About Carole King
Carole King examines the complicated realities of love with a tenderness and swagger rare among her more plaintive ’70s folk-rock peers. In the early ’60s, alongside folks like Neil Diamond and her then-husband Gerry Goffin, King was an endlessly versatile Brill Building songwriter. There, she elevated girl-group anthems like The Shirelles’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” beyond mere bubblegum, tapped into gospel’s volcanic power alongside a young Aretha Franklin, and embraced wistful psychedelia, cowriting the Monkees smash “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” Then declaring her independence with a mix of vulnerable rock and visceral soul, the native New Yorker defined and deepened the singer/songwriter era’s emotional intimacy with albums like her 1971 solo breakthrough, Tapestry. She also wrote the template for transitioning from a behind-the-scenes songwriter into a full-fledged star. Whether pairing her pained explorations of fraying romance with the seductive longing of classic R&B balladry ("It's Too Late") or strutting like a blues singer as she celebrated the life-changing power of lust ("I Feel the Earth Move"), King shaped multiple generations of confessional singers as wildly distinctive as Tori Amos, Erykah Badu, Amy Winehouse, and Adele.
More to Know
• King began learning to play piano from her mother when she was four years old.
• Before becoming a staff songwriter for the producer Don Kirshner in the Brill Building in New York, she recorded demo songs with her Queens College classmate Paul Simon.
• With her first husband, Gerry Goffin, King wrote more than a dozen Top 10 hits between 1961 and 1968, including “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “The Loco-Motion,” “One Fine Day,” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
• King had a massive hit with her 1971 sophomore album, Tapestry, which included her versions of songs she had written that were hits for other singers. The album held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 for 15 consecutive weeks and spent a total of 318 weeks on the charts between 1971 and 2011.
• King’s list of honors includes four Grammys, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and the Kennedy Center Honors.
• In 2014, a musical version of her life, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, opened on Broadway, featuring a selection of songs from early in her career.
HOMETOWNNew York, NY [Brooklyn]
BORNFebruary 9, 1942