Lyrical giant Gerry Goffin, whose songs had the public crying and go euphoric with zest, passed away on 19 June, 2014 aged 75 at his LA home, leaving behind his wife Michelle Goffin.
Goffin has written at least 50 songs that made to top 40 hits, including Crying in the Rain (Everly Brothers), Peasant valley sunday (The Monkees), Take good care of my baby (Bobby Vee) and You’ve got a friend (James Taylor).
In a style known as “uptown rhythm and blues”, Goffin composed some of the greatest pop-rock hits of the 60s with his then-wife Carole King, before his affairs, drug use and mental breakdown took their relationship southward, ending in a divorce.
Goffin was an assistant chemist before he met King at Queen’s College and decided on supplying lyrics for the music she composed in her piano. They were shortly hired by pop music producer Don Kirshner to write songs for his firm Aldon music.
About their initial arrangement Goffin has said “She was interested in writing rock ‘n’ roll, and I was interested in writing this Broadway play… So we had an agreement where she would write (music) to the play if I would write (lyrics) to some of her rock ‘n’ roll melodies…Eventually I began to lose heart in my play, and we stuck to writing rock ‘n’ roll.”
Even after their divorce in 1968, they continued to work together and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame together in 1990, with a citation that noted their individual accomplishments but mostly highlighted “a string of classic hits and cherished album tracks”. Their relationship and collaboration has been the topic of much public speculation and has been made into a successful Broadway show, “Beautiful-The Carole King Musical” by their daughter and King’s manager.
In a tribute to Goffin, King, 72, has posted on her Facebook page that he was her first love and that “He (Goffin) had a profound impact on my life and the rest of the world.. (he) was a good man and a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come.”
Giffin’s legacy to his wife is only two daughters, four grandchildren, and their songs that have touched millions and millions of people, but she asserts that it has left “a lifelong friendship…His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn’t know how to say.”
In addition to the hits he wrote with King, Goffin’s collaboration with Michael Masser for the movie ballad “Do You Know Where You’re Going To” earned them an Academy Award nomination. They also co-wrote “Saving All My Love for You”, a chart-topper for Whitney Houston.
Besides his wife, Giffin is survived by five children, a brother and six grandchildren.