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Gerry Goffin (born February 11, 1942, Queens NY); Carole King (born February 9, 1942); married each other in the early 1960s; children: one daughter, Louise. Education: Both attended Queens College in NY.
The songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King is one of the most successful partnerships in pop music. The songs they co-wrote together as part of the Brill Building musical dynasty are so successful that they are still played on radio stations throughout the country. The Beatles were so impressed and influenced by the Goffin-King duo that they were the first people they wanted to meet at the Brill Building in New York City, when they arrived in America.
During the late fifties and early sixties, the Brill Building became one of the foremost music publishers of the world and it fostered a group of young songwriters who were original and brilliant in their talents. The greatest ones were the teams of Gerry Goffin/Carole King, Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller, and Jeff Barry/ Ellie Greenwich. The couples mentioned here are responsible for writing most of the pop songs from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. Many were still in their teens when they started cranking out gold records for a who's who of rock and roll artists and performers. Instead of performing the songs they wrote and being out in front of the stage lights themselves, the Brill group preferred to work behind the scenes. However, as the Beatles' British invasion took hold of America's youth, the types of songs as well as the sound itself began changing and the success of the Brill Building began to decline. Another vital factor to Brill's decline was that many of the new musical groups arriving on the scene wrote their own songs and didn't have a need for hired tunesmiths. Most of the Brill songwriters saw what was coming and branched out into other kinds of songwriting. Ellie Greenwich became a jingle-song writer for commercials, some wrote musicals, Jeff Barry wrote the songs for the Archies, and Burt Bachrach began drifting towards the jet-set bossa nova songs he is now primarily associated with.
Gerry Goffin was born on February 11, 1942, in Queens, New York. He became interested in music at an early age and, as he grew older, progressed in his songwriting abilities. Goffin had a unique talent and style that only seemed to get better as he grew up. After high school, he attended Queens College. While at college, Goffin became part of a loosely based group of very talented, upcoming musicians and songwriters. It was here where he also met his future wife and musical songwriting partner, Carole King.
Carole King was born on February 9, 1942 in Sheepshead Brooklyn, New York. A very talented girl, Carole grew up singing, playing piano, and became entranced by the emerging new musical genre of rock and roll. Full of confidence, she told herself that she could write songs as good or even better than the stuff she was hearing on the radio. At the age of 16, she began traveling regularly to Manhattan after school to knock on the doors of the music publishers and record companies. Eventually, her perserverance paid off and she was accepted into the Brill Building as a songwriter. What followed was "Oh Neil," an answer to the popular Neil Sedaka hit "Oh Carol" written in her honor, a parody of Annette Funicello's "Tell Paul" which became "Short Mort," "The Right Girl/Goin Wild," and "Baby Sitter/Under the Stars," all these songs written while still in high school. Later, she began showing up with famous DJ Alan Freed at his local rock and roll shows. Upon graduation from high school, she attended Queens College and continued her songwriting. Along with meeting Goffin, it was here at Queens College where she likewise became friends with Paul Simon. Already a successful Brill writer, she married Goffin and began her most famous award winning collaborations as part of the writing team of "Goffin-King." Once married, it wasn't long before they had a child. They named the baby daughter Louise.
The first song Goffin-King wrote together, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," was initially turned down by Columbia Record's chief Mitch Miller. Undeterred by this rejection, they went to the Scepter label and released the song in 1960. The song also became a number one hit in 1961 for an all-girl group, The Shirelles. Their next tune "Take Good Care of My Baby" was performed by Bobby Vee in 1961 and became a number one hit as well.Their next effort was "The Loco-motion" and it was sung by their own babysitter Little Eva. Along with having had success as a number one hit in the early sixties, that song also re-emerged over a decade later to enjoy more hit success as a raucous hard rock piece performed by Grand Funk Railroad.
Another great Goffin-King classic during this early-sixties period was "One Fine Day" recorded by The Chiffons. Goffin and King went on to a fast rollercoaster ride of chart topping successes in the period of the early sixties. In 1962, King tried to launch a solo career but only had one hit, "It Might As Well Rain Until September." In the mid-sixties, columnist Al Aronowitz joined King and Goffin as partners in a new record company called Tomorrow Records which turned out to be a commecial flop.
As the mid-sixties became wilder in dress, politics, and music, the commercial songwriting market went through tremendous changes. No longer did the radio listening/record buying public want happy, late fifties-early sixties pop songs about high school love and crusing in convertibles. Even the mop top "yeah, yeah, yeah" of Beatlemania had long since passed. The trend in the music business was geared toward albums instead of single hits. The sound, tenor, and angry political tones of this new musical scene was an entirely different situation. However, despite all the socio-political changes, Goffin-King scored more musical gold. They wrote the number one hit, "I'm Into Something Good," for Herman's Hermits in 1964, "Don't Bring Me Down," performed by the Animals in 1966, "A Natural Woman," recorded by Aretha Franklin in 1966, and "Pleasant Valley Sunday," for the Monkees in 1967.
Eventually, the Goffin-King marriage dissolved. Goffin started writing with musical songwriting partner Barry Golberg. They scored the hit "I've Got to Use My Imagination' for Gladys Knight and the Pips in 1974. King married her second husband Myddle Class" bassist Charles Larkey and moved west. They founded a group called the City; a trio completed by New York musician Danny Kortchmar. They released a debut album Now That Everything's Been Said. The album failed. Some believe it was because of King's stage fright. However, three songs from that album went on to later commercial successes; "Wasn't Born To Follow" became a hit for the Byrds, "Hi-De-Ho" became a hit for Blood, Sweat & Tears, and "You've Got A Friend," became a hit for singer-songwriter James Taylor.
King became close friends with Taylor who encouraged her to embark on a solo career. A shy, sensitive woman, King eventually agreed with Taylor's advice and released her first solo album, Writer, in 1970. It flopped. She tried again by releasing her second solo album Tapestry in 1971. Three hits came from this effort, "So Far Away," "It's Too Late," and "I Feel The Earth Move." The album remained on the charts for six weeks and became the most popular, best-selling album of that early seventies period. Her next work, Music, was released in 1971. It went to number one, too, with the song "Sweet Seasons." Next, she released Rhymes & Reasons which reached number two on the charts in 1972. She put out Wrap Around Joy in 1974 which had "Jazzman." The song reached number one.
Worked with Old Friends
King reunited with Goffin in 1975 to write the album Thoroughbred. It wasn't a romantic reunion, it was simply a reunion of two very successful songwriters who wanted to collaborate once again to work their special magic. Key artists on this work were long-time friends David Crosby, Graham Nash, and James Taylor. Public reaction was subdued.
King's next project was the album Simple Things which she released in 1977. For this effort, she mounted a tour with a backup group called Navarro. During this period she married a third time. This trip around the altar was to songwriting partner Rick Evers. Tragedy struck when he died of a heroin overdose a year later. She put out an album called Pearls in 1980. It was a collection of song performances written during her Goffin-King days. It proved to be her last great hit. After this, she retreated from the fast paced music lifestyle and moved to a small mountain village in the state of Idaho. There King became actively involved in the environmental movement while still writing her songs. She released the album Speeding Time in 1983. After this album she took a six-year hiatus.
Wrote in the 90s
King graced the world of music again when she re-emerged with her album City Streets. City Streets featured an impressive guest performance by Eric Clapton. She released Colour of Your Dreams in 1993 with a cameo from Guns N' Roses' Slash. Having spent a long, successful career as a singer-songwriter, King decided to enter a new venue. In the 1990s she started working on various projects for the musical theater. In 1994, she made her Broadway debut in the tense, exciting drama Bloodbrothers .At present, King continues to write her music and explore different ways of expanding her creative horizons. Currently, Gerry Goffin continues to write his music. His most recent release was Backroom Blood in 1996.
by Timothy Kevin Perry
Began working at the Brill Building and wrote a series of number one hits "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" performed by the Shirelles in 1961, "Take Good Care of My Baby" performed by Bobby Vee released in 1961, "The Loco-Motion" performed by Little Eva, released in 1961, "Up on the Roof" performed by the Drifters released in 1963; "I'm Into Something Good" performed by Herman's Hermits in 1966, "Don't Bring Me Down" performed by the Animals in 1966, "A Natural Woman" performed by Aretha Franklin in 1967, and a "Pleasant Valley Sunday" performed by the Monkees in 1967.; Goffin started writing with new songwriting partner Barry Goldberg; King released first solo album Writer, 1970; released Tapestry, 1971, two songs off Tapestry gained became hit singles, "So Far Away" and "It's Too Late," released "Music," in 1971 which went to number one and had hit single "Sweet Seasons," released Rhymes & Reasons, 1972; released Simple Things, in 1977; released Pearls, 1980; released Speeding Time, 1983; released Color of Your Dreams 1993; Gerry Goffin released solo album Backroom Blood, 1993.
- Selected discography
- "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," 1960.
- "Take Good Care of My Baby," 1961.
- "One Fine Day," 1962.
- "It Might As Well Rain Until September," 1962.
- "The Loco-motion,"
- (Carole King solo album,)Tapestry , Epic Records, 1971.
- My Greatest Hits:Songs of Long Ago , Ode/CBS Records, 1987.
- Brill Building Sound , Era Records, 1993.
- (Goffin solo album),Back Room Blood , Genes Records, 1996.
- (Carole King solo album),Carnegie Hall Concert: June 18, 1971 , Sony Records, 1996. Sources
- Additional information was provided by CBS/Ode Records and Epic Records
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