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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars +1/2 -- Two sides of Carole King
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...
Published on April 27, 2010 by hyperbolium

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Carole King is a sure thing
I love Carole King, and wanted to have her cd in my collection. This is one cd of all her singing, the other is original artists singing her songs so it's very nostalgic. But I found myself wishing I had gotten Wrap Around Joy or Tapestry instead. Still, it's a lot of great music by an awesome artist.
Published 15 months ago by Karen Kever


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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars +1/2 -- Two sides of Carole King, April 27, 2010
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This review is from: The Essential Carole King (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. It wasn't until the following year's Tapestry that King found the fame as a singer that her songs had previously found for her as a songwriter. Her songs created a lyrical voice that was perfectly in sync with 1971, and even more poignantly, her tour de force remake of 1959's "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" highlighted the emotional depth that had been part of her songwriting from the earliest days.

Legacy's 2-CD set looks at both sides of King's career. Disc one samples her early solo work, her 1970s stardom with tracks from Writer, Tapestry, Music, Rhymes & Reason, Fantasy, Wrap Around Joy, Thoroughbred, her score for Maurice Sendak's Really Rosie, and a couple of later tracks recorded with Babyface ("You Can Do Anything") and Celine Dion. Missing are the albums she recorded for Capitol, Atlantic and EMI from the late-70s into the early-90s; they may not be essential to telling the story of her breakthrough years, but a sampling of tracks would have made a nice addition. Disc two samples fifteen King compositions recorded by (and mostly hits for) other artists. The breadth of acts that made brilliant music from King and Goffin's compositions is staggering, particularly when you realize this is a fraction of the hits she wrote, and that is in turn a fraction of the thousands of cover versions these songs earned.

Disc one clocks in at over seventy-one minutes, disc two at forty-one - no doubt the cross-licensing of singles from so many original labels limited the second disc's track count. Additional King-penned hits by the Drifters, Cookies and Monkees are missed, as are hits by the Animals, Tony Orlando, Earl-Jean and Steve Lawrence (not to mention Freddy Scott, who's "Hey Girl" is represented by a Billy Joel cover), but what's here is terrific. Disc one isn't a substitute for King's classic albums of the early 1970s, but provides a very listenable tour through her first seven years as a solo artist, and a great introduction to one of pop music's brightest lights. Disc two is rich, but only hints at the wealth of King's songwriting catalog. 4-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2010 hyperbolium dot com]
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sweet release, May 9, 2010
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This review is from: The Essential Carole King (Audio CD)
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.

The people who recorded versions of Carole's songs include the most accomplished recording artists of that era and since:

Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, (You've Got a Friend), The Monkees, Neil Diamond, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Donny Osmond (No 1 hit with Go Away Little Girl), Dusty Springfield, The Byrds, BeeGees and Rod Stewart. Michael Buble's most recent album has a version of 'Some Kind of Wonderful.' In case you're wondering who did what songs, I will post some links below.

When releasing her second album Tapestry-Legacy Edition (2-CD), not surprisingly she would draw partly on her songs written for others, and pen new songs written for herself. The release of of the landmark album Tapestry in 1971, was a watershed moment in musical history. Tapestry spent 15 weeks on top of the Billboard Charts and over 345 weeks on the Charts, probably the most notable accomplishment by a female artist to that point, and maybe still, and would sell a reputed 25 million copies.

Her unique and distinctive piano style, her unpretentious and unassuming vocal style, her emotional range, her sincerity as an artist, and ability to connect emotionally and intimately relate with the listener would ensure its and her continuing popularity. Rolling Stone ranked Tapestry as number 36 on its top 500 albums of all time list, the second highest ranking by a female artist, and beating out Dark Side of the Moon, and Hotel California. Some of her songs have become anthemic, and universally relatable.

I Feel The Earth Move, and It's too Late would become number one hits, and You've Got a Friend would become a number one hit for James Taylor, and according to him the biggest hit of his career. A newly discovered personal favorite, Jazzman would hit number 2.

So, you may wonder how The Essential Collection compares to previous releases. I think the producers have done an excellent job in putting together a wonderful collection, the best collection at the best price without being too Tapestry heavy. If you're like me, you probably already own Tapestry. Nevertheless, the second cd, the songwriter is worth acquiring at this price all by itself.

Although Tapestry is well represented, it is a stroke of genius to mix in the original artist versions of classic number one songs, so we get the Shirelles version of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, The Chiffons One Fine Day, and Aretha Franklin's classic version of You make me feel (like a natural woman). It's really interesting to hear the different styles of different artists such as the folk style of The Byrds, and the rock pop style of The Monkees. I am particularly pleased with the inclusion of The Reason featuring Celine dion, and Now and Forever, a favorite from the soundtrack of A League of their own.

I don't remember a time ever when an artist released a double album of their own hits, and original versions of their hits by other artists on a single release. I imagine it must have taken a while to get the permissions from the different record companies and artists. A bold move by the producer for which I for one am grateful.

At this price and with these songs, I suspect this album will become a number one bestseller. It's certainly bigger, better, and has more diversity than other recent number one albums I have bought, and has 33 songs all of which have sold millions, most of which have been top ten hits, and a good number of which have been number one hits. The fact that she is currently on a world tour will undoubtedly boost sales, and I hope to get an opportunity to see her live with James Taylor even though I have no ticket yet.

I believe this album will keep you engaged and fascinated for a long time, and the sleeve notes include the highest chart positions of each song. The more you listen the more you realise how much more there is to Carole King than you previously imagined, and there's even more than that..

If you wish to explore even further I recommend you consider mp3 download of The Dimension Dolls, a 1963 album featuring early vocals of Carole King, particularly interesting is her take on Crying in the rain, Breaking up is hard to do, and Keep your hands off my baby and featuring two other well known female artists artists from the Brill Buildings. I also highly recommend The Best of the Girl Groups, Vol. 1, an outstanding album with excellent story songs, and 3 or 4 Goffin King songs.

If you are a collector like me, I recommend you consider individual downloads such as Being at War with each other, Barbra Streisand, So Far Away with Rod Stewart from Tapestry revisited, an outstanding version, Go Away Little Girl, I can't stay mad at you. I'm into Something good, Herman's Hermits. With that I believe you will have not just the album Essential Carole King, but almost all the other essential Carole King. Because it's not possible to insert mp3 download links into product reviews, I have posted links in the comments section.

I hope you found this review helpful, and I think you will love this album, which is some kind of wonderful.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An impressive 2-CD set, May 24, 2010
This review is from: The Essential Carole King (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. My only complaint, also noted by other reviewers, is that "Goin' Back" is not featured on this collection, whether it's King's version or Dusty Springfield's version. I only mention this because I think "Goin' Back" is the best song King has ever written. Springfield's version is absolutely perfect and heartrending. It's a shame it is not featured here.

That major quibble aside, I highly recommend this collection. I wouldn't call it "the essential Carole King." If you want the essential King, obviously buying her original albums is the place to go. But this set is a worthy addition to your CD collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice overview of a major pop composer, May 19, 2010
This review is from: The Essential Carole King (Audio CD)
Carole King/Various Artists
"The Essential Carole King"
(Sony-BMG, 2010)
-----------------------------------------
This terrific 2-CD set does a great job encapsulating the decades-long career of Carole King, one of the most prolific and influential pop songwriters of the 1960s and '70s, who started out as a powerhouse in the Brill Building pop factory, and went on to a solo career as a major singer-songwriter and feminist icon in the early 1970s. Disc One highlights King as a performer, with a winsome early demo/single ("It Might As Well Rain Until September") and a healthy dose of hits from her mega-hit album, "Tapestry," and her 1970's heyday. The collection also tracks King's work closer to the present day and then gives way, in Disc Two, to a strong sampling of the hits she wrote for others, perky pop smashes such as "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" by the Shirelles, "Up On The Roof" by the Drifters, "One Fine Day" the Chiffons, and Little Eva's "The Loco-Motion."

Unlike many of the pop artists from the pre-Beatles era, King was able to roll with the times and made the transition from teen ballads and cheery girl-group material to pop-psychedelic bubblegum, as heard on the Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and the trippy "Wasn't Born To Follow" by the Byrds... Then, as the hippie era turned a corner, so did Carole King, who reemerged in 1971 as a pop auteur, pioneering the more contemplative songwriter style that is now known as "adult alternative" music. The irresistible rhythmic and melodic hooks were still there, but the topics were more mature and the songs had a depth that invigorated the Top Forty landscape, and opened it up to a newer, distinctly feminine perspective.

In retrospect, it is amazing to realize how one person could have written so many alluring and enduring pop hits, in such a wide variety of styles. This 2-CD set only barely scrapes the surface of her work, but even these three dozen or so songs will make your jaw drop... Indeed, Carole King may have been one of the last truly great American songsmiths, on a par with Tin Pan Alley legends such as Cole Porter, Frank Loesser, Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, in terms of the depth and durability of her work. Any serious student of American pop will enjoy this collection immensely, as will her many fans. (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To Music)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album!!! One question....., July 15, 2010
This review is from: The Essential Carole King (Audio CD)
Will someone please tell me WHY Carole seems to refuse to put the song "You Light Up My Life" on any of her hits collections??? (If I'm mistaken about this, clue me in.) NO, I'm NOT talking about that cheeseball Debby Boone song--those of us who are Carole King fans know that I'm referring to a different & very beautiful song that has the same title (and I think CAROLE came up with it FIRST!).

"You light up my life with sunshine in the morning/You make me believe anything is possible..."

I believe this song came out in 1973, and I still have the 45 in my collection.

Seriously: I have always loved this song to death (it got a lot of airplay on my radio shows when I was a DJ in college), and I have been mystified for years as to why it seems to have ceased to exist in Carole's world. So if someone can explain this to me, I'd really appreciate it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Collection, February 25, 2014
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This review is from: The Essential Carole King (Audio CD)
Love, love, love this CD. Carole King is one of my favorite artists and this CD did not disappoint. Highly recommend the purchase to anyone who likes her music. Great compilation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Joy to Listen To......, June 25, 2014
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Tina F. Gray (Brooklyn, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Essential Carole King (Audio CD)
Especially if you're a Carole King fan, this double CD is awesome!!! With the resurgence of this amazing woman's music on Broadway, this CD is a must have. Not only does it showcase some of her greatest hits - but it features songs that she wrote for others. You'll be really surprised to hear what she wrote. I can listen to it all day.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's Carole King, June 17, 2014
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This review is from: The Essential Carole King (Audio CD)
It's a Carole King CD, it played fine, it's a timeless classic, not much else to say. Would purchase again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Treats and Treasures Galore!, April 7, 2014
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Ken H. "jayhawken" (Tulsa, OK United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Essential Carole King (Audio CD)
This woman played the soundtrack of my youth and her songs stand up quite well to the test of time.

Carole King is a living national artistic treasure. This compilation is a "must" for any nostalgic fan and an invigorating eye-opener for everyone else.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a terrific collection!, March 20, 2014
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This review is from: The Essential Carole King (Audio CD)
Talk about the best--this really IS The Essential Carole King. From her early recording of "September" to the selections from her "Tapestry" album and beyond, I couldn't be more pleased. The extra disc with her songs which were recorded by and became hits for other singers was a wonderful bonus!
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The Essential Carole King
The Essential Carole King by Carole King (Audio CD - 2010)
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