Carole King

Carole King

1970 took American pop culture a turnaround. The sixties were died away with excesses of violence. Race riots and the Vietnam War dominated the news and discussion of family at dinner. The rock music, a kind of canary in the cultural coal mine, had become the in-air general oppression reflecting, loud and disharmonious. If we think back to the music of the years 1968 and 1969, Hendrix, The Who and Led Zeppelin, "Helter Skelter" and "Revolution", we noticed "Street Fighting man" and "Gimme Shelter" a.

The Seventies ushered in a moment of self-reflection. An enormous number of young people felt the desire to shut down the volume and create a bit of Room for clear thoughts. It was also the time when the counterculture their exodus began to the country. Rock'n'Roll, beatniks and hippies had concentrated in the sixties in the cities. 1970 pulled the Zeitgeist on flat land. James Taylor's "Sweet Baby James" and Carole King's "Tapestry" were albums that made their mark in this period. These plates were symbolic of the desire, in turbulent times to find a quiet spot.

King and Taylor justified - along with Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, Nash Young - a new singer / songwriter movement, sometimes more, sometimes less was fashionable, but never completely disappeared in the following forty years. The influence of Carole King and James Taylor planted continues: up to Norah Jones, John Mayer, Ben Harper, Diane Birch and the Dixie Chicks. The first - short - Meeting between King and Taylor took place in Greenwich Village in the Sixties in the Night Owl CafÉ. James appeared there together with his childhood friend Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar and a rock band called The Flying Machine, as Carole with two members of the band Myddle Class, which also played in the club, popped in.

James was a shy teenager. And Carole was, though only in the middle 20, already a legendary songwriter. As one half of the songwriting team Goffin King had hits for the Shirelles ( "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?"), Drifters ( "Up On The Roof"), Everly Brothers ( "Crying In The Rain", with Howard Greenfield), The Beatles ( "Chains"), Byrds ( "Was not Born To Follow"), Monkees ( "Pleasant Valley Sunday"), Aretha Franklin ( "Natural Woman") and dozens of others written. James grew up with their songs. The two first met at that first encounter know only fleetingly, but Kootch who was more out went off and sociable, befriended with Carole. These then invited him to play in their Demo Sessions guitar.

"It was as if you were visiting Harvard," said Kortchmar recalls. "Carole was the greatest bandleader of all time. She could tell you exactly what you should play, how to build a package. Of all these things she understood more than anyone I've met before or after. "

But King had no stage experience. Since Bob Dylan and the Beatles, the old dividing lines between songwriters and singers were erased. Carole felt already the urge to step into the spotlight and their songs to sing himself. But still she was not ready for. You, Kootch and Charles Larkey set out together to the West coast and formed a band called The City. Carole was the creative center of the group, but still not ready to emerge as a solo artist. Taylor was there.

As a Flying Machine broke up, he went to London and played his songs another friend of Kootch ago: Peter Asher, who once one half of the singing duo Peter Gordon had been and was now working as a talent scout for Apple Records, the new label of the Beatles. Asher was impressed with Taylor, as well as Paul McCartney and George Harrison who should play on his first album "James Taylor". It was a fine board, but went down in the chaos that was caused by the separation of the Beatles.

Since the future at Apple Records was uncertain by this turbulence, Taylor and Asher came back to California and signed a contract with Warner Bros. Records. Carole and Kootch were already there. And it was only natural that they form the core of the band would that Taylor at the recording of his second disc, "SweetBabyJames" accompanied.

"Carole replied astonished me and filled me with awe," Taylor says. "But I had worked with the Beatles and this brought my sense of what was possible back into balance. The main thing was that Carole and I, when we were playing together, spoke the same language. We had the same musical vocabulary. It was, we have been delivered from the factory with the same information as would be. "Carole makes the success differences that existed between them when they began collaborating, down. "He was not completely unknown," says King. "There was already the 'James Taylor' album. At the time, there was a special camaraderie between the musicians in Laurel Canyon and the surrounding area. We all played together, jamming one with another. I am not regarded as someone who had the others think. I found this is not so and I did not think it. None of us did. "

"SweetBabyJames", published in early 1970, was not the same as a hit. The LP climbed thanks to word of mouth and by playing on the FM radio during the year slowly the charts high. In autumn, the single "Fire And Rain" came out and hit the nerve of time. "SweetBabyJames" became a hit album and James Taylor, the first new rock star of the Seventies. At concerts, the Taylor gave to Promote "SweetBabyJames", accompanied him to the core of the studio band - including Kootch and drummer Russell Kunkel. Bassist Randy Meisner was too busy with his band Poco, so that Asher had to look for another bassist. He found him in Leland Sklar.

Carole: "When I received the invitation to go with James on tour, I had reservations because of my two children. I did not want to leave. But Peter said we would only go on weekends to be, so it was feasible. "-" Everything evolved informally, "James recalls. " 'Are you coming?' 'Sure.' Danny encouraged Carole to put forward their own stuff. I insisted that she sang at my shows 'Up On The Roof'. "

"One should bear in mind that this singer / songwriter thing kinda new at that time was," explains Kortchmar. "Carole was clear that they fit into this rail would. James gave her an opportunity to rise to the stage to express yourself and to entertain the audience. "

And as Carole King began the songwriter to make friends as part of James Taylor's band with its new role as a stage artist. James remembers how he recite a new song during soundcheck heard and told her how good he found him. The song was "You've Got A Friend". James remembers that Carole told him to pick up the pieces. Carole argues that this may have been so, but it happened so casually be had that they have forgotten it again.

When Peter Asher whose version of their songs played to her at a recording session for James' next album, she was Überrrascht. "I was at this session as a pianist there," says Carole. "Peter said, 'I've got something here that you have to listen to you' And then he played me James' version of 'You've Got A Friend' before.. It was one of the most joyous moments of my life, when I heard them. I was blown away. When they tried to bring out the song as a single, I was overjoyed. "

Taylor's version of "You've Got A Friend" was the summer of 1971 a number 1 hit and earned him a Grammy. But at this time already another project of the small group of friends reached the top of the charts. Parallel to James' "Mudslide Slim And The blue Horizon" they borrowed Carole's "Tapestry" - where many of the musicians switch between the two sessions and herpendelten.

"I'm sure it influenced me, the music of James to hear," says Carole. "Everyone who knew that I had worked in the previous year and in the year in which the album was recorded with James, was when he 'Tapestry' heard say: 'Yes, I do I hear a definite influence of James from her work out. ' "" Tapestry "proved to be a milestone. It contained both new King hits as "So Far Away", "It's Too Late" (written with Toni Stern), and "I Feel The Earth Move" and Carole own versions of the two Goffin / King classic "Natural Woman "and" Will You Love Me Tomorrow? ".

The LP reached the top spot of the charts and stayed there remarkable fifteen weeks. The plate should be - and that's not a misprint! - Believe it or keep 302 weeks long on the Billboard album charts and eventually selling 22 million times. Mid-1971 was Carole King the biggest star of the music scene, but they behaved not like one. She toured continue with Taylor and told him the stage. In the spring they went two weeks on lasng side by side at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. "We talked very little about the success," says Taylor. "I can, however, remember that I Peter Asher once the phone roar heard: 'It costs $ 10,000 per night and you can not have him!' But that's it. Our focus was on another. Carole and I won this year Grammys and neither of us showed up at the ceremony. "

"It was remarkable," says Carole King in memories. "An amazing time. We lived in a musical community. In Laurel Canyon and Sunset Sound happened a lot; Joni, Jackson Browne, the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt. It was a happy-creative time. "-" Carole and I worked in 1970 and 1971, still a bit to 1972 together, "adds James Taylor. "It was a very short time, but in these two years, we achieved a lot. Our friendship was a lot of fruit - and they gave us two powerful boost. We served each other as a springboard. "

On Thanksgiving in 2007 returned James, Carole and moreover original musicians of the band (which was then known as The Section) to take the audience on a nostalgic journey through their old repertoire in the Troubadour back. Afterwards, all participants agreed that it had simply made too much fun, as it should be a one-time event.

"Carole and I are over all these years remained good friends," says James, "and we meet regularly - but we have together spent an intensive phase of our lives and that was it. For decades, we said: 'We should really get together again.' Kootch, Russ and Lee are in top form and playing wonderfully. We have to go with our program on tour, as long as we are still capable of doing. "

In memory of their first collaborations with James and with a view to the forthcoming reunion tour Carole says: "In the moment when I began to play with James, I had the feeling, as I have always played with him. And so it went again now me. It agreed on the date, when we met for the first time, and it's still every time we play together. "


* Bill Flanagan is the author of "Written In My Soul" (a collection of conversations he led with songwriters). And "U2 At The End Of The World" He is senior vice president and editor in chief of the music channel VH1 and writes et al fOr Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, GQ, Esquire, Spy and many other publications.

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