Some Kind of Wonderful

Gerry Goffin was born on this day in 1939 and he co-wrote some of the most enduring hits of the sixties with Carole King, who also celebrates her birthday this week. The pair married each other in 1960 and it lasted for eight years, a period that was a couple of years shorter than their professional partnership. Their first hit was the classic Will You Love Me Tomorrow by the Shirelles, which was the first of four US number ones for the songwriters in the early sixties. The other three were Take Good Care of My Baby by Bobby Vee, the Loco-Motion by Little Eva and (one I’ve never heard of) Go Away Little Girl by Steve Lawrence. In addition, the Everly Brothers had a top ten hit with Crying in the Rain, as did The Chiffons with One Fine Day and the Drifters with Up on the Roof. The pair wrote dozens of more songs that made the charts throughout the sixties and King herself had a minor hit in 1962 with It Might as Well Rain Until September. She went solo at the end of the decade and had massive success in 1971 with her debut album Tapestry

I’ve chosen three American bands and four from England to take on some of my favourite songs from Goffin & King. Funnily enough, the four English bands all hail from the north of the country and represent four cities within a 200 kilometre radius of each other. First up is a group whose name is as ironic as the content of much of their lyrics. The Beautiful South formed when Hull’s “fourth best band” The Housemartins split in 1988. Their version of the Drifters’ song is taken from the 2004 Livin’ Thing single. The Wedding Present started out a few hours down the road in Leeds. Pleasant Valley Sunday was the b-side of Come Play with Me, one of a dozen monthly singles they released in 1992. Herman’s Hermits from Manchester had their first hit with I’m Into Something Good, a UK number one in 1964. I must admit I was surprised to learn that the song had been a minor hit in the US for Earl-Jean McCrea earlier that year

The year before, a little-known combo from Liverpool called The Beatles recorded their version of a tune by the Crickets. It finally saw the light of day three decades later on Live at the BBC. The Liverpudlian’s sound was a big influence on The Byrds from Los Angeles and Goin’ Back is from the group’s 1968 album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers. In 1982, fellow Californians The Motels took on The Crystals’ tale of domestic abuse on their album All Four One. Finally, The Afghan Whigs from Cincinnati released Will You Love Me Tomorrow as the b-side to Tonight in 1991. They recorded the track under the name of Ornament, which was the Whigs with singer Marcy Mays. Goffin went on to write with other songwriters while King had a successful solo career. However, I feel that the two did their best work while they were married to each other

Another Night With The Boys (Drifters cover) – The Beautiful South

Pleasant Valley Sunday (Monkees cover) – The Wedding Present

I’m into Something Good (Earl-Jean McCrea cover) – Herman’s Hermits

Don’t Ever Change (Crickets cover) – The Beatles

Goin’ Back (Dusty Springfield cover) – The Byrds

He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss) (Crystals cover) – The Motels

Will You Love Me Tomorrow (Shirelles cover) – The Afghan Whigs