In the final part of this series Johnnie Walker and critic David Hepworth look at two extraordinary female singer songwriters.
David believes that 1971 is the annus mirabilis for the rock album, as proved by previous programmes on Who’s Next and Hunky Dory. It also saw the release of the flagship album for confessional songs from the flagship writer at New York’s Brill Building. As David says “a bit like the scriptwriter becoming the lead actor”, the then 29 year old Carole King decided to perform many of the love songs she had written (and co-written), for artists like Aretha Franklin and The Shirelles, on her own album.
Tapestry features her friends James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Russ Kunkel and Danny Kortchmar and has sold more than 25 million copies across the world.
Twenty one years on, the independent and inventive Annie Lennox decided to record her solo debut at home, with a producer well known for his work with the Art Of Noise, the Pet Shop Boys, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Grace Jones – Steve Lipson. The resulting album Diva, although more electronic and dependent on new technology than Tapestry, was just as well received by a new generation and successful in an equally crowded market.