The Musical Heritage of Gerry Goffin

While performing artists and musicians are often in the limelight, songwriters are sometimes forgotten or receive only some of the reflected glory. The recent passing of Gerry Goffin at the age of 75 has reminded music-lovers of the many songs he penned, either solo or with his first partner Carole King and other songwriters. Husband and wife from 1959 to 1968, the duo were honored for their contribution to music by being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Following their divorce, Goffin and King continued to write chart-topping songs together for some time, and he also collaborated with other songwriters, including Russ Titelman, Barry Mann, Barry Goldberg and Michael Masser.

Born on February 11, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York, Goffin graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School and spent a year at the US Naval Academy before studying chemistry at Queens College. Twenty-year-old Goffin married seventeen-year-old King in August 1959 and they worked as part of the Brill Building songwriting collective. Their breakthrough hit Will You Love Me Tomorrow, recorded by the Shirelles, hit the #1 slot on the Billboard 100 and was later recorded by numerous other artists, including Carole King on her 1971 album Tapestry. In a statement following Goffin’s death, King disclosed that he had been her first love and had a profound impact on her life. The couple had two daughters, and four grandchildren. Goffin remarried in 1995 and had two daughters and a son with wife Michele.

Songs penned by Goffin included Go Away Little Girl which became a #1 hit for Donny Osmond; The Loco-Motion, first recorded by Little Eva and later becoming a #1 hit for Grand Funk Railroad and a #3 hit for Kylie Minogue; Take Good Care of My Baby as performed by Bobby Vee reached #1; and the list goes on and on. Goffin co-wrote (with Michael Masser) the theme for the film Mahogany (1975) performed by Diana Ross, for which they received an Academy Award nomination. His song So Sad from the 1977 film Pipe Dreams earned a Golden Globe nomination. Moreover, Goffin recorded two albums of his own – It Ain’t Exactly Entertainment (1973) and Back Room Blood (1995).