Wednesday, January 5, 2022

TLC, the #98 Artist of the Rock Era

Inside the Rock Era · Post TLC, The #97 Artist of the Rock Era Posting as Rocketman5000
"They are so amazing."

"TLC sang beautiful songs with deep meanings."


"Sexy ladies and sexy voices.  Superstardom to the maximum.  They are loved for eternity."


"Loved their socially conscious music."


"Pure magic!  Their individual God-given talents came together to make them one of the best girl groups of all-time."


"They were a phenomenal group of ladies."


"Great! Super! Awesome! No one can beat them."


"One of the best female groups ever...so much swag! They rocked it--love their music."


"TLC made precious contributions to the music industry...their work will live on forever."


"TLC will always have a special place in my heart."





The three confident ladies of this group fought off what proved to be a very bad contract to release some of the best music of the '90s.  They personify the title of one of their albums:  crazy, sexy and cool.

In 1990, Atlanta, Georgia teenager Crystal Jones and producer Ian Burke collaborated on an idea to form a female hip-hop group. Tionne Watkins and Lisa Lopes joined Jones and the group started out as 2nd Nature.  The trio successfully auditioned for Perri Reid, who had started a management and production company called Pebbitone.  Reid renamed the group TLC-Skee using initials for their names Tionne, Lisa and Crystal and arranged for them to audition for LaFace Records, owned by Babyface and Reid's husband at the time, Antonio Reed.
Antonio liked Watkins and Lopes but felt Jones, who started the trio, should be replaced.  Watkins and Lopes signed deals with Pebbitone, setting Perri Reid up to be their manager.  While still looking for a third member to replace Jones, Watkins and Lopes recorded background vocals for Damian Dame's self-titled album.  While recording, Pebbles was impressed with Rozonda Thomas, a part-time backup dancer for Damian Dame and Thomas became part of the group.

At this time, the trio became known as TLC and to maintain the acronym, Watkins became known as "T-Boz", Lopes became "Left-Eye" and Thomas was nicknamed "Chilli".  TLC signed a recording contract with LaFace and sang backing vocals on a song by Jermaine Jackson for his 1991 album You Said
The main work to be done was to record their debut album, and TLC completed and released it in 1992. 

 Ooooooohhh...On the TLC Tip became one of the year's biggest albums, with lead single "Ain't 2 (sic) Proud 2 (sic) Beg" getting the ball rolling.  It climbed to #1 in Australia and Switzerland, #2 in New Zealand, #6 in the U.S. and #7 in Sweden and sold over one million copies.

TLC's follow up ("Baby-Baby-Baby") was a smash--#1 in Australia, New Zealand, France and Switzerland, #2 in the United States, #5 in Germany and #9 in Sweden.

The album quickly sold over four million copies and "What About Your Friends" gave the group three consecutive Platinum-selling singles.  The song rose to #1 in Australia and France, #2 in the Netherlands, #3 in Switzerland and #7 in the U.S.
TLC opened for MC Hammer on a tour of the United States but soon, Lopes and Thomas discovered that Watkins had sickle-cell anemia while the group was touring in the Southwest.  Watkins was hospitalized and some concerts were cancelled.  After the tour was over, the members of TLC had little money and decided to take control of their careers, removing Pebbles as their manager (although they kept the other parts of her contract in place).

Lopes began dating Andre Rison, star wide receiver with the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League.  The relationship was fraught with many fights, including an assault charge Lopes filed against Rison in September of 1993 and another fight in June of 1994 when Lopes, a heavy drinker, threw several pairs of Rison's newly-purchased shoes into the bathtub, poured lighter fluid on the pile and lit it.  The house quickly caught on fire and Lopes was arrested and indicted of first-degree arson.  Despite these episodes, the two continued dating off and on for the next seven years.
After recording songs for the movies Poetic Justice and Home Alone 2, TLC starred in the movie House Party 3 in 1994.  The group then recorded the CrazySexyCool.  Although Lopes was released from rehab, she contributed less on the trio's sophomore album than she did on their debut.

"Creep" became the trio's biggest hit to date, reaching #1 four weeks in the U.S. and topping charts in the U.K., Ireland and the Netherlands and peaked at #2 in Australia, France and Switzerland, #3 in Germany, #4 in New Zealand and #5 in Switzerland.

TLC had the buzz, and "Red Light Special" hit #1 in every major country in the world except the U.S. (where it peaked at #2), Australia and New Zealand and sold over one million units.

As big as the Platinum-selling "Creep" was, "Waterfalls" was an even bigger hit, presiding at #1 for seven weeks in the United States and topping every major chart in the world except France (#2) and the U.K. (#4).  "Waterfalls" also sold over one million copies.



"Waterfalls" won Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards.  The album debuted at #3 and remained a best-seller for two years.

"Diggin' On You" made it a perfect 4-for-4 in Top 10 singles from the album, going to #1 in the U.K., France and Sweden, #2 in Ireland, New Zealand and Switzerland, #3 in the Netherlands, #4 in Germany, #5 in the United States and #6 in Australia and also selling over one million copies.
CrazySexyCool, the only album by a female group to reach 10 million in sales in the U.S.  It now is over 23 million in wordwide sales, second only to Spice by the Spice Girls among female groups.  TLC won Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group (for "Creep") and a Billboard Music Award for Artist of the Year.

Despite the success and accolades, TLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1995 with declared debts of $3.5 million.  These were partially due to Lopes' insurance payments after the arson and the substantial medical bills of Watkins but the trio blamed the bulk of it on a bad contract with Pebbitone.  Arista Records, LaFace and Pebbitone not only recouped their costs for recording, manufacturing and distribution (common in most recording contracts), but charged TLC with the cost of airline travels, hotels, promotion, music videos, food, clothing and other expenses necessary to tour and promote their songs.  Thus, the more successful the trio were the more in debt they became.


Two years of legal battles resulted before the disputes between TLC, LaFace and Pebbitone were resolved in 1996.  The trio renegotiated their contract with LaFace and Pebbitone agreed to released them from their production and management deal in exchange for Pebbitone receiving a portion of future royalties.  Further conflicts arose between group members and producer Dallas Austin, delaying work on TLC's third album.  During this time, the members of the trio worked on individual projects.


Finally, TLC released FanMail in 1999, which debuted at #1 on the Album chart.  With "No Scrubs", opinion among music lovers was universal--it went #1 in every major country in the world (#1 in the U.S. for four weeks), won Grammy Awards for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and was nominated for Record of the Year 

TLC chose "Unpretty" as the follow-up and it was another monster hit, reaching #1 in the U.S., Germany and Ireland, #3 in Australia, New Zealand and France, #6 in the U.K., #8 in the Netherlands and Sweden and #9 in Switzerland.  The song was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the Grammy Awards.  
FanMail sold over six million copies in the U.S. alone and TLC's worldwide tour grossed over $72.8 million, the highest-grossing tour by a female group.

It seems that with success in nearly every group comes acrimony and in this case, Lopes didn't feel as if she wasn't contributing as much to FanMail as she wanted to.  She challenged the other members of TLC to each record solo albums as part of a 3-CD set and see which album performed the best.  That never came to be, so Lopes recorded a solo album which flopped.
Lopes began working on a second solo release, but died in a car crash on April 25, 2002 while filming a documentary in Honduras.  After Lopes' death, rather than replace her with a new member, Watkins and Thomas decided to complete their fourth album, 3D, before retiring. 

"Girl Talk" reached #1 in Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland, #2 in the U.S., #3 in the U.K. and France, #4 in Australia and #7 in Germany.

The album debuted at #6 and sold over one million copies.  TLC enjoyed one more big hit with "Damaged", #1 in Australia, France, Sweden and Switzerland, #4 in the U.K., #5 in the United States and #8 in Ireland.
In 2003, TLC released their compilation album Now & Forever:  The Hits.

Despite their "retirement" announcement, in 2013, TLC teamed with J. Cole on the song "Crooked Smile", which peaked at #27 before touring North America in 2015 and they are expected to release a new album in 2016. 


TLC collected 16 career hits with nine Top 10 songs nad four #1 smashes.



TLC has sold over 75 million records worldwide and won five Grammy Awards and five MTV Video Music Awards.  

The three confident ladies in TLC had an uncanny ability to appeal to R&B and Popular music audiences simultaneously.  They combined great lyrics, sexy voices and great hooks to become one of the top girl groups of all-time.
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Sunday, January 2, 2022

Joni Mitchell, the #95 Artist of the Rock Era

"What a substantial gift to my ears this body of work is...."

"Sweet...Solid...There is only one you Joni...Thanks for all the music and the stories you tell so eloquently."


"One of the sweetest voices of music history."

"She is beautiful inside and out, phenomenal voice."


"Joni blows me away.  Absolutely a one of a kind talent."

"Voice of an angel."

"Legendary voice reaching two octaves and a half."


"The songwriting is superb, the vocals are exquisite, the arrangements are outstanding, the musicians are brilliant and the lyrics are sublime."

"Once in a lifetime there exists a Joni Mitchell."


"Beautiful melodies for the soul."



When one thinks of this artist, one hears "a voice acrobatic in its ability to soar and dive, to shift pitch and timbre in the middle of a phrase, to rush ahead and cut back on itself, to constantly surprise.  And in her songwriting this vocal virtuosity is matched by a playful linguistic skill, manifested in a profusion of vivid, incisive images, caught on the wing and precisely fixed with amazingly few words...Mitchell is much more than a voice, and much more than a lyricist: hers is a formidable musical intelligence."


                                             

Aidan Dunne
The Irish Times

This amazing talent was born Roberta Joan Anderson on November 7, 1943 in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada.  As she was the daughter of a Royal Canadian Air Force flight lieutenant, she moved with her parents throughout western Canada.  When Roberta was nine, the family moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which she refers to as her hometown.


My years there were glorious, really, she later told 'Reader's Digest'. I loved growing up in Saskatchewan. We always lived on the edge of small towns, so I had the luxury of riding my bicycle into the country, looking for beautiful places, which usually constituted a grove of trees.



Inspired when a friend, Frankie McKitrick, introduced her to classical composers such as Mozart and Schubert, Roberta begged her parents to let her take piano lessons.  Roberta began studying classical piano when she was seven, but was discouraged when her teacher would not let her write her own songs.  "Why would you want to make up your own songs when you can have the masters under your fingers?" the teacher asked.  What that piano teacher did not realize is that her young pupil was destined to become one of those masters.
Roberta also developed a talent for drawing during this time, praised by her classmates and teachers for doing backdrops for school plays, drawings of mathematicians for her math teacher and biology charts of life for her biology teacher.  Roberta contracted polio and was hospitalized for an extended period.  "A great sorrow hath humanized me," she said, already displaying a poetic command of English.  

Three years after recovering, Roberta met a person who greatly influenced her.  While hanging her paintings at Queen Elizabeth School, English teacher Mr. Kratzman noticed them and told her:  "If you can paint with a brush, you can paint with words."  When Anderson was in Kratzman's class the following year, she wrote a poem about stallions, only to get the paper back filled with Kratzman's circled notation of "cliche".  Kratzman told Roberta to write about things she knew, and thus helped mold her innate ability for imagery and description.  She later dedicated her debut album to Kratzman.
Caught up in Rock & Roll, Anderson bought a baritone ukulele for $36 because she could not afford a guitar.  She played at parties and at a Saskatoon coffeehouse called the Louis Riel.  Roberta eventually bought that guitar, teaching herself to play from the Pete Seeger Songbook.  However, because of the effects of polio, she invented alternate tunings.

She began singing in nightclubs in Sakatchewan, Canada , playing a repertoire of standard folk songs, many recorded by her idol, Judy Collins.  After graduating from Aden Bowman Collegiate, Roberta studied art at the Saskatoon Technical Collegiate, but dropped out after one year of school.
She continued to play Folk music on the weekends and took a $15-a-week job in a Calgary coffeehouse.  

Soon, Anderson moved to Toronto, Ontario and began busking in the streets and performing in nightclubs in Toronto and working in the women's wear section of Simpsons-Sears department store to make ends meet. Because most traditional folk material belonged to someone else, Anderson soon realized she needed to write her own songs.

In 1964, Anderson became pregnant by a boyfriend who left her.  Unable to properly care for the baby girl, she put her up for adoption and kept the matter private.  The public did not know about her daughter until 1993 and in 1997, Kilauren Gibb located her and reunited.  
In 1965, Anderson worked at the Penny Farthing, a Toronto Folk club.  There, she met an American Folk singer by the name of Chuck Mitchell, who persuaded her to move to the United States.  The two performed together in U.S. coffeehouses in Michigan and married in June.  By this time, she was performing under the name Joni Mitchell at the Alcove, the Rathskeller restaurant and the Raven Gallery.

In 1966, Joni  played a short set at the Newport Folk Festival.  Lachlan MacLearn remembers the performance:  




In the summer of 1966, a relative unknown walked onto the stage at the Newport, Rhode Island Folk Festival, after being introduced by Judy Collins. It was a breezy summer's evening and the crowd was restless. I remember thinking that this newcomer, whoever she was, was stepping into some serious company. I can't recall the exact lineup. Probably Tim Hardin, Fred Neil, Odetta, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, and the like. As I said, `serious company...' She appeared to be carrying a tiny Martin Triple-0, but I couldn't be sure. She wore a long dress. I was too far back to decipher the face.

There was a round of light applause when she was introduced. A tentative strum rolled from the huge PA, then another, and she was beginning her opening number.

The song was 'Michael from Mountains'. And by the end of the first verse, the crowd had gone from bordering-rude to pin-drop silence. I was riveted.

When the song ended, the strangest thing occurred. For at least five seconds (look at your watch...try to imagine it) the place was dead-silent - ten or fifteen thousand people - dead silent - and then a huge release of cheers and applause.

The short set included `Chelsea Morning', and I think she played `The Circle Game' before leaving the stage to a tumultuous and prolonged standing ovation.

I remember feeling so grateful for this amazing new talent and feeling equally sorry for anyone unfortunate enough to be going onstage after her.




When Joni and Chuck divorced in 1967, Joni moved to New York City.  She met Elliot Roberts, who became her manager and set up dates for Joni to play at venues along the East Coast.  Already, Mitchell was becoming known for her unique guitar-playing style and her songwriting.  
Artists such as Judy Collins, Tom Rush, Buffy Sainte-Marie and George Hamilton IV recorded Joni's songs.  A chance meeting in Coconut Grove, Florida changed Joni's life and altered here career.  While playing at the club Gaslight South, David Crosby saw her performing and was quite taken with her, both personally and professionally.   Crosby convinced to Joni to move to Los Angeles and live with him.  

Crosby negotiated for Joni to record her debut album with Reprise Records, Song to a Seagull





Crosby set up Joni to play at Hollywood parties of friends where several members of the press and radio stations heard her and were impressed by her talent.  In 1968, Mitchell received raves from fans and critics for her performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, and she also was well-received at the Royal Festival Hall in London and at the Miami Pop Festival.  At the latter show, Joni met Graham Nash, who also performed.


When Collins' version of "Both Sides Now" hit the Top 10, it gave Mitchell additional notoriety.  Joni recorded the LP Clouds in 1969, which included several of her songs already recorded by others.  Clouds became Mitchell's first album to be certified Gold and featured the song "Chelsea Morning".  


Joni (above, with John Sebastian of Lovin' Spoonful, Graham Nash, David Crosby and Stephen Stills) played again at the Newport Folk Festival in 1969.

Mitchell won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance.  She moved to Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles with Nash and "two cats in the yard", a line Nash used in the 1970 song by Crosby, Stills & Nash, "Our House", on that trio's debut album.  Joni appeared three times on The Johnny Cash Show in 1969 and 1971.

Mitchell opened for Crosby, Stills & Nash on tour and was scheduled to perform at Woodstock on a Sunday, but when traffic jams were seen on television, Roberts advised her not to go.  He was concerned that Joni would not be able to make it back to New York City for an appearance on The Dick Cavett Show the following day.  The feeling of the Woodstock experience was nevertheless best captured by Mitchell, with Crosby, Stills & Nash turning her song "Woodstock" into a big hit. 

In 1970, Joni released the album Ladies of the Canyon.  "Big Yellow Taxi"

Ladies of the Canyon became Joni's first album to sell over one million copies and was ranked as high as #8 on the U.K. Album chart.  "Rainy Night House" is another superb song on the album.

Ladies of the Canyon also includes four other standout tracks.  This is "The Arrangement"

Mitchell's lyrics and vocal abilities shine on the song "For Free".

"Conversation" is another outstanding song.

Mitchell also included her version of "Woodstock".  

Joni performed at a few festivals in 1970, but did not tour.  She told writer Larry LaBlanc, "I was being isolated, starting to feel like a bird in a gilded cage. I wasn't getting a chance to meet people. A certain amount of success cuts you off in a lot of ways."

While traveling throughout Europe, Joni wrote several songs on the isle of Crete which would be featured on her next album, Blue in 1971.  Mitchell sang backing vocals on Carole King's masterpiece, Tapestry, and the following month, she and Carole sang backing vocals on James Taylor's album Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, including the #1 song "You've Got A Friend". 

Blue is full of great songs such as "River".

Joni's deeply personal and genuine reflections on the album resulted in "My Old Man".

Blue became one of Joni's most critically-acclaimed and emotional albums. "We all suffer for our loneliness, but at the time of Blue, our pop stars never admitted these things." Joni said.  Another of the most-loved songs on the album is "A Case Of You".

"The Last Time I Saw Richard"

"California"

Blue, also a Platinum album, reached #3 in the U.K. and #9 in the United States.

Mitchell sold her house in Laurel Canyon and purchased property by the water in British Columbia that allowed her to have the privacy that was impossible to find in Hollywood.  Joni stayed with record mogul David Geffen when she needed to be in Los Angeles to record.  

While opening for Jackson Browne to support Blue, Mitchell performed songs for her next album, For the Roses.  Joni met woodwind player Tommy Scott at the Baked Potato Club, and Scott played on her next two albums.  Released late in 1972, For the Roses also was certified Gold.  Joni enjoyed another minor hit with the single "You Turn Me On, I'm A Radio".

Joni began to experiment with Jazz music that would characterize an experimental period in her career in the years to come.  We first see evidence of that on her phenomenal album Court and Spark.  Mitchell achieved her biggest career hit with "Help Me" in 1974.

The album went to #1 on the Cashbox chart and has sold over two million copies in the U.S. alone.  "Raised On Robbery" also became a hit.

"Free Man In Paris"

Mitchell won a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement, Instrumentals and Vocals (for "Down To You"), an honor she shared with Scott.

Joni was nominated for Album of the Year, Record of the Year (for "Help Me") and Best Pop Female Vocal Performance.  The title song is another winner.

Joni performed over 50 dates throughout the United States and Canada.  Mitchell's shows at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles were recorded for a live album, released later in the year as Miles of Aisles.

Joni moved back to Los Angeles, buying a home which she lived in with her boyfriend John Guerin, whom she had met on the tour.  In 1975, Mitchell released the album The Hissing of Summer Lawns, for which she was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.  That album extended Joni's consecutive Gold albums streak to seven.  "In France They Kiss On Main Street".  

After the tour, Mitchell and Guerin broke up.  The following year, Mitchell performed in the final concert by The Band, later made into the movie The Last Waltz.

In 1976, Mitchell traveled to Maine and back and during the trip, wrote songs for her album Heijira.  "Refuge Of The Roads" is one of the highlights on the album.

Musicians from the Jazz fusion group Weather Report played on the double album Don Juan's Reckless Daughter.   This is the title track.

Mitchell then began working with Jazz composer Charles Mingus on a collaboration.  Mingus died before the project was completed, but Joni finished the tracks and released the album Mingus in 1979.  The album became her first since the 1960's to fall short of going Gold, ending Joni's streak at nine.

Mitchell's show at the Santa Barbara County Bowl became her second live album, released as Shadows and Light.

In 1982, Mitchell married bassist Larry Klein and, when friend David Geffen, who had founded Asylum Records, decided to start his own Geffen Records, Joni went with him.  Mitchell returned to her earlier sound for the album Wild Things Run Fast.  "Chinese Cafe"/"Unchained Melody".

The following year, Joni began a world tour, and released a home video called Refuge of the Roads, which later became available on DVD.

But when Geffen brought Thomas Dolby to produce her next album, Dog Eat Dog, which became her lowest-charting album (#63) since Mitchell's debut album peaked at #189, and had Joni's fans scratching their heads.

Mitchell collaborated with Don Henley, Tom Petty, Billy Idol, Peter Gabriel, Benjamin Orr of the Cars and Willie Nelson on the 1988 album Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm.  "Lakota".  Joni received another Grammy nomination for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance for the album.  

In 1990, Mitchell performed in The Wall Concert in Berlin with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and other stars, such as Bryan Adams, Cyndi Lauper and Van Morrison.

After Mitchell and Klein divorced in 1994, Mitchell recorded the album Turbulent Indigo, her finest album in years.  Joni won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Album.  The title song laments the inability of people to understand artists.

In 1995, Mitchell received the Billboard Century Award.  The following year, she received the Polar Music Prize and in 1997, Joni was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2001, Mitchell (above with Carlos Santana) received a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Both Sides Now, and she was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her new version of the title song.

In 2002, Joni was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada, the highest honour for a civilian in Canada.

In 2007, Mitchell moved to Calgary and was the adviser for the Alberta Ballet Company.  Later that year, Mitchell released the album Shine, which debuted at #14.  Joni won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for the song "One Week Last Summer".
Also that year, Canada Post featured Mitchell on a postage stamp.  

In 2015, Mitchell was found unconscious in her Los Angeles home.  She later regained consciousness on her way to the hospital but underwent tests in the Intensive Care Unit.  Since then, there have been different reports as to her condition, with some websites claiming she was in a coma but her official website denying those reports.  News came out that Mitchell had suffered a brain aneurysm, that speech was difficult, and that she hadn't been able to walk.  Later in the year, Joni returned home and went through physical therapy.
Mitchell has sold over 15 million albums worldwide and has won nine Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.  The Canada Walk of Fame had this to say about Joni:


Trying to summarize the iconoclastic allure of Joni Mitchell in a single sentence is a fool's gambit. There is, however, a moment on the 'Miles Of Aisles' album that comes close to capturing her firefly essence. Teasing the California audience about fans' strange insistence that every performance of a song sound precisely like the original recording, she chides, "Nobody ever said to Van Gogh, "Hey, man, paint A Starry Night again!'" Typically spare and precise, they're the words of a rebel, a fighter, a lover, and a poet who has enriched our lives by always valuing originality and spontaneity above all else.
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Saturday, January 1, 2022

Carole King, the #96 Artist of the Rock Era

Inside the Rock Era · Post Carole King, The #96 Artist of the Rock Era Posting as Rocketman5000
"This woman is sheer brilliance - phenomenal talent."

"I'm blown away by how many hits she's written."

"I love the raw tones and the way she captures the emotions in her songs...pure talent"


"A songwriting legend."

"Great talent and beautiful voice."

"One of the greatest female artists of all-time."

"Carole King is an all-around musical talent."

"An enduring songstress who poured all she had into her songs."

"Her voice is so soothing.  I love her."

"Great artist, singer, songwriter, and entertainer."






As a songwriter, this lady ranks among the best of all-time.  She's kept plenty of good ones for herself, and her long, durable career and exposure to a new generation continues to keep Carole King in the limelight.
Carol Klein was born February 9, 1942 in Manhattan, New York.  Her mother Eugenia learned piano at an early age and Carole became fascinated with music since she was about three.  Eugenia began teaching her daughter the basics of piano.  When they realized that Carol had a natural ability of relative pitch; that she knew the note of the piano by hearing it, Eugenia starting giving Carol lessons.  Eugenia taught her music theory, piano technique, how to read notation and how to do proper note timing.  

King went to James Madison High School, where she started a band called the Co-Sines and changed her stage name to Carole King.  King's friend Paul Simon helped her record demo records, and in 1958, she released the single "The Right Girl" on ABC-Paramount Records.
King met Gerry Goffin while both attended Queens College, and the couple married at age 17.  To make ends meet, both Carole and Gerry quit college, with Gerry working as an assistant chemist and King as a secretary.  They wrote songs together when they got home from work.

Neil Sedaka, who had dated King in high school, enjoyed a 1959 hit with "Oh!  Carol".  Goffin took the song and wrote the response song "Oh!  Neil", which King recorded and released.  It wasn't a hit, so King and Goffin continued songwriting.  
The pair came up with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", which the Shirelles turned into a #1 hit.  After this, Goffin and King quit their jobs to focus full-time on songwriting.  In the years to come, the songwriting team wrote a string of hits, including "The Loco-Motion" (written for their babysitter Little Eva.  King recorded another of their songs, "It Might As Well Rain Until September" in 1962, which reached #3 in the U.K. but only #22 in the United States, so she abandoned thoughts of a recording career, at least temporarily.

King & Coffin soon became one of the top songwriting partnerships of the Rock Era, writing "One Fine Day" for the Chiffons, "Take Good Care Of My Baby" for Bobby Vee, "Up On The Roof" for the Drifters, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" for the Monkees, "I'm Into Something Good", later recorded by Herman's Hermits, and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" for Aretha Franklin.  
However, in 1968, Goffin and King divorced and Carole moved to Laurel Canyon, where she formed a trio called The City with Charles Larkey (her future husband, on bass) and Danny Kortchmar on guitar.  The City released the album Now That Everything's Been Said in 1968, but sales weren't great and the band broke up in 1969.

Carole met James Taylor and Joni Mitchell and Toni Stern, with whom she would write songs in the future.  Carole recorded her first solo album, Writer, in 1970 and released it on Ode Records.  Taylor played acoustical guitar and sang backing vocals.  Carole helped out with keyboards on B.B. King on his album Indianola Mississippi Seeds.



In 1971, Carole and Taylor recorded solo albums at the same time in the same studio, with many musicians, including King, Kortchmar and Mitchell, helping out on both albums.  Both albums contained Carole's song "You've Got A Friend", which Taylor loved and wanted to record.  It became a #1 hit for him.

King released the album Tapestry, which became an instant hit.  The lead single, "I Feel The Earth Move"/"It's Too Late", became one of The Top Double-Sided Hits of the Rock Era*.  "It's Too Late" rose to #1 for five weeks and also hit #1 in Canada, #5 in Australia and #6 in the U.K.

"So Far Away" jumped to #3 on the Adult chart and #14 overall.

The flip side to that received good airplay as well--"Smackwater Jack".
Tapestry #1 for 15 weeks and remained a best-seller for over six years.  It has now sold over 25 million copies worldwide and Inside The Rock Era ranks it as The #7 Album of the Rock Era*.  The title song is one of cream of the crop in our Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*.

Tapestry went a long way in helping secure a spot in The Top 100 Artists*.  The masterpiece is loaded with amazing songs.  Carole covered her own song and included "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman".

"Beautiful is another solid track.



King won Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, Record of the Year (for "It's Too Late"), Song of the Year ("You've Got A Friend") and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female.

King followed up that masterpiece with the album Music later in the year.  Music quickly rose to #1 as well.  The single "Sweet Seasons" peaked at #2 on the Adult chart and #9 overall.

Music was on the Album chart for 44 weeks and has sold over one million copies.

Carole released the album Rhymes and Reasons in 1972, another Gold album.  "Been To Canaan" gave King another #1 Adult song that stopped at #24 on the Popular chart.

The album Fantasy in 1973  also went Gold and contained the #5 Adult hit "Corazon".

Carole performed a free concert before 100,000 in Manhattan's Central Park.  In 1974, she released the album Wrap Around Joy, another #1 album that earned a Gold record.  King chose "Jazzman" as the lead single and with the help of saxophone legend Tom Scott, it became one of her biggest career hits at #2 Popular and #4 Adult.


"Nightingale" went all the way to #1 on the Adult chart and #9 overall.

King released the album Thoroughbred in 1976, with the help of friends David Crosby, Graham Nash and Taylor.  During this time, Carole reunited with ex-husband Gerry Goffin as a songwriting partner for four songs on the album.  King toured to support the project.  The single "Only Love Is Real" rose to #1 on the Adult chart.
In 1977, Carole signed a new recording contract with Capitol Records and released the album Simple Things.  Simple Things became her seventh consecutive Gold album.  She wrote songs with Rick Evers for the album and married shortly after the album was released, but Evers died of cocaine a year later.

In 1978, King released the compilation album Her Greatest Hits:  Songs of Long Ago, which has sold over one million copies.

In 1980, King recorded a version of the song she'd written years before for the Chiffons for the movie One Fine Day.
Several subsequent studio albums failed to generate excitement, however, and King moved to Atlantic Records for the releases of the albums One to One in 1982 and Speeding Time in 1983.

In 1987, King and Goffin were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, reflecting one of the world's great songwriting teams.
Carole scored and performed the soundtrack to the movie Murphy's Romance.  In 1988, King starred in the off-Broadway show A Minor Incident.  By 1989, she was back with Capitol and she released the album City Streets

In 1990, King and Goffin were inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame as songwriters.  In 1993, Carole came back with the album Color of Your Dreams.  "Now And Forever", featured in the movie A League of Their Own, was nominated for a Grammy Award.  
Carole starred on Broadway in the play Blood Brothers in 1994.  King continued to stay active, writing with Mariah Carey and for Celine Dion.  Carole (shown above with Dion) performed on the VH1 Divas concert.

In 2000, King was nominated for an Emmy Award for "Song Of Freedom" from the television movie Freedom Song.

In 2001, Carole started her own record label, Rockingale, and released the album Love Makes The World.  The next year, King received the Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  
In 2010, King and Taylor went on the Troubadour Reunion Tour where the two played before 700,000 people and grossed $59 million, one of the most successful tours of the year.  The live album containing memorable performances of the tour charted at #4 and went Gold.

King released an album of Christmas music called A Holiday Carole in 2011, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.



In 2012, Carole published her autobiography A Natural Woman:  A Memoir, which entered The New York Times Best-Seller List at #6.  Later that year, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  




In 2012, the U.S. Library of Congress announced that Carole would be the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, with the following statement:



"Carole King has been one of the most influential songwriters of our time. For more than five decades, she has written for and been recorded by many different types of artists for a wide range of audiences, communicating with beauty and dignity the universal human emotions of love, joy, pain and loss. Her body of work reflects the spirit of the Gershwin Prize with its originality, longevity and diversity of appeal."


King became the first woman to receive the award when she was given the award by U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on May 22, 2013.  King also received the Lifetime Achivement Award at the Grammys. 



In 2014, Carole was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year.  King won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album for Beautiful:  The Carole King Musical.  On December 6, 2015, King was a Kennedy Center Honoree.

King's catalog includes 18 career hits with five reaching the Top 10 and one #1 song.  On the Adult chart, she has charted 18 hits, with 10 Top 10 songs and four #1's.  She has written or co-written 118 songs to make the Billboard Hot 100.  


King has sold over 75 million records worldwide.  
Carole has won six Grammy Awards and was named a Grammy Trustee in 2004.  
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