Songwriter and Recording Academy Trustees Award recipient Gerry Goffin died June 19 in Los Angeles. A cause of death has not been disclosed. He was 75. Along with his then-wife and songwriting partner, GRAMMY winner Carole King, Goffin penned such hits as "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" (the Shirelles), "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (Aretha Franklin), "Up On The Roof" (the Drifters), "Pleasant Valley Sunday" (the Monkees), "Crying In The Rain" (the Everly Brothers), and "The Loco-Motion" (Little Eva). After he and King divorced, Goffin penned hits for the likes of Whitney Houston ("Saving All My Love For You"). In 1975 he garnered an Oscar nomination for Music (Original Song) for co-writing "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" with Michael Masser. Goffin and King were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1996 Goffin released Back Room Blood, an album featuring original solo material with several songs co-penned by GRAMMY winner Bob Dylan. Goffin was honored with a Trustees Award from The Academy in 2004. "Gerry Goffin was a profound lyricist who penned chart-topping hits for various artists for more than 40 years," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "His prolific career has left an indelible mark on our culture, and his exceptional legacy will continue to teach and inspire many generations to come."
(Songwriting duo Gerry Goffin & Carole King were honored with The Recording Academy's Trustees Award in 2004. The original version of the following tribute ran in the 46th GRAMMY Awards program book that year. Goffin died June 19 at the age of 75.)
Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote hits to order. If their bosses at the Brill Building in New York needed a follow-up for the Drifters, Goffin and King headed for their cubicle and got to work. After lunch, the assignment might be a hit for Bobby Vee, a breakthrough single for Herman's Hermits or a light social satire for the Monkees.
It was very much a commercial enterprise. Goffin and King weren't expected to create lasting works of art — much less a legacy. But, against all odds, they did. Many of their songs have become pop classics. "The Loco-Motion," the pair's most durable and lucrative creation, has been a hit in three decades — and will be revived as long as young people are looking for "a brand new dance." "Go Away Little Girl" and "Hey, Girl" have also made repeat trips to the Top 10. "One Fine Day" became the title song of a hit movie.
The best songs by Goffin and King made a deeper emotional connection than most pop hits of the era. Their first smash, the Shirelles' "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," was remarkably honest for its time (1960) about sex and commitment. The Drifters' "Up On The Roof" was a tender expression of yearning, an "Over The Rainbow" for people who never got out of the city. Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" was a sensuous statement of a woman's identity.
King's demos for the team's songs were so well conceived that they were often copied note-for-note in the final recordings. In 1962 one was released commercially, which resulted in King having a Top 30 hit, "It Might As Well Rain Until September."
Since their collaboration wound down, Goffin and King have both logged individual successes. In 1973 Goffin teamed with Barry Goldberg to write Gladys Knight & The Pips' fiery "I've Got To Use My Imagination." He later teamed with Michael Masser to write Diana Ross' Oscar-nominated "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" and Whitney Houston's GRAMMY-winning "Saving All My Love For You." King, of course, became one of the top recording artists of the 1970s. Her 1971 classic Tapestry was one of the decade's touchstone recordings. It won a GRAMMY as Album Of The Year, while one of its tracks, "It's Too Late," was voted Record Of The Year and another, "You've Got A Friend," was named Song Of The Year.
This year, the songs of Goffin and King, and the story of their marriage, became the subject of a hit Broadway show, "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical." The show, which received seven Tony nominations, depicts not only the years when Goffin and King were churning out No. 1 hits, but also the painful breakup of their marriage. Goffin and his wife were in the audience on opening night.
(Paul Grein, a veteran journalist and music historian, writes frequently for Yahoo Music. His Chart Watch blog runs each Wednesday.)
NPR has issued a riveting list of the 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women, which features a variety of GRAMMY winners from Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin and Miranda Lambert to Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks and Beyoncé. An impressive group of women has won the GRAMMY for Album Of The Year for their own recordings — vote for your favorite below.
What are your plans this week? Wait, don't answer yet, there's more! As in, more going on this week than you might have ever imagined. It's GRAMMY Week, and that means there's six days of high-profile public and private events in Los Angeles celebrating music, its stars and a certain gramophone-shaped statue. Is there a better way to warm up for the 55th GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 10?
So how do you get in on all the action when, well, you're in Warren, Mich., or, you there, you're in Jackson, Tenn.? Well, it's simple. We'll have video, photos and play-by-play after each event at GRAMMY.com, and you can join the action each day and night by following @TheGRAMMYs on Twitter, liking "The GRAMMYs" on Facebook, and joining the GRAMMYs' social communities on YouTube, Tumblr, Foursquare, GetGlue, Google+, and Instagram. You never know what one of your favorite music stars may say or do. And tune in to GRAMMY Live starting Feb. 8 for live coverage.
For now, we'll simply give you a taste of what's to come.
Arguably the highest-profile event this side of the GRAMMY Awards, the Pre-GRAMMY Gala is a private VIP party held in conjunction with music mogul Clive Davis. It hosts the biggest names in entertainment the night before the GRAMMYs. This red carpet rivals the GRAMMYs, the Oscars, Golden Globes, SAG Awards — you name it.
Next on the "I wish I could get a ticket to that" list is the MusiCares' Person of the Year gala, which both raises money for MusiCares, and features a list of stars honoring a music industry giant. This year the Boss Bruce Springsteen will be honored.
Hold on, don't order yet, because we're going to throw in these great events as well.
The GRAMMY Foundation will host several events that will be especially noteworthy this year. The Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon is an annual event that brings together legal professionals with aspiring law students to discuss hot-button topics in the entertainment law field. This year a keynote roundtable discussion will include NBC News correspondent Tom Brokaw.
Similarly, the Foundation's 15th Annual Music Preservation Project, "Play It Forward — A Celebration of Music's Evolution And Influencers," will bring in the star power to celebrate music's legacy. Performing artists include Yolanda Adams, Emmylou Harris, Lianne La Havas, Lupe Fiasco, LeAnn Rimes, Ed Sheeran, and George Thorogood And The Destroyers, so this will be one time everyone will agree on the theory of evolution.
The Foundation also hosts GRAMMY Camp — Basic Training, a one-day educational event that is tailored to give students and aspiring young musicians a taste of what the music industry feels like from the inside. Participants will include current GRAMMY nominees Lecrae and Elle Varner; producer and musical director for Janelle Monáe Terrence Brown; the Tonight Show Band vocalist Allison Iraheta; composer Joseph Trapanese; and KCRW DJ/entrepreneur Anthony Valadez, among others.
The Academy will also again host the Social Media Rock Stars Summit, a panel discussion featuring some of the prime architects in the field.
This year, in conjunction with Billboard magazine, Billboard's Power 100 event will rock GRAMMY Week by celebrating the 100 most influential people in the music industry as determined by Billboard's annual themed issue. If you want to know who's shaping the music world today, plug in to this event.
The Producers & Engineers Wing will present "An Evening of Jazz," honoring 27-time GRAMMY winner and multi-talented music producer Quincy Jones and 18-time GRAMMY-winning producer/engineer Al Schmitt.
And The Recording Academy also honors legendary music acts and industry figures with its annual Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception, where groundbreaking artists are honored with the Lifetime Achievement, Trustees and Technical GRAMMY Awards. This year's honorees include such luminary artists as pianist Glenn Gould, jazz bassist Charlie Haden, Carole King, and the great Motown vocal group the Temptations.
It's all capped off by the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10. While tuning in to CBS for the telecast, be sure to log on to GRAMMY.com to follow our liveblog, your ticket to follow the show online and join the conversation. After the show, The Academy celebrates in style with its stunning after-party, the GRAMMY Celebration.
And beginning Friday, Feb. 8, you can get an insider's view into the three days of VIP events leading up to the show with GRAMMY Live including real-time coverage of events and highlights such as the Social Media Rock Stars Summit and the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year gala, and a complete stream of the GRAMMY Pre-Telecast Ceremony.
Come back to GRAMMY.com and experience GRAMMY Week, and don't forget to tune in to the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards on the CBS Television Network from 8–11:30 p.m. ET/PT.
The GRAMMY Awards telecast stands as the richest collection of musical talent on any one show, three-and-a-half hours of nearly nonstop music from today's hottest performers as well as surprise GRAMMY Moments that create indelible memories for fans.
Is there a downside to such a giant, wide-ranging night of music? Well, sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of the sprawling list of performers.
The star-studded performance lineup for the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards has a bit of everything — a number of first-time GRAMMY performances; a not-to-be-missed metal/classical mashup; the Daftest band in music; performances from half of arguably the greatest band ever; and of course the best in country, rock, pop, and hip-hop. And don't forget the coolest host around: LL Cool J.
It's a lot to keep track of, so we've compiled a handy alphabetical guide to artists who will be taking the GRAMMY stage. Of course, be sure to stay logged on to GRAMMY.com and follow our live-blog to complement your GRAMMY experience.
And the performers for the 56th GRAMMY Awards are:
- Billie Joe Armstrong and Miranda Lambert in tribute to Phil Everly
- Sara Bareilles with 2014 MusiCares Person of the Year Carole King
- Gary Clark Jr.
- Daft Punk with Nile Rodgers (of Chic), Pharrell Williams, Stevie Wonder and the RAM (Random Access Memories) session players: Chris Caswell, Nathan East, Omar Hakim, and Paul Jackson Jr.
- Merle Haggard, 2014 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Blake Shelton
- Hunter Hayes
- Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons
- John Legend
- Madonna with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert
- Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, who as members of the Beatles will receive the 2014 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award
- Metallica and GRAMMY Cultural Ambassador to China Lang Lang
- Kacey Musgraves
- Nine Inch Nails, Queens Of The Stone Age, Dave Grohl, and Lindsey Buckingham in a rousing finale
- Katy Perry
- Pink and Nate Ruess (of Fun.)
- Taylor Swift
- Robin Thicke and GRAMMY-winning group Chicago
- Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
- Keith Urban
The 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place live on Sunday, Jan. 26 at Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast in high-definition TV and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television Network from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). For GRAMMY coverage, updates and breaking news, visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.