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American singer and songwriter Carole King has written or co-written over 400 songs that have been recorded by more than 1,000 artists.
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Born in New York City in 1942, singer and songwriter Carole King has written or co-written over 400 songs that have been recorded by more than 1,000 artists. Many of her most popular works--including "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" for The Shirelles, "Take Good Care of My Baby" for Bobby Vee, and "You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)" for Aretha Franklin--were written in partnership with her first husband, Gerry Goffin.
Singer; songwriter; pianist. Born Carol Klein on February 9, 1942 in Manhattan, New York and raised in Brooklyn, Carole King's amazing musical gift was apparent from the time she was a toddler. Already an accomplished pianist by the time she turned 10, King began writing a multitude of songs by her early teens. At James Madison High School, she chose the new last name "King" for herself as a stage name and formed her first quartet, the Co-Sines.
She attended Queens College in New York, where she met Neil Sedaka, Paul Simon, and Gerry Goffin—all future famous songwriters like herself. She briefly dated Sedaka, who produced a hit song entitled "Oh! Carol!"; her response ("Oh! Neil!") did not do nearly as well.
Despite that minor setback, however, she forged ahead with her career and began a romantic relationship and songwriting partnership with Goffin. After she became pregnant at the age of 17, the couple quickly married in 1960 and continued to write impressive songs. The duo so impressed music publisher Don Kirshner that he signed them to his Aldon Music empire, where they established themselves immediately by writing the hit singles "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" for The Shirelles, "Take Good Care of My Baby" for Bobby Vee, and "Up on the Roof" for the Drifters.
As the 1960s progressed, the Goffin/King partnership flourished and the couple wrote dozens of hit singles, including "You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)" for Aretha Franklin, "Goin' Back" for Dusty Springfield and The Byrds, and "Pleasant Valley Sunday" for the Monkees. Though she never felt out of place as a woman navigating the testosterone-heavy world of the music industry, King did realize she was different from her housewife peers: "Living with Gerry in New Jersey suburbia, I was surrounded by the wives of doctors, accountants, lawyers. With a pen in one hand and a baby in the other, I was a real oddity: a working woman."
The Goffin/King partnership came under increasing strain as the 1960s continued. Even as their songwriting matured, their relationship fell apart as Goffin's numerous infidelities took their toll. (According to a biography by Sheila Weller, King even helped buy a house for one of his mistresses and a daughter they had together.) King and Goffin jointly formed a small record label, Tomorrow, but it soon disintegrated along with their marriage. King famously documented her relationship's collapse in her 1967 solo song, "The Road to Nowhere." King and Goffin divorced the following year and she officially began her solo career.
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American society experienced a revolution in the late 1960s and early 70s, especially for African-Americans and women. Janis Joplin was the finest white blues singer of her generation; female singer-songwriters like Carole King and Joni Mitchell shared their innermost thoughts and feelings; Aretha Franklin emerged as the Queen of Soul; and Bonnie Raitt established herself as both a strong vocalist and a brilliant guitarist. Through their music, the women of this era created the soundtrack of social progress.
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