Carole King, born Carol Joan Klein, is an American songwriter and singer born on February 9, 1942, in Manhattan, New York. She has written over 400 songs, and most of them are in collaboration with her husband, Gerry Goffin, for the famous Aretha Franklin.
Carole’s songs became very successful in the 1960s because of the effort and hard work she and her husband put into writing them. Ever since then, they have continued writing songs for different music artists. She was also a popular solo singer and did not get famous until the 1970s; she started recording her songs and doing concerts while playing the piano.
She suffered an immense loss on her debut album but later on achieved commercial success with the album Tapestry, which ranked on the top spot in the US album chart for 15 weeks in 1971 and maintained its position for more than six years.
She has composed over 25 solo albums, and the most successful among all of them was “Tapestry.” Carole’s records made more than 75 million worldwide and have won over four Grammy awards, along with admission to the “Songwriters Hall of Fame.”
Background of Carole King
The Early Life of Carole King
Carole was born in Manhattan, New York, on February 9, 1942, to Eugenia and Sidney N. Klein; both the parents were Jewish. Carole’s father was a firefighter, and her mother was a teacher.
Carole’s parents met each other in an elevator at Brooklyn College in 1936, where her father was doing a major in chemistry, and her mother was an English and drama major. Her parents got married in the last years of the Great Depression.
Carole’s mother dropped out of college to meet the family’s expenses, and later her father also stopped going to college and started working as a radio announcer. With the economy in shambles, he started a job as a firefighter. After the birth of Carole, her parents moved to Brooklyn and were finally able to purchase a two-story duplex in which they rented out their upper portion for the money.
Carole was admitted to Kindergarten when she was four years old, and after the first year, she got promoted directly to the second grade, showing excellent skills in words and mathematics. She attended James Madison High School in the 1950s.
Carole went to Queen’s College, where she met Gerry Goffin, who would become her future songwriting partner. She married Gerry at the age of 17 in a Jewish Ceremony in Long Island in August of 1959. When Carole became pregnant with her first daughter Louise, they both dropped out.
They quit college and started doing day jobs; Goffin began working as an assistant chemist and King as a secretary. In the evenings, they both used to write songs together.
Carole created a band known as “The Cosines” and made demo records for the $25 per session with her buddy Paul Simon, who played the guitar and the bass. Her first official recording was the ABC-Paramount promotional song “The Right Girl,” which she wrote and sung in an arrangement by Don Costa.
“Will You Love Me Tomorrow”
Along with her husband Gerry Goffin, Carole wrote a song, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” for the band Shirelles, initially recorded in 1960 and released in November, which took the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The song is known for being the first song by a Black all-girl group to reach number one in the United States. Since then, many artists have covered it, including the 1971 version written by Carole King.
“How Many Tears”
Gerry Goffin and Carole King also wrote the song “How Many Tears,” produced by Snuff Garrett and performed by Bobby Vee and The Johnny Mann Singers, released in April 1961. Later that year, the song ranked at the 10th spot in the United Kingdom, 43rd in Canada, and 63rd on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. It was featured on Bobby Vee’s 1962 album “Bobby Vee’s Golden Greats.”
“It Might As Well Rain Until September”
In 1962, Carole King wrote this song, which was initially meant to be written for Bobby Vee. She recorded the demo version of the song, and it became a massive success.
However, Vee’s management was hesitant to release the music as a single but instead opted to use it as an album track. Bobby Vee originally recorded the song for his 1963 Liberty album “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” in the same year.
“Up on the Roof”
Carole wrote another song, “Up on the Roof,” with her husband, Gerry Goffin, for The Drifters in 1962. The disc was released later that year and became a massive hit till early 1963. It ranked 5th on the US pop singles charts and 4th on the US R&B singles chart.
Moreover, the song is among the top ten hits in the United Kingdom for Kenny Lynch, whose version was released in 1962.
She recorded her first debut solo album, “Writer,” and released it in 1970. Carole already had a successful career as a songwriter at this point and was now a member of a temporary group that she formed, known as “The City,” after arriving in Los Angles in 1968. The album included songs like “Up on the Roof” and “Child of Mine,” written by Carole and her husband.
Tapestry is the second solo studio album that Carole recorded. It was released in 1971 on Ode Records and was produced by Lou Adler. The five lead singles of the album, “It’s Too Late” and “I Feel the Earth Move,” got at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and Easy listening charts. It was ranked 74th in Collin Larkin’s All-Time Top 1000 Albums in 2000.
The album got certified as 13x platinum by the RIAA, and it is one of the best-selling albums of all time that has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide. In 1972, the album got four Grammy Awards, including the “Album of the Year” award.
Carole King played a role in an animated kids’ TV show based on the books “Chicken Soup with Rice,” “Pierre,” “One Was Johnny,” and “Alligators All Around.” Carole King also voiced for Rosie’s character. She got selected as her voice because it was difficult for the casting directors to choose a child actor whose voice could match the pre-recorded tracks.
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” is an old American TV show in which Carole King appeared in season five’s episode “Anyone Who hates Kids and Dogs.” She played the role of Stevie’s Aunt Helen, who gets off on the wrong foot with Mary’s character in the show.
“Faerie Tale Theatre”
In 1984, Carole made another appearance in the 9th episode of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” along with celebrities like Tatum O’Neal, Hoyt Axton, Alex Karras, and John Lithgow. She played the role of Goldilocks mother.
Carole made three appearances as a guest star in the TV series “Gilmore Girls” as Sophie, the Stars Hollow music store owner. Carole’s song “Where You Lead” was also the theme song of the series.
Carole returned to play the same character in the 2016 Netflix revival of “Gilmore Girls” and “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.” She also appeared as Mrs. Johnstone as a replacement character in the Broadway production of Blood Brothers.
Carole became active in environmental issues after coming back to Idaho in 1977. She has been working with the “Alliance for the Wild Rockies” and other organizations since 1990 to get the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA) passed. She has spoken three times on Capitol Hill on behalf of NREPA: in 1994, 2007, and 2009.
Carole King is also a member of the Democratic Party. She started campaigning for John Kerry in 2003 by performing at private houses for Democratic delegates during the Democratic primaries. On July 29, 2004, she delivered a brief speech and sang at the Democratic National Convention, about two hours before Kerry’s acceptance speech.
The Colbert Report
On March 18, 2008, Carole appeared on the political talk show “The Colbert Report” and discussed her political opinions once more. In the talk show, she said that she was voting for Hillary Clinton and that her decision had nothing to do with gender.
Carole also said that if Barack Obama were to win the election, she would have no objection. Shortly before the show’s end, she returned to the stage to play “I Feel the Earth Move.”
She appeared at a Democratic fundraiser at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on October 6, 2014, which Vice President Joe Biden also attended. On January 21, 2017, she participated in the Women’s March in Stanley, Idaho, holding a sign called “One Small Voice.”
She carried that message because she said that: one little voice with millions of other small voices is exactly how people can change the world.
Carole King – A Charismatic Woman
Besides being a famous pop artist, Carole King is known for several other things, including acting, being an activist, and getting involved in politics. She has written and co-written many songs that have been covered by more than a thousand artists, including herself.
Carole has also played a huge role in politics by supporting and being a member of the Democratic Party and participating in its fundraising. You can tell from her life that she is a multi-talented and charismatic woman with a passion for achieving things.