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It's Never Too Late to Enjoy the Gifts of Songwriter Carole King

Marion Charatan

Posted on January 13, 2019 17:31

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The great Carole King made a surprise visit last Saturday to the Broadway show "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" based on her extraordinary life as a prolific singer/songwriter.

The great Carole King’s music is timeless and part of the soundtrack to many of our lives -- especially those of the baby boomer generation. Her music was an integral part of late 60’s and 70’s culture.

What makes King unique is that she is the most successful female songwriter in the United States for the second half of the 20th century. She co-wrote or wrote 118 top hits on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1955 and 1999. King also wrote 61 chart toppers in the UK –-and this made her the most successful female songwriter of UK singles chart toppers between 1952-2005.

And her personal life and journey is interesting enough for it to be chronicled in a Broadway show Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. King accomplished a feat that was harder for women of her era to attain -- to become a successful songwriter.

The 1960’s and 70’s saw a boom in the number of women who were composers /singers. Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and Dolly Parton all graced the airwaves. As beautiful and prolific as those singers’ works were, it was King who is touted as the most successful songwriter of her generation. In fact,  I found (and agree) with a feature from the BBC that includes King in the list of the 10 most revolutionary women in music. The criteria for the list was that the women had a “profound effect on the history of music.”

To celebrate the life of Carole King, who turns 77 on February 9, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical debuted on Broadway on November 21, 2013.

Last Saturday, the singer wowed a Times Square audience when she made a surprise appearance on stage at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. She sang the closing song "Beautiful," replacing lead actress Chilina Kennedy-- who plays Carole King in the production.

After a curtain call, King joined in with the cast singing “I feel the Earth Move.” To wrap up the extraordinary evening King said, "This musical has been such a magical experience. To be here and celebrate our fifth anniversary with so much joy and love is amazing.”

The show earned 7 Tony nominations and won 2. It has been performed in London, Japan and Australia and toured in the UK.

Classic songs we all know that King wrote include "You've Got a Friend" (famously covered by James Taylor) and "Natural Woman," made instantly recognizable by the late great Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

Perhaps some of the content of King's marvelous material comes from the highs and lows of the 'tapestry' of her own life. Married 4 times, the mother of 4 said in her 2012 biography A Natural Woman that she wrote more than 12 top chart hits with her first husband Gerry Goffin. However, she was abused by her third husband, Rick Evers, who died of a cocaine overdose in 1978.

Today, King remains engaged with music and is an environmental activist at her Idaho ranch.

Marion Charatan

Posted on January 13, 2019 17:31

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Source: NBC 7

Musica En La Plaza returns Friday night to the California Center for the Arts in Escondido.

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