Songwriter Gerry Goffin died this past week at the age of 75. If there can be a pop sound of the ’60s, he along with his then-wife Carole King would surely have to be considered as some of its key originators. Their breakthrough hit was “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” (The Shirelles) in 1961, which was just one of dozens of hits to follow. In total, Goffin wrote an astounding 59 Top 40 hits spanning three decades and performed by artists ranging from Little Eva (“The Loco Motion”) to Aretha Franklin (“You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman”) to the Monkees (“Pleasant Valley Sunday”).
But if there are two songs that capture Goffin at his timeless best, they are these from the early ’60s. The first is pure pop but somehow with depth and a touch of angst mixed in with the addictive rhythm and lightness of the music. The second is pensive, transcendent and, in the end, deeply calming. Gerry Goffin did not write the music. He wrote the words that made the music matter.