I may or may not have taken the long route to an already out of the way grocery store this morning to get things I could have easily put off until Monday to buy in order to finish the last CD of Carole King’s audio-book memoir A Natural Woman.
My father gave me the Tapestry album one year for Christmas and it truly is a masterpiece; I never really knew anything else that King was involved in but this book is a well written overview of her decades long music career.
This book reads like an overview of the entire music world from the mid 1950’s to the late 70’s because Carole King is a rock & roll institution who lived through and helped shape most of the music in that time period. The first half of her memoir is full of music facts and early encounters with future super stars; you forget how many hits she penned alongside her first husband, Gerry Goffin. I could fill the recommended word count for a CBR review just listing songs they wrote for other people in the first decade of their songwriting collaboration! “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and “One Fine Day” as well as “the Loco-motion” and, of course, “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Women.” Most interesting to me was that, prior to her divorce from Goffin, King never wrote song lyrics but instead focused on the music composition. It also took me by surprise how YOUNG King was in her heydey. She met Gerry, penned their first song, got married and had her first child all before she turned eighteen!
Her story starts to drag once she gets involved in a legal battle regarding her ranch in Idaho in the ’80s. Besides explaining complex legal proceedings she was far away from the music scene and the anecdotes those connections brought to the first few sections of her story. She admits, in the end, that she doesn’t know why she constantly tried to leave the music world for a “normal” life when “normal” for her is being musical.
“Performing wasn’t something to fear; it was a merely a larger circle of collaboration. The more I communicated my joy to the audience, the more joy they communicated back to me.”
This memoir is worth it alone for the first half focusing on her time leading up to, and directly following, Tapestry.