The baseball lockout continues, but Lonnie’s Jukebox is open for business and spinning records by a special guest.
Today, Carole King joined my octogenarian club by turning 80.
I have not tried to do a count, but I’m guessing Carole King has been a part of more editions of Lonnie’s Jukebox than any other artist.
My introduction to Carole came in my college days in the 1960s when she and her husband Gerry Goffin wrote hit-after-hit for many artists. “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (Shirelles); “Take Good Care of My Baby” (Bobby Vee); “Chains” (Cookies); “The Loco-Motion” (Little Eva); “Go Away Little Girl” (Steve Lawrence); “Up on the Roof” (Drifters); “One Fine Day” (Chiffons); “Just Once in My Life” (Righteous Brothers); “A Natural Woman” (Aretha Franklin); and oh some many more.
King and Goffin were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for their songwriting in 1990.
The marriage and songwriting team broke up, but Carole went on to fame as a singer/songwriter, crowned by her blockbuster album Tapestry in 1971. This led to a second induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this time as a performer.
Below, an encore from Hot Stove #156, plus Carole’s induction ceremony in 2021.
Hot Stove #156 (2/25/21) – Lonnie’s Jukebox – Tapestry at 50 Years: In February of 1971, Carole King released her iconic album Tapestry. Rita was a junior at UMKC and purchased the vinyl record. In 2004, some 33 years later, Carole King signed Rita’s album.
The opportunity to get Carole King’s autograph came during the John Kerry presidential campaign in 2004. The singer-songwriter was hosting “living room” fundraisers around the country for Kerry, and Rita and I went to the one held in Kansas City. Rita took her album, and with the assistance of Kerry’s Missouri co-chair Herb Kohn, it was signed. Below, Carole performing at the event and posing with Rita and Lonnie.
On the album, King sings a mix of old and new songs, all written or co-written by her. You can hear it all at this link (44 minutes).
As for this edition of Lonnie’s Jukebox, I’m going to play one of Carole’s songs from the album, but then switch to some memorable live versions from the Tapestry collection.
“It’s Too Late” by Carole King. This was her top single off the album. It went to #1 in 1971.
“You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor and Carole King on the Troubadour Reunion Tour in 2010. Rita and I attended the tour stop at Sprint Arena in Kansas City – a wonderful night. Taylor’s solo version of Carole’s song went to #1 in 1971. It is his only #1 song (before you ask, not “Fire and Rain” – it peaked at #3).
“A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin, performing at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors with the Obamas and honoree Carole King in the audience. Carole was elated and Barack was in tears. King and her husband Gerry Goffin wrote this song in 1967 specifically for Aretha with input from Aretha’s producer, Jerry Wexler. It brought down the house at the Kennedy Center.
Tony Awards – One of the Tapestry tracks is “Beautiful” and that song became the title of the Broadway musical about Carole King’s life and music. Rita and I saw the show in New York with Irv and Sharyn Blond. We all absolutely loved Jessie Mueller’s portrayal of King. The link is to the Tony Awards ceremony in 2014, and it begins with the young Carole working with Gerry Goffin on “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” It then transitions to the “Shirelles” singing the song (the original group took it to #1 in 1960). The finale pairs Jessie and Carole on stage with a joyous rendition of “I Feel the Earth Move.” Wow!
Hall of Fame Induction (10/30/21): Last year, when Carole was inducted for the second time into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Taylor Swift opened with “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” Swift also made the induction speech, calling Carole the “greatest songwriter of all time.” Jennifer Hudson sang “A Natural Woman” and Carole closed the ceremony with “You’ve Got a Friend.”
From Taylor Swift’s induction speech: “I grew up dancing around the living room in socked feet to the sounds of Carole’s soulful voice, her infectious melodies and lyrics…Carole taught artists like me that telling your own story is worth the work and struggle it takes to earn the opportunity for your story to be heard. The musical connection can be generation-spanning. She created the purest works of love and strength and catharsis while navigating the politics of an era that didn’t make space for the idea of a female genius. Slowly but surely, Carole King worked and worked until she had created one, and it will be hers forever.”
King in response: “I keep hearing it, so I guess I’m going to have to try to own it, that today’s female singers and songwriters stand on my shoulders. Let it not be forgotten that they also stand on the shoulders of the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. May she rest in power: Miss Aretha Franklin.”
See it all at this link (28:11).
Another delightful evening with Carole King.