Carole King, with her partner Gerry Goffin, and on her own, is one of the top pop songwriters of all time. She is also a very accomplished pop artist having recorded one of the biggest selling pop albums of all time. This is a list of 10 of her very best songs as songwriter and artist. The original recording artist and release date are listed for each song.
Carole King's second solo album Tapestry is a landmark singer-songwriter album. It also marked a move into hit songs that discussed very adult aspects of relationships in the early 1970s. "It's Too Late" was the first single from the album and went to #1. It also received a Grammy Award for Record of the Year while the album won for Album of the Year. Tapestry has gone on to be one of the biggest selling albums of all time spending 15 weeks at #1 and over 300 weeks on the album chart in general.
"Up On the Roof" spells out a dream of solace for city dwellers. It was written with Carole King's husband Gerry Goffin. The Drifters version went to #5 on the pop singles. Later James Taylor recorded and released his own interpretation that went to #28 on the chart in 1979.
"You've Got a Friend" was written by Carole King and included on her album Tapestry. However it is James Taylor's version from the same year that went to #1 on the pop singles chart. It is one of the most memorable songs about friendship of all time. It won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and a Best Male Pop Vocal Grammy for James Taylor.
This song was included as part of the single that featured "It's Too Late." Originally "I Feel the Earth Move" was considered the A-side, but eventually radio stations preferred "It's Too Late." However, both songs are now considered classics. Martika hit #25 on the pop singles chart in 1989 with her version of "I Feel the Earth Move."
Teenager Eva Boyd worked as a babysitter for songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin. They wrote the song "The Loco-Motion" for her and had her cut a demo. Producer Don Kirshner was impressed by the sound and Little Eva's voice and released a single of it. The result was a #1 pop hit.
Originally, Shirley Owens of the Shirelles did not want to record "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" because she thought it was "too country." However, when a string arrangement was added, she decided it was worth a shot. The result was the first #1 pop hit for the girl group the Shirelles. The Four Seasons took the song to #24 on the pop singles chart in 1968 and Dave Mason landed just inside the top 40 at #39 with it in 1978.
Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote "Pleasant Valley Sunday" as a social commentary on status symbols and life in suburbia. It was the lead single from the Monkees' fourth album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones, Ltd. The #3 peak for the song helped the album to be group's fourth consecutive chart topper.
"A Natural Woman" was inspired by Atlantic records producer and executive Jerry Wexler. He reportedly said to Carole King he wanted a "natural woman" song for Aretha Franklin's next album in counterpart to the concept of the "natural man." The result was a top 10 smash hit for Aretha Franklin and one of her signature songs.