs article published on Classic© 2022 claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Any theft of our content will be met with swift legal action against the infringing websites. Protection Status

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Johnny Marr Albums
Complete List Of Johnny Marr Albums And Discography
Classic Rock Christmas Songs
Our 10 Favorite Classic Rock Christmas Songs
A Thousand Horses Albums
Complete List Of A Thousand Horses Albums And Songs
Blackmore's Night Albums
Complete List Of Blackmore’s Night Albums And Discography
Can Albums
Top 10 Can Albums
Kiss Bootlegs
KISSteria on Vinyl: Ten’ 70s-era Bootlegs for Records Collectors
10 Essential Metal Albums Released Between 1970 and 1995
10 Essential Metal Albums Released Between 1970 and 1995
The River Album Bruce Springsteen Should Have Released
The River Album Bruce Springsteen Should Have Released
Mick Jagger and Sammy Hagar
Will Sammy Hagar or Mick Jagger Be The First 100 Year Old Rockers?
Comic Con 2023
Comic Con 2023 Rocks New York City
The Misunderstanding Of The Way AI Was Used In Now And Then
The Misunderstanding Of The Way AI Was Used In Now And Then
Beatles Song Now And Then
Just Saying “New Beatles Song Released Today” Is Breathtaking
Tim Lefebvre Interview
Tim Lefebvre: The Interview
Liberty DeVitto: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Liberty DeVitto: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Rob De Luca of Spread Eagle, Sebastian Bach & UFO: 10 Albums That Changed My Life From humble East Coast origins to grandest stages worldwide, veteran bassist Rob De Luca has seen and done it all. De Luca first hit the local Boston rock and metal scene in the late 80s after meeting guitarist Paul DiBartolo, bonding over Van Halen before forming Bang. Regional success came quickly, but eventually, the members of Bang went their separate ways, with De Luca and drummer Tommi Gallo heading to NYC and hooking up with Ray West and, later, DiBartolo to form Spread Eagle. By 1990, Spread Eagle was on the fast track, with a contract through MCA Records and a self-titled debut album poised to crush skulls. But poor timing and MCA's sad indifference left Spead Eagle out in the cold despite being a hard-boiled answer to Guns N' Roses's West Coast sleaze. Spread Eagle's first chapter came to an end in '95. As for Rob De Luca, his nimble fingers and gift for melody and songwriting kept him moving forward. Soon, he found a gig with former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach and the legendary outfit UFO. And in 2010, after coupling up with Ray West and his cousin Rik De Luca, Spread Eagle retook flight. During a break from Spread Eagle's increasingly busy touring schedule, Rob De Luca dialed in with to run through the ten albums that changed his life. But only after adding, "I made a playlist of these songs, including some I've written or co-written. Do you hear any of these albums' influence on me?" Listen here: 10) Gentlemen by Afghan Whigs (1993) Here's an entry that was so important to me. This may be the darkest break-up album of all time. Greg Dulli has been in many projects, but I feel Gentlemen is his zenith. Somewhat undefinable at times but always profound and honest. Listen to "Gentlemen," "Fountain and Fairfax," and "What Jail Is Like." 9) In on the Kill Taker by Fugazi (1993) By this time, I had been sucked in and spit out by the major-label record industry. Glam came and went; grunge was history, too. I was searching for new sounds. When I heard Fugazi's twin guitar approach, I knew this was what was missing. Fugazi may be considered a less polished sound than the albums above; however, once you "get it," it hits you like a ton of bricks, and there's no going back. From the moment I heard Fugazi, I went to every NYC show after. It's easily some of the best concerts of my life, and possibly my favorite bassist in Joe Lally. And their DIY ethics refused to charge us more than $5 a show! In on the Kill Taker is a powerful album demonstrated in songs such as "Smallpox Champion," "Great Cop," and "Public Witness Program." 8) Appetite for Destruction by Guns N' Roses (1987) I discovered many of these albums (sometimes long) after they were released. However, I was at the right place at the right time for this one. Steve Ostromogilsky had a Berklee College of Music lunch card and used to sneak out sandwiches for me. One day, he invited me to hang out at his place and listen to music. As we got off the train, he put Sony Walkman headphones on my ears and said, "Hey, check out this brand-new group." A song like "It's So Easy" was so different from the popular Sunset Strip sound at that time. Me and about 499 other informed rockers were lucky enough to see them on their first East Coast tour at the sold-out Paradise on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston (the same street Aerosmith started on). I saw Gn'R every tour after until I took a break when Buckethead joined. Gn'R is the band I've been lucky enough to see the most times live, almost 100! Everyone on this album is just stellar. Axl [Rose] had the tones, power, melodic sensibilities, and foresight to do what no other singer did then. Slash's playing was beyond memorable. Duff [McKagan] is one of the most underrated bassists in rock history, and learning his Appetite basslines is a masterclass. Steven [Adler] had the natural swing, and Izzy [Stradlin] was the secret weapon songwriter. Everything that's been heralded about this gem is deserved and true. Check out "It's So Easy," "Out Ta Get Me," and "Mr. Brownstone.' 7) Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (1975) Another contender for my favorite album and band of all time. Using The Beatles machine (same recording studio, engineer, record label), Pink Floyd made what I feel is their strongest, most cohesive album (my second favorite of theirs would be Animals). This list mainly consists of bands with an instantly recognizable sound. Floyd is certainly no exception to that! This album included a solid handful of undeniable rock radio classics, bookended by two halves of the mind-blowing song "Shine on You Crazy Diamond.' That song was written about former band member and founder Syd Barrett. It would be hard to live in a world without this album. Check out "Welcome to The Machine," "Shine on You Crazy Diamond (parts 6-9),' or even better yet, listen to the whole thing in one sitting! 6) Decade by Neil Young (1977) About this time, I started playing guitar. As a beginner, it was comfortable jamming to this album because the chord changes were simple—a great "first ten years" retrospective of Neil's stunning, unique songwriting. Neil is a treasure who always writes from the heart and stands up for what's right. Check out "Southern Man," "A Man Needs a Maid," "Down by The River," and "After the Goldrush." 5) Highway to Hell by AC/DC (1979) When I heard this album, I was firmly "me." My life would be 100% focused on hard rock music forever. AC/DC are like air; they're ubiquitous. Everyone knows them and their incredible songs. However, as a young teen in Wilmington, Delaware, I only had WMMR 93.3 FM Philadelphia and a few friends to inform me about the world of Rock outside my bedroom. AC/DC had not gone mainstream, and their albums were available primarily in the USA as imports. To put things more in perspective, I only knew two people in the world who had heard of AC/DC. A friend had an import that we played in Steve Buckley's basement, which sounded ripping. When Highway to Hell was released, WMMR started spinning the title track, and I immediately bought the album, listening to it every single day after school. Then WMMR announced AC/DC was coming to the Spectrum in Philly, supporting Ted Nugent! I liked Ted but loved AC/DC, so my good friend Mick Cummins and I bought tickets, and he drove us up to the Spectrum (where we saw most of our concerts). Bon Scott was in fine form, and the band went over great. Although the crowd knew Ted better, Angus [Young] wouldn't let anyone upstage him. I'll never forget it! Unfortunately, Bon would be gone in 6 months. Check out "Walk All Over You," "Touch Too Much," "Shot Down in Flames," and "If You Want Blood (You Got It)." 4) Toys in the Attic by Aerosmith (1975) By the time I heard this, I was now in my teens. I had a childhood friend up the street, Jim Linberg (we're still good buddies). His older sister had a great album collection, including Toys in The Attic. Once I heard that groove, my taste changed. I lost interest in rock music that didn't have some sort of "swing" feel to it. I think Rocks is a slightly better Aerosmith album (and possibly my favorite album of all time), but both are perfect or very close. Check out "Uncle Salty," "Adam's Apple," "No More No More," "Round and Round," and "You See Me Crying." 3) Alive! by Kiss (1975) When I was still a little kid, I asked for Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke album for Christmas. The entire family came over for an enormous feast, and I dropped the needle. When my mother heard the content, she turned off the album and said I had to exchange it. My mom was cool, but I was young and knew much more about life than she suspected. Anyway, the next day, she drove me back to the store. In the music section, promoted on an "endcap" was a Kiss Alive! display. I had never heard of Kiss, but that cover picture told me I had to have it! My first foray into hard rock. Check out “Strutter.” I went through my Kiss phase very quickly, I believe in a matter of months because I discovered the previous entry, Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic. 2) Honky Chateau by Elton John (1972) When I was a wee lad, my parents bought a used Volkswagen camper van from my uncle Ozzie. My favorite Elton John album is Yellow Brick Road, but Honky Chateau is great and easily one of his best. It sent me down a lifelong rabbit hole of loving everything about the 1970s partnership between Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin. The simple beauty of voice, the master songwriting, the perfect backing band, the clear, unobtrusive recordings, and always Bernie's incredible lyrics. The day this album was released, Elton became an unstoppable force that conquered the music industry. Check out "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" and "Rocket Man." 1) Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles (1967) Another tape that was included in the VW Camper. The van had a bunch of music tapes, and one was Sgt Pepper. I was too young to understand the sophistication of the music, but that was one of the many skills of The Beatles. They attracted listeners at every level, even little kids. I still feel that immediate connection to Sgt Pepper; now, I hear so much more. It's an album that changed the world and the world of music. Check out "Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds," "A Day In The Life," and "Fixing a Hole."
Rob De Luca of Spread Eagle, Sebastian Bach & UFO: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Jim Suhler Interview
Jim Suhler: The Interview
Jon Anderson Albums
Complete List Of Jon Anderson Solo Albums And Songs
Bonnie Tyler Albums
Complete List Of Bonnie Tyler Albums And Discography
Samantha Fish Albums
Complete List Of Samantha Fish Albums And Discography
Blue October Albums
Complete List Of Blue October Albums And Discography
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
The Grateful Dead's Keyboard Players
A Look Back At The Grateful Dead’s Keyboard Players
The Chick Corea Elektric Band The Future Is Now' Album Review
The Chick Corea Elektric Band ‘The Future Is Now’ Album Review
In Harmony albums
A Look Back At Both ‘In Harmony’ Rock Star Children’s Albums
John Miles Rebel Albums Review
John Miles ‘Rebel’ Album Review
Aimee Mann’s Solo Debut Album "Whatever."
30 Year Look Back At Aimee Mann’s Solo Debut Album ‘Whatever’