Inspired by the November 14 birthdays of Run, Veruca Salt’s Nina Gordon, and Stephen Bishop; and the November 13 birthdays of Cass McCombs, Timmy Thomas, Onyx’s Sonny Seeza and The Teddy Bears’ Carol Connors.
Inspired by the May 11 birthdays of The Animals’ Eric Burdon, Disclosure’s Howard Lawrence, R. Dean Taylor and composer Irving Berlin.
“I don’t care to belong to any club that will have Bon Jovi as a member.”
– Groucho Marx
On April 14, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct several worthwhile acts and Bon Jovi. Over the coming weeks, Tunes du Jour will spotlight artists that are eligible for induction (i.e. they commercially released their debut recording at least 25 years ago), but have not been inducted as they are not as talented, innovative or influential as Bon Jovi.
Today we look at and listen to Carole King. King is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a songwriter. With her ex-husband Gerry Goffin, King wrote so many rock and roll classics, including “Will You Still Love me Tomorrow,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Up on the Roof,” “The Loco-motion,” “One Fine Day,” “I’m Into Something Good,” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”
While her admission into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a songwriter is well-deserved, her induction as a performer is long overdue. Her landmark 1971 album Tapestry spent 15 consecutive weeks at #1 in the US and has sold over 25 million copies to date. It won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, with its track “It’s Too Late” winning Record of the Year and its “You’ve Got a Friend” winning Song of the Year, making King the first female solo act to win either of those last two. However, it’s not about sales and awards, right Bon Jovi? The influence of Tapestry coupled with the other smash records King released in the 1970s was heard on the records of her singer-songwriter contemporaries such as James Taylor and Laura Nyro and remained consistent through the years and changing pop music trends, up to Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga and beyond.
She is a terrific recording artist as well as a stellar songwriter. Still, she never wrote or recorded the lyrics “’Cause a bottle of vodka is still lodged in my head.” Do you know who did? Bon Jovi.
Here are twenty of Carole King’s finest performances.
At the end of the 1960s, Marvin Gaye was a huge star, having had more than two dozen top 40 hits before 1970. However, the singer was having a crisis of conscience, wanting to sing about the ills of the world he saw around him as opposed to perform nothing but love songs.
Inspired by the horrific stories told to him by his brother of what he witnessed serving three years in Viet Nam, Gaye, who hadn’t a hand in writing most of his hits up to this point, added lyrics to an unreleased song written by Obie Benson of the Four Tops and Al Cleveland.
He presented the song to Motown head Berry Gordy, who supposedly called it “the worst thing I ever heard in my life.” Gaye’s response? “Basically, I said ‘Put it out or I’ll never record for you again.’ That was my ace in the hole, and I had to play it.”
“What’s Going On” became the fastest-selling single in the history of Motown Records. Rolling Stone magazine has since placed it at #4 on their ranking of the greatest songs of all-time.
This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist consists of twenty hits from 1971, kicking off with Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.”
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