The world lost a great lyricist yesterday. Today, I’m remembering Gerry Goffin.
Carole King is one of my favorite singer-songwriters. Since I was a small child, I’ve loved her very personal music which is often accompanied by meaningful lyrics. Because I’m such a Carole King fan, I follow her on Facebook. Yesterday, she posted that her ex husband, the father of her two daughters, and former song writing partner, Gerry Goffin, died of natural causes. He was 75 years old.
During his lifetime, Gerry Goffin wrote the lyrics for seven Billboard Hot 100 chart toppers and a total of 59 Top 40 hits. Though Goffin was best known for writing hits with Carole King, he also worked with some other big names in the music business, including: Russ Titleman, Barry Mann, Carole Bayer Sager, and Michael Masser. Goffin was also one of the first people to recognize Kelly Clarkson’s talent as a singer. He hired her to sing demos in 1995, years before she became famous for being the world’s first American Idol.
I don’t want to write too much about his personal life, because honestly, I don’t know much about his personal life. What I know about are his songs, which could serve as a wonderful soundtrack for people who came of age in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. In fact, I have an interesting anecdote related to Carole King and somewhat loosely to her first husband, Gerry Goffin.
Back in April 2010, my husband Bill and I were on our very first cruise on SeaDream I, a small luxury mega yacht. It was a five night cruise in the Caribbean and, though we are definitely not financially well off people, it was populated by some folks who have ties to show business. One night, they had karaoke. It was very poorly attended. I think maybe six people showed up, most of whom didn’t want to sing. Since I love singing, I was game. I sang “I Feel The Earth Move”, which is a song that was written by Carole King alone.
When I was finished singing, a lady approached me, along with a couple that she introduced as her parents. She complimented me on my voice and asked if I was in the music business. I said I was a housewife. We ended up hanging out for awhile and she told me that her husband works with Joan Jett. I later met her husband and was left with the impression that maybe he was in Joan Jett’s band. Her husband was wearing a USO baseball cap and told me he appreciated Bill’s service in the Army. Later, they had a brief conversation and the guy gave Bill his card. When we got home, I looked them up on the Internet and it turned out that the couple were Joan Jett’s managers and they were pretty much responsible for helping her to launch her career.
Ever since then, anytime I listen to a song by Carole King– and so many of her best songs were co-written by Gerry Goffin– I think of meeting my friend Meryl and her husband, Kenny. In fact, when I shared Carole King’s status update about Goffin, Meryl shared in the sadness with me.
One of my favorite songs penned by Gerry Goffin and Carole King is “Up On The Roof”. It was originally recorded by The Drifters. My favorite version is, of course, the one James Taylor recorded in 1979. I think it was the first song I ever heard by JT and it made me fall in love with his music. Who hasn’t fantasized about getting away from it all, even if it’s only for a little while, up on the roof?
Gerry Goffin’s lyrics are so relatable in this song about escaping it all and gazing at the stars with someone special.
Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote “Take Good Care of My Baby”, a song that was a hit for Bobby Vee and was later used in lots of commercials… especially for baby products.
Catchy, isn’t it?
He also helped write a huge hit for the late Whitney Houston…
Whitney Houston singing Goffin’s lyrics at the 1986 Grammys… I have always loved “Saving All My Love For You”.
And one for Glenn Medeiros, popular when I was in high school…
I confess, I didn’t know Gerry Goffin helped write this song until this morning…
Another one of my favorite songs by Gerry Goffin is another one he wrote with Carole King… It’s been covered by so many people, myself included.
Carole King sings “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”, her breakthrough hit with her ex husband, Gerry Goffin…
The Shirrelles made “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” famous, but I love the way Carole King does it, especially when she’s backed up by James Taylor and Joni Mitchell. And I love the words, which captures the feelings of any young woman unsure of her paramour’s love for her. Obviously, the song resonated with a lot of people besides me.
Today happens to be my birthday and it hasn’t gotten off to the best start. It’s a little sad to be listening to these great songs by Gerry Goffin and knowing that there won’t be any more from him, now that his work on Earth is done.