Carole King, the acclaimed singer/songwriter who first found fame in the 1960s as a composer of hits for others before becoming a top-selling solo artist in the early ’70s, celebrates her 80th birthday today.
The Brooklyn, New York, native has enjoyed two distinct chapters to her career. The first began when, as a teenager, Carole started writing songs with her first husband, lyricist Gerry Goffin.
The couple became part of the famed Brill Building songwriting collective that churned out hits for artists in the 1960s. Their breakthrough song was “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” a #1 hit for The Shirelles in 1960.
Many more hits followed, including Bobby Vee‘s “Take Good Care of My Baby,” Little Eva‘s “The Loco-Motion,” The Drifters‘ “Up on the Roof,” The Chiffons‘ “One Fine Day,” The Animals‘ “Don’t Bring Me Down,” The Monkees‘ “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” and Aretha Franklin‘s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
King and Goffin divorced in 1968 and Carole moved to Los Angeles, where she began the next chapter of her career, writing and recording her own songs. Things exploded for her in 1971, when she released her second solo album, Tapestry.
Tapestry spent 15 straight weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200. The album included the chart-topping hits “It’s Too Late” and “I Feel the Earth Move,” the top-20 single “So Far Away,” and her own versions of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and “A Natural Woman.” It also featured “You’ve Got a Friend,” with which James Taylor scored a #1 hit with in ’71.
Tapestry won four Grammy Awards and has gone on to sell over 13 million copies in the U.S.
Carole’s other solo hits include “Sweet Seasons,” “Jazzman” and “Nightingale.”
King is one of only three women to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice — in 1990 with Goffin for their songwriting achievements, and as a solo artist in 2021. Her many other accolades include induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and recognition at the Kennedy Center Honors.
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