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Carole King
May 12 2021

2021 Inductee - Performer


After writing the soundtrack of the 1960s, Carole King wove a tapestry of  emotion and  introspection as a singer-songwriter in the 1970s.  Her solo work was a clarion call to generations of female artists and  millions of  fans  –  giving  them voice and confidence.  King has too many accolades to list – six Grammys,  the  2013  Library of Congress Gershwin Prize,  a  2015 Kennedy Center Honor,  and beyond. She  is already  a one-time  Inductee  with  former  husband  and  songwriting partner Gerry  Goffin,  with whom she co-wrote numerous  iconic songs.  Many,  like  the  Shirelles’  “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”  –  for the first time ever in the music industry – spoke to,  and for,  young women.  


King’s  time as a Brill  Building-style  pop  songwriter would be enough to make her a legend, but  she  was  just getting started. With the launch of her solo career, she  emerged as a  strong, pensive singer-songwriter  and Laurel Canyon  star. Her sophomore release  Tapestry  (1971) swept the Grammys. On  the  Tapestry  version of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” the danceable rhythms and full production of the girl  group sound is replaced by aching piano chords, subdued tempo, and sparse instrumentation. Above this texture, her voice – honest and earthy,  simple and beautiful – calls out from the place of a grown woman. The personal style of King’s performance on that track,  on  new songs  such as  “Beautiful,”  and  on  subsequent  albums  like  Fantasy  (1973)  and  City Streets  (1989),  has  connected with  listeners – particularly  women –because  it  came from a place of unabashed vulnerability.  


Carole King’s  life  is  a testament  to perseverance and creativity, so much so that  Beautiful: The Carole King Musical  ran for five years on Broadway, scoring  its own  GRAMMY and two Tony awards.  Everyone from the Beatles to  Lady Gaga has  covered her songs, and she defined what a singer-songwriter  is  for all who followed.  King  spent her career taking the concerns of women and girls seriously. By singing about her  personal  desires,  heartaches,  triumphs, and failures,  Carole  King gave women a voice and the confidence to change  their  own  lives – and  to  collectively change  our entire  world.

Definitive Carole King #RockHall2021

Influences: Rodgers and Hammerstein, The Penguins, Laura Nyro

Legacies: Beatles, Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion

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