HUNG ON YOU-MORE FROM THE GERRY GOFFIN AND CAROLE KING SONGBOOK.
HUNG ON YOU-MORE FROM THE GERRY GOFFIN AND CAROLE KING SONGBOOK.
Two heads are better than one. So, the saying says. That’s certainly the case with songwriting. Some of the best, and most successful songs in the history of popular music have been written by songwriting teams. That’s been the case throughout the history of popular music.
Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller provided the soundtrack to much of the fifties, with songs like Kansas City, Hound Dog and Jailhouse Rock, to name but a few. Then in 1957, another of the legendary songwriting partnerships was born, Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
Bacharach and David’s songwriting partnership would last sixteen years. Right through to 1973, Bacharach and David penned countless classics, including Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, Walk On By, The Look Of Love, (They Long to Be) Close to You and This Guy’s In Love With You. However, in 1960, another songwriting partnership made its debut, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.
Just like Leiber and Stoller and Bacharach and David, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil would go on to become one of the most successful and influential songwriting partnership in the history of popular music. Classics aplenty flowed from the pen of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, including classics like Saturday Night At The Movies, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling and We Gotta Get out of This Place. It seemed that Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil could do no wrong. The same can be said of Gerry Goffin and Carole King.
Nowadays, the Goffin and King songwriting partnership is one of the most celebrated. No wonder. They were a truly prolific partnership, who throughout the sixties and early seventies, enjoyed critical acclaim and commercial. So much so, that to pay homage to Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s songwriting partnership, it’s taken Ace Records eight years and four compilations.
The first compilation of Gerry Goffin and Carole King songs that Ace Records released, was Goffin and King: A Gerry Goffin and Carole King Song Collection 1961-1967, which was released on 8th October 2007. Two years later, Ace Records returned with the followup, Honey and Wine: Another Gerry Goffin and Carole King Song Collection on 30th March 2009. Then another three years passed, before Something Good From The Goffin and King Songbook was released on 26th March 2012. Another three years passed before Ace Records released Hung On You-More From The Gerry Goffin and Carole King Songbook, on 2nd March 2015.
Hung On You-More From The Gerry Goffin and Carole King Songbook is a twenty-six track compilation, compiled by Mick Patrick. It features an eclectic selection of tracks, with The Righteous Brothers and Dusty Springfield rubbing shoulders with Skeeter Davis, The Shirelles, Dion, Bobby Vee, The Drifters, Walter Jackson, Henry Alston, The Crystals and The Countrymen. With sixties girl and soul groups sitting side-by-side with country, pop, soul and R&B singers, Hung On You-More From The Gerry Goffin and Carole King Songbook looks like a captivating and eclectic collection. Is that the case?
Opening Hung On You-More From The Gerry Goffin and Carole King Songbook is The Righteous Brothers’ Hung On You. This is a track Gerry Goffin and Carole King cowrote with Phil Spector, who produced the track. It was released on his label Philles Records as the followup to You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. When it was released as a single in 1965, Hung On You reached number forty-seven in the US Billboard 100 chart. Fifty years later, Hung On You is a heartfelt hidden gem from The Righteous Brothers.
In 1968, Dusty Springfield recorded her classic album, Dusty In Memphis in 1969, for Atlantic Records. She had already recorded a number of Goffin and King songs. Another four featured on Dusty In Memphis. It could’ve been five. However, That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Ho), which was recorded during the Dusty In Memphis sessions didn’t make the cut though. Instead, it featured on the B-Side of Dusty’s 1969 single Willie & Laura Mae Jones. This was Dusty’s first single after the release of Dusty In Memphis. Thirty years later, in 1999, That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Ho) was one of the bonus track on the 30th anniversary reissue of Dusty In Memphis. Sadly, by then, Dusty Springfield had just died. So, That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Ho) was a reminder of Dusty, at her soulful best.
Mention Skeeter Davis to anyone interested in country music, and they’ll wax lyrical. Skeeter enjoyed over forty hit singles between the late-fifties and mid-seventies. This includes her 1964 single What Am I Gonna Do With You. On the flip side was Don’t Let Me Stand In Your Way. Penned by Goffin and King and produced by Chet Atkins, pop meets country Don’t Let Me Stand In Your Way. This became known as the countrypolitan sound. One of its finest exponents was Skeeter Davis.
It wasn’t just The Shirelles career, that was transformed by their million selling single, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. So were Goffin and King’s. They were offered an advance on their future royalties. This allowed Gerry Goffin to quit his daytime job as a lab technician. Now he could concentrate all his efforts on writing hits. Soon, this paid off, when he penned What A Sweet Thing This Was for The Shirelles. Produced by Luther Dixon, it reached number fifty-four. Although slightly disappointing, compared to Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, nowadays, What A Sweet Thing This Was sounds ahead of its time.
When Dion released This Little Girl as a single in 1963, he had already enjoyed a number one single with Goffin and King’s Take Good Care Of My Baby in 1962. Two years later, in 1963, Dion released This Little Girl on Columbia. It only reached number twenty-one in the US Billboard 200 charts. This Little Girl also featured on Dion’s 1963 album Donna The Prima Donna. Hook-laden and truly irresistible, This Little Girl was one of Donna The Prima Donna’s highlights.
In 1988, The Drifters were inducted into the Rock ’N’ Roll Hall Of Fame. Formed in 1953, The Drifters went on to enjoy a long, and successful career. By 1962, The Drifters were one of the biggest R&B groups. That year, they released the Goffin and King penned When My Little Girl Is Smiling. Produced by Leiber and Stoller, it reached number twenty-eight in the US Billboard 200 charts and number thirty-one in Britain. However, Craig Douglas and Jimmy Justice also released When My Little Girl Is Smiling as a single in Britain during 1962. The best of the three versions, were The Drifters, who made it their own.
Walter Jackson signed to Columbia in 1962. At his first session, the former Velvetones’ singer recorded four tracks, including Anything Can Happen. It wasn’t released for another forty-four years, until 2006, when Ace Records rereleased Walter’s debut album It’s All Over. Anything Can Happen was one of the bonus track. This was a welcome addition, as Walter delivers a heartfelt, hopeful vocal where he mixes power and passion.
Theola Kilgore only ever released six singles during her career. She enjoyed minor hits with The Love Of My Man and This Is My Prayer. In 1966, Theola released her swan-song, the Goffin and King penned It’s Gonna Be Alright. Produced by Bill Silva and Chuck Silva it failed to chart, but is a reminder of one of soul music’s best kept and most soulful secrets.
After a sabbatical from the music industry, Henry Alston, a former member of The Hurricanes, embarked upon a solo career. His debut single was Hey Everybody, released in 1964. The flip side was the Goffin and King penned, So Many Lonely People. It features a soul-baring vocal from Henry. Sadly, when Hey Everybody failed to chart, Henry didn’t release another single. His recording career as a solo artist, proved short-lived.
The first of the Philly soul factories, Cameo Parkway, opened its doors in 1956. Before long, R&B and soul singles were rolling out its doors. They were penned, played and produced by a small group of songwriters, musicians and producers. For the next twenty-five years, they gave the music Philly its own unmistakable sound. The Orions’ Keep Your Hands Off My Baby is a forerunner of this. Written by Goffin and King, it’s one of the highlights of their 1963 album All The Hits By The Orlons.
The Crystals were one of the most successful of the sixties girl groups. Formed in Philly in 1960, their biggest hits were He’s A Rebel and Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home). However, in 1962, they released the most controversial single of their career, He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss. Produced by Phil Spector, and released on his Phillies Records, the lyrical content shocked Americans. So much so, that the single failed to chart, and the song was omitted from The Crystals’ next album, Twist Uptown. It featured No One Ever Tells Me, the B-Side to He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss. Penned by Goffin and King, it’s a wistful, haunting ballad from The Crystals.
My final choice from Hung On You-More From The Gerry Goffin and Carole King Songbook, is The American Breed’s Sometime In The Morning. It’s a track from Bend Me, Shape Me, The American Breed’s 1968 album. Released on Acta Records, Bend Me, Shape Me’s best know track was the title-track. When it was released as a single in 1968, it reached the top five in the US Billboard 200 charts. This was The American Breed’s biggest single. However, The American Breed bring new life and meaning into Sometime In The Morning, which was also covered by The Monkees. The two versions are quite different. Of the two versions, The American Breed’s is the best.
Hung On You-More From The Gerry Goffin and Carole King Songbook, which was recently released by Ace Records, is the fourth compilation of songs penned by Goffin and King. It’s a twenty-six track compilation, compiled by Mick Patrick. His selection is truly eclectic. The Righteous Brothers and Dusty Springfield rubbing shoulders with Skeeter Davis, The Shirelles, Dion, Bobby Vee, The Drifters, Walter Jackson, Henry Alston, The Crystals and The Countrymen. Sixties girl and soul groups sitting side-by-side with pop, soul and R&B singers. There’s even crooners, country and psychedelia. Quite simply, there’s something for everyone.There’s a reason for this.
Gerry Goffin and Carole King were versatile songwriters. They could write songs for a wide variety of artists and groups. Whether it was country, pop, R&B or soul, Gerry Goffin and Carole King could pen a track for an artist. Goffin and Kin g were just as happy writing for sixties girl groups like The Ronettes and The Crystals, as they were penning tracks for Dusty Springfield, The Righteous Brothers and Skeeter Davis. Often, these tracks were then covered by an eclectic selection of artists. That wasn’t the case with other songwriting partnerships.
During the sixties, other songwriting partnerships emerged. Right through to the seventies, other songwriting partnerships discovered their own songwriting style. It proved successful, so their style never evolved. Their songwriting style and sound was formulaic. Especially, in Detroit’s soul factory. Eventually, this style and sound fell out of fashion. Despite this, other songwriting partnerships never learnt from their mistakes and history continued to repeat itself. For Goffin and King, they continued to enjoy commercial success and critical acclaim.
As the seventies dawned, the Gerry Goffin and Carole King partnership was all but over. They had divorced in 1968, and since then, gradually, began to lose contact. Carole embarked upon a solo career, and released her Magnus Opus Tapestry in 1971. It sold twenty-five million copies and won four Grammy Awards. After this, Carole combined her solo and songwriting careers. Just like former husband Gerry, she worked alongside several songwriting partners. However, for ten years the Gerry Goffin and Carole King partnership were one of the most successful songwriting partnerships.
Over forty years later, many of the songs Gerry Goffin and Carole King penned are regarded as classics. They’re truly timeless, and continue to be covered by a new generation of artists. Meanwhile, the originals, including The Shirelles’ Will You Love Me Tomorrow and Aretha Franklin’s (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman are part of musical history. So, is the Gerry Goffin and Carole King songwriting partnership. No wonder. For nearly ten years, they could do no wrong. That’s why, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, just like Bacharach and David, Leiber and Stoller and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, are regarded as one of the most important songwriting partnerships in the history of popular music. One listen to Hung On You-More From The Gerry Goffin and Carole King Songbook, and you’ll soon realise why.
HUNG ON YOU-MORE FROM THE GERRY GOFFIN AND CAROLE KING SONGBOOK.