According to her website, Carole King wrote her first #1 hit at the age of 17, penning “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” for the Shirelles with then-husband Gerry Goffin.
In 1960, King made her solo record debut with a song called “Baby Sittin’,” and two years later, her demo of “It Might As Well Rain Until September” made the Top 25 in the U.S., climbing all the way to #3 on the British charts. Lennon & McCartney were well aware of her work; they were quoted as saying that all they “ever wanted to be was like Goffin and King.”
In the late ’60s, soon after Goffin and King’s “(You make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” was immortalized by Aretha Franklin, Carole moved to Los Angeles with her daughters, Louise and Sherry, setting up house in Laurel Canyon and forming The City, who released one album, 1968’s Now That Everything’s Been Said. King released her first solo album, Writer, in 1970.
1971’s Tapestry took King to the pinnacle. It spoke personally to every one of her contemporaries and provided the spiritual musical backdrop to the decade. While King was in the studio recording Tapestry, Taylor recorded King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” taking the song all the way to #1.
In a first for a female writer/artist, Tapestry won all three of the key Grammy Awards—record, song and album of the year—as well as best female vocalist honors for King. With more than 25 million units sold, Tapestry remained the best-selling album by a female artist for a quarter century, and King went on to amass three other platinum and seven gold albums.
In 1987, King was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and, a year later, Goffin and King were awarded the National Academy of Songwriters’ Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1990, the duo was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2002, King was honored with the prestigious Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Two years later, Goffin and King received the Trustee Award from the Recording Academy.
Carole King is the voice of a generation. Her life is even a Broadway hit, called Beautiful. Here, King tells Ronan Farrow about navigating obstacles from gender stereotypes to domestic abuse. She also discusses political relationships from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama.