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Hit song lyricist Gerry Goffin was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1939. His greatest hits came when he was barely out of his teen years and married to Carole King, who wrote the melodies; their songs included “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “The Loco-Motion” (sung by the young couple’s babysitter, “Little Eva” Narcissus Boyd), “Up on the Roof,” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Goffin was a math and science student, a graduate of Brooklyn Tech, when he met Carole King in 1958 at Queens College; he was just 20, she was 17, and soon she was pregnant — and soon after they were rich, as the Shirelles achieved a Number One hit with “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” By the time their relationship split up in 1968, Goffin had written lyrics for more than fifty American hit songs, thirty of which also reached the British Top 20. Goffin had an uncanny ability to capture the hopes and fears of young women in his lyrics, and he and King could write for both black and white performers in a mostly segregated society. In the late 1960s, Goffin’s experimentation with psychedelic drugs led to a nervous breakdown, but he recovered sufficiently to collaborate on songs with several other musicians. In 1987, Goffin and King were inaugurated into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 1990 to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Gerry Goffin died at 75 in 2014. Look below to see the Shirelles singing “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”
“Tonight with words unspoken/you say that I’m the only one./But will my heart be broken/when the night meets the morning sun?” —Gerry Goffin