Songwriter Gerry Goffin dies; co-wrote hits for Aretha, Whitney, more

Even if you never knew Gerry Goffin’s name, you knew some of his work. The songwriter, who died Thursday in Los Angeles at age 75, helped bring into the world three-minute American song-pillars including “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” made popular by Aretha Franklin, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” as interpreted by the Shirelles, and Whitney Houston’s career-defining “Saving All My Love for You.”

As part of the storied New York songwriting hub within the Brill Building, Goffin and his longtime writing partner (and ex-wife) Carole King helped define the sound of the 1960s. When Little Eva urged the world to do “The Locomotion,” it was at their behest. “Some Kind of Wonderful,” “One Fine Day,” “Up on the Roof,” “I’m Into Something Good,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday” — all were composed by the team during its miraculous run of hits in the 1960s.

After their divorce, King hit as a solo artist with “Tapestry” and Goffin continued writing. As the girl-group sound gave way to soul and disco, Goffin collaborated with others to continue his run, one that culminated in 1975 when the songwriter worked with Michael Masser to write Diana Ross’ hit “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?).” They did it again for Houston’s “Saving All My Love for You.”

King, whose relationship with Goffin is explored in the current Broadway musical “Beautiful,” posted a simple statement via Twitter after news of Goffin’s death was announced. Along with a portrait of him as a youth, King wrote, “Gerry Goffin, 1939-2014. There are no words.”

The Times will have a full obituary soon. For now, enjoy Goffin and King’s “Something Good,” as made famous by Earl-Jean.


Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit