Carole King

  • Singer, musician and songwriter born Carol Klein in 1942 in New York City New York.
  • She showed skills in music at the age of 3 – she took music lessons at 4, when her parents realized that she had perfect pitch. She was so good with words and numbers that she went from kindergarten into second grade. By high school, she formed a band called The Co-Sines, changing her name to King to avoid anti-Semitism. By 1958, she was writing and recording demo singles – she released 4 in 1958 and 1959. In August 1959, King married Gerry Goffin, who would become her songwriting partner.
  • In 1960, King and Goffin co-wrote Will You Love Me Tomorrow, which The Shirelles took to #1 on the Hot 100 chart. After this, they quit their daytime jobs to concentrate on writing music. During the 60s, King wrote music and Goffin wrote lyrics to a string of hits, including #1 songs Take Good Care of My Baby (Bobby Vee), The Loco-Motion (Little Eva), and Go Away Little Girl (Steve Lawrence). They also wrote perhaps their most famous song, Aretha Franklin’s (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, which peaked at #8 in 1967. King also had a minor hit in 1962 with It Might As Well Rain Until September – it originally was written for Bobby Vee, but Vee did not want to release it as a single, so King recorded it and released it, peaking at #22 on the Hot 100 Chart.
  • By 1968, King and Goffin divorced, and King decided to restart her music career, forming a trio called The City. They released 1 album, but King did not want to tour, and the band split in 1969.
  • Her first solo album, Writer, was released in 1970. Her follow-up was her breakthrough – 1971’s Tapestry album became one of the most acclaimed and successful albums of all time. It featured the #1 singles It’s Too Late and I Feel The Earth Move. It was the #1 album on the Billboard 200 album chart for 15 consecutive weeks, and remained on the chart for almost 6 years. It won 4 Grammy awards, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year. It is certified Diamond, and it ranks at #36 on Rolling Stone’s list of the Greatest Albums of All Time.
  • King’s next 5 albums from 1972 to 1976 all were in the top 6 on the album chart, with Music and Wrap Around Joy topping the chart. Three singles reached #1 on the Easy Listening chart – Been To Canaan, Nightingale and Only Love Is Real. Another single, Jazzman, reached #2 on the Hot 100 chart.
  • Albums released in 1977, 1978 and 1979 were less popular, as she fell victim to disco and new wave music. She released 4 albums in the 80s, just 1 in the 90s, and her last studio album of original music was released in 2001. A Christmas album was released in 2011. She released several live albums also, with 2010’s Live At the Troubador with her friend James Taylor reaching #4 on the album chart and ultimately selling over 500,000 copies in the U.S. In 2012, she announced that she was retiring from music, though in 2013 she performed with Taylor in Boston as a benefit for the Boston Marathon Bombing victims.
  • In 2013, King was a recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The first woman ever to receive the award, it recognizes songwriters for their body of work. In 2015, she was honored with a Kennedy Center award – Aretha Franklin’s performance of A Natural Woman that night was legendary (go to my post on Aretha Franklin from November 17, 2017 to watch it). Beautful – The Carole King Musical, a broadway musical show about her life and career, debuted in 2013. It won a Grammy award for Best Musical Theater Album. King also has been honored with a Grammy Trustees Award and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Rolling Stone puts King (along with Goffin) at #7 on their list of the Greatest Songwriters of All Time. That’s an indication of how accomplished she is. Here is King performing It’s Too Late in 1971.

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