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A Natural Woman: A Memoir Hardcover – April 10, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781455512614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455512614
  • ASIN: 1455512613
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Weaving a tapestry of rich and royal hue, King's affecting memoir eases readers through her life, from the girlhood in Brooklyn where she was already jotting down lyrics and her teenage years that culminated musically with the hit "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?"; through her tumultuous marriage and songwriting years with her first husband, Gerry Goffin; her moves back and forth between New York and California; her three marriages after Goffin; and her deep commitment to environmental issues bred by her living self-sufficiently with her family in the mountains of Idaho. She confronts the physical abuse she experienced at the hands of her third husband; her disbelief that she would let someone treat her that way, and her incredulousness at her own decision to remain in the relationship; and her eventual decision-with the help of an abuse support group-to leave him. King's passionate engagement with all kinds of music, and her musical genius (her Tapestry album remained on the charts for six years running, a distinction that eluded even the Beatles) flood through these reflections, and she recreates the excitement of working with producers such as Lou Adler, Jerry Wexler, and Ahmet Ertegun, musicians James Taylor, Danny Kortchmar, Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar, and Aretha Franklin, and songwriters Neil Sedaka, Cynthia Weil, and Barry Mann, among many others.—Publishers Weekly

An acclaimed singer-songwriter invites fans into her personal life.
When King embarked on her Living Room Tour in 2004, she re-created onstage the atmosphere that millions had come to expect from the slew of albums she recorded from the 1970s onward. Tapestry, her breakthrough 1971 album, not only became a bestseller and a benchmark for women's achievements in the music industry but also introduced the down-to-earth, optimistic and liberated worldview of a woman with some timely stories to tell. King's trajectory mirrored that of many of her fellow musical peers. Bitten by the music bug at an early age and subsequently converted to rock 'n' roll in the '50s, she began writing her own songs, landing a record deal at the age of 15. She would experience far greater success, however, when she and co-songwriter Gerry Goffin turned out hit after hit for such artists as Aretha Franklin, the Shirelles and the Monkees. Having married Goffin when she was 17, King spent most of the '60s balancing her career with her responsibilities as a wife and mother. Change was in the air, though, and when her marriage deteriorated, she set off for Los Angeles to seek her own voice. That voice comes through strongly on every page of this memoir, an engaging assortment of recollections comprising a journey that started in her working-class Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, took her to Manhattan and Laurel Canyon and saw her escape what Joni Mitchell called "the star maker machinery" to settle in rural Idaho. In one of the book's best sections, King explains her decision to retreat from fame in the mid '70s, chronicling the joys and sorrows of going "back to the land" as well as the tempestuous relationships she had with two men during this period. She is also refreshingly candid about her four marriages.

A warm, winning read that showcases baby-boomer culture at its best.—Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Carole King had her first No. 1 hit in 1961, at age 18, with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow". Collaborating with former husband Gerry Goffin, the team went on to write more than two dozen chart-toppers, including "One Fine Day", "The Loco-Motion", "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", and "(You Me Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman." Her 1971 solo-album, Tapesty, won 4 Grammys, and earned her the record for longest time an album by a female artist has remained on the Billboard Charts (6 years), as well as the longest time holding the #1 position (15 consecutive weeks).

King, in addition to writing more than 100 top-selling songs has recorded 25 solo albums. In 2007 she and longtime collaborator James Taylor reunited and recorded Live at the Troubadour. Released in 2010 the album debuted at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and The Troubadour Reunion Tour became the second highest grossing Tour of that year. She has won numerous lifetime achievement honors and has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, "Hit Parade" Hall of Fame, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Carole King continues to entertain audiences the world over. She released her most recent album in December, 2011, Carole King: A Holiday Carole, to rave reviews.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

I fell in love with carole King and her music in the 70's.
Dale Acela
Loved this inspiring book about the living legend Carole King, her story is much like her music heartfelt, honest and beautiful !
julie b
I was drawn in by this amazing woman and her strength, love and talents.
patricia l hemstreet

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

169 of 181 people found the following review helpful By Robert Carraher on April 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
If you are a baby boomer , indeed, if you were alive anytime after 1960 and were born blessed with hearing then you have heard a Carole King song. She had her first Number 1 hit at the age of 18, incidentally launching the `Girl Group' craze of the early `60s, with the Goffin & King classic, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow". In 1997, she had her last chart topper with "The Reason" which was written for Aerosmith, but performed by Celine Dion. In May 4, 2010 King and James Taylor released an album called Live at the Troubadour, which debuted at No.4 in the United States. In between she had 116 other pop hits, according to Billboard Magazine. Making her, far and away, the most successful female songwriters of the last half of the 20th Century.

As if that wasn't enough, her 1971 album, Tapestry, won her 4 Grammy Awards as a performer. It also topped the U.S. album chart for 15 weeks in 1971, and remained on the charts for more than six years. Until Michael Jacksons Thriller, it was the biggest selling pop album by a solo artist in history. She still holds the record for the longest time for an album by a solo female to remain on the charts for Tapestry at 306 weeks. An amazing feat when you consider the competition; Madonna, Cher, Aretha, Barbra Streisand, Joni Mitchell, the list is endless and impressive.

Doubly impressive when you take into account she hates touring, and even at the height of her career as a singer & performer she only toured for short stints away from home, as she wouldn't be separated from her children for any length of time. She also hated being in the spotlight.

But this isn't about the most successful female songwriter of (probably) all time.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Jaylia3 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Even leaving out her entertainment career, Carole King has led a fascinating, full life. In her personable and engaging new book she references the many current events, societal shifts and pervasive memes that have had an effect on her, so besides being the memoir of someone at the heart of the music business, A Natural Woman is an absorbing cultural history of the last 60-some years. I couldn't put it down.

Carole King has a lot to recount about her long love of music. She began making up songs when she was three and had her first public performance on the Horn and Hardart Children's Hour television show at eight. As a young adolescent, her ability to compose and sing helped her begin to make the move from nerdy toward cool. Barely out of high school, she and her young husband got jobs writing popular, highly acclaimed songs, many of which are still covered, including Loco-motion and the at the time risqué Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. By the early 1970s her album Tapestry added multiple Grammy winning recording star to her list of accomplishments, and she's still creating and performing today.

But Carole King's career in music is only part of what makes her wide ranging story so interesting. She married and had her first children while not much more than a child herself, just before the free-love era of the later 1960s, and there were three other marriages, two more children, and several long term relationships, all of which she writes about in a reasonably candid manner. One husband became a drug addict, another was physically abusive, and she explores the reasons why she stayed with them as long as she did, and offers advice to women in similar situations.
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68 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Derek Jager on April 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Wasn't really sure what to expect since I'm such a fan and sometimes these books can be a bit laborious to get through but this was really effortless, almost like a novel.

Carole grew up during my favorite period, the 40s and 50s, and she has got a brilliant memory since she's able to recount early life episodes that later impacted her music and worldview. Her parent's love of music and listening to the Hit Parade of that time explained much about Carole's approach to music. Usually I skim these parts, but this was really compelling.

The first 200 pages focus on Carole's youth and her first breakthroughs into writing songs, and I loved it all since she mentioned so many of the artists I know and love.

The second 200 pages really dig deep into Carole's personal life and shifts the focus from her music. She actually says little about Tapestry---only gives the back story to two songs ("So Far Away" and "Beautiful) and then she only casually mentions that she went on to record six more albums (1971-1977), says they sold well, but doesn't provide any details. These albums all went gold and are generally considered among her best work. I would have loved to read more about those 1971-1977 albums.

Her encounters with John and Yoko in NYC and Paul and Linda McCartney in Japan are brilliantly recounted and emotionally told, as are her interactions with U2, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello and Chrissie Hynde.

Her marriages and relationships are the focus of the book, and she literally lives off the grid for several years. It's really an incredible story, what she goes through and the people she meets.

You really feel like you "know" Carole King when you finish the book, and that's exactly what the goal was.

HIGHLY recommended.
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