Seminal pop songwriter Gerry Goffin, who collaborated with his ex-wife Carole King, died on Thursday at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 75. Together, Goffin and King wrote some of the most famous hits of the 1960s and beyond.
Goffin, who was born in Brooklyn in 1939, said he began writing lyrics as a sort of game, but he couldn't put the words to music at first. That changed when he met Carole King at Queens College in 1958.
The two got married in 1961 and earned heir first hit that year with “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” for the Shirelles. Goffin was the lyricist and Carole provided the arrangements. The following year they wrote “The Loco-Motion,” which became a hit for Little Eva (actually their babysitter) as well as a chart-climber for Grand Funk Railroad in 1974 and Kylie Minogue in 1988.
Goffin and King's songs in the '60s were also recorded by Marvin Gaye, Righteous Brothers, the Beatles and a slew of other artists. Aretha Franklin earned massive acclaim in 1967 with “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman,” which shows off the pair's ability to combine emotional lyrics with masterful melodies and harmonies.
Goffin and King had two daughters (one of whom became a singer-songwriter herself) before divorcing in 1968. But they continued to write together. King had massive success as a solo career while Goffin released two solo records to low sales, but he wrote with success through the '80s. The two were inducted together into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and 1990, respectively.
“Gerry Goffin was my first love,” King said in a statement. “He had a profound impact on my life and the rest of the world. Gerry was a good man and a dynamic force whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come. 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. He will be missed by his wonderful wife Michele; his devoted manager, Christine Russell; his five children and six grandchildren.”
King and Goffin’s relationship was recently dramatized into the Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” Jessie Mueller took home the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as King.
Goffin remarried in 1995. He is survived by his wife, four daughters and one son.