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Gerry Goffin, Songwriter and Carole King's Ex-Husband, Dead at 75

The lyricist wrote over 50 Top 40 singles

June 19, 2014 5:25 PM ET
Gerry Goffin
Gerry Goffin in 2009.
David Livingston/Getty Images

Lyricist Gerry Goffin, who cowrote the hits "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," "The Loco-Motion" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" with his ex-wife Carole King, has died in his home in Los Angeles on Wednesday of natural causes. He was 75. His wife, Michele Goffin, reported his death, according to The Associated Press.

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"Gerry Goffin was my first love," Carole King said in a statement. "He had a profound impact on my life and the rest of the world. Gerry was a good man and a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come. His legacy to me is our two daughters, four grandchildren, and our songs that have touched millions and millions of people, as well as a lifelong friendship. He will be missed by his wonderful wife Michele, his devoted manager, Christine Russell, his five children, and six grandchildren.

"His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn't know how to say," she continued. "If you want to join his loved ones in honoring him, look at the names of the songwriters under the titles of songs. Among the titles associated with me, you'll often find Gerry's name next to mine."

Goffin was born in Brooklyn in 1939. Twenty years later, he married King, whom he'd met while both were attending Queens College, when he was 20 and she was 17. Over the course of his career, he cowrote seven songs that reached Number One on the charts and dozens of Top 40 hits, among them the Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday," the Everly Brothers' "Crying in the Rain," Bobby Vee's "Take Good Care of My Baby" and James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend." In 1990, Goffin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with King.

Goffin and King, who are the parents of two children including singer-songwriter Louise Goffin, divorced in 1968. Their story served as the basis for the musical Beautiful: The Carole King Story, which garnered seven Tony nominations this year and won two, including Best Actress for Jessie Mueller's portrayal of King.

After his separation from King, Goffin went on to cowrite several Top 10 hits, including Gladys Knight and the Pips' "I've Got to Use My Imagination," Diana Ross' Number One hit "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" and Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love for You."

In 1995, Goffin was one of the first people to notice the talent of Kelly Clarkson, before she was on American Idol, and hired her to sing some of his demos. The next year, he released his final album, Back Room Blood.

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