Celebrating Women’s History: Carole King

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American Composer, Songwriter, Singer and Environmental activist

Carole King is known to be one of the most successful Singer/Songwriter of her entire time. She was known to have both sung and wrote plenty of hit songs that were undefeatable on the music charts of her era. Early in her life, Carole grew an immediate fondness to the piano and her musical gift could be spotted by any and every one in her presence. By the time she turned 10 years old she was already an extremely accomplished pianist and moved on to writing music.

Once she reached high school, Carole decided to change her last name to King in order to create a stage name. She attended Queens College where she met some of her future songwriting peers Neil Sedaka, Paul Simon and (future husband) Gerry Goffin. She briefly dated Sedaka and he wrote the song “Oh! Carol!” in which she wrote a song in response called “Oh! Neil”. This song wasn’t nearly as popular as Sedaka’s, but Carole did not allow for that to stop her from pursuing her music career. She initiating a romantic relationship and business partnership with Gerry Goffin which soon resulted in marriage in 1960.

The duo continued to produce many songs and caught the eye of Don Kirchner who then signed them to Aldon Music Empire. From then on Both Carole and Gerry became prolific songwriters and even officially established their careers. They wrote hit singles such as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” for The Shirelles, “Take Good Care of My Baby” for Bobby Vee and “Up on the Roof” for the Drifters, “You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)” for Aretha Franklin, “Goin’ Back” for Dusty Springfield (and later The Byrds) and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” for the Monkees.

Although business was great for the duo, their relationship became more and more strained and ultimately resulted in a divorce. Their roller coaster of a relationship is documented in Carole’s single “The Road to Nowhere” which set the perfect foundation for Carole to launch her solo career. Carole moved to Los Angeles to live with her daughters and the following year produced her first solo album, Writer and a year after that, Tapestry. Carole won four Grammy awards for Tapestry and even sold approximately fifteen million copies.

Carole King stands for way more than just a music, she also took a huge stand against environmental injustices around the world. Her platform of fame gives her much lead way in order to make a difference and to fund many environmental causes. She has took it upon herself to stand in front of congress to testify on behalf of certain environmental causes. In 2013, King became the first woman to receive the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song which made history. President Barack Obama presented this honor to her at a special ceremony held at the White House. She continues to perform, but only chooses to perform at environmentalist events.