Gerry Goffin and Carole King
Songwriting partners Gerry Goffin and Carole King composed a string of classic hits and cherished album tracks for a variety of artists during the Sixties.
A brief sampling: “Up On the Roof” (the Drifters), “One Fine Day” (the Chiffons), “I’m Into Something Good” (Herman’s Hermits), “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (the Shirelles), “Take Good Care of My Baby” (Bobby Vee), “Chains” (the Cookies), “Don’t Bring Me Down” (the Animals), “Take a Giant Step” (the Monkees) and “Goin’ Back” (the Byrds). The prolific duo, who remained married for much of the Sixties, even tapped their babysitter to sing one of the songs they’d written, and the result was a Number One hit and a new dance craze: “The Loco-Motion,” by Little Eva.
Goffin and King met while attending Queens College in 1958 and spent evenings together writing songs. After their college days had ended, the newlywed couple got hired by Don Kirshner to write songs for his Brill Building song publishing firm, Aldon Music. With King composing music on piano and Goffin penning lyrics, the pair banged out hits to order from a cubicle in a work environment that has all but vanished from the music business. Their success was so substantial that Kirshner set up a new label, Dimension, as a vehicle for Goffin-King songs, and the team moved into production and arranging as well. The pair kept abreast of stylistic changes on the vibrant Sixties scene, writing with vividness and versatility for British Invasion groups and R&B artists alike. They were paid a high compliment by the Beatles, who recorded their song “Chains” (previously a hit for the Cookies) and cited Goffin-King as songwriting influences.
In 1968, Goffin and King divorced and went their own ways. Goffin continued to write for and with others, while King evolved into a masterful interpreter of her own increasingly mature songs. She became one of the most popular singer/songwriters of the Seventies with the release of Tapestry, which contained such mellow classics as “It’s Too Late” and “You’ve Got a Friend.” A tour de force of confessional songwriting and understated performances, Tapestry held down the top spot on the album charts for 15 weeks, earning King a Grammy for Album of the Year in 1971.
Since then, King has released more than 20 solo albums, including 2010’s Live at the Troubadour, which was recorded during her tour with James Taylor. In 2012, she issued the book A Natural Woman: A Memoir. That same year, it was announced that she was retiring from music. She quickly corrected that statement, however, saying that she was just “taking a break.”
Goffin passed away on June 19, 2014.