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Ten Carole King Songs You Don’t Know As Hers

From Herman’s Hermits to Lisa Simpson, these were actually covers

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Carole King on the cover of Tapestry.(Amazon)

The release last month of Carole King’s memoir, A Natural Woman, and the death of Maurice Sendak, with whom King collaborated, have inspired this list. While King is undoubtedly one of the greatest songwriters of the second half of the 20th century, she is arguably the most underrated. Her tunes (for which she tended to write the music; the lyrics would be written by her first husband, Gerry Goffin, or by later collaborators, including Sendak), whether Motown-style or not, fall into one of three categories: ones she wrote but never recorded; ones she wrote and recorded but which not many people heard, or heard her versions of; and ones on Tapestry. If you’re my age, ask your parents about Tapestry.

Songs on this list, however, are not on Tapestry (with one exception). They are instead the best Carole King songs that you may not have known are, in fact, Carole King songs.

10: “Take Good Care of My Baby,” Bobby Vee—from 1961, but almost feels pre-’60s.

9: “Jazzman,” Lisa Simpson—this actually was originally recorded by King, in 1974, but I guarantee you more people know it as Lisa’s eulogy for Bleeding Gums Murphy.

8: “Another Pleasant Valley Sunday,” the Monkees—what, you thought the Monkees wrote their own stuff?

7: “Don’t Say Nothing Bad About My Baby,” The Cookies—yes, a Jewish lady from Brooklyn wrote this, really.

6: “One Fine Day,” The Chiffons—ditto.

5: “Don’t Bring Me Down,” The Animals—exactly the sort of tune you wouldn’t think she wrote!

4: “You’ve Got a Friend”—yes, it’s on Tapestry, but the version by her friend James Taylor is so definitive. And he was no songwriting slouch.

3: “I’m Into Something Good,” Herman’s Hermits—something about the blues progression here feels so typically her, in much the same way that the next song’s does.

2: “The Loco-Motion,” Little Eva—you think you can hear King singing this song in her voice; but she didn’t until 1980.

1: “Up on the Roof”—quite simply one of the great songs. The James Taylor version is wonderful, too. And is there a track more subtly yet quintessentially New York?

Okay and here is her doing “I Feel the Earth Move.”

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Thanks for this awesome list of songs… all treasured from years gone by… and for the artistry of Carole King…

karensherwood says:

Love this list, love Carole King, love the ’60’s, and ’70’s, and all decades that have been touched by her magic.

I’m pretty sure all these songs were written in collaboration with Gerry Goffin. His lyrics were brilliant.

    annmaggjenn1 says:

    All of them except “You’ve Got a Friend”.  That one she did all by herself!

I havent watched The Simpsons in many years but when I did watch it that Jazzman episode was the worst one I’d seen. It was awful.

Taj Mahal’s signature tune for many years, “Take A Giant Step” (also recorded by The Monkees), is also hers.

Carole King should be honored as a national treasure as many of her generation have.  I met her once at a commune in Northern California where she played the piano beautifully.   I did not know who she was at the time although I knew her music well.   But modest is a good word for her. 

How could you forget ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow”?

I think her best song was “The Dolphin Song,” her Beatleseque paen to psychedelia the Monkees sang in their film Head. 

Question: Is Carole King’s “I’ve been to Canaan” a Zionist song?

“Take Good Care of My Baby” makes perfect sense for 1961. The Sixties began considerably later than that. I think they began with the gunshots in Dallas on November 22, 1963. They ended when the last helicopter left the US Embassy in Saigon. (That’s Ho Chi Minh City, for you young folks.)

Only folks not in to music since the late 50’s would not recognize the songs as hers.

Possibly, a song she is sorry she wrote was, “He Hit Me (It Felt Like a kiss) back in in 1962. Recorded by the Crystals with Lala Brooks singing lead, this dirge like tune has lyrics like “…he hit me but it didn’t hurt me…he hit me and I knew he lived me…” YIKES. Even Phil Spector had the good sense to pull this from circulation – Donald Riggio author of SEVEN-INCH VINYL: A ROCK AND ROLL NOVEL.

Why is Chains by The Beatles not on the list ?????

I knew she wrote Pleasant Valley Sunday, but not the others. Quite a list not to be known for!

el_polacko says:

anybody with an interest in music of the period already knows that these are her songs.

Will Buthod says:

You left out /Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow/, which King wrote at age 17 or 18.

David Govett says:

It Might As Well Rain Until September

Bruce Webster says:

“If you’re my age, ask your parents about Tapestry.”

Bought it when it came out during my senior year of high school. Possibly still my favorite album of all time.

I’m old enough to remember all of those when they were current hits. Great music.

Here’s a larger list:

Rafel Simcha says:

This woman is so KEEN and glad she is one of us!


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Ten Carole King Songs You Don’t Know As Hers

From Herman’s Hermits to Lisa Simpson, these were actually covers

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