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…and 4 other surprising facts you may not have known about this FOF icon.

Plus, win a copy of her new memoir, A Natural Woman, when you leave a comment below.

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FOF Carole King has lived a quintessentially FOF life. Born in 1942, in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was a mother of two by age 22, married and living in suburban New Jersey where she cooked, cleaned and even sewed her daughters’ clothing. A classic 1950s housewife. Kind of.

At the same time, she and her husband, Gerry Goffin, were famously writing top-40 songs–including “Up on The Roof,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Natural Woman”–for the decade’s biggest pop stars. In King’s new memoir, A Natural Woman, we watch her life evolve, buoyed by the sexual revolution, women’s liberation and all the other cultural cliches FOFs created–and now take for granted. Even as her first marriage dissolves and the “girl groups” fall out of favor, she forges ahead, reinventing herself as a hippie-ish single mom, a #1 recording artist, and later as a pioneer woman in Idaho. Through it all, she struggles to find a balance between her blockbuster success as a performer and her deep desire to live a “simple life”–cooking, sewing and caring for her children, husband and home.

Here, we’ve got 4 fascinating details from Carole’s new memoir, Natural Woman. Enter to win a copy for yourself when you leave a comment below.

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1. Carole King was 15 years old when she opened the Manhattan phone book to “Record Companies” and wrote down the address for Atlantic Records. The next day after school, she took a subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan, wearing “a pink sweater set, a black felt skirt with a pink poodle on it, white bobby sox, and a pair of white sneakers,” determined to play her songs for someone at the top. She arrived at Atlantic and asked the receptionist “Is anyone available to listen to my songs?” That’s when Atlantic’s co-founders, Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegun, came out and escorted her to their piano, then listened to her play. Though they nodded approvingly and said, “You got talent,” they also told Carol to come back “when you got more songs.” No bother, Carol walked into ABC-Paramount the next afternoon and they offered her a recording contract.

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2. Carole King married Gerry Goffin in the summer of 1959. She was 17 and pregnant with their first child. Their marriage began to unravel in the mid 60s when Gerry grew tired of writing commercial hits and became increasingly obsessed with Bob Dylan and the counterculture he represented. Says Carol, “Bob was exhorting young people to reject the path their parents had laid out for them and look deeper for the true meaning of life. Gerry didn’t believe he could find that meaning as the person he was. He wanted to be Bob.” Gerry’s subsequent experimentation with LSD and other mind-altering drugs caused him to fall into a deeply depressive, and at times, psychotic state. Carol saw him through extensive psychiatric treatment, and they divorced in 1968.

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3. In the 1960s, Carole moved with her two young daughters to Laurel Canyon, a famously hippie-ish community of writers, artists and musicians. She continued to write songs, but never quite fell-in with the hard-partying musicians of her day. When she attended a raucous party at the Bel Air home of John and Michelle Phillips (of Mamas and Papas fame) she was a self-described “outsider” watching from a staircase above the crowd. She writes: “I could almost imagine everyone thinking, I wonder how I look? Am I making a good impression? Of course the right answer was, ‘Darling, no one is looking at you, everyone is too busy thinking, ‘I wonder how I look? Am I making a good impression?’ I don’t know what my scene was, but this wasn’t it.”

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4. Itching to get out of LA, Carole saw an opportunity with dreamy Rick Evers, a charming drifter whom she met at a Hollywood party. Despite knowing virtually nothing about Rick’s past (she later learned he’d been living out of his van when they met), Carole took him home with her that night. She was charmed by his desire to move to Idaho and “live off the land.” At this point she had released Tapestry--the best-selling album by a woman of all time--so she had the bucks to make his dream--now her dream as well--a reality. By the time they had moved to a rustic commune in the Idaho wilderness (bringing along Carole’s two children from a second marriage) it was clear that Rick was very abusive, and likely, very nuts. Still, Carole loved her pioneer-woman days, and spent 2 years living off the land with Rick, homeschooling her children and financially supporting Rick’s ever-increasing cabal of friends. Rick died of a drug overdose in 1978.

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Enter to win a copy of Carol’s new memoir, A Natural Woman, when you leave a comment below.

2 FOFs will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes May 10, 2012 at midnight E.S.T.

Images: Grand Central Publishing / Tomorrow’s News

COMMENTS (82)

  

Leave a Comment

  1. tgreenstreet says:

    One of my favorite female artists!

  2. Diane Mary says:

    please contact me immediately if I’m the winner of THIS giveaway!

  3. Debbie Chaney says:

    I’ve always loved her music but never knew these things about her life. This would be an interesting book!

  4. suzette says:

    would enjoy reading this book.always love her music.

  5. ogdenkruger says:

    She mentioned a few of these things in her Living Room Chair Concert tour!

  6. Cheryl says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever read much about her life. The excerpts seem very interesting. Would LOVE to read the book.

  7. KAREN COGBURN says:

    Been a fan of Carole King for over 30 years. Love to win this book.

  8. Linda White says:

    Id love to win Carol’s new book, love her music and would love to know more of her story!

  9. kathy warner says:

    Her music is the best would love to read her story

  10. findmg@gmail.com says:

    Carole King is an amazing woman. Her voice is earthy and solid and her writing so poignant. Would love to read her biography.

  11. pattib says:

    Carole King was a fixture in my life for more years than you can imagine. Her “Ferguson Road” and “It’s Too Late Baby” seemed to be my mantra for a good part of my life. What a fascinating female! Would love to win this book.

  12. M Brazill says:

    I heard an interview with Carole King the other day. This book should prove to be a fascinating — and sometimes surprising — read. The FOF crowd will relate and find inspiration!

  13. Tami says:

    What a great singer, natural songwriter!

  14. ellen says:

    I have this book on my list. Such an admirer of her and her music. Still listen to Tapestry and its just as relevant today as it was when I first bought it years ago!

  15. Andy says:

    I, too, married at 18, had two adopted children by 22 and was the typical housewife………..for awhile. THen I began showing Old English Sheepdogs, evolved into my own person, started playing golf and eventually became a Vice President of a country club. Along the way, I served on Boards of Chamber of Commerce, United Way and others, allthewhile maintaining a great marriage and raising three children. I relate to Carol King

  16. Kim says:

    How could you grow up in the 70′s and not be a fan of Carole King’s songs!?! Thank you for your music. It transformed so many little girls into womanhood. . .

  17. Jill says:

    I grew up listening to Carole King loved her music, think she looks fabulous!!

  18. mammaw10 says:

    I would love to win this book. I love all of her songs especially “Child of Mine”. Her life story is so similar to my life and I would love to know and read more of her story.

  19. Merry says:

    Having the opportunity to enjoy Carol King and James Taylor on their major concert tour just reminded me of what an amazing talent she is… Reading more about her life would be fascinating.

  20. mandrada says:

    She is an icon of our time, very creative, more importantly help through her music shape women’s life forever!

  21. kelly Yamauchi says:

    My Tapestry album has deep grooves. It was my steady companion throughout my college years. Her musical legacy is a treasure. I would love to know the back story.

  22. Esther Bradley-DeTally says:

    Carole King is mine. I’m sorry readers, but she’s mind, stamped upon my soul. She took me through divorce-hood, single times, and her voice and music vaulted up to the white slanted ceilings of my upstairs treehouse (sort of) on Balboa Island, where my 5 year old son and I were squished, and no matter how hard life was, she made it better. I loved her then, and I love her now.

  23. Esther Bradley-DeTally says:

    Carole King is mine. I’m sorry readers, but she’s mine, stamped upon my soul. She took me through divorce-hood, single times, and her voice and music vaulted up to the white slanted ceilings of my upstairs treehouse (sort of) on Balboa Island, where my 5 year old son and I were squished, and no matter how hard life was, she made it better. I loved her then, and I love her now.

  24. riverall says:

    I have always had a special place in my heart for Carol. Her music is timeless and I’d love to learn more about this special woman.

  25. Lisa Danchick says:

    I love Carol King!

  26. scoutcrs13 says:

    I have always loved Carole King. I used her name in junior high school when I was caught smoking in the girl’s room!

  27. kls_sea says:

    I am impressed with this CHARACTER. She is interesting and I want read her book.

  28. Helen says:

    The best!

  29. KatieQ says:

    I still enjoy listening to Carol King’s “Tapestry” album (which was I think was released over 40 years ago) . I’ve bought many of her albums over the years, but that one holds the most memories.

  30. Dianne Williams says:

    I love her music. Her life story sounds as though it must have been her inspiration for it.

  31. Clara says:

    Have been a fan of Carole King and her music since I was in college. Can’t wait to read her book.

  32. Peggy says:

    Carole King is one of my all-time favs. Her TAPESTRY album is still one of my favorites, which I now have on CD and listen to frequently. So happy when her and James Taylor partnered up for the TROUBADOUR CD.

  33. Terrie says:

    I would love to add this to my library.

  34. spurnky says:

    I love her! Would love to read her book :)

  35. Padma Narasimhan says:

    would love to read this!

  36. KAREN COGBURN says:

    Love Carole King.

  37. Rose says:

    I’ve always loved Carol’s music since I first heard it, so I’d enjoy reading her story! thanks for the preview and chance to win the book!

  38. jankeyser says:

    I remember listening to her music in 1971 when I was a high school senior. Beautiful sounds from her and she was so talented; still is!

  39. KAREN COGBURN says:

    Would be a great summer read.

  40. Michelle says:

    She is great. Her voice is just as strong, beautiful as it was in the 70′s. I love reading memoirs and I’m sure she has an amazing story to tell.

  41. Donna says:

    Always so interesting to read someones life story

  42. KAREN COGBURN says:

    I have loved her music since high school.

  43. donna sloma says:

    Amazing woman who’s talent has transcended decades! One of my favorite artists. Put her and James Talor together on the stage and I swoon!

  44. casey04 says:

    I love Carol King! Tapestry is my all time favorite music. I love her!
    I am so happy to learn she has written a book. I relate to her.
    What a fine looking man Rick Evers was.
    Beautiful woman who’s music moves me to this very day! When I hear it.

  45. krispy9 says:

    What a great book

  46. KAREN COGBURN says:

    Love her music. Love to read her book.

  47. KAREN COGBURN says:

    Love to read when the weather is hot outside.

  48. Connied54 says:

    I lived by her songs in the 70s. I would love to read about her life.

  49. eddyrobey says:

    Makes me want some chicken soup with rice

  50. Felicia says:

    Saw one of her interviews on tv promoting the book, would love to win it!

  51. Sharon Siqueiros says:

    Would love to read this book, she is one of the women who inspired me back in the 70′s when I was in a band

  52. linda lukich says:

    I wish I saw Carole King and James Taylor last year in concert

  53. Gayle Merrefield says:

    ‘Tapestry’ is the touchstone of my college years. Whenever I hear any of the songs on this album I am transported back to that time, to the not-yet FOF I was.

  54. deborahf2 says:

    Who doesn’t love Carole King? We played her music over and over…I am an avid reader to boot…how great would it be to win her memoir…

  55. orchidlady01 says:

    I grew up on Carole King and have always loved her music. I still have the LP albums – scratches and all. Her book would be fun to read and get the back story to her life.

  56. KAREN COGBURN says:

    This would be so great for a summer read.

  57. Annette D says:

    Love Carole King! I’m sure this is a really interesting book!

  58. Rozzie68 says:

    Have always loved Carol King’s songs — I was born the same year she was and I’d love to hear her views and “take” on life.

  59. Edie says:

    I still play my “Tapestry” CD all the time! It is one of my very favorite albums from the early 70′s. The songs are still apropos today. I had no idea that Carole King lived this life! I’d love to read her book!

  60. KAREN COGBURN says:

    I would be honored to receive this book.

  61. μόνιμο βερνίκι says:

    I don’t even know the way I ended up right here, however I thought this submit was once great. I do not know who you might be but certainly you’re going to a well-known blogger for those who aren’t already. Cheers!

  62. mmimilinda says:

    Love her music-now I’d like to know more about her.

  63. LeAnn Boehne says:

    I enjoy Carole King’s music. “You’re so vain!” describes a certain male from college years . . . .

  64. Wendolyn355 says:

    My first album was “Tapestry” and I am still moved by her profound lyrics and rare musical talent.

  65. kay wolter says:

    love her

  66. RarnChild says:

    I got to see Carole when she toured with James Taylor 2 summers ago. What a FANTASTIC show! I would absolutely LOVE to win this book!

  67. Kathy says:

    Carol King definitely influenced my life.

  68. anjie henley says:

    sounds fabulous

  69. FabulousMimi says:

    love Carole King — such a classic, classy woman ….

  70. BlueBear says:

    I adore Carole King and her music is the song of my youth! Her lyrics are incredible! My 20s would have been bereft without the songs from this wonderful, natural woman!

  71. Kaye Barasa says:

    Sounds like a good read!

  72. Kathryn Atwood says:

    I watched the PBS special on the Troubador, featuring Carole King and James Taylor – wonderful!

  73. melinda says:

    How many times did I play “Tapestry” over and over in the 70′s? So much talent!

  74. Dawn C says:

    Everyone has a past, but it’s always interesting to read about famous people and where they come from and how they got to where they are today! Carol King has been in the music scene forever, and her book would be awesome for this Idaho girl!

  75. Paul LaDue says:

    I’ve adored Carole since I first heard Tapestry. 41 years and counting. My favorite song of Carole’s is ONLY LOVE IS REAL from 1976. I listen to it several times a week,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3E0RpV8XuE

    Thanks Carole

  76. amy schoelwer says:

    The very first album i bought was Carol King Tapestry. I drove my mom, dad, and brother crazy blasting it from my room…over and over on a daily basis! I memorized every song, and still listen to my cd regularly at age 47. We were just invited to a big 70th party for one of our friends, and were asked to dress up as our favorite person born in 1942…I won’t do justice to Carol, but that’s who I choose! She and her songs inspire me!!

  77. amy schoelwer says:

    I drove my mom, dad, and brother crazy blasting Tapestry from my room in highschool…over and over on a daily basis! I memorized every song, and still listen to my cd regularly at age 47. We were just invited to a big 70th party for one of our friends, and were asked to dress up as our favorite person born in 1942…I won’t do justice to Carol, but that’s who I choose! She and her songs inspire me!!

  78. sandy says:

    i would love to have her book, she inspires me as a woman with lots of substance, and very giving, i grew up listening to her songs, admire her triumph to give women equality. i hope i will get picked to rec’v this book…. thanks, Sandy Gomez San Jose, CA

  79. margaret says:

    definitely ” A Natural Woman” !!!!!

  80. CHERYL says:

    I have listened to Carole King since I was 10 year’s old. My Aunt and Uncle would listen to her album. When I got my first car at 16 and the first thing I did was get her tape and blasted her songs loud and clear singing at the top of my lungs! No one really knew who Carole King was in my age group, I am so glad that I found her through my family. I now of course own a CD of all her greatest hits and still do the same thing I did back then blast the music and sing at the top of my lungs! I really Love her music, love all the songs, I can sing everyone of them! I would love to read all about her. She no doubt is an amazing women and oh so talented. Would Love to get the book, but if I don’t I will be buying it! She is an inspiration to all women.

  81. Debbie Edwards says:

    A great female art is. Please pick me !

  82. Russann Tomlinson says:

    I would love to read your story as I grew up loving your music and dancing to it. And, fyi, there’s some guy in Hawaii who claims to be your son that I’d like to clarify, if, or if not, he is the real deal or an imposter!

    I think you best work is yet to come as a mother and lover of the earth. We need your voice in this age to turn the world powers around to environmentalism~