Episode 21. Carole King, Part 1
The Great Song Adventure is happy and proud to present this, the first of a remarkable five-part series of episodes with Carole King.
Today is the eve of Carole’s 77th birthday on February 9th, a perfect time to present this expansive and intimate conversation, and to celebrate one of the great lives in songwriting.
Conducted in her daughter Louise’s home right before Thanksgiving, 2018, Carole opened up about all aspects of her life and work, including much on working with her husband and Louise’s dad Gerry Goffin.
Because, as students of songwriting know, even before her two-sided hit “It’s Too Late” and “I Feel the Earth Move” went to number one in 1971, Carole King had already written eight other number one records with Gerry. Together they wrote a rich bounty of hit records (though both confirm they wrote a lot of lesser songs before reaching the great ones) – songs which are now modern standards, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” “Up On The Roof,” “Locomotive,” “Don’t Bring Me Down” and so many others.
Goffin and King
She was one of the first to walk that bridge from being a hit songwriter for other artists to being a singer-songwriter herself, and making one of the most essential and beloved albums of that era, Tapestry, produced by Lou Adler. And her songs continued to be defining records for others, most notably “You’ve Got A Friend” by James Taylor, and “Natural Woman,” written with Gerry to a title by Jerry Wexler, recorded by the Queen of Soul, of course, Aretha Franklin.
It was Carole’s idea to do the show. “Knowing of her reticence to do any performances or interviews,” Louise said, “I didn’t ask her to be involved. But she especially enjoyed the interview with Chrissie Hynde. She said she liked it because it was a real conversation, not just a series of questions, like most interviews.”
“So when she was in Los Angeles to visit me and my kids, Carole took the time to do an interview with Paul and me. But first she went to the piano and started sounding out a standard by Rodgers & Hammerstein – “Hello Young Lovers,” from The King and I. Though she didn’t know it, I recorded the song, which opens the first episode.”
Carole & Little Eva
Carole King & Gerry Goffin at their West Orange, New Jersey home
Goffin & King with Paul Simon
Photo by Jim McCrary
Louise Goffin & Carole King, photo by Elissa Kline Photography