Lyricist Gerry Goffin, Carole King's ex, dies at 75
Gerry Goffin, a prolific and multidimensional lyricist 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," "Up on the Roof" and "The Loco-Motion," died early yesterday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75.
His wife, Michelle Goffin, confirmed his death.
Goffin, who married King in 1959, penned more than 50 top 40 hits, including "Pleasant Valley Sunday" for the Monkees, "Crying in the Rain" by the Everly Brothers, "Some Kind of Wonderful" for the Drifters and "Take Good Care of My Baby" by Bobby Vee. Goffin was able to pen jokey lyrics or sad ones, and he did it for solo artists and multiple voices.
Daughter Louise Goffin said her dad "wore his heart on his sleeve, and I am deeply blessed to have had a father who could so easily make the world laugh and cry with just a spiral notebook and a pen."
King and Goffin divorced in 1968, but Goffin kept writing hits, including "Savin' All My Love for You" for Whitney Houston. Goffin and King were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three years later.
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 words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn't know how to say."
Goffin's lyrics could veer from romantic to defiant to silly. In "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," he touchingly wrote, "Tonight with words unspoken/You say that I'm the only one/But will my heart be broken?/When the night meets the morning sun?"
But there was an undercurrent of sadness in his song "Up on the Roof," where the lyrics go: "When this old world starts getting me down/and people are just too much for me to face/I climb way up to the top of the stairs/and all my cares just drift right into space."
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 and with one of their daughters acting as a producer, had avoided seeing it for months because it dredged up sad memories. She finally sat through it in April.
After his divorce from King, 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."
Born in Brooklyn, Goffin met King at Queens College. Romance led to marriage and their first hit, when she was only 17 and he was 20, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" for the Shirelles, which a pregnant King helped write while suffering morning sickness.
Both quit their day jobs and other songs followed, including "Up on the Roof" for the Drifters, "One Fine Day" for the Chiffons and "Chains," which was later covered by the Beatles, and "The Loco-Motion," which eventually was sung by their one-time baby sitter Little Eva.
Goffin is survived by his five children and his wife.