Carole King Extensive Interview: Podcast

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Carole King (left) and her daughter, Louise Goffin (Photo by Paul Zollo, used with permission)

Late last year Carole King sat with her daughter, musician Louise Goffin, and author Paul Zollo for their podcast The Great Song Adventure. Episode one debuts today (Feb. 8), ahead of King’s birthday on Feb. 9.

According to a press release, “King is famously private, and has been for her entire career, but in this three-hour-plus interview with her daughter, split into five episodes, she has a conversation unlike anything she’s done publicly before. She is expansive and unguarded. All the details of how Louise got Carole to do the interview with her and co-host Zollo, the amazing guest list of The Great Song Adventure so far and a taste of upcoming episodes, are here.

According to the press release, King answers these questions and more in episode one:
Where did the inspiration for melody of “You’ve Got A Friend” come from?
Did Carole and Gerry [Goffin] even have a roof when they wrote “Up On The Roof?
What major 20th century event was Gerry Goffin obsessed with?
How much did Carole and Gerry get paid per song at the beginning, for their biggest hits?
Did James Taylor influence Carole King? Or did Carole King influence James Taylor?

Related: Carole King performed Tapestry live for the first time in 2016

It was King’s idea to do the interview, continues the release. “Louise, knowing of her mom’s reticence to do any performances or interviews, didn’t ask her to be involved. But Carole did listen to every episode, and liked what she heard, especially the interview with Chrissie Hynde. ‘I really enjoyed that one,’ Carole said, ‘because it was a real conversation. It wasn’t just a series of questions, like most interviews. I saw a side of her I’d never seen.’”

Watch Carole King and daughter Louise Goffin perform live in London’s Hyde Park

When she was in Los Angeles to visit Louise and her kids, King took the time to do an interview with Louise and Paul. But first she went to Louise’s piano, and started sounding out a standard by Rodgers and Hammerstein, “Hello Young Lovers,” from The King and I. Though King didn’t know it, Louise recorded the song, which opens the first episode.

Here is an excerpt from the first episode, where King talks about the early days of writing songs with her future husband, Gerry Goffin “In those days, they were still taking kids off the streets. Don Costa was a mentor of mine. He signed me to a deal and that was one of the records I did for him, ‘Baby Sittin.’’ Another one is ‘The Right Girl’: ‘I know that I am the right girl/The right girl for you/And you are the right boy for me too.’ I needed help. And God sent me Gerry Goffin!”

King also speaks about making the landmark album Tapestry, and other great moments of her life, including two major highlights: The first was when James Taylor recorded her song “You’ve Got a Friend.” The other was when Aretha Franklin recorded “Natural Woman” (written with Gerry to Jerry Wexler’s title, as related in the interview).

King tells the stories behind other famous songs, such as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” and “Up on the Roof” She also discusses the experience of having their lives turned into the musical Beautiful, which was something she resisted, but which Gerry believed in, so she relented. She speaks of her memories getting entwined and even mixed up with the show, which took some liberties with the truth.

“I have always been an observer,” King says in the interview. “I would go to a restaurant and bring my book. And then I’d look up and then sorta study people. I’d be on the subway, which inspired ‘Beautiful,’ the song. And I’d see all the people and make up stories about this one is that and that one is this. I’m an observer… I’d try to be aware of how many variations there are and lives that are being lived. And that’s something that is really important to me. And that informs my songs.”

The initial interview went more than two hours. The following day King told Louise there were some things she wanted to add, and they recorded more than another hour. Premiering on Feb. 9, and for four weeks following, The Great Song Adventure will present these five consecutive episodes with Carole King. “I do believe this is the most open and expansive interview my mom has ever given,” said Louise. “She talked of things she never said before.”

You can hear the first episode, and see rare photos, here. Choose your preferred podcast service here.

Watch Carole King surprise the cast of Beautiful with a song

“In only a year since its debut,” says the announcement, “The Great Song Adventure has already become established as one of the most compellingly substantial podcasts about songwriters and songwriting there is. Its hosts, Louise Goffin and Paul Zollo, both have deep roots in songwriting, passion for the process, and real reverence for songs and the songwriters who write them. Both have conducted songwriting workshops and masterclasses for years, and decided to team up to combine their talents and mutual love for songwriting to create this podcast, which celebrates and preserves the wisdom and history of great songwriters and music makers. Their first year featured shows with Van Dyke Parks, Mike Stoller (of Leiber and Stoller), Lou Adler, the Motels, Chris Difford and more, as well as archival interviews with Leonard Cohen, Chrissie Hynde and Tom Petty.”

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