Friday, March 4, 2005

Apple #44: Carole King

I heard "It's Too Late" on the radio today, which, for those of you who don't know it, is a song written by Carole King, from her very popular 1971 album Tapestry. As I listened to the song -- very sing-alongable -- I wondered what happened to her. Tapestry was huge, but I couldn't think of anything I knew about her after that.

It turns out, essentially, her third husband died of an overdose and she moved to Idaho. She's still making albums, but none have hit the same level of popularity.
  • She had her own band in high school, in Brooklyn where she grew up, but she turned to songwriting early in her career.
  • She went to Queens College and there met Paul Simon, Neil Sedaka, and the man she went on to marry and write tons of songs with, Gerry Goffin.
  • She worked in something of a hothouse environment in New York, churning out songs with Goffin and others. Together, these are some of the hits she wrote or co-wrote:
      • "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" performed by the Shirelles
      • "The Locomotion" performed by Little Eva
      • "One Fine Day" performed by The Chiffons
      • "Pleasant Valley Sunday" by The Monkees
      • "Up On the Roof" by The Drifters
      • "(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin
  • In the 1960's, she tried a couple of albums and a couple of singles on her own, but didn't have much success. She founded a record label, but that didn't last long, either. She divorced Goffin, married the bassist from one of the bands on her record label, and moved out to the West Coast.
  • She formed a trio, which recorded an album, but they didn't tour because of her stage fright. One of the songs from this album was "You've Got a Friend," which James Taylor later covered and turned into a huge hit.
  • She became friends with James Taylor, and he encouraged her to try a solo career again. She released an album called Writer in 1970, which tanked, but the following year, she released Tapestry. That album stayed on the charts for six years and millions of copies were sold. This was before blockbuster albums even existed in the music business.
  • After that, she wrote a few songs with her first husband, with some help from Taylor, David Crosby, and Graham Nash. The album Pearls, released in 1980, is a collection of those songs.
  • In the late 70's and early 80's, she went on tour with a backing band, and at some point she must have gotten another divorce, because she married a third time, to another songwriting partner, named Rick Evers. Unfortunately, a year after they married, Evers died of a heroin overdose.
  • After this, she moved to Idaho, got involved in protecting her property against strip mining, and took a six-year break from writing songs.
  • She released two other albums, one which featured Slash from Guns 'n' Roses, and in 1994, she appeared on Broadway in a drama called Blood Brothers. She has released three other albums since then.
  • She also wrote and performs the opening song to Gilmore Girls ("Where You Lead"), and she has even appeared on the show a couple of times, as music store owner Sophie. Here are some photos of Carole King on the set.

Carole King website biography and discography
Bob's Page of Carole King
Gilmore Girls Episode Guide

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you're a spammer, there's no point posting a comment. It will automatically get filtered out or deleted. Comments from real people, however, are always very welcome!