Carol Klein was born in 1942 in New York. Her mother played piano at home and Carol was eager to learn. When Carol was four years old, her mother started teaching her music theory and elementary piano technique, including how to read notation. Her parents discovered she had developed a sense of absolute pitch, which enabled her to often name a note correctly by just hearing it.
Carol began kindergarten when she was four, but after her first year she was promoted directly to second grade because she had an exceptional facility with words and numbers. In high school she changed her name to Carole King and made demo records with her friend Paul Simon (later of Simon and Garfunkel).
Carole met Gerry Goffin, who was to become her songwriting partner at college and they married in 1959 when she was 17. They quit college and took daytime jobs, writing songs together in the evening. After writing a #1 hit, Will You Love Me Tomorrow for The Shirelles, Goffin and King gave up their daytime jobs to concentrate on writing.
During the 1960s, with King writing the music and Goffin the lyrics, the two wrote a string of classic songs for a variety of artists, including: Chains, The LocoMotion, It Might As Well Rain Until September, Take Good Care of My Baby, I’m Into Something Good, One Fine Day, Pleasant Valley Sunday and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman for Aretha Franklin.
By 1968, they were divorced and Carole moved to Los Angeles with her two daughters. While in Los Angeles, she met James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Toni Stern, with whom she would collaborate. She released her first solo album The Writer in 1970, followed by Tapestry in 1971.
Tapestry was an instant success with numerous hit singles – including a Billboard No.1 with It’s Too Late. Tapestry album held the No.1 spot for 15 consecutive weeks, remained on the charts for nearly six years, and has sold over 25 million copies worldwide.
Carole King is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century in the US, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100. She has made 25 solo albums and her record sales were estimated at more than 75 million copies worldwide.
She has won four Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her songwriting.