Top 10 Songs of Carole King

Feb 07, 2013

By AM740 Staff

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There is no way around it: Carole King is a monster hit writer. She may be one of the most prolific female pop song writers of all time. We’ve rounded up 10 of her massive hits to celebrate her birthday on February 9th.

10.  The Song:  Hey Girl 
The Version: Freddie Scott 
Chart Position: #10 in 1963
The Story: Carole King played this song in a medley of her work during tour dates in the 2000s.

9. The Song: One Fine Day 
The Version: Chiffons
Chart Position:  #5 in 1963
The Story: King and her writing partner/husband Gerry Goffin were inspired by an aria from Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly. The song was originally penned for Little Eva but the writing team were unable to find an arrangement that really worked. They passed the song onto The Tokens to produce the song for the Chiffons.

8. The Song: Up On The Roof 
The Version: Drifters 
Chart Position: #5 in 1962
The Story: ‘Up on the Roof’ is known for its vivid description of the urban landscape and skyline. Rolling Stone named it #114 on its list of the Top 500 Songs of All Time. They describe the song as “a breezy summertime song for city dwellers whose only getaways were the tar beaches at the top of their buildings.”

7. The Song: Jazzman 
The Version: Carole King 
Chart Position: #2 in 1974
The Story: King wrote the sheet music for this song and David Palmer (of Steely Dan) wrote the lyrics. The song was featured heavily in an episode of the Simpsons.

6. The Song: You’ve Got a Friend 
The Version: James Taylor 
Chart Position: #1 for 1 week in 1971
The Story: Both Carole King and James Taylor released versions of ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ in 1971. Taylor’s was the version that really picked up steam and spent the most time on the charts. Both King and Taylor received Grammys, King for Song of the Year and Taylor for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

5. The Song: Will You Love Me Tomorrow 
The Version: Shirelles 
Chart Position: #1 for 2 weeks in 1961
The Story: ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ was one of Goffin and King’s first hits. King’s need to be in charge of her compositions came through during recording. According to writer Fred Bronson, King, “unhappy with one of the musicians, played kettle drums herself.”

4. The Song: Take Good Care of My Baby 
The Version: Bobby Vee 
Chart Position: #1 for 3 weeks in 1961
The Story: The Beatles recorded a version for their Decca Records audition in 1962.

3. The Song: The Locomotion 
The Version: Little Eva 
Chart Position: #1 for 1 week in 1962
The Story: ‘The Locomotion’ found its way onto the American Top 5 singles chart three times; each time in a different decade. Little Eva’s version was the first followed by Grand Funk Railroad in 1974 and Kylie Minogue in 1988.

2. The Song: Go Away Little Girl 
The Version: Steve Lawrence 
Chart Position: #1 for 2 weeks in 1962
The Story: ‘Go Away Little Girl’ was the first song in pop history to be a No. 1 hit for two artists. Steve Lawrence’s version was followed by Donny Osmond’s in 1971. 1971 was the year that King ruled supreme, releasing Tapestry and having a number of other artists hit the charts with her songs.

1. The Song: It’s Too Late 
The Version: Carole King 
Chart Position: #1 for 5 weeks in 1971
The Story: Once again King teamed up with another lyricist, this time Toni Stern, to write ‘It’s Too Late.’ In an interview in 1970, King discussed her hesitation to write lyrics for her music. “I didn’t want people to interpret what I wrote, I think  I have a block against that. People can point to a phrase in lyrics.”

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