King, Carole

King, Carole, 1942-, American singer-songwriter, b. New York, N.Y., as Carole Joan Klein. King enjoyed two separate careers; in the early ‘60s, she partnered with lyricist and her then-husband Gerry Goffin to write many pop standards, and then in the late ‘60s-early ‘70s emerged as one of the most successful female solo artists of her day. She began receiving piano lessons from her mother when she was 4 years old, and formed her first band in high school. She met Goffin in college and they married in 1959 and began writing songs together, scoring their first hit with the Shirelles’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (1960), also the first #1 pop hit by a Black group. Other hits followed including “Chains” (The Cookies, 1962; covered by the Beatles, 1963), “Up on the Roof” (The Drifters, 1962), “I’m Into Something Good” (Herman’s Hermits, 1964), “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (The Monkees, 1967), and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (Aretha Franklin, 1967). In 1969, King divorced Goffin and began performing with James Taylor. Her breakthrough came with the album Tapestry (1971), which remained on the album charts for almost six years and is reported to have sold over 25 million copies; it won four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year (“It’s Too Late”), and Song of the Year (“You’ve Got A Friend”). She has continued to record and tour, including a reunion tour with Taylor in 2010. In 2014, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical opened on Broadway for a successful run, with lead actress Jessie Mueller winning a Tony Award for her portrayal of the singer. King has been awarded numerous honors, including the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song by the Library of Congress (2013) and a Kennedy Center Honor (2017).

See her memoir (2012); S. Weller, Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon—And the Journey of a Generation (2008), L. Glass, Carole King’s Tapestry (2021).

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