The lyricist Gerry Goffin, who with his then-wife and songwriting partner Carole King wrote such hits as Will You Love Me Tomorrow, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Halfway to Paradise and The Loco-Motion, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 75.
Goffin, who married King in 1959 while they were in their teens, penned more than 50 top 40 hits, including Pleasant Valley Sunday for the Monkees, Crying in the Rain by the Everly Brothers and Take Good Care of My Baby by Bobby Vee. The couple divorced in 1968, but Goffin kept writing hits, including Saving All My Love for You for Whitney Houston.
King said in a statement that Goffin was her first love and had a profound impact on her life. “Gerry was a good man with a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come,” King said. “His legacy to me is our two daughters, four grandchildren, and our songs that have touched millions and millions of people, as well as a lifelong friendship.”
The Goffin & King love affair is the subject of the Tony Award-nominated musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway. King, while backing the project, had avoided seeing it for months because it dredged up sad memories. She finally sat through it in April.
The musical shows the two composing their songs at Aldon Music, the Brill Building publishing company in Manhattan that also employed Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield and Carole Bayer Sager. The show ends just as King is enjoying fame for her 1971 groundbreaking solo album Tapestry. It also alleges Goffin’s womanizing and depression were causes of the breakup.
After their divorce, Goffin garnered an Academy Award nomination with Michael Masser for the theme to the 1975 film Mahogany for Diana Ross. He also earned a Golden Globe nomination for So Sad the Song in 1977 from the film Pipe Dreams.
Goffin and King were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three years later. Both Goffin and King quit their day jobs to focus on music, and other songs followed, including Up on the Roof for the Drifters, One Fine Day for the Chiffons and Chains for the Cookies which was later covered by the Beatles. Goffin also collaborated with another Aldon composer, Barry Mann, on the hit Who Put the Bomp (In the Bomp Bomp Bomp).
Goffin continued co-writing songs, including Tonight I Celebrate My Love, a duet recorded by Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack, and the Natalie Cole classic, Miss You Like Crazy.