Gerry Goffin, a prolific and multi-dimensional lyricist who with his then-wife and songwriting partner Carole King wrote such hits as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” ”(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” ”Up on the Roof” and “The Loco-Motion,” died early Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75.
His wife, Michelle Goffin, confirmed his death.
Goffin, who married King in 1959, penned more than 50 top 40 hits, including “Pleasant Valley Sunday” for the Monkees, “Some Kind of Wonderful” for the Drifters and “Take Good Care of My Baby” by Bobby Vee. Goffin was able to pen jokey lyrics or achingly sad ones, and he did it for solo artists and multiple voices.
Louise Goffin, one of his daughters, said her dad “wore his heart on his sleeve, and I am deeply blessed to have had a father who could so easily make the world laugh and cry with just a spiral notebook and a pen.”
King and Goffin divorced in 1968, but Goffin kept writing hits, including “Savin’ All My Love for You” for Whitney Houston. Goffin and King were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three years later. King said in a statement that Goffin was her “first love” and had a “profound impact” on her life.
“Gerry was a good man with a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come,” King said. “His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn’t know how to say.”
The Goffin-King love affair is the subject of the Tony Award-nominated musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway. King, while backing the project and with one of their daughters acting as a producer, had avoided seeing it for months because it dredged up sad memories. She finally sat through it in April.
After his divorce from King, Goffin garnered an Academy Award nomination with Michael Masser for the theme to the 1975 film Mahogany for Diana Ross. He also earned a Golden Globe nomination for “So Sad the Song” in 1977 from the film Pipe Dreams.
A Musical and Romantic Partnership
Goffin was born in Brooklyn in 1939 and was working as an assistant chemist when he met King at Queens College.
A whirlwind romance led to a marriage and their first hit, when she was only 17 and he was 20, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” for the Shirelles, which a pregnant King helped write while suffering morning sickness.
Both quit their day jobs to focus on music, and other songs followed, including “Up on the Roof” for the Drifters, “One Fine Day” for the Chiffons and “Chains,” which was later covered by the Beatles. King and Goffin wrote “The Loco-Motion,” which eventually was sung by their onetime babysitter Little Eva.
Goffin continued co-writing songs, including “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” recorded by Gladys Knight and the Pips, and “It’s Not the Spotlight,” recorded by Rod Stewart. In the 1980s and ’90s, he co-wrote “Tonight I Celebrate My Love,” a duet recorded by Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack, “Miss You Like Crazy” sung by Natalie Cole” and the Whitney Houston mega-hit “Savin’ All My Love for You.”
Goffin is survived by his five children and his wife.