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The Essential Carole King

4.8 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

As a singer, Carol King won over millions of fans with her honest portrayals of love and life. As a songwriter, she penned dozens of hits for others, many which became American pop standards. Now for the first time, these two aspects of a long and celebrated career are combined , telling the complete story of an extraordinarily gifted and successful artists, who is still actively performing to this day, more than four decades later. Disc one features the best of Carole King including collaborations with Celine Dion and Babyface. Disc two features songs penned by King but performed and made hits by other artists.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 27, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • ASIN: B003C5FMO4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,437 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Brill Building legend Carole King has really had two full music careers. Starting in the late 1950s and flourishing in the 1960s, she was part of the legendary stable of New York City songwriters who took their name from the sister building to the one in which they wrote their effervescent gems for Don Kirshner's Aldon Music. Together with Gerry Goffin, King wrote some of the most memorable songs of the 1960s, scribing landmark sides for the Shirelles, Everly Brothers, Drifters, Chiffons, Monkees, Aretha Franklin, and dozens more. King is generally regarded, based on the chart success of her songs, as the most commercially successful female pop songwriter of the twentieth century. Had this been her only contribution to pop music, she'd be heralded as a legend, but King also had it in mind to step into the spotlight and perform her songs.

Her early attempts at a singing career, represented here by the Top 40 hit "It Might As Well Rain Until September," fit into the prevailing Brill Building sound. She sang demos (some of which can be sampled on Brill Building Legends) and had another minor hit with "He's a Bad Boy," but didn't really develop her singer's voice until nearly a decade later. Moving to the West Coast, King recorded an album with Danny Kortchmar as The City (Now That Everything's Been Said), and released a solo debut (Writer) that gained notice but little sales.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Essential Carole King offers a unique opportunity to acquire not only the greatest songs of her recording career, but also her songwriting repertoire as part of the Goffin King hit songwriting team as performed by the original artists.

As much as you may already know about Carole King there is more to Carole King than you can imagine.

"We wanted to be songwriters just like Goffin and King," said Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney when they were starting out. They did several Goffin King covers particularly 'Chains' on their first album, and 'Keep your hands off my baby,' on The Beatles at the BBC.

In the early 1960s Carole King along with then husband Gerry Goffin were among the most famous songwriters working out of the Brill Building in New York, penning many hits for many artists. It seemed like the Brill Building and famed Tin Pan Alley was the center of the musical, or at least the songwriting universe. Other songwriters included Lieber and Stoller, who wrote Jailhouse Rock and Hound Dog, and Stand By Me, Sedaka/Greenfield 'Breaking up is hard to do.' Barry Mann would pen 'You've Lost that Lovin Feeling, and On Broadway, with wife Cynthia Weill.' Neil Diamond would pen "I'm a Believer for The Monkees.

One night the Goffins babysitter was practising a new dance around the house, and Carole asked her what she was doing. She was doing 'The Locomotion,' and so a song, and a star was born as Little Eva became the world's most famous babysitter, with a number one hit.
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Format: Audio CD
In the past few years, the "Essential" series from Sony/BMG has been generally top-notch, with comprehensive compilations of artists such as Michael Jackson, Gloria Estefan, Earth, Wind and Fire, Simon and Garfunkel and many others. The best part of this series is the sound quality and superb remastering (check out the Jackson set for great sound). The Carole King set is no exception. Unlike the other sets in this series, the King collection features one CD dedicated to King's own solo work, while the second CD covers songs that she wrote or co-wrote and were hits by other artists. I think was the right approach by the compilers, since Carole King is usually referred to as a "singer-songwriter". Of course, a 2-CD set is not enough to cover both King's solo work and songwriting, but this collection does a fine job of hitting the major points in King's prolific career.

King's major hits are featured, including four from her famously successful "Tapestry" album, in addition to classics such as "Child of Mine," "Jazzman," and "Nightingale." There is nothing from King's '80s period, but her popular song "Now and Forever" from Penny Marshall's 1992 film "A League of Our Own" is included, as well as her own version of "The Reason," which was originally recorded by Celine Dion (Dion is also featured on King's version).

The second disc features the classic original recordings of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" by the Shirelles, "The Locomotion" by Little Eva, "Up on the Roof" by the Drifters and "Chains" by the Cookies. It must have been a licensing nightmare to get all these songs on here, but they sound fantastic and listening to these songs, you will be impressed by King's versatility as a songwriter.
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