Carole King is 70

Carole King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a composer of a slew of hit songs, many with her then-husband, Gerry Goffin. King, who inspired Neil Sedaka’s Oh, Carol, also put out an album, 1971’s Tapestry, that was in virtually every dorm room when I went to college. It held the “No.1 spot for 15 consecutive weeks, remained on the charts for nearly six years, sold 10 million copies in the United States, and 25 million worldwide. The album garnered four Grammy Awards including Album of the Year…”

Carole King made “three appearances as guest star on the TV series Gilmore Girls as Sophie, the owner of the Stars Hollow music store. King’s song ‘Where You Lead (I Will Follow)’ was also the theme song of the series, in a version sung with her daughter Louise” Goffin.

Thought I’d pick a dozen of her songs, my favorite interpretations thereof, with links to each.

12. Jazzman – Lisa Simpson with Bleeding Gums Murphy. Yes, it’s from the cartoon The Simpsons, early on.
11. Every Breath I Take – Gene Pitney. I think it was Fred Hembeck who turned me on to Pitney. Only got to #42 in 1961.
10. Chains – The Beatles. Covering a girl group called The Cookies, from their first album.
9. The Loco-motion – Little Eva. Goffin and King’s babysitter, who was, unfortunately, the inspiration for my LEAST favorite Goffin-King song, He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss). Loco-Motion would go US Top 3 twice more, by Grand Funk Railroad (1974, #1) and Kylie Minogue (1988, #3)
8. One Fine Day – The Chiffons. #5 in 1963.
7. I’m Into Something Good – Herman’s Hermits. If I believed in guilty pleasures, one would be Herman’s Hermits. I got their first greatest hits album when I failed to return the response card from the Capitol Record Club. And I’m glad I did. #13 in 1964.
6. Up On The Roof – The Drifters. Also covered by Laura Nyro (1970), James Taylor (1979, #28), and a number of others, but I love the 1962 model, which went to #5.
5. You’ve Got A Friend – James Taylor, a post-Goffin tune, with King on backing vocals and piano, went to #1 in 1971. Taylor and King have toured a great deal together in recent years.
4. Pleasant Valley Sunday – The Monkees. How could I not love this song? “Mr. Green, he’s so serene, he’s got a TV in every room.” #3 in 1967.
3. Don’t Bring Me Down – The Animals. Great raw sound one doesn’t associate with a King song. Got to #12 in 1965.
2. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin. Hmm, this went only to #8 in 1967. It’s such an anthem, co-written by Jerry Wexler.
1. Will You Love Me Tomorrow – Carole King, with the Mitchell-Taylor Boy and Girl Chorus. This was a number #1 hit for the Shirelles in 1960, King’s first big hit as a songwriter, but I’ve always been partial to King’s version on Tapestry.

Happy birthday, Carole!

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