Carole King is one of the most accomplished songwriters in history, penning several beloved hits made famous by other people. Her 1971 breakout album Tapestry made her one of the music industry’s biggest names, and it remains an iconic album to this day.
Carole King wrote some of the world’s biggest hits
Though she aimed to establish herself as a singer, King became one of the most prolific songwriters of her time, preferring to give others the words and notes to sing.
King made some songs from Tapestry famous on her own, such as “You’ve Got a Friend.” Others became more well known thanks to covers performed by various other singers, such as Barbra Streisand’s version of “Beautiful.”
Perhaps King’s best-known work is for Aretha Franklin’s calling card, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” The song has been covered by countless artists since then, including Ariana Grande at Franklin’s funeral.
Carole King met Paul Simon in high school
King’s life is the subject of the Broadway musical Beautiful, which tells the story of her rise from aspiring songwriter as a high schooler in Brooklyn to global icon. Though there are parts of her story that are less widely known.
According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, while King was still a student at James Madison High School, she became part of a loosely associated group of songwriters and singers, most of whom were Jewish. It was during this time when she first crossed paths with a young artist named Paul Simon.
Carole King and Paul Simon made music together when they were young
Simon would go on to find success as part of the Grammy-winning duo Simon & Garfunkel, but when he was working with his friend Carole King, they were just two kids hungry for a music career. They formed a quartet called The Co-Sines and began recording demos together, according to Biography.com.
Later, during her freshman year at Queens College, King crossed paths with a young artist named Paul Simon, who would later go on to find success as part of the Grammy-winning duo Simon & Garfunkel. They started recording demos together for $25 each session in the hopes of showing them to producers and potentially turning them into songs.
King began dating songwriter Gerry Goffin, though her life quickly took a turn when she got pregnant at age 17. The two got married and began writing songs together professionally. Many of their songs were hits, such as Little Eva’s “The Locomotion” and The Monkees’ “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”
King’s career as a singer, however, struggled to get off the ground. She divorced Goffin in 1968 and moved to California to record the Tapestry album. The LP consisted entirely of her singing songs that she wrote herself and produced several hit singles, including “It’s Too Late,” “I Feel the Earth Move,” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.”