10 Great Versions of Carole King Songs

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Carole King at home in 1971

Celebrating over 50 years of great Carole King songs

To get you in the mood for Boundless's VIP nights out at Beautiful: The Carole King Musical in London's West End, here are some of her greatest hits, sung by The Monkees, The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Carole King herself and others

Boundless members can sign up for our VIP package to see one of the hottest shows in the West End, Beautiful: the Carole King Musical, including a ticket to the show, drinks, a show programme and the chance to meet a cast member. For full information, click here.

Carole King wrote many of the greatest songs of the past 60 years, from Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (which went to number one in the US when she was just 18, in 1960), through to Natural Born Woman. For the first decade of her career, King preferred to remain in the background, writing songs for other performers, including Aretha Franklin, Herman’s Hermits, The Drifters and The Monkees, with her then-husband Gerry Goffin.

Then, in 1971, she released the definitive singer-songwriter album, Tapestry, which saw her step into the limelight with an era-defining set of songs. The album, which includes hits like You’ve Got A Friend, was at number one in the US for 15 weeks and sold more than 25 million copies worldwide. In all, King has written 61 songs that have charted in the UK.

In 2013, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical opened on Broadway and proved a smash hit. It launched to rave reviews in the West End of London last year. Now we have a unique offer for members of Boundless to see Beautiful in the West End, with a special VIP package.

To get you in the mood, here are 10 of Carole King’s greatest songs.

1. Pleasant Valley Sunday by The Monkees, 1967

Goffin and King’s possibly-ironic hymn to the simple pleasures of suburban life was written after they had moved out of New York to West Orange, New Jersey.


2. One Fine Day by Carole King, 1981

 Here’s a stomping version of King herself singing the song that was originally a hit for the Chiffons in 1963.


3. So Far Away by Carole King, 1971

 King singing So Far Away, from Tapestry, with James Taylor on guitar, live in London.


4. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

The Shirelles’ original in a live TV performance from 1960. This was King’s first number one – she was just 18 at the time – and the Shirelles were the first all-girl group to go to the top of the charts in the US.


5. Take Good Care of My Baby by The Beatles, 1962

As an audition for the Decca label, The Beatles recorded 15 songs live inside an hour on 1 January 1962. The 11 covers, including this song, which had been a number one for Bobby Vee the previous year. Famously, Decca opted not to sign The Beatles after this. Their debut single for EMI, Love Me Do, came out in October that year.


6. Natural Born Woman by Aretha Franklin, 1969

Apparently commissioned by Franklin’s producer Jerry Wexler, when he spotted King by chance when driving in New York. With lyrics by Goffin and music by King (the usual division in their songs), Natural Born Woman came out in 1967. This fabulous live performance is taken from Dutch television a year later. King herself would put her own stamp on the song on her Tapestry album shortly afterwards.


7. I’m into Something Good by Herman's Hermits, 1965

The debut single by the Manchester group went to number one for two weeks in the UK in 1965. Goffin and King had written it for American girl group The Cookies, but their version had failed to crack the US top 30.


8. You’ve Got a Friend by James Taylor, 1971

This classic was written by King on her own and appeared simultaneously on Tapestry and her friend James Taylor’s album, Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon. Here, the pair play it together, at the peak of the early 70s singer-songwriter boom, where all roads led to  Laurel Canyon, a place where life was sunny and simple, yet somehow soaked in delicious keening poignancy.


9. Up on The Roof by The Drifters


10. Goin’ Back by Dusty Springfield


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