The pop lyricist Gerry Goffin, who wrote the words to so many of Carole King’s greatest compositions, is dead at 77. Goffin was responsible for some 40 Top 10 Hits and the man was a true poet, unless you don’t think “Some Kind Of Wonderful” was true poetry.
If you saw the King musical “Beautiful” you might have missed the point of Gerry, he was drawn to be a heel and a mess, and it wasn’t really fair. I have no kick against Carole, but Gerry was a great lyricist, he was a teenage Ira Gershwin and if I have to explain the brilliance of the way words like “some kind of soft sigh” fall on the ears, or “if I’d been true, she never would have been with you.” fall on the ear, you should try harder. -Do Ineed to express what a great rhyme it is, how his words were the deep stirrings of teenage urges, like a lesson in how romantic love feels?
“One Fine Day”, “Up On the Roof”, “Chains”… these are the great pop operas of the late 1950s and early 1960s, incomparable brilliant emotional wrecking balls. “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” is almost scaring in its intensity and it is completely true of how a woman might very well feel about a one night stand. It is the back story to every song Liz Phair and Lydia Loveless has ever written.
Here is AP on his career once Carole left him: “Goffin continued co-writing songs, including “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” recorded by Gladys Knight and the Pips, and “It’s Not the Spotlight,” recorded by Rod Stewart. In the 1980s and ’90s, he co-wrote “Tonight I Celebrate My Love,” a duet recorded by Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack, and the Whitney Houston mega-hit “Savin’ All My Love for You.”
It is so sad that in a way Goffin is an Ike Turner, “Beautiful” has him too much the baddie, too much the success of “Beautiful” is in King leaving Goffin, but the truth is not known to us and how it felt apart is not known to us. Gerry Goffin was one of the greats. A tremendous loss.
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