Carole King began writing songs when she was just 3 years old. She was still a teenager when she wrote her first No. 1 hit: “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” King wrote or co-authored some of the biggest hits of the ’60s and ’70s, including “The Loco-Motion” and “You’ve Got a Friend.” Her groundbreaking 1971 album “Tapestry” won four Grammys and is one of the best-selling records of all time. With songs like “It’s Too Late,” “I Feel the Earth Move” and “So Far Away,” it’s easy to see why it sold millions of copies. King is well-known as a singer and songwriter, but she’s also a serious political and environmental activist. Diane talks with Carole King about her music, her life and the causes she fights for.

Guests

  • Carole King Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter whose albums include "Tapestry" and "Love Makes The World." Author of the 2012 memoir "A Natural Woman"

Related Videos

“It’s Too Late” by Carole King

“You’ve Got A Friend” by Carole King

“Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by Carole King

Transcript

  • 11:06:56

    MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. Carole King has been writing songs since she was a child growing up in Brooklyn, New York. Today, she's one of the most successful singer/songwriters in American history. Her deeply personal 2012 memoir was titled "A Natural Woman," and is now out in paperback. She tells the story of her decades-long career in music, and her journey through marriage and motherhood. King just completed an Australian tour, and she remains active in several political and environmental causes.

  • 11:07:39

    MS. DIANE REHMShe's in Washington this week to support a reintroduction of the Equal Rights Amendment. Carole King joins me in the studio. I know she has many, many fans. Do join us, 800-433-8850, send us an email to drshow@wamu.org, follow us on Facebook or send us a tweet. Carole, how good to see you again.

  • 11:08:09

    MS. CAROLE KINGGood morning.

  • 11:08:10

    REHMI'm so glad to see you. It's interesting that you're here in town to talk about the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. Tell me about that.

  • 11:08:27

    KINGWell, it's a bill that's I've been working on with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and others formally bipartisan, we don't, you know, the sponsorship originally was bipartisan. Congressman Raul Grijalva is also a co-sponsor, a lead co-sponsor. It would protect areas as wilderness in five states that are all federal lands. It would protect them as wilderness, and would do so as a contiguous ecosystem, and that's something that's hard to get passed. The bill has been continuously in Congress since 1992, and that's because 10 Senators and representatives from all the five states are involved. It's Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

  • 11:09:21

    REHMWhat is the threat?

  • 11:09:25

    KINGThe threat? Well, climate change for one is affected, because with these areas unprotected we keep killing trees at taxpayer expense. So we're paying, you know, if you live in Washington or Tennessee or wherever you live, we're all paying to destroy these areas. And the threat is to the species like the grizzly bear which is kind of an umbrella species. If they're doing well, everything else is, and conversely, if they're not, it's a signal that we're doing something wrong. So that's really the threat.

  • 11:10:01

    REHMAnd you're also in town to talk about the Equal Rights Amendment.

  • 11:10:08

    KINGYes. Carolyn Maloney has been outspoken in favor of that amendment and, you know, when I was coming to work on the reintroduction of the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, she said, oh come to the, you know, the ERA. We're having a press conference and everything, and I'm like, absolutely, of course. First of all, I've had an interest in that issue for 71 years, and that is kind of a no-brainer.

  • 11:10:38

    KINGI don't understand why and who would not want this to happen, and if it's older white men, which is what the, you know, conventional wisdom is who oppose this, first of all, don't they understand, A, that when mama's not happy, no one's happy? And B, they derive power by sharing it with women, with other people. There's this clinging to the power of we're not going to give you power. They do it with women, they do it with -- now, it's the Voting Rights Act and, you know, I think the sharing of power and treating others with respect is itself a form of power, and it frustrates me that more people don't realize that.

  • 11:11:27

    REHMSo what kind of reaction did you get speaking on both?

  • 11:11:34

    KINGWell, the reaction from the people that give me feedback is generally, yeah, right on. But obviously there are people that vote against empowering others, and those people are not giving me any feedback. They're just continuing to advocate for keeping the status quo, which is women don't have equal rights. They don't have equal pay. The Northern Rockies Ecosystem, the trees and the animals in that can't speak for themselves. And then I also work on protecting wild horses. That one is really simple.

  • 11:12:10

    KINGThat's a no-brainer. Why are we rounding them up when we have no place to keep them? There are now like 50,000 unadopted wild horses, more than 50,000, and all we have to do is birth control, and then we don't have to round them up and send them off to potentially be slaughtered.

  • 11:12:29

    REHMCarole, how has your involvement in these particular and varied causes affected your ability to keep up with our professional life?

  • 11:12:45

    KINGFrankly, the work that I do as an advocate takes up a lot of my time.

  • 11:12:50

    REHMI'll get.

  • 11:12:51

    KINGAnd I'm actually -- my next book, if I ever can write it, is going to be about, you know, this world, the world of politics, in which I run into Jared Bernstein, and I know Jared because I've met him in Joe Biden's office when the vice president was a senator. So I have moved in this world as well, and it does have an impact on my time spent in music.

  • 11:13:14

    REHMWell, you know, since you were last here on this program, you've written this New York Times best seller simply titled "Carole King: A Natural Woman," which is now out in paperback. When we last talked, you said, I'm not ready to talk yet about my marriages, about my personal life, and here it is. It's all in here. Why did you decide that now was the time?

  • 11:13:53

    KINGWell, I actually started writing in 2000 when I was a few years -- a couple of years shy of 60. And I thought, now might be the time, and I was actually -- I did it with some trepidation, but I thought, you know, I should write it. And I had a wonderful friend who's an editor, and who was my original editor who said, just write. And it was a safe space.

  • 11:14:14

    REHMJust write.

  • 11:14:16

    KINGAd when I just wrote, I thought, you know, this is okay. I think this is okay to share with the world. And there are some chapters involving my third marriage to Rick Evers, which was physically abusive, and it was something I never would have thought about writing about, but once I had written it, I realized that if it helps even one woman realize that, you know, it could happen to me, it's not her fault, then it would be a help. So I did include it, and I feel good about the whole book.

  • 11:14:52

    REHMHow difficult was it for you to write about that particular chapter of your life?

  • 11:15:00

    KINGIt wasn't difficult to write about. It was difficult to make the decision to make it public, and yet, once I had finished writing about it and looking at it, that decision made itself known.

  • 11:15:13

    REHMCarole King, of course, she has sung so many gorgeous songs that we all know and love. She also has her book out in paperback titled "A Natural Woman," a memoir. Do join us 800-433-8850. Is it true that you wrote your first song at age 3, and if so, can you remember any of it?

  • 11:15:50

    KINGI cannot. But my mother, who passed away last year...

  • 11:15:53

    REHMOh, I'm sorry.

  • 11:15:54

    KING...did -- thank you. She lived a very full life. She died at age 94, and she did remember the name of the first song that I had written. She said she documented it. She actually wrote it down in sheet music because she knew music, you know. And she said it was called "Galloping." Can I remember it or sing it? Absolutely not.

  • 11:16:17

    REHMBut how wonderful that you had that support from someone who knew and loved music.

  • 11:16:26

    KINGIt was wonderful. She was not -- she got lessons and didn't really want them. I was dying to learn, and she had the knowledge to convey to me.

  • 11:16:35

    REHMAnd you were sort of trying to get to those piano keys.

  • 11:16:39

    KINGI was standing in tiptoe to get to those piano keys.

  • 11:16:43

    REHMAnd when did you finally begin to play music in a way that you wanted to play?

  • 11:16:52

    KINGEvery step of the way, really. I mean, I just always -- always played piano. It's second nature. Even on my tour in Australia I was playing these songs.

  • 11:17:02

    REHMYou just come from Australia.

  • 11:17:04

    KINGI've just come, yes, about a week ago. I think part of me is still in down under time. But, you know, just playing with this great band, Danny Kortchmar, Ross Kunkel, Bob Glob (sp?) , the singers, Valerie Pingston (sp?) and Kate Markowitz (sp?) , just a great band. And that was the joy. And to sit there and just say hey, I can do this thing that I've been doing since I was 2, you know.

  • 11:17:33

    REHMOh, how wonderful. Your grandparents were Polish/Russian immigrants.

  • 11:17:40

    KINGYes.

  • 11:17:41

    REHMThey came here in the early 1900s, settled in Brooklyn. You were actually born Carol John Klein.

  • 11:17:52

    KINGYes. Carol without the E, and now when people spell it without the E, I go, it has an E.

  • 11:17:57

    REHMIt has an E.

  • 11:17:59

    KINGBut yes. I was. And I changed my name, I think, because there were a couple of other Carol Klein's in my high school at the time.

  • 11:18:06

    REHMReally?

  • 11:18:07

    KINGI think so. At least one.

  • 11:18:07

    REHMSo at what age did you change it to King?

  • 11:18:12

    KINGFifteen. I didn't change it -- literally change it. I adopted it.

  • 11:18:14

    REHMYou just began calling yourself Carole King.

  • 11:18:17

    KINGProfessionally, yeah. I mean, personally, I was Carol Klein the whole time, you know, till I married.

  • 11:18:24

    REHMCarole King. We'll hear her music, we'll talk about her new memoir now out in paperback, take your calls. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

  • 11:20:06

    REHMAnd welcome back. Carole King is with me. We're going to talk about her memoir titled, "The Natural Woman." It became a New York Times bestseller when it came out in hardback. It's now here in paperback. Do join us, 800-433-8850. Carole, how did your parents' divorce affect you?

  • 11:20:36

    KINGNot well. But it sort of informed the part of me that just wants everybody to be happy and everybody to get along. And I guess it informed songs like, "You've Got A Friend" and later songs that I wrote. I didn't...

  • 11:20:51

    REHMIt was tough.

  • 11:20:52

    KINGIt was tough. It was.

  • 11:20:54

    REHMThey had been married for how long?

  • 11:20:57

    KINGI don't know. I was about nine or ten when it happened, so they were married a few years before that.

  • 11:21:06

    REHMAnd did they explain to you what was going on?

  • 11:21:13

    KINGYou know, I'm thinking about it now, but actually it's really better explained in the book. It's just all concise. It's too complicated to explain now.

  • 11:21:28

    REHMIt's complicated.

  • 11:21:28

    KINGBut it is, it is.

  • 11:21:29

    REHMBut it still lingers...

  • 11:21:32

    KINGAlways.

  • 11:21:32

    REHM...in your mind.

  • 11:21:34

    KINGAlways. My mantra is I just want everybody to get along.

  • 11:21:37

    REHMYeah.

  • 11:21:39

    KINGAnd treat each other with respect and for there to be justice in the world, and now child go hungry. Which I guess makes me, quote, "a liberal" but I think it makes me a thinking, caring human being, whatever we would call me.

  • 11:21:52

    REHMListen to this email from Rona in Gaithersburg, MD. She says, during the property settlement of my divorce in 1980, my husband and I fought over who would get custody of the Carole King albums. Happily, she says, I won.

  • 11:22:18

    REHMSo there's a divorce story for you. Now, talk about Alan Freed and why decided you wanted to play songs for him.

  • 11:22:31

    KINGHe was, quote, "the guy", you know, at that time. He was the innovator in what music he was playing for a more mainstream audience. He was playing things that appealed to young people, which I was at the time a teenager. And he was playing early R&B music, bringing it from the African-American communities where, you know, from whence it came and I thought he was the key to getting my music played even though I didn't have any connection with African-American music at the time. You know, except I loved it.

  • 11:23:15

    REHMAnd was he the key?

  • 11:23:18

    KINGWell, he turned out to be, A, yes, I think he was generally. But he turned out to be for me because he recommended record companies to go to. I was like right on, there I go. And that's how that started.

  • 11:23:33

    REHMSo you went to these various record companies?

  • 11:23:39

    KINGI did.

  • 11:23:40

    REHMAnd how were you received?

  • 11:23:44

    KINGPretty openly at the time because it was before they were really super corporate. Atlantic Records, for example was, you know, three guys and a woman working in the place. And they were like, yeah, we want to hear you new talent.

  • 11:24:02

    REHMI want to hear a song that I really love. I want you to tell me about how it came into being.

  • 11:26:00

    REHMTell me about those lyrics.

  • 11:26:03

    KINGGerry Goffin, my first husband, wrote those lyrics. We were writing for The Shirelles in 1960, I think it was. And we had never had a hit before we worked with The Shirelles and they recorded it. And it went to number one. And that was a very exciting thing to hear it on the radio in the car. And...

  • 11:26:36

    REHMYou said it was extraordinary that he got inside a woman's head.

  • 11:26:44

    KINGIt was indeed, and he did it also in the song, "Natural Song." He wrote those lyrics for which I am often credited. But, yeah, he has that ability.

  • 11:27:16

    REHMYou know, it's also a precautionary song to young women and young men.

  • 11:27:31

    KINGI -- it could be. I mean, I see it as just a girl's basic -- especially a teenage girl's -- basic thing is, like, if I give you this most prized possession, will you be there for me? And I guess that's the -- I don't know if there's the precautionary tale today with what we know a precaution should be taken. But, yeah, I just think it's a thing from the heart. And Gerry somehow understood that dynamic in the '50s and the '60s.

  • 11:28:05

    REHMHow long did that relationship last?

  • 11:28:09

    KINGI was married to Gerry for 10 years. And the relationship is ongoing because we now have grandchildren together.

  • 11:28:20

    REHMHow many children did you have?

  • 11:28:23

    KINGWe had two children together. I have four altogether. We have two children and each of them has two children.

  • 11:28:32

    REHMAnd why did that marriage end?

  • 11:28:38

    KINGIt's complicated.

  • 11:28:40

    REHMOf course.

  • 11:28:40

    KINGReally, though, these are things -- I don't mean to, like, shut it down but it's just so hard to explain, which is why I put it into a book. It was -- I think in a sentence I would say it was largely due to the times.

  • 11:28:54

    REHMTo the times?

  • 11:28:56

    KINGYes. I don't mean the New York Times.

  • 11:28:58

    REHMNo, I understand that.

  • 11:29:00

    KINGThe '60s -- things were changing all over and we had no blueprint for how things should be in the context of the times.

  • 11:29:13

    REHMAnd when it ended, what did you feel? What did you think? Were you feeling free? Were you feeling liberated?

  • 11:29:28

    KINGNope. I felt the opposite. It was an ending and it was very sad. But it did propel me to California, where I embarked on a whole other career kind of as a singer/songwriter.

  • 11:29:43

    REHMYou didn't think of yourself as so much of a singer.

  • 11:29:47

    KINGNever until I, you know, was classified as one by releasing an album and then going out on tour. And I was thinking, too, on this last Australian tour, now at the age of 71, which I became during that, just had a birthday.

  • 11:30:04

    REHMOh, congratulations.

  • 11:30:05

    KINGThank you. I was thinking that my comfort, my greatest comfort, I am now finally after years being -- I'm comfortable on stage. I feel warmly welcomed by audiences. And I understand why, because they love these songs and they're part of the sound track of their lives. But I am still, at heart, a songwriter and that's what I do and my singing is kind of an extension, a natural, logical extension of writing songs.

  • 11:30:35

    KINGBut the album that I did over the last holiday season called "A Holiday Carol" which my daughter Louise Goffin produced was all songs that I didn't write. So that wouldn't necessarily follow except that I love the songs. And in loving them, I felt comfortable singing them as if they were my own.

  • 11:30:56

    REHMCarole, tell me about the sense that you just referred to of some discomfort on the stage.

  • 11:31:09

    KINGWell, I just never did feel comfortable out front performing. There was always the will they like me, the will you love me tomorrow aspect of performing. And I didn't really get comfortable with it until James Taylor, which I tell the story in the book, I was playing for him as a sideman which we call it sideman no matter your gender. And he said I want you to perform tonight singing your song "Up On The Roof."

  • 11:31:40

    KINGAnd I was like, no, I can't do it. And he pushed me to do that. But he also set it up so that people would be, I call it pre-loved. He told the audience all the songs I had written that were their favorites already and so.

  • 11:31:54

    REHMBut who other people had recorded.

  • 11:31:57

    KINGRight. So her really sort of laid down the path for me to step out onto and he also set an example because true at the time he was, I think, not substance free. But he was very relaxed out on stage. He was very comfortable out on stage. He'd say whatever came to mind. He was fully himself. And he set that standard for me to realize all I had to do was be myself. And the honesty and the authenticity of not worrying about whether people were going to like me is like this is what I've got. So, you know, let's do it.

  • 11:32:39

    REHMIt's interesting that somebody convinced you that you could do it. And you did it.

  • 11:32:49

    KINGYeah, I mean, it's out there to be of inspiration to others who may have fears about doing whatever. But everybody has to come in their own way, in their own path, and their own time.

  • 11:33:03

    REHMAnd you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." The success of "A Natural Woman" was really a surprise to you. How come?

  • 11:33:19

    KINGI don't know. It's just -- I didn't expect it. I never expect it.

  • 11:33:24

    REHMYou never expect it.

  • 11:34:27

    REHMThis is actually the demo that you did. Just released last year as opposed to the one you did earlier.

  • 11:34:40

    KINGOn Tapestry, right.

  • 11:34:41

    REHMOn Tapestry. And even listening to this you note that it's much faster.

  • 11:34:49

    KINGRight, right. In the book, I do this whole sort of circle of the genesis of the song. I mean, first, Gerry and I wrote it, then we did what we're listening to now, which is the demo which we presented to Aretha Franklin. So her version is also this tempo. Then after that was a hit and then there's this whole chapter about my reaction to the Aretha Franklin record is like, oh, my God. Or should I say Oh. My. God. Emphasis.

  • 11:35:24

    KINGAnd then when I was recording Tapestry, I think Lou Adler had the idea for me to rerecord "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and "Natural Woman" in my own way. So that's yet a third version. And then the way I do it live is completely different.

  • 11:35:39

    REHMHow so?

  • 11:35:40

    KINGWell, first of all, it is slower. And second, it's, you know, I just really lay into it. And often, I will stand up and perform it out front and let. Oh, I forgot to mention Robbie Kondor on the tour. Terrible. Robbie was also in my band and Robbie is the piano player, keyboard player who takes over for me on this song. And I step out front and perform it. And then on this tour and the Troubadour tour, I sort of get together with Danny Kortchmar up front and we do this very kind of sexy interplay with his guitar and my vocal answers.

  • 11:36:16

    KINGAnd we just have a great time with it. And then to list all those people who have recorded it, including some men. It's had a remarkable history. And this was the demo.

  • 11:36:31

    REHMAnd when would this demo had been made, do you recall?

  • 11:36:38

    KINGWhen? Yes, 1967.

  • 11:36:40

    REHM1967.

  • 11:36:42

    KINGYes.

  • 11:36:43

    REHMWhen you hear your voice from back then, what comes into your mind now?

  • 11:36:51

    KINGHow much better I was than I thought I was.

  • 11:36:55

    REHMIsn't that interesting.

  • 11:36:57

    KINGYeah, I actually never thought I could sing very well. And, you know, put up against somebody like Aretha Franklin or Barbra Streisand or contemporary singes do. You know, you have people like Kelly Clarkson, who's a great singer, Beyonce, who is truly a great singer. You know, I just I don't think I'm in that league as a vocalist. But what makes me a strong singer is evident in that demo. And that's the honesty and the authenticity and the strength with which I am conveying it.

  • 11:37:30

    REHMCarole King, her autobiography which she calls a memoir is "A Natural Woman." Short break and right back.

  • 11:40:06

    REHMAnd welcome back to a very special hour with Carole King, whose music so many of us grew up with, adored, still sing. Here's an email from Doug who says, "At this point in our culture Carole King has a better chance of becoming president than she has at getting a song on radio. I can't remember when I heard a memorable song with positive lyrics that can be sung or shared by a person of normal voice. They aren't songs anymore. They're productions." And that is why your songs are so extraordinary because we hear them, we feel them.

  • 11:41:02

    KINGAnd you know what's astonishing to me as an elder, is to see how many young people, teenagers come to me and say, I love your music, I love your songs. And I'm going like, who's playing them for you, your grandmother?

  • 11:41:15

    REHMExactly.

  • 11:41:16

    KINGBut they're being passed down and there does seem to be a hunger for real songs. And they're out there but they're just not getting the play that the productions get.

  • 11:41:29

    REHMLet's take a call from Fayette, Ark -- Fayetteville, pardon me. Susan, you're on the air.

  • 11:41:39

    SUSANHi, Diane.

  • 11:41:40

    REHMHi.

  • 11:41:40

    SUSANI'm so happy to be on the air just to be able to tell you how much I love your show...

  • 11:41:45

    REHMOh, thank you.

  • 11:41:45

    SUSAN...and to have the opportunity to say hello to Carole King, whose music I also love. But also, Carole, I had this most incredible experience for me having visited New York City for the first time in 1994, stumbled upon you in a little theater doing a show. It was a musical. And I wanted you to talk about that piece and other works like that that you did and how you got into that and what you thought about it.

  • 11:42:16

    KINGOh Susan, thank you so much. That was a fun show. It was called Blood Brothers and I was playing in the Music Box Theater. And I have a history with acting because that was really my mother's first love. And so I did get to do some of it. It was amazing. It was for seven-and-a-half months. Willy Russell wrote the book and the music and lyrics. And it was such a joy to be able to do that show for him.

  • 11:42:42

    REHMSeven-and-a-half months?

  • 11:42:45

    KINGYes, eight shows a week and...

  • 11:42:48

    REHMWow.

  • 11:42:49

    KING...it's a lot of work but it's an experience I will always treasure. And Susan, thank you so much for sharing with me that you saw that. It means a lot to me.

  • 11:42:57

    REHMTell me how you took care of your voice during that period.

  • 11:43:02

    KINGOh, it was a constant worry, constant worry. But actually I took care of it by using it every day and now talking the rest of the time...

  • 11:43:11

    REHMReally.

  • 11:43:12

    KING...limiting speaking. Yeah.

  • 11:43:13

    REHMInteresting. All right. And to, let's see, Keen, N.H. Good morning, Stacy.

  • 11:43:24

    STACYGood morning. It's an honor to talk to both of you.

  • 11:43:27

    REHMThank you.

  • 11:43:28

    STACYMy question for Carole is, just recently I saw an episode of Family Guy where Seth McFarlane had you on there as a character. What did you think of that or did you actually see that episode?

  • 11:43:47

    KINGThis is honestly, Stacy, the first I've heard of it. I will absolutely check it out. So, you know, mine is not a name or a persona one would normally associate with Family Guy so it was kind of interesting to just hear that from you. I will check it out. Thank you.

  • 11:44:06

    REHMSo you have no knowledge of that whatsoever.

  • 11:44:10

    KINGNo knowledge. My brain is in the advocacy that I do so much that I miss a lot of other stuff.

  • 11:44:18

    REHMNow, let me ask you about songwriting and whether a song comes to you all at once or do you get a few notes in your head, a few words in your head. What happens?

  • 11:44:36

    KINGAll of the above. It can be any different way, so many different ways. And again, there's a lot of that in the book.

  • 11:44:43

    REHMNow talk about the song "So Far Away."

  • 11:44:48

    KINGThere was a documentary called Troubadores by a director named Morgan Neville that talked about the singer/songwriter era. And in it he interviewed my second Goffin daughter Sherry Kondor who is now my manager. And she told the story of "So Far Away" from her point of view and I never realized that. She said, well when I was a kid my mom was away so much when she was on tour and I missed her terribly. And so when I would hear that song it made me cry. And watching that made me cry because I didn't realize how these songs affected my children.

  • 11:46:20

    REHMCarol, tell me about your voice. Where it is in this song, where it is now.

  • 11:46:30

    KINGWell, when I was younger I don't think I had as much range. I think over the years, for some reason, it's gotten stronger. Maybe the touring that I have done...

  • 11:46:41

    REHMAnd the confidence that you now have.

  • 11:46:42

    KING...and the confidence. All of the above but I am making notes today that I keep thinking, I don't have that note anymore. And then I find I do.

  • 11:46:51

    REHMIt's a surprise to you.

  • 11:46:53

    KINGYea.

  • 11:47:19

    REHMI can see and totally understand why this would make your daughter cry.

  • 11:47:27

    KINGI know.

  • 11:47:30

    REHMAnd she's close to you now. She's your manager.

  • 11:47:33

    KINGYes, and we're very close. I have four kids total, two with Gerry Goffin and two with Charlie Larkey who was my bass player for a time. And we're a very close family, we really are. Even after the divorces and everything.

  • 11:47:50

    REHMAll the divorces, the exes...

  • 11:47:52

    KINGYeah, yeah.

  • 11:47:54

    REHM...it comes together.

  • 11:47:55

    KINGThere's a -- as I write in the book my relationship with Charlie is an unconventional love story. We're still the greatest of friends and have such great feelings for each other. And our kids are amazing and we have a grandchild so...

  • 11:48:10

    REHMI'm glad. All right. Let's take another caller from Birmingham, Ala. Good morning, Jason.

  • 11:48:21

    JASONGood morning, Ms. Rehm. How are you doing today?

  • 11:48:23

    REHMI'm good thanks.

  • 11:48:24

    JASONAnd how are you, Ms. King?

  • 11:48:26

    KINGI am just great and so lovely to hear you.

  • 11:48:29

    JASONOh, thank you. I was calling about your work with the children's book that I grew up with. Well, actually saw this TV show and that was when you did the Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak.

  • 11:48:41

    KINGYes.

  • 11:48:42

    JASONHow did y'all come about doing that collaboration of it?

  • 11:48:46

    KINGWell, I think Lou Adler brought us together and it was a marvelous collaboration. I just took his already written poems from the Nutshell Library. I think that was one of them.

  • 11:49:00

    REHMMy kids grew up on that.

  • 11:49:02

    KINGIt was really fun. And sadly we lost him recently, Maurice Sendak. But what a gift that man was and thank you for mentioning that, Jason. I really appreciate you're calling.

  • 11:49:15

    REHMTell me how you and he worked together.

  • 11:49:19

    KINGWell, he just gave me those words and I put them on the piano and the music just rolled out of my fingers and my voice. It was that simple. They were really already songs. I was just the instrument through which the music came.

  • 11:49:35

    REHMThat's wonderful.

  • 11:49:35

    KINGAnd he was a lovely man.

  • 11:49:36

    REHMYes.

  • 11:49:36

    KINGAnd we had Brooklyn in common.

  • 11:49:39

    REHMYes. I had him on the program a couple of times. Let's go to Sequoia, N.Y. Good morning, Donna Jean.

  • 11:49:53

    DONNA JEANHi, how are you, Diane?

  • 11:49:54

    REHMGood.

  • 11:49:54

    JEANLove your show.

  • 11:49:55

    REHMThank you.

  • 11:49:57

    JEANI hope I can contain my excitement here.

  • 11:50:01

    REHMDon't worry about it.

  • 11:50:02

    KINGDon't contain it. We're not about containing it.

  • 11:50:04

    REHMExactly.

  • 11:50:06

    JEANWell, my very first 45 I ever bought was the Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday."

  • 11:50:12

    KINGGod love you.

  • 11:50:13

    JEANAnd it makes sense that you wrote that song. You know, as I grew older and bought, you know, "It's Too Late" 45 and I realized, yeah, that makes sense that she wrote the song that I love. But I wanted to thank you personally because I sent you all my CD inserts and the book of your memoir that I purchased, and you signed them.

  • 11:50:39

    REHMAnd sent them all back. How about that?

  • 11:50:43

    KINGWell, thank you, Donna Jean.

  • 11:50:44

    REHMAll right, Donna Jean. Here's another gift just for you.

  • 11:51:41

    REHMWhat kinds of memories does that song bring back?

  • 11:51:46

    KINGWell, the Monkees, who as it turned out people said, oh they were just fluff and would never last. And their music endures. And you'll notice that that great guitar opening that's on the Monkees' record wasn't on my demo. Someone in their camp came up with it. I think maybe Mike Nesmith and Chip Taylor.

  • 11:52:09

    REHMYou like hearing it?

  • 11:52:11

    KINGI do, I do.

  • 11:52:11

    REHMYou do.

  • 11:52:12

    KINGYeah, it's great.

  • 11:53:09

    REHMAnd you are listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." If many of you, I know, are interested in the work that Carole King is here in Washington to do, just go to our website drshow.org. You will find links to the organizations and the sites that Carole is working on. I'm sure many of you are interested because someone has just written an email asking your views on tar sands and the Keystone Pipeline.

  • 11:53:56

    KINGWe don't need the Keystone Pipeline. And the jobs that they're talking about are -- I know that they matter to people, but they're small in number compared to the jobs we could be doing with green...

  • 11:54:06

    REHM...and temporary.

  • 11:54:08

    KINGAnd temporary, yes. Also temporary. The things we could be doing with green energy if the oil companies would just let loose their hold on politicians, dare I say it.

  • 11:54:19

    REHMCarole, tell me about Toni Stern, why she was so important to you.

  • 11:54:26

    KINGShe was my first lyricist after Gerry and I didn't think I could write after Gerry and I divorced. But we wrote some good songs. I'm very proud of the work I did with her.

  • 11:54:37

    REHMYou wrote together "It's Too Late."

  • 11:54:41

    KINGYes.

  • 11:54:42

    REHMTogether you did that.

  • 11:54:44

    KINGYes. Speaking of divorces, I can't tell you how many people have said, that song got me through my divorce.

  • 11:55:50

    REHMNow Carole, where do you go from here?

  • 11:55:54

    KINGI'm going to go, I think, back to LA where I left my car when I drove it down from Idaho and then I'm going to drive it to Idaho.

  • 11:56:02

    REHMWow.

  • 11:56:03

    KINGYeah.

  • 11:56:04

    REHMYou like to drive.

  • 11:56:06

    KINGWell, I do and I actually had to because there was some really bad weather and I had to be in LA for a television appearance that I wasn't going to make if I didn't drive.

  • 11:56:15

    REHMYou're going to keep on singing and doing and working?

  • 11:56:20

    KINGAs long as the good Lord or whomever lets me do it.

  • 11:56:23

    REHMDo you feel any constriction about your age?

  • 11:56:29

    KINGAgain, only as much as my body gives me. My body is not, you know, the body that I used to have but...

  • 11:56:35

    REHMNone of us.

  • 11:56:36

    KINGYeah, none of us are but I'm going to -- you know, I'm going to keep doing things until, you know, whatever that power is that makes us all animated tells me I can't do it anymore.

  • 11:56:49

    REHMWell, I wish you all success. Keep up the good work. Keep singing for us. Keep reminding us of how important the gifts we have really are.

  • 11:57:06

    KINGEach and every one of us.

  • 11:57:07

    REHMAbsolutely. Carole King. Her paperback edition of her memoir is now available. It's titled "A Natural Woman." And go to our website drshow.org for links to the activities Carole is caring most about. Thank you so much.

  • 11:57:34

    KINGThank you too.

  • 11:57:35

    REHMAnd thanks for listening all. I'm Diane Rehm.

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