Gerry Goffin Remembered

The Songwriters Hall of Fame was saddened to learn of the passing of esteemed inductee Gerry Goffin today.

“Gerry Goffin and Carole King collaborated on many of the milestones of rock n’ roll songwriting. Gerry was active in the writing of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and “Up On The Roof” for instance, inspirational guideposts for a whole generation of young writers,” said SHOF Chairman Jimmy Webb. “Songs like these and many others re-affirmed the traditional values of melody and lyric in an era when such traditional niceties were falling into neglect. Goffin/King collaborations transported young listeners into a universe that was hopeful and imaginative. Their compositions were the stuff that teenage dreams are made of. Gerry has been a writer of greatest importance during his entire career and his loss will be felt deeply and permanently across generations of songwriters that comprise our community. Gerry, we will still love you tomorrow and forever after that.”

Lyricist Gerry Goffin was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 11, 1939. Following graduation from Brooklyn Technical High School, Goffin enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, which later led to his admission to the Annapolis Naval Academy. After his first year in Annapolis, Goffin resigned and enrolled in Queens College with a chemistry major.

At Queens College, he met Carole King, a fellow student and education major. A lifetime musical collaboration began almost immediately. Goffin had been writing lyrics since the age of eight but had never been able to find a collaborator with whom he could feel comfortable. As he and King began writing, the combination seemed to work right away and music became their full time careers.

Goffin and King married in 1959 and took daytime jobs, he as an assistant chemist and she as a secretary, to support their music endeavors. At night and on weekends, they pursued their songwriting career, and were signed to Don Kirschner and Al Nevins’ Aldon Music in 1960. Their first big break came that same year with a recording by The Shirrelles of their song, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?”.

During the next eight years, the team of Goffin and King enjoyed more than 50 top 40 hits, among them “Take Good Care of My Baby,” recorded by Bobby Vee; “Go Away Little Girl,” recorded by Steve Lawrence; “Up on the Roof,” recorded by The Drifters; and a plethora of others including “Locomotion,” “Halfway to Paradise,” “Hey Girl,” “Natural Woman,” “Just Once in My Life,” and “Don’t Say Nothin’ Bad About My Baby.” Goffin also collaborated with another Aldon Music composer, Barry Mann, on the top ten hit “Who Put the Bomp (In the Bomp Bomp Bomp Bomp).”

Although their marriage ended in divorce in 1968, the couple continued to work together, writing “Hi-De-Ho” for Blood, Sweat and Tears, and “Smackwater Jack,” which appeared on King’s multi-platinum album Tapestry.

During the 1970s, Goffin collaborated with other songwriters such as Russ Titelman, Barry Goldberg (“I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,” recorded by Gladys Knight and the Pips, and “It’s Not the Spotlight,” recorded by Rod Stewart) and Michael Masser. Masser and Goffin earned an Oscar nomination for “Theme of Mahogany” and a Golden Globe nomination for “So Sad the Song”.

Goffin continued producing hit songs in the 1980’s and 90’s with “Tonight I Celebrate My Love,” “Time, Don’t Run Out on Me,” “A Long and Lasting Love,” and “Savin’ All My Love for You,” the latter the song that virtually assured musical stardom for Whitney Houston. And in 1996, Goffin released his second album Back Room Blood.

He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame along with Carole King in 1987.

Goffin passed away of natural causes at the age of 75.