The Legendary Demos

Carole King

The Legendary Demos
  • CAT # HRM-33681-02

    1. Pleasant Valley Sunday 2:27
    2. So Goes Love 2:51
    3. Take Good Care Of My Baby 2:18
    4. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman 2:53
    5. Like Little Children 3:13
    6. Beautiful 2:24
    7. Crying In The Rain 1:48
    8. Way Over Yonder 3:25
    9. Yours Until Tomorrow 3:14
    10. It's Too Late 3:28
    11. Tapestry 3:02
    12. Just Once In My Life 4:02
    13. You've Got A Friend 4:11

Carole King’s The Legendary Demos will be released via Hear Music/Concord Music Group. A previously unreleased collection of 13 history-making Carole King recordings of some of her most celebrated songs, The Legendary Demos traces King's journey from her days as an Aldon staff writer in the 1960's, where she crafted hit after hit for other artists, to the dawn of her own triumphant solo career in the 1970's, and contains her original recordings of future standards like "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "It's Too Late," and "You've Got A Friend." Featuring liner notes by acclaimed author and Rolling Stone contributing editor David Browne, the collection brings to light a heretofore missing link in the chain of King's career. Fittingly, The Legendary Demos serves as a companion to King’s long-awaited memoir, A Natural Woman, which is being released April 10th, 2012 via Grand Central Publishing.

Aldon Music used these demos—short for “demonstration records”—to pitch King's material to other artists, from Gene Pitney and Bobby Vee to Aretha Franklin and the Monkees. While the recordings have long been coveted and collected within the industry, they have never before been released to the public.

Whether it was a potential single for the Monkees or a solo performer like Pitney, King’s demos were remarkable in their completeness. “When she sat down to the piano and played a demo of one of her songs, the whole arrangement appeared right in front of your eyes magically,” recalls Brooks Arthur, who engineered a number of these efficient sessions for King at one of several midtown Manhattan studios. “A lot of the smarter producers would adhere to Carole’s demos. If you stuck to that, you’d come home a winner.”

King and then-husband/songwriting partner Gerry Goffin signed with Aldon Music in 1959, and anyone who listened to the radio during the first half of the ‘60s will recognize the songs of teen passion and devastating heartbreak heard in King’s original recordings. “Take Good Care of My Baby” was a No. 1 hit for Bobby Vee in 1961. Goffin’s gift for tapping into teen anguish—in this case, hiding behind a stoic public face—was never conveyed better than in “Crying in the Rain,” which the Everly Brothers took into the top 10 in early 1962. “Just Once in My Life” was the Righteous Brothers’ follow-up to their still-spine-tingling “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” and King’s demo reveals how she and Goffin were instantly able to tap into the duo’s (and producer Phil Spector’s) dramatic, impassioned sound.

Like many of their fellow songwriters at the time, King and Goffin wrote songs for Don Kirshner’s TV show about a fictional, Beatles-derived pop band that debuted in September 1966. The Monkees turned out to be more credible singers (and musicians) than anyone initially expected, as their high-charting 1967 version of King and Goffin's “Pleasant Valley Sunday” revealed. The Monkees also cut “So Goes Love,” a dreamier ballad heard here, but the track didn’t make their first album and wasn’t released until long after they’d disbanded.

The Legendary Demos includes early takes of six tracks that formed the basis for King’s world-wide solo breakthrough Tapestry. King and lyricist Toni Stern’s ever-poignant “It’s Too Late” is here, along with King’s own “Way Over Yonder,” “Beautiful” and “Tapestry,” all three bursting with the artistic and spiritual renewal infusing King’s life during this period.

Among the collection’s numerous gems is the original 1967 demo for Goffin, King, and producer Jerry Wexler’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” a song that would later appear on Tapestry and of course be famously cut by Aretha Franklin later that same year. King’s version offers several different takes from the Franklin and Tapestry versions. Her delivery in the opening lines is looser (check out the way she stretches out “Lord” in “Lord, it made me feel so tired”), and the bridge is even more imbued with palpable romantic and sexual heat.

And finally, there’s King’s initial take on “You’ve Got a Friend,” a classic entry in the Great American Rock Songbook. Milling around in the Troubadour balcony during soundcheck, her friend James Taylor heard King perform the song on a bare stage and was immediately taken with it; his own version, a massive hit, would arrive the following year.

The Legendary Demos Tracklisting:

1. Pleasant Valley Sunday (Goffin/King)

(Carole King: vocal; other musicians unknown) circa 1966

Covered by The Monkees (1967) - #3 on the U.S. Pop Charts

2. So Goes Love (Goffin/King)

(Carole King: vocal; other musicians unknown) circa 1966

Covered by The Turtles (1967)

3. Take Good Care of My Baby (Goffin/King)

(Carole King: vocal, piano) circa 1961

Covered by Bobby Vee (1961) - #1 on the U.S. Pop Charts

4. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Goffin/King/Wexler)

(Carole King: vocal, piano) circa 1967

Covered by Aretha Franklin (1967) - #8 on the U.S. Pop Charts

5. Like Little Children (Goffin/King)

(Carole King: vocal; other musicians unknown) circa 1966

Covered by The Knickerbockers (1966)

6. Beautiful (King)

(Carole King: vocal, piano) circa 1970

7. Crying In The Rain (Greenfield/King)

(Carole King: vocal; other musicians unknown) circa 1962

Covered by The Everly Brothers (1962) - #6 on the U.S. Pop Charts

8. Way Over Yonder (King)

(Carole King: vocal, piano) circa 1970

9. Yours Until Tomorrow (Goffin/King)

(Carole King: vocal; other musicians unknown) circa 1966

Covered by Paul Wayne (1966)

10. It’s Too Late (King)

(Carole King: vocal, piano) circa 1970

11. Tapestry (King)

(Carole King: vocal, piano) circa 1970

12. Just Once In My Life (Goffin/King/Spector)

(Carole King: vocal, piano) circa 1965

Covered by The Righteous Brothers (1965) - #9 on the U.S. Pop Charts

13. You’ve Got A Friend (King)

(Carole King: vocal, piano) circa 1970

Covered by James Taylor (1971) - #1 on the Billboard Top 100 Charts

Carole King is arguably the most successful and revered female songwriter in pop music history. To date, more than 400 Carole King compositions have been recorded by more than 1000 artists, resulting in 100 hit singles - many of them reaching #1. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, King was the first woman to win four GRAMMY® Awards in one year, and her landmark 1971 album Tapestry received a Diamond Award from the RIAA for sales of more than 10 million units in the U.S., with more than 25 million units sold worldwide.


Find out more about Carole King

MORE RELEASES FROM CAROLE KING

First US CD Release for Touch The Sky, Welcome Home, and Simple Things, Plus Pearls: Songs Of Goffin And King More
First US CD Release for Touch The Sky, Welcome Home, and Simple Things, Plus Pearls: Songs Of Goffin And King More
First US CD Release for Touch The Sky, Welcome Home, and Simple Things, Plus Pearls: Songs Of Goffin And King More
First U.S. CD Release for Touch The Sky, Welcome Home, and Simple Things, Plus Pearls: Songs Of Goffin And King More
Carole King keeps it all in the family on A Holiday Carole. More

RELATED ARTISTS