Carole King

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Carol Klein was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 9, 1942. At James Madison High School, she played piano and formed a girl group called the Co-Sines. At Queens College, Carole met Paul Simon, Gerry Goffin and Neil Sedaka (inspiring Sedaka’s 1959 hit “Oh Carol”). She married Goffin and in 1960 the two wrote their first of many hits together, The Shirelles’ chart-topping “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” Others included Bobby Vee’s “Take Good Care Of My Baby” (1961), Little Eva’s “The Locomotion” (1962), Steve Lawrence’s “Go Away Little Girl” (1962), The Chiffons’ “One Fine Day” (1963), The Drifters’ “Up on the Roof” (1963), The Monkees’ “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (1967) and Aretha Franklin’s “A Natural Woman” (1967).

Aside from a single hit in 1962 (“It Might As Well Rain Until September”), Carole’s own singing career seemed destined to never take off. She finally divorced Gerry, married Charles Larkey and moved to California. In 1971, though, everything turned around. Her album Tapestry became a #1 LP, selling over 22 million copies and earned four Grammy Awards. It featured four major hits: “It’s Too Late,” “I Feel The Earth Move,” “So Far Away” and “Smackwater Jack.”

After that the hits just kept on coming: “Sweet Seasons” and “Been To Canaan” (1972), “Believe In Humanity” and “Corazon” (1973), “Jazzman” (1974), “Nightingale” (1975), “Only Love Is Real” (1976) and “Hard Rock Café” (1977). Also in ’77 she married another songwriter, Rick Evans, who died of a cocaine overdose the following year.

Carole’s last major hit was her own 1980 version of “One Fine Day,” which she and Gerry had originally written for Little Eva but instead given to The Chiffons. King was largely inactive in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but did appear in shows both on and off-Broadway (A Minor Incident, Blood Brothers). In 1996, her life inspired the movie Grace Of My Heart, the story of a young woman who dreams of a singing career while writing hits for others. In the film, as in real life, the heroine’s dreams do come true in the last reel.

Except, that is, at The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Incredibly, when Carole King was inducted in 1990, it was as a NON-performer! The Hall of Fame, in its infinite wisdom, chose to honor Carole ONLY for her songwriting, completely ignoring her spectacular success as one of the largest selling female vocalists of the 1970s.

Carole King is a 2008 nominee at the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

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