4 Chart-Topping Hits Co-Written by Gerry Goffin

Gerry Goffin, the lauded lyricist best known for the many 1960s hits he co-wrote with his first wife, Carole King, died on this day (June 19) in 2014.

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Goffin and King were among the most prolific and successful songwriting teams of the 1960s, penning dozens of memorable tunes for a variety of well-known artists. Goffin also collaborated with several other composers to write hits for various performers, both during his marriage to King and after the couple’s divorce in 1969.

During Goffin’s career, more than 100 tunes he co-wrote landed on the Billboard Hot 100, with several reaching No. 1.

The long list of artists who enjoyed major chart success with Goffin compositions includes The Shirelles, Bobby Vee, James Darren, Steve Lawrence, The Drifters, The Chiffons, The Righteous Brothers, The Animals, The Monkees, Aretha Franklin, The Partridge Family, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Diana Ross, Roberta Flack & Peabo Bryson, and Natalie Cole.

Goffin died at age 75 of unspecified causes. In commemoration of the anniversary of his passing, here are four songs he co-wrote that topped the Billboard Hot 100:

“Will You Love Me Tomorrow” – The Shirelles (1960)

“Will You Love Me Tomorrow” was the first major hit Goffin and King co-wrote. Released in late 1960 by the New Jersey girl group The Shirelles, the song topped the Hot 100 on January 30, 1961, and spent two weeks at No. 1. The Shirelles became the first all-female Black group to score a Hot 100 chart-topper.

King later recorded her own version of the song for her massively successful 1971 solo album, Tapestry. Her rendition featured Joni Micthell and James Taylor on backing vocals.

“The Loco-Motion” – Little Eva (1962) and Grand Funk Railroad (1974)

“The Loco-Motion” was co-written Goffin and King, who had intended the song for Dee Dee Sharp, a young singer who’d recently had a hit with the dance-themed “Mashed Potato Time.”

When Sharp turned it down, Goffin and King decided to release a version featuring Eva Boyd, a teenage singer who’d been working as their babysitter and who’d recorded the original demo of the tune.

With Boyd rechristened Little Eva, her version of the song was released in June 1962 and topped the Hot 100 in August of that year.

Rock band Grand Funk Railroad recorded a cover of “The Loco-Motion” and released it on their 1974 album Shinin’ On. Their version spent two weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in May of ’74. “The Loco-Motion” became just the second song ever to hit No. 1 on the chart by two different artists.

The first to accomplish the feat was “Go Away Little Girl,” which also was co-written by Goffin and King. Keep reading…

“Go Away Little Girl” – Steve Lawrence (1962) and Donny Osmond (1971)

“Go Away Little Girl” was first recorded in March 1962 by pop singer Bobby Vee, who’d scored a No. 1 hit the previous year with another Goffin-King composition, “Take Good Care of My Baby.” Crooner Steve Lawrence recorded his own version of “Go Away Little Girl” later in 1962.

Lawrence’s rendition was released in November of ’62, and it spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in January 1963.

Teen idol Donny Osmond covered “Go Away Little Girl” in 1971, when he was just 13. His version topped the Hot 100 for three weeks in September of ’73. As mentioned above, “Go Away Little Girl” became the first song to become a No. 1 Hot 100 for two different artists.

“Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” – Diana Ross (1975)

During the 1970s and ’80s, Goffin frequently collaborated with composer Michael Masser. Among the songs they co-wrote was “Do You Know Where You’re Going To,” which was first recorded by R&B singer Thelma Houston in 1973.

In 1975, the tune was rerecorded by Diana Ross, and used as the theme of the romantic drama Mahogany. The film starred Ross and Billy Dee Williams, and was directed by Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.

“Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 in January 1976. The tune also was nominated for the Best Original Song honor at the 1976 Academy Awards.

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