♫ You’ve Got A Friend ♫ (Redux)

I was looking for an appropriate song to play tonight … something that suited my mood.  And then the first line of this song came to mind, and ‘down and troubled’ seemed a perfect description of where my head is.  I played this one almost two years ago, so it’s not too soon for a redux and it has an interesting story to go with it …

This song was written by Carole King during the January 1971 recording sessions for her album Tapestry. According to King …

“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.”

She also said that the inspiration for the song was a line from Taylor’s song, Fire and Rain … “I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend.” When the song was released in 1971, James Taylor was only 23 years old, and the song would go on to be his only #1 U.S. hit.  But now for the really interesting history …

James Taylor sang this after the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo murders in France at a rally in Paris, which Secretary of State John Kerry attended. He explained to Billboard magazine how that performance came about:

“At the time of the attacks, my wife and I were in Switzerland, taking vacation time before I went to Paris to do press for a tour of Europe. John and Teresa Kerry are, I would say, our good friends. Kim was texting him after the attacks and said, ‘John, I think you need to go to Paris.’ They were having a solidarity march two days after the attack. But John had to be in Peshawar, for a secret meeting. He said, ‘I’ll be there as soon as I can.’

When he came to Paris, we had dinner and he said, “I’m giving a speech with the mayor tomorrow. James, will you sing ‘You’ve Got a Friend’?” It was done at the drop of a hat. When I stood up to sing, my guitar wasn’t working. So the mayor [Anne Hidalgo] came over and held her mic in front of my guitar.”

You’ve Got a Friend
James Taylor

When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yeah baby, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you’ve got to do is call
And I’ll be there, ye, ye, ye
You’ve got a friend

If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep you head together
And call my name out loud now
Soon you’ll hear me knocking at you door

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yes I will, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall, ye
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, ye, ye, yeah

Ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend
When people can be so cold
They’ll hurt you, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them, oh yeah, don’t you let ’em now

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again, oh baby, don’t you know
Winter, spring, summer or fall
Hey now, all you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes I will
You’ve got a friend
You’ve got a friend, yeah

Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend

Oh, ye yeah, you’ve got a friend

Songwriters: Carole King
You’ve Got a Friend lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

23 thoughts on “♫ You’ve Got A Friend ♫ (Redux)

  1. Pingback: ♫ You’ve Got A Friend ♫ (Redux) | The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

  2. James Taylor is one of my favorite go-to artist when I’m feeling mellow or introspective or just need to pause and reset. Carole King is another of my favorites. Thanks for sharing. All the best.

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    • PS – Quick story. My wife was in a high school pageant and she sang this song as her talent. She said she had never sung with a microphone by herself, so she said she ate the microphone so “you’ve got a friend” sounded very hoarse.

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    • Clive mentioned the duet with Taylor and Carole King … I listened and you guys are both right … it is excellent and I wish I had played it in this post. Ah well … next time I redux this song, I’ll include it! Glad you liked the music, my friend!

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  3. A lovely song, from one of my favourite albums – which I featured earlier this week. I also included this one in a post last May, but shared a live version sung together by James and Carole, which is rather nice.

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