Carole King

carol-kingFrom: Manhattan, NY, USA

Carol King is an American composer and singer-songwriter. King’s career began in the 1960s when she, along with her then husband Gerry Goffin, wrote more than two dozen chart hits for a variety of artists, many of which have become standards. King has continued writing for other artists, as well as for her self.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that King found success as a performer in her own right. After her debut album, Writer, was a commercial disappointment, King scored a major breakthrough with the album Tapestry, which topped the US album charts for 15 weeks in 1971, and remained on the charts for more than six years.

In 2000 Billboard pop music researcher Joel Whitburn named King the most successful female songwriter of 1955-1999 because she wrote/co-wrote 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100. 61 of Kings hits charted in the UK.

As a solo artist, King has made 25 albums. Her most recent non-compilation album was 2010’s Live At The Troubadour, a collaboration with James Taylor. The album reached #4 on the charts in its first week and has sold over 600,000 copies. Her record sales are estimated to be more than 75 million copies worldwide.

King has won four Grammy Awards over the course of her career and was inducted into both the Songwriters and Rock And Roll Hall of Fames. She is also the recipient of the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the first woman to be so honoured. She is also a 2015 Kennedy Center Honoree.

Carol King was born Carol Joan Klein in February 1942 in Manhattan to a Jewish family. She grew up in Brooklyn, learned the piano at age four, and appeared on The Horn And Hardart Children’s Hour with a school friend at age eight. In high school, she changed her name from Klein to King, formed a band called the Co-Sines, and made demo records with her friend Paul Simon for $25 a session. King’s first official recording was 1958’s “The Right Girl”, released on ABC-Paramount.

King attended Queens College, where she met Gerry Goffin, who would soon become her song-writing partner. She married Goffin when she was 17, after King became pregnant with her first daughter, Louise. The couple left college and took day jobs, while writing songs together in the evening at an office belonging to Don Kirshner’s Aldon Music at 1650 Broadway opposite the Brill Building.

Neil Sedaka had dated King when he was still in high school, and had a hit in 1959 with “Oh! Carol”. Goffin took the song and wrote the playful response “Oh! Neil”, which King recorded and released as a single the same year. Goffin and King wrote The Shirelles’ #1 hit “Will You Love Me Tomorrow, which became the first #1 by a black girl group. With the success of this single, the couple quit their day jobs to concentrate on writing.

During the 1960s, King wrote the music and Goffin the lyrics to many hit songs. The two were behind Don Kirshner’s Dimension Records, which produced “Chains” (later covered by The Beatles), “The Loco-Motion” for their babysitter Little Eva, and “It Might As Well Rain Until September” which King recorded herself in 1962.

Other songs of note from King’s early period (1967) include “Take Good Care Of My Baby” for Bobby Vee, “Up On The Roof” for The Drifters, “I’m Into Something Good” for Earl-Jean (later covered by Herman’s Hermits), “One Fine Day” for The Chiffons, “Pleasant Valley Sunday” for The Monkees, and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” for Aretha Franklin.

Goffin and King divorced in 1968 and were starting to lose contact. King moved to Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles with her two daughters and reactivated her recording career. She formed “The City”, a music trio consisting of Charles Larkey (bass), Danny Kortchmar (guitar, vocals), and King (piano, vocals). The City produced one album in 1968, but sales were rather slow as a result of King’s reluctancy to play live. The group disbanded in 1969. Re-discovered in the 1980s, the album cut “Snow Queen” received quite a bit of radio airplay for a few years.

King met James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Toni Stern while in Laurel Canyon, and began collaborating with them on songs. King made her first solo album, Writer, in 1970 for Lou Adler’s Ode label. James Taylor played acoustic guitar on the record and provided backing vocals. That same year, King played keyboards on B.B. King’s album Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

In 1971 King followed with Tapestry, which included new compositions as well as reinterpretations of some of her previous songs written for other artists. The album was recorded concurrently with Taylor’s Mud Slide Slim, with an overlapping set of musicians including King, Danny Kortchmar and Joni Mitchell. Both albums featured the song “You’ve Got A Friend”, which was a #1 hit for Taylor. In a 1972 interview, King said that she “didn’t write it with James or anybody really specifically in mind. But when James heard it he really liked it and wanted to record it”. Tapestry has gone on to be one of the most successful albums of all time.

Carole King: Music was released in December 1971. It entered the top ten at #8 December 9, 1971, becoming the first of many weeks Tapestry and Carole King: Music simultaneously occupied the top 10. The following week it rose to #3 and on January 1 1972, it hit #1, where it stayed for three weeks.

Over the years Carol King has recorded a number of albums and certified herself as one of the most influential musicians of all time. While she never saw the same success that she did with Tapestry, most of King’s albums have charted and been certified gold, if not higher.

Artist Info: Wikipedia

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

  • Pleasant Valley Sunday [Demo]
  • Porpoise Song [Demo]
  • Sometime In The Morning [Demo]
  • Take A Giant Step [Demo]