Before we begin this series, I need your input; what exactly (in your most humble opinion), is a “Singer – Songwriter”? Does one have to be a solo act, or are band members in amongst this talented group?
Case in point – Paul Simon (you can read my thoughts on Paul here). He is most definitely a singer – songwriter, but does he qualify for his solo work only, or does his work recorded under the Simon and Garfinkle duo count as well? The same could be asked of any of The Beatles or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
As per my usual, I asked my brother his thoughts. He says, and I tend to agree with him, that anyone that has written the song that they’re singing qualifies. In that way, any of the gentlemen in The Beatles or CSN&Y qualify. For the most part, I will limit myself to solo artists for now, with some exceptions such as Mr. Simon and maybe a few others.
So, I ask you, dear reader, to leave a comment with your thoughts. I won’t guarantee I’ll take your advice, but let your vote be counted anyway. Also, please let me know any folks you would think qualify for this list (or any other of my series). As with my other list, Guitar Gods (in the process of being expanded to Guitar Gods & Wizards), this list is in my head only. As such names are likely to be forgotten (hey – I’m old!) and a reminder now and then would be helpful.
One last note on suggestions. Please leave all comments here on the blog. Anything placed on the various social media sites are not likely to be seen quickly. I have become very scarce on most social media, and Facebook particularly. Now, on with our first of the “Singer – Songwriters”.
Carole King Klein (born Carol Joan Klein; February 9, 1942) is an American singer-songwriter who has been active since 1958, initially as one of the staff songwriters at the Brill Building and later as a solo artist. She is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century in the US, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100. King also wrote 61 hits that charted in the UK, making her the most successful female songwriter on the UK singles charts between 1962 and 2005.
King’s major success began in the 1960s when she and her first husband, Gerry Goffin, wrote more than two dozen chart hits, many of which have become standards, for numerous artists. She has continued writing for other artists since then. King’s success as a performer in her own right did not come until the 1970s, when she sang her own songs, accompanying herself on the piano, in a series of albums and concerts. After experiencing commercial disappointment with her debut album Writer, King scored her breakthrough with the album Tapestry, which topped the U.S. album chart for 15 weeks in 1971 and remained on the charts for more than six years.
King has made 25 solo albums, the most successful being Tapestry, which held the record for most weeks at No. 1 by a female artist for more than 20 years. Her record sales were estimated at more than 75 million copies worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her songwriting. She is the recipient of the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the first woman to be so honored. She is also a 2015 Kennedy Center Honoree.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carole_King
As most young kids of the time, my musical introduction to her was the Tapestry album. I bought a pirated 8-track (told you I was old!) at a flea market, and promptly wore it out. I was lucky enough to see Ms. King live on Halloween night, 1975. It was a David Crosby and Graham Nash concert and she joined them for a couple of songs. It was spectacular.
As the quote above mentions, along with her then husband she wrote so many songs that other artists recorded. I remember how surprised I was when I learned that they wrote “The Loco Motion”. As far as I was concerned that was a Grand Funk Railroad tune, not to mention the Herman’s Hermits hit “I’m Into Something Good” or Aretha Franklin’s monster hit “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”. I could go on and on.