Songwriter Gerry Goffin, Ex-Husband of Carole King, Dies at 75

Penned Hits 'Natural Woman' and 'The Loco-Motion'

Gerry Goffin, left, attends premier of Carole King’s Broadway musical.
getty images
Gerry Goffin, left, attends premier of Carole King’s Broadway musical.

By Reuters

Published June 19, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Gerry Goffin, the lyricist who co-wrote some of the biggest hit songs of the 1960s with his former wife and longtime collaborator Carole King, died on Thursday at age 75, King said in a message posted on Facebook.

Goffin, who died of natural causes at his Beverly Hills home, co-wrote numerous top-40 singles with King, including “The Loco-Motion,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and “Up on the Roof,” most of which were hits for other performers.

“Gerry Goffin was my first love,” King, 72, said in a tribute posted on her Facebook page. “He had a profound impact on my life and the rest of the world. … His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn’t know how to say.”

One of their most popular songs, the No. 1 hit “The Loco-Motion,” ignited a dance craze and was originally performed by the singer Little Eva, who was working for the couple as a babysitter when they asked her to record it in 1962.

The bluesy love song “Chains” was first recorded by the Cookies but later covered by the Beatles. Queen of soul Aretha Franklin hit the charts with “Natural Woman,” but King herself later recorded the ballad as a track on her breakthrough 1971 solo album “Tapestry.”

Other notable hits co-written by Goffin and King included “Up on the Roof” by the Drifters, “One Fine Day” by the Chiffons, “I’m Into Something Good” by Herman’s Hermits, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by the Shirelles, “Take Good Care of My Baby” by Bobby Vee, “Don’t Bring Me Down” by the Animals, “Take a Giant Step” by the Monkees and “Goin’ Back” by the Birds.

Goffin met and married King in 1958 while attending Queens College. The couple were later hired by pop music producer Don Kirshner to write songs for his song publishing firm, Aldon Music.

With Goffin writing lyrics to tunes King composed at the piano, the couple churned out songs for a wide range of artists ranging from rhythm-and-blues groups to British Invasion bands of the era.

The couple divorced in 1968 but they remained friends. They were inducted together into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Their relationship and collaboration as a song-writing team is chronicled in the current Broadway hit show “Beautiful - The Carole King Musical,” which was produced by Sherry Goffin Kondor, who is their daughter and King’s manager.

In addition to the hits he wrote with King, Goffin teamed up with Michael Masser to write the movie ballad “Do You Know Where You’re Going To (Theme from Mahogany),” which earned them an Academy Award nomination and was a No. 1 hit for Diana Ross. He and Masser also co-wrote “Saving All My Love for You,” a chart-topper for Whitney Houston.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.