GERRY GOFFIN AND CAROLE KING were one of the most successful song writing teams of the fifties and sixties. They managed to get more than 100 of their songs on the Billboard Top 100, which isn’t a bad effort in anyone’s language.
Carol Klein went to school with (later) fellow songwriter Neil Sedaka. They were a bit of an item for a while and he wrote his first hit, Oh Carol for her. Later she wrote an amusing answer song called, Oh Neil.
She began using the nom de plume Carole King and met budding songwriter Gerry Goffin in college. They started writing songs together and were soon married and became fixtures at the famous Brill Building, song-writing central in New York at the time. These are just a few of their songs, some of which I was surprised that they wrote.
THE BYRDS performed two Goffin and King songs on their album “The Notorious Byrd Brothers”.
Both songs appear today, the second below by a different artist. When you talk about rock and roll harmony singing, there’s none better than The Byrds. This is a prime example, Goin' Back.
THE SHIRELLES don’t seem to be spoken of in the same league as The Supremes and The Ronettes, which is a real shame as I think they are up there with the best.
Apparently they had several hits before I noticed them with the song we have today. Will You Love Me Tomorrow reached number 1 pretty much everywhere that had hit parades.
It was ranked as the number 1 song of 1962. As a trivial aside, the flip side of the record was the song Boys, recorded by The Beatles a couple of years later.
GENE MCDANIELS was a jazz singer who became successful singing a bunch of non-jazz songs.
I didn’t know this at the time; I just thought he was a terrific singer. I hope his success meant that he was set up so he could do what he wanted to do. Getting back to those pop songs that hit the top of the charts, one of them was Point of No Return, written by our couple today, of course.
I can’t think of any group from the late fifties, early sixties who were as good as THE DRIFTERS.
Particularly during the rather short period when Ben E. King was singing lead for them, and incidentally writing songs for which he didn’t receive credit. They sang our couple’s songs as well, one of which is Up on the Roof.
Here is the other song, mentioned above, that was performed by The Byrds. I have to admit that I prefer The Byrds’ version, but DUSTY SPRINGFIELD does it pretty well too.
Dusty was born Mary O’Brien and she first came to my notice as part of a folk group with her brother Dionysius O’Brien, who took the name Tom Springfield. They were joined by Tim Field initially, and later Mike Hurst and called themselves The Springfields. Dusty left and became a successful solo artist. One of her songs from that career is Wasn't Born to Follow.
BOBBY VEE was the recipient of quite a few of Gerry and Carole’s songs.
Bobby has always been lumped in with the early sixties pretty boy singers who were created by opportunistic record companies. I think he has more substance than he’s been given credit for. He mostly didn’t write his songs, but he was an astute chooser of them. One such is Take Good Care Of My Baby, a big hit for him.
Eva Boyd was a babysitter for Gerry and Carole. They had seen her dancing around and singing while performing her tasks and wrote a song for her. Friends of theirs said that was a really bad idea because while good singers are rather easy to come by, good babysitters are worth their weight in gold.
In spite of this advice, they went ahead anyway. The song was The Loco-Motion, and Eva recorded it under the name LITTLE EVA.
The song was later also recorded by Kylie Minogue, but Eva’s version is far superior to Kylie’s. Sorry Kylie.
Even when this next song was around, I thought that it was a bit creepy. After all these years I haven’t changed my opinion. You may be surprised to learn that the singer is STEVE LAWRENCE.
Yes, he of Steve and Eydie fame. The song is Go Away Little Girl which sounds pretty good until you listen to the words. It was first recorded by Bobby Vee, which would make it slightly less creepy. Donny Osmond had a go at it later too. He’d have been about the right age.
Perhaps the song of which Carole and Gerry are most proud is (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. That’s almost certainly because ARETHA FRANKLIN recorded it.
Aretha nailed it and turned it into one of the finest records of the twentieth century. Nothing more needs to be said, here it is.
THE MONKEES don’t get any respect from critics of popular music.
We know they were created by nefarious TV executives to cash in on the success of The Beatles. However, at least three of them were good musicians before they came together. They grew in that role to become quite a decent band in their own right.
Before that happened, they were given songs to perform from established song writers. One of those from our couple is Pleasant Valley Sunday.
I imagine that pretty much everyone reading this knows that CAROLE KING herself recorded an album called “Tapestry”.
This was hugely successful, one of the biggest selling albums of all time. Possibly as a result of that, she went on to have a career as a singer/songwriter (she and Gerry were divorced by then). However, before that, way back in 1962, she recorded a song that became a big hit for her.
Again, Bobby Vee first recorded it, and the record company was a bit dubious about releasing Carole’s version as she only recorded it as a demo for other artists. Don Kirshner (later producer of The Monkees) really liked it and had it released. The song is It Might As Well Rain Until September.