album covers from music by Carole King

Beautiful- remembering the music of Carole King

“You’ve got to get up every morning

With a smile on your face

And show the world all the love in your heart

Then people gonna treat you better

You’re gonna find, yes you will

That you’re beautiful as you feel.”

Beautiful, by Carole King

 

My husband and I enjoyed a date night at the theater watching Beautiful- The Carole King Musical. The play covers the start of Ms. King’s career as a songwriter, including meeting and marrying her songwriting partner Gerry Goffin.

husband-wife couple holding hands in front of poster for Beautiful The Carole King Musical

My husband and I at the theater for Beautiful The Carole King Musical

Together they wrote some of the most successful and memorable songs of the 1960s-1970s including

 

I Feel the Earth Move 

Will you Love Me Tomorrow?

Up On The Roof 

You’ve Got a Friend 

 

Sadly, their marriage was not as successful as their careers due to his infidelity and mental instability which culminated in hospitalization and divorce.

As I watched and heard the story portrayed on the stage  I remembered her memoir which I read and reviewed here. The memoir included this part of her life as well as subsequent years, which often were as turbulent as the ones in the musical.

Here is my review of her memoir –

A Natural Woman: A Memoir

Although Carole King did not write A Natural Womanfor herself (she and her first husband were asked to write it for Aretha Franklin), the song aptly fits her life also.

She grew up in a close Jewish family, attended school where she excelled in performing arts and graduated early. She married young and  loved her husbands (four of them) passionately. She doted on her four children and did all the typical mom things- driving them to activities, homeschooling, sewing their clothes. She cooked food that she grew herself and even milked a goat she owned. She welcomed grandchildren and cared for aging parents.

She could almost be any 70 year old woman- except she is a Grammy award winning singer/songwriter who has written over 100 songs, including many of the greatest hits from the 1970s. In 2013 she became the first woman to be awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

inserts from our Carole King music CD collection

inserts from our Carole King music CD collection

 

Ms. King was at the height of her career in 1972 when my husband and I met, and found a mutual appreciation for her music, and still do. So, even though I don’t read memoirs of celebrities, I made an exception this time. I wanted to know more about this talented woman, and I was not disappointed.

As  I listened to the book’s audio version, read by the author,  I marvelled at  how she managed to live such a normal and successful life while experiencing a series of traumatic experiences starting in childhood. These included

  • a sibling with physical and developmental disabilities
  • the dissolution of her parents’ marriage
  • financial instability in her early career
  • the breakdown of her four marriages
  • an extended civil lawsuit
  • accidents resulting in serious physical injury
  • exposure to mental illness and substance abuse

 

The last issue led to two of her divorces, one of which followed several years of verbal and physical abuse .  She candidly admits that she submitted to it,  thinking that  she deserved it, he didn’t mean to hurt her, and that he would change.

Fortunately, one night she  woke up with the conviction that she needed help. Counselling helped her develop personal resources to resist and stop the abuse. She urges women in similar circumstances to seek help and recommends

 The National Domestic Violence Hotline | 24/7 Confidential Support.

 

I am sad that she  experienced such pain in her life, all the while brightening other lives with her music. She said that music helped her cope with the challenges in her life.

Her life reminds us that people who appear successful and accomplished in some areas of life, may be unhappy and hurting in others. We may never know the pain that some have walked through to get where they are.

Carole King insists  she never wanted to be a star or diva, and she zealously guarded her privacy. According to this book, she valued most her family, relationships, writing songs and sharing her music. I am glad she  decided to share this side of her life and the lessons it teaches .  Thank you Carole King.    It's some kind of wonderful! Beautiful The Carole King Musical- poster on window at theater

Here is a selection of Carole King’s music

(these are affiliate links)

Tapestry  Carole King’s first and most successful album

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical  the story of Carole’s life and career

Live at the Troubadour Carole King singing with her friend James Taylor

The Carnegie Hall Concert (Live) June 1971 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for your time and interest .

Sincerely, Dr. Aletha 

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8 thoughts on “Beautiful- remembering the music of Carole King

    1. Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D. Post author

      That’s one of my favorites too. It’s frequently quoted here in Oklahoma when we have earthquakes, lol. (due to fracking, which has been happening less often now) The book covers many more years and more detail than the play, so they complement each other well.

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  1. sizzlesue15

    I loved Tapestry and I believe the show Beautiful is coming to Australia. I’m hoping to see it. Thanks Aletha for sharing at #BloggersPitStop and bringing back fond memories.

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  2. Christie Hawkes

    I love Carole King’s music. Tapestry was one of the first albums I owned, and I still listen to the music on my iPod today. Thanks for sharing some of the details of her life. I may have to read her book now. I definitely want to see the musical.

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    1. Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D. Post author

      Christie, we still have the Tapestry album. The musical is a must see for fans of her music. Having read her book helped me understand what was shown in the play. The play definitely is meant to showcase her music, but it also does a nice job portraying her personal and marital struggles.

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  3. Nikki Hollowell Gwin

    I have always loved her voice! And her songs lyrics. Although, I decided long ago to not read about celebrities lives because I was usually disappointed and wouldn’t like them as much as I had. Now, I think though that I’ve matured in my thinking and that we all make mistakes and theirs are no worse than anyone elses, just more public.
    🙂 gwingal

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    1. Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D. Post author

      Thank you Nikki, yes her voice is unique. She considered herself a songwriter and had to be coaxed into singing, she was shy about singing in public. I’m glad she overcame that. I appreciate when celebrities are willing to share their problems and mistakes in order to help others, I admire that.

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