The Broadway musical “Beautiful”— the true story of Carole King’s remarkable rise from behind-the-scenes songwriter to solo stardom — took home three Tony Awards in June, including Best Actress for Jessie Mueller’s portrayal of King.
But what many don’t realise about King’s career is that the musician began songwriting for other artists in the 1960s, over a decade before she became a famous artist in her own right. King and her then husband,Gerry Goffin, wrote more than two dozen hits for top artists of the time, including Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, and the Beatles.
It wasn’t until divorce and a cross-country move to Los Angeles that King released her first solo album “Tapestry,” which included hit songs like “I Feel the Earth Move,” “You’ve Got A Friend,” and “It’s Too Late.” In 1971, “Tapestry,” produced by Lou Adler, hit No. 1 on the charts and won a Grammy in 1972 for Album of the Year.
But before “Tapestry” sold over 25 million copies worldwide and became one of the best-selling albums of all time, King and Goffin were a hit-making duo in the shadows of the spotlight.
Here are nine of the collaborating couple’s top hits sung by other artists:
1. “(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin — 1967
In 1971, King released her first solo album, “Tapestry,” which included her own version of this song that she wrote for Aretha Franklin. The album went on to receive the first-ever diamond certification after selling more than 10 million copies.
2. “The Locomotion” by Little Eva — 1962
The song went on to reach No. 1 in the U.S. in three different decades: the ’60s for the original version, the ’70s for a version by Grand Funk Railroad rendition, and the ’80s for Kylie Minogue’s pop version.
3. “One Fine Day” by the Chiffons — 1963
The song was written for Little Eva, but the Chiffons brought it to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.
4. “Up On the Roof” by the Drifters — 1963
The 1980 Rolling Stone “Illustrated History of Rock & Roll” described “Up on the Roof” as “in every way a remarkable pop song for 1962.” The music magazine called the lyrics “first-rate, sophisticated writing.”
5. “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by the Shirelles — 1960
It became the first song by an all-girl group to reach No. 1 in the U.S.
6. “Take Good Care Of My Baby” by Bobby Vee — 1961
The song reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in September of 1961.
7. “Chains” by the Beatles — 1963
The song was originally recorded (but not released) by the Everly Brothers.
8. “Crying In The Rain” by Everly Brothers — 1962
9. James Taylor, “You’ve Got a Friend” — 1971
Taylor recorded the song for his “Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon” album the same year King recorded it on “Tapestry.” It was Taylor’s first and only No. 1 Billboard hit.
King has said that “the song was as close to pure inspiration as I’ve ever experienced. The song wrote itself. It was written by something outside myself, through me.”
But both artists won with the song — Taylor took home a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, while King won
Song of the Year.
To see more songs Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote for other artists, click here >
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