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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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She met Toni Stern, a female lyricist, with whom she wrote the single, "It's Too Late," a song that would later become one of her biggest hits as a singer. Of that era she later recalled, "Toni was wonderful help with the transition from writing with Gerry to writing songs on my own… I didn't have the courage initially. James inspired me a lot. I write heavily under the influence of James Taylor."
Around the same time,
King signed to Lou Adler's Ode label and briefly formed a group called The City with Danny Kortchmar and Charles Larkey; she would later marry Larkey in 1970. The City only put out one album, Now That Everything's Been Said. The group didn't tour because of King's stage fright; the album was therefore never promoted fully and The City fell apart. By the end of 1970, King began to devote herself exclusively to singing her own songs.
Although her first solo effort, Writer, would prove to be a bust, her second album, Tapestry, released in 1971, would go on to stay at No. 1 on the Billboard charts for a record-breaking 15 weeks; it stayed on the charts in some form for a stunning six years. Tapestry remained the longest-tenured album in the top spot until it was finally beaten out by Michael Jackson's Thriller in 1982. As fellow songwriter Cynthia Weil said: "Carole spoke from her heart, and she happened to be in tune with the mass psyche. People were looking for a message, and she came to them with a message that was exactly what they were looking for." Some of the hits from Tapestry were earlier King compositions reclaimed in her own voice, such as "It's Too Late" and "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" She also added some new singles: "So Far Away," "I Feel the Earth Move," and "You've Got a Friend" (later a No. 1 hit for her friend James Taylor).
Her follow-up album, Music (1971), produced a No. 1 hit in "Sweet Seasons" and reached gold but failed to achieve the soaring status and sales as its predecessor. King's next few albums, Rhymes and Reasons, Wrap Around Joy, Fantasy, and Thoroughbred, were all certified gold as well. With Thoroughbred, she reunited with ex-husband Gerry Goffin as well as collaborated with James Taylor, David Crosby, and Graham Nash.
Her marriage to Larkey lasted until their divorce in 1976. Soon after she entered her third marriage to songwriter Rick Evers in 1977; the union ended tragically when he died of a heroin overdose a year later. Before his death, Evers and King collaborated on the album Simple Things, which would be her last to be certified gold. Her next two releases, Welcome Home and Touch the Sky, were not particularly successful.
Her last album to achieve some commercial success was Pearls (1980), which contained performances of songs written by her and Goffin years earlier. Later, King mainly wrote singles for film, television and other artists, effectively ending her career as a singer for a number of years.
In 1977, King relocated to Idaho and lived in a tiny mountain town that fostered her love of nature and inspired an environmental activism that would shape her life in subsequent decades.
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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.
Influential Female Musicians of the 1960s 17 people in this group
Famous Aquarians 552 people in this group
Famous Environmental Activists 39 people in this group