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Carole King Biography


Home > Music > K > King, Carole > Biography


Birth Name: Carol Klein
Born: 1942/02/09
Birth Place: New York City, New York, U.S.
Years Active: 1958–present
Genres: Folk Rock, Pop, Jazz


Carole King (born February 9, 1942) is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. King and her former husband Gerry Goffin wrote more than two dozen chart hits for numerous artists during the 1960s, many of which have become standards.

She had her first #1 hit as a songwriter in 1961, at age 18, with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", which she wrote with Gerry Goffin. Goffin and King married in September 1960. Goffin and King's 1967 song, "Pleasant Valley Sunday", a #3 for The Monkees, was inspired by their move to suburban West Orange, New Jersey. Other Top 10 hits for the songwriting pair included "Take Good Care of My Baby" (Bobby Vee), "The Loco-Motion" (The Crystals), "Go Away Little Girl"(Steve Lawrence), "Don't Say Nothin' Bad (About My Baby)" (The Cookies), "I Can't Stay Mad At You" (Skeeter Davis), "One Fine Day" (The Chiffons) and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (Aretha Franklin). Goffin and King divorced in 1968 but Carole consulted Goffin on music she was writing.

King made her solo debut on the 1970 album “Writer” which garnered little commercial attention. King followed “Writer” in 1971 with “Tapestry,” featuring new folk-flavored compositions, as well as reinterpretations of two of her songs, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." “Tapestry” was an instant success. With numerous hit singles – including a Billboard #1 with "It's Too Late" – “Tapestry” held the #1 spot for 15 consecutive weeks, remained on the charts for nearly six years, sold 10 million copies in the United States, and 25 million worldwide. The album garnered four Grammy Awards including Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, Record of the Year ("It's Too Late,"), and Song of the Year ("You've Got a Friend.)” It would eventually be certified Diamond. “Tapestry” was the top-selling solo album until Michael Jackson's “Thriller” in 1982.

“Carole King: Music” was released in December 1971, certified gold on December 9, 1971. It entered the top ten at 8, becoming the first of many weeks “Tapestry” and “Carole King: Music” would occupy the top 10 simultaneously. The following week, it rose to #3, and finally #1 on January 1, 1972, staying there for three weeks. The album also spawned a top 10 hit, "Sweet Seasons" (U.S. #9). “Music” stayed on the Billboard pop album charts for 44 weeks and was eventually certified platinum.

“Rhymes and Reasons” (1972), and “Fantasy” (1973) followed, each earning gold certifications. “Rhymes and Reasons” produced another hit, "Been to Canaan" (US #24), and “Fantasy” produced two hits, "Believe in Humanity" (US #28) and "Corazon" (US #37), as well as another song that charted on the Hot 100, "You Light Up My Life" (US #68).

In September 1974, King released her album “Wrap Around Joy,” which was certified gold on 16 October 1974 and entered the top ten at 7 on 19 October 1974. Two weeks later it reached 1 and stayed there one week. She toured to promote the album. “Wrap Around Joy” spawned two hits. “Jazzman” was a single and reached #2 on 9 November but fell out of the top ten the next week. “Nightingale,” a single on December 17, went to #9 on March 1, 1975.

“Thoroughbred” (1976) was the last studio album she made under the Ode label. In 1977, King collaborated with another songwriter Rick Evers on “Simple Things,” the first release with a new label distributed by Capitol Records. “Simple Things” was her first album that failed to reach the top 10 on the Billboard since “Tapestry,” and it was her last Gold-certified record by the RIAA, except for a compilation entitled “Her Greatest Hits” the following year. Neither “Welcome Home” (1978), her debut as a co-producer on an album, nor “Touch the Sky” (1979), reached the top 100.

“Pearls - The Songs of Goffin and King” (1980) yielded a hit single, an updated version of "One Fine Day." “Pearls” marked the end of King's career as a hitmaker and a performer, with no subsequent single reaching the top 40.

King moved to Atlantic Records for “One to One” (1982) and “Speeding Time” in 1983. In 1989, she returned to Capitol Records and recorded “City Streets,” with Eric Clapton on two tracks and Branford Marsalis on one, followed by “Color of Your Dreams” (1993), with an appearance by Slash of Guns N' Roses. "Love Makes the World," became a title track for her studio album in autumn 2001 on her own label, Rockingale, distributed by Koch Records. The album includes songs she wrote for other artists during the mid-1990s and features Celine Dion, Steven Tyler, Babyface and k.d. lang.

In 2000, Joel Whitburn, a Billboard Magazine pop music researcher, named her the most successful female songwriter of 1955-99, because she wrote or co-wrote 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Her most recent non-compilation album “Live at the Troubadour” (2007) a collaboration with James Taylor, reached #4 on the charts, in its first week, and has sold over 400,000 copies.

She has won four Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her songwriting. In 2009, Carole King was inducted into the "Hit Parade" Hall of Fame. She holds the record for the longest time for an album by a female to remain on the charts and the longest time for an album by a female to hold the #1 position, both for “Tapestry.”




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