Carole King

Born Carole Klein on February 9th, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York, she began playing piano at the age of four, and formed her first band, a vocal quartet, The Co-Sines, while still in high school. Carole was fascinated by the creativity of the composing team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, and she made it a point to attend as many of DJ Alan Freed's local Rock 'n' Roll shows as she could. While attending Queens College, she made friends with budding songwriters Paul Simon and Neil Sedaka as well as Gerry Goffin, with whom she forged a writing partnership. She recorded a handful of unsuccessful singles, including "The Right Girl" (1958), "Baby Sittin'" and "Queen Of The Beach" (1959), prior to recording "Oh Neil" (1960), an answer to Sedaka's hit single, "Oh Carol", that he had written about her. Although not a hit, her record impressed publishing magnate Don Kirshner, who signed her and her now husband Gerry Goffin to his Aldon Music empire.

By 1961, Goffin and King scored their first hit with the Shirelles' chart-topping "Will You Love Me Tomorrow". Their next effort, Bobby Vee's "Take Good Care of My Baby", also hit number one, as did "The Locomotion", recorded by their baby-sitter, Little Eva (Boyd). Together, the couple wrote over 100 chart hits in a vast range of styles, 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), and Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman". King also continued her attempts to mount a solo career, but scored only one hit, 1962's "It Might as Well Rain Until September" which reached #22 in America. In the mid-1960s she and Goffin, along with columnist Al Aronowitz, founded their own record label, Tomorrow Records, but the project ended when their marriage dissolved. This sad turn of events was chronicled on King's 1967 single, "The Road To Nowhere", which did not chart.

King then moved to Los Angeles and having signed to Lou Adler 's Ode label, formed a trio called The City with ex-Fugs duo Danny Kortchmar (guitar) and Charles Larkey (bass). Carole married Larkey in 1968, and the band recorded one LP, "Now That Everything's Been Said", but did not tour due to King's stage fright. As a result, the album was a commercial failure, although it did feature songs later popularized the Byrds' ("Wasn't Born to Follow"), Blood, Sweat and Tears ("Hi-De-Ho") and James Taylor ("You've Got a Friend"). Taylor and King ultimately became close friends, and he encouraged her to pursue a solo career. In 1970, she recorded an album called "Writer" which was largely overlooked, but 1971 saw her breakthrough album, "Tapestry", which stayed on the charts for over six years and was the best-selling album of the era. A quiet, reflective work which proved seminal in the development of the singer/songwriter genre, "Tapestry" also scored a pair of hit singles for Carole, "So Far Away" (#14) and the chart-topping "It's Too Late," whose flip-side "I Feel the Earth Move" garnered major air play as well. Her 1971 follow up album, "Music" also hit number one and generated the #9 hit "Sweet Seasons". 1972's "Rhymes and Reasons" reached number two on the charts and produced the #24 hit, "Been To Canaan". 1973 brought the LP "Fantasy" which yielded two more Billboard Top 40 hits, "Believe In Humanity" (#28) and "Corazon" (#37.) She continued with 1974's "Wrap Around Joy", which featured the #2 smash "Jazzman" and the #9 hit "Nightingale".

In 1975, King and Goffin reunited professionally to write songs for the album "Thoroughbred", which also featured contributions from James Taylor, David Crosby and Graham Nash. The album did not fair well and it's failure marked the end of King's tenure at Ode Records. After 1977's "Simple Things", she mounted a tour with the backing group Navarro, and married her frequent songwriting partner Rick Evers, who died a year later after a heroin overdose.

1980's "Pearls", a collection of performances of songs written during her partnership with Goffin, was her last significant hit, and King soon moved to a tiny mountain village in Idaho where she became active in the environmental movement. After 1983's "Speeding Time", she took a six-year hiatus from recording before releasing "City Streets", in 1989, which featured guest Eric Clapton. In 1991, she and Mariah Carey wrote the song "If It's Over" for Carey's second album "Emotions", but her own 1992 release "Now and Forever" and her 1993 "Color of Your Dreams" confirmed that she could no longer reach the sales figures that she did earlier in her career. Carole then tried her hand at acting, as witnessed by her starring role in Broadway's Blood Brothers, for a successful six month run in 1994. Two years later she appeared in Brighton Beach Memoirs in Ireland, directed by Peter Sheridan. In 1996, Carole wrote "Wall Of Smiles / Torre De Marfil" with Soraya for her 1997 album of the same title. The following year she co-wrote "The Reason" for Aerosmith, but Celine Dion also used it as the title track for her million selling 1997 album. When released as a single, "The Reason" peaked at number 11 in the United Kingdom and number 13 in Ireland. In 2000, Joel Whitburn, a Billboard magazine Pop music researcher, named her the most successful female songwriter of 1955 to 1999, because she wrote or co-wrote 118 Pop hits that reached the Billboard Hot 100. Carole was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2009 and in 2010 released of "Live at the Troubadour", a 2007 collaboration with James Taylor which reached #4 on the charts in its first week and has sold over 600,000 copies.

In the Autumn of 2011 she released an LP entitled "A Holiday Carole", a collection of holiday standards along with new songs written by her daughter Louise Goffin who also produced the album. The effort garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Pop Album. Carole's autobiography, A Natural Woman: A Memoir hit book store shelves on April 10, 2012 and entered the New York Times best seller list at number six. On December 3, 2012, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. After a tour of Australia in February, 2013, she teamed up with James Taylor for a benefit concert for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. President and Mrs. Barack Obama presented Carole with the prestigious Gershwin Prize for Popular Song at the White House on May 22, 2013. She became the first woman to receive that distinction given to songwriters for a body of work. In May, 2013 she received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music. The awards kept coming when Crole was named MusiCares Person of the Year in January 2014. On December 6, 2015, she was honored as a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Although she was no longer writing new material, Carole still appeared in concert from time to time and was the headline performer at the British Summer Time Festival held in Hyde Park in London on July 3, 2016, playing all of "Tapestry" live for the first time. The recorded concert was released as an album on September 1, 2017. In October, 2018 she released a new rendition of her song, "One", her first new recording since 2011. She said that she was inspired to re-write the lyrics of that tune, that first appeared on her 1977 album "Simple Things", to reflect her dream for America.

Having divorced her fourth husband, rancher Rick Sorenson, Carole remains happily single and independent on an Idaho ranch that she has called home since the early 1980s. Turning 77-years-old on February 9, 2019, she is actively involved with environmental organizations in support of wilderness preservation.