Carole King

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Carole King

Born February 9, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York as Carole Klein, she was playing the piano by the age of four. While still in high school she was in her first band, the Co-Sines. Carole was a huge fan of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller (the duo who penned hits for Elvis Presley, the Coasters and Ben E. King), she became a regular at DJ Alan Freed's local Rock 'N' Roll shows. She met songwriters Paul Simon and Neil Sedaka as well as Gerry Goffin, whom she later forged a writing partnership with, while attending Queens College.

She and Goffin eventually married and began writing under publishers Don Kirshner and Al Nevins, where they worked with Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman, Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and many others. In 1961, the team scored their first hit with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow; " sung by the girl group the Shirelles. They wrote Bobby Vee's "Take Good Care of My Baby," and also hit Number One. As we learned in class,” The Locomotion," recorded by their baby-sitter, Little Eva also landed a number one hit for the duo.

The couple wrote over 100 chart hits together, including the Chiffons' "One Fine Day," the Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday," the Drifters' "Up on the Roof," the Cookies' "Chains" (later covered by the Beatles), Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman" and the Crystals' controversial "He Hit Me (and It Felt like a Kiss)."

By the mid-1960s King, Goffin and columnist Al Aronowitz founded their own record label, Tomorrow Records; King tried to have a solo career, but scored only one hit, 1962's "It Might as Well Rain Until September.

After her marriage to Goffin ended, she married bassist Charles Larkey and moved to the West Coast. In 1968 they formed the City, a trio with musician Danny Kortchmar. The group only recorded one LP, Now That Everything's Been Said, but due to King's stage fright they could not tour. The album was a failure, but featured songs later covered by the Byrds' ("Wasn't Born to Follow"), Blood, Sweat and Tears ("Hi-De-Ho") and James Taylor ("You've Got a Friend").

James Taylor and Carole King were close friends, and he continued to encourage her to pursue her solo career. King’s 1970's release, Writer, was a flop. But Carole struck gold in 1971, with the release of Tapestry. That album stayed on the charts for over six years and became the best-selling album of the era.
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