Carole King is one of our most iconic singer-songwriters, whose earthy, soulful music evokes rhapsodic memories for an entire generation of post 50s. King's first hit was "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," recorded by The Shirelles, which topped the charts in 1961. But it was the success of Tapestry ten years later that made her a mega-star. In 1971 Tapestry soared to #1 on the charts for 15 consecutive weeks, stayed on the charts for another six years, sold 25 million copies worldwide, and garnered four Grammy Awards. To date, more than 400 of her compositions have been recorded by more than 1,000 artists, resulting in 100 hit singles -- many of them reaching #1.
King was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2009. Despite her unparalleled success, however, King was something of a reluctant, accidental star who preferred sewing clothes for her kids and milking goats in Idaho to the glare of the spotlight. And while her music had a certain lush simplicity to it, her life, on the other hand, did not.
In her new memoir, "A Natural Woman," King tells her story from her modest beginnings in Brooklyn through her remarkable musical triumphs to the present day as a performer and activist. She also writes candidly about her complex marriage to Gerry Goffin, which unraveled as his mental health deteriorated; the challenges of raising four children as a very young mother, and the panoply of experiences that shaped her as a woman, lover, and musician.
The following photos and excerpts are from "A Natural Woman," which will be published on April 10.