Saturday, July 31, 1971

James Taylor hit #1 with “You’ve Got a Friend”

You’ve Got a Friend

James Taylor

Writer(s): Carole King (see lyrics here)

First Charted: May 29, 1971

Peak: 11 US, 11 CB, 2 HR, 11 AC, 1 CL, 4 UK, 2 CN, 25 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 39.1 video, 167.92 streaming

Awards (James Taylor):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Carole King):

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Carole King wrote “You’ve Got a Friend” during sessions for her Tapestry album as well as James Taylor’s Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon in January 1971. Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Danny Kortchmar play on both versions. Kortchmar and Taylor had been friends since they were kids and Taylor and King were long-time friends as well. FB

In April 1971, King released the double-A side single “It’s Too Late”/ “I Feel the Earth Move” to promote the Tapestry album. It went to #1 in June 1971 for five weeks and was knocked from the top by Paul Revere & the Raiders’ “Indian Reservation.” After one week at the pinnacle, that song succumbed to Taylor’s version of “You’ve Got a Friend.”

King said “the song was as close to pure inspiration as I’ve ever experienced. The song wrote itself. It was written by something outside myself, through me.” WK Taylor said King wrote the song in response to his line “I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend” in his song “Fire and Rain.” WK She didn’t, however, write it with the intent of him or anyone else specifically recording it. However, she said “when James heard it he really liked it and wanted to record it.” WK Taylor has said the song had particular resonance for him because he had recovered from depression shortly before hearing the song. WK

When King’s version was released on the Tapestry album, Rolling Stone critic Jon Landau called it her “most perfect new song.” WK Author James D. Perone describe its themes as “a universal, sister/brotherly, agape-type love of one human being for another.” WK The song won Grammys for Song of the Year and Best Pop Male Vocal Performance.


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for James Taylor
  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 296.
  • WK Wikipedia

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First posted 3/16/2021; last updated 9/14/2023.

Friday, July 2, 1971

T-Rex “Get It On (Bang a Gong)” released

Get It On (Bang a Gong)


Writer(s): Marc Bolan (see lyrics here)

Released: July 2, 1971

First Charted: July 10, 1971

Peak: 10 US, 12 CB, 10 HR, 1 CL, 14 UK, 12 CN, 14 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 27.4 video, 202.96 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This glam-rock classic was originally released in the UK as “Get It On,” but got re-titled as “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” for its American release to avoid confusion with a song of the same name by the band Chase. Under any name, the song was “T. Rex’s shining moment and their biggest selling hit.” UCR It was one of four #1’s and 11 top tens for the group in the UK. In the U.S., nothing else came close to the success of “Bang a Gong;” the group’s next biggest hit was “Telegram Sam” at #67.

“The hypnotic groove of this…song begs you to play it repeatedly. The boogie-like piano, backup vocals from Flo and Eddie of the Turtles, and Bolan’s sassy guitar give way to the simple but suggestive lyrics that radiate like the ‘hub-cap-diamond-star-halo’” line UCR and other lyrics he came up with on the spot. SF The song also included saxophone form Ian MacDonald of King Crimson and may or may not have featured Yes’ Rick Wakeman on piano. WK

Bolan said he wrote the song in an effort to emulate Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie.” Not only did he use the song’s riff, but used the slightly edited line “and meanwhile, I’m still thinking” at the fade of “Get It On.” WK Tony Visconti, who produced the song, says it was an unscripted ad-lib. WK

Fourteen years later, a remake of the song made its way back to the top-10 in the United States, even besting the original position by a notch. The cover was done by the Power Station, a supergroup which combined the talents of Robert Palmer with members of Duran Duran. Blondie covered the song in 1978, Witch Queen had a #8 disco hit with it in 1979, and U2 covered the song in 2020 with Elton John on piano. The Damned and Frankie Goes to Hollywood also recorded versions. SF Joan Jett says this is one of the songs she used to learn to play guitar. UCR


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First posted 7/22/2022.