Gerry Goffin, Songwriter and Ex-Husband of Carole King, Dies at 75

Nora Dominick ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Gerry Goffin.
Gerry Goffin.

Legendary lyricist and music collaborator, Gerry Goffin passed away on Thursday June 19, 2014 at the age of 75. According to his current wife, Michelle Goffin, he died early on Thursday of natural causes.

Goffin is best known for being Carole King’s writing partner and ex-husband. The duo is known for creating some of the biggest hits of the 1960’s including “The Locomotion,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “One Fine Day,” “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” Goffin and King were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 for their contributions to the music industry.

During his lucrative career, Goffin contributed to seven Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping songs. Goffin and King married in 1959 at the age of 20 and had two daughters together prior to their divorce in 1968.

Although King would go onto a hugely successful solo-career, it was Goffin’s poetic and vivid lyrics that helped rocket her to songwriting stardom. His songs “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Up on the Roof” may have become famous through King and the Drifters however, his words are what helped propel the songs to stardom. Their music has been covered by some of the biggest acts in pop, rock and soul including The Shirelles, Bobby Vee, The Beatles and The Drifters. Goffin had a talent no one else could duplicate. He managed to create songs everyone could relate to. His lyrics were honest, truthful and sentimental.

Although Goffin and King parted ways in the late 1960s, Goffin’s career was far from over. He went onto become a successful music producer most notably for Freddie Scott’s version of “Hey Girl” in 1963. This song remains a classic to this day.

Currently, Goffin’s story can be seen on Broadway in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. The musical tells the story of Carole Klein/King (Jessie Mueller) as she fights her way into the record business with the husband of her dreams, Gerry Goffin (Jake Epstein) and two life-long friends, Cynthia Weil (Anika Larson) and Barry Mann (Jarrod Spector). When her personal life begins to crack under the pressure, King manages to find her true voice and write the soundtrack for a generation.

On the passing of Mr. Goffin, Carole King stated: “Gerry Goffin was my first love. 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 Michelle, his devoted manager, Christine Russell, his five children, and six grandchildren.” She went onto add “His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn’t know how to say. If you want to join his loved ones in honoring him, look at the names of the songwriters under the titles of songs. Among the titles associated with me, you’ll often find Gerry’s name next to mine,”

Legendary songwriting duo, Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, good friends of Goffin and King released words via their official twitter account on behalf of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical actress Anika Larsen, who plays Cynthia Weil in the show. Larsen wrote to Mann and Weil and stated, “We dimmed the lights of the marquee in Gerry’s honor, and shared a word of thanks to him at half hour. We are all well aware that without him we would not be having this wonderful experience, and so we reaffirmed our nightly desire to sing his tunes in a way that would make him proud.”

Goffin will be forever missed in the music community however, his story lives on through his numerous hit songs and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.


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