A couple of Sundays ago, this author was lucky to have been invited by media colleague Cecile Ochoa to watch “Beautiful,” The Carole King Musical at the world-renowned Pantages Theatre. As soon as Cecile mentioned Carole King, the invite was totally irresistible, though there were previous commitments the same day which needed switching around.
“Beautiful, “ The Carole King Musical is King’s inspiring personal story of her struggle and rise to stardom as a teenage songwriter, eventually meeting Gerry Goffin, the man of her dreams when she was seventeen and together, they built a successful songwriting team which later on broke, until she finally found her solo career, which gave her prominence in music history. The story was based on a book by Douglas McGrath and the lead role was performed by Abby Mueller.
Delving into the singer’s background, this author found out that “ King was born Carol Joan Klein in February 1942, to a family in Manhattan. Her mother, Eugenia (nee Cammer) was a teacher and her father, Sidney N. Klein was a firefighter for the New York City Fire Department. She grew up in Brooklyn, learned the piano when she was four years old, and appeared on “The Horn and Hardart Children’s Hour,” with a school friend, performing “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d Bake a Cake,” when she was eight.”
In the 1950’s, while attending James Madison High School, “Carol Klein changed her name to Carole King, subsequently forming a band called Co-Sines, and together they made a demo with her friend, Paul Simon, for $25.00 per session.”
“Carole King’s first official recording was the promotional single called “ The Right Girl,” which was released by ABC -Paramount in 1958 where she wrote and sang the arrangement with Don Costa. Further on, she attended Queen’s College, where she met Gary Goffin, who was “to become her song-writing partner.” They eventually married when she was 17 years old, in a Jewish ceremony in Long Island in 1959 and they named their daughter, Louise. Both Gerry and Carole left college, worked odd jobs, while writing songs in the evenings at the office of Don Kirschner’s Aldon Music on Broadway.
In 1959, Neil Sedaka, who had dated King when she was in high school, had a hit single called “”Oh Carol,” which gave Guffin the idea in writing a response song called “Oh! Neil,” which Carole King recorded and released as a single the same year. Subsequently, a black girl group called “The Shirelles,” became Billboard’s “”Hot 100” with the hit song, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” The hit song encouraged Guffin and King to quit their daytime jobs and concentrated on writing and the same song, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” became their standard song. Together, the songwriting team of Guffin and King were the duo behind Don Kirschner’s “Dominion Records” label, which produced songs like “The Locomotion,” “It Might As Well Rain in September,” (King’s first hit which she recorded herself in 1962)
Through 1967, the songwriting team of Goffin and King wrote more than two-dozen chart-hit songs for numerous artists which included: :”Half Way To Paradise,” (for Tony Orlando); “Take Good Care of My Baby,” for Bobby Vee; “Up On The Roof,” for The Drifters; “I’m Into Something Good,” for Earl Jean, later done by Herman Hermits; “One Fine Day,” for The Cliftons; “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” for The Monkees; and “You Make Me Feel Like A Woman,” for Aretha Franklin.
The following year (1968), Goffin and King divorced and King moved to Los Angeles where she formed a Trio composed of::Charles Larkey, her future husband , on the bass, Danny Kortchmar, on guitar and vocals and King on piano and vocals. They produced one album called “Now That Everything’s Been Said,” but was unsuccessful and the group disbanded the following year.
Carole King continued writing and performing her solo acts and by 1970, she scored her breakthrough album called “Tapestry,” which topped the Billboard charts for more than six years.
IN 2000. Billboard named King the most successful female songwriter of 1955-99, because she wrote and co-wrote 118 pop hits. In 2005, a music historian named Stuart Devoy. named her the most successful female songwriter on the U.K singles chart, 1952-2005.
Carole King’s most recent non-compilation album was “Live at the Troubadour,,” in 2010 a collaboration with James Taylor, that reached number 4 on the charts in its first week and has sold over 600,000 copies. Her record sales were estimated at more than 75 million copies worldwide.
King has won four Grammys, and was inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She is also the recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. the first woman to be honored and in 2015, she was one of the honorees at the Kennedy Center. “
If you’re like us who love watching Broadway musicals as we’ve experienced since our high school days, don’t miss this nostalgic experience. You still have a lot of chance to go and watch “Beautiful,” The Carole King Musical, at the Pantages until July 17th. ‘Hope you can watch and be mesmerized. It’s truly worth spending quality time watching this musical with your loved ones!