Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket Books: Present at the creation

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Carole King is a 70-year-old grandmother with four adult children from two of her four husbands.

At age 48, she took up with a 27-year-old actor and kept him for six years before swapping him for another younger man for another seven.

She did this because she could. She is Carole King.

For the 25 million people who bought her classic 1971 album Tapestry she will always be the 29-year-old hippie chick on the record cover, posed with her cat on the sunlit windowsill of her home in Laurel Canyon, the LA haven for musicians in the 1960s.

But her roots as a pop music composer went back to Brooklyn in the 1950s. She was one of those impossibly bright Jewish kids hooked on radio disc jockey Alan Freed and his Saturday rock shows at the old Paramount Theater.

She knew Paul Simon and Neil Sedaka when they were kids. She was still in high school when she began pounding out hit songs on a Tin Pan Alley piano with husband-to-be Gerry Goffin.

When her husband cracked up, she uprooted herself to Los Angeles as a single mom where, under the tutelage of James Taylor, she began singing in front of an audience. Tapestry won four Grammies, including Album of the Year.

Now we have Carole King’s memoir, A Natural Woman (Grand Central Publishing, New York, 2012, 488pp). She began writing it in 2000. The results – short chapters like songs clumsily hooked together and jumping from subject to subject – are mixed.

Her prose is distressingly formal and flaccid. She dishes no dirt. Her take on meeting with John Lennon and Paul McCarthy and Bob Dylan is that of a gushing fan.

Where she does come into her own is describing the joys of a musician’s life: the magic of a band of “cats” fusing together in the studio and on the concert stage. She describes the first time she and James Taylor jammed together on piano and guitar:

“Magical…? Transformative …? Timeless…? Adjectives fall short. It was as if I were playing an extension of myself. Every time I thought of a chord or note that I wanted James to play or sing at that moment, he was already there. Our musical vocabulary was the same, and we found that we had an impeccable vocal blend. Piano, guitar, chords, notes and vocal harmonies rolled around each other like puppies playing in a pile of newly cut grass.”

Then, in 1977, she retreated to the wilds of Idaho with Rick Evers, her abusive third husband who would eventually die of a cocaine overdose.

She spent three winters in a snowed-in-cabin. In the end, music brought her back to New York City and she went back on tour.

“I climbed up on the piano to propel the band as they increased the intensity of the Big Rock Ending, then I gave them a cutoff by jumping off the piano. That was so much fun it should have been illegal.”

But the dull patches in this saga come to overwhelm the whole.

Do we really need a whole chapter about her tiresome Indian swami? Do we need a chapter devoted to her favorite charities? Or another to her protracted lawsuit to keep the road on her Idaho ranch private?

Health food, yoga, home schooling, a goat for milk – the hippie chick ethos is complete. There’s nothing wrong with this except it makes for deadly boring reading.

In the concert scene that concludes her memoir, she reminds herself that the audience’s applause isn’t only for her.

“They’re clapping for significant events in their own lives that have little to do with me – falling in love, marching for peace, dancing at friends’ weddings, serving in Vietnam or the Peace Corps, losing a parent, conceiving a child, going through a difficult divorce – passages for which my songs happened to be the soundtrack. I’m surprised to see so many audience members in their thirties and forties, but it’s my contemporaries who are most enthusiastic in celebration of our shared history and individual survival.”

That pretty much says it all. Carole King is a voice limited to a soon-to-be-bygone generation.

The book is available in hardback from amazon.com or by ordering through all good bookshops in Phuket.

— James Eckardt

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Protests2 hours ago

Monarchy supporters claim protesters weaponizing Covid-19

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

5.7% of foreign residents in Thailand have received a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine

Travel3 hours ago

Top 5 Diving Schools in Koh Samui

Sponsored1 day ago

Tour Phuket’s Islands with 5 Star Marine

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Lifestyle3 hours ago

Best Places for Golf in Koh Samui

Crime4 hours ago

Child pornography group run by Suphan Buri couple busted

Thailand4 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok restrictions extended, record high infections | August 5

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand4 hours ago

Drugs found inside monk’s pillow at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Thailand6 hours ago

Fairy Sweet Village in Pattaya catches on fire, again

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Thursday Covid Update: 20,920 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand7 hours ago

Phuket’s BigGym allegedly closes 2 branches for good, doesn’t reimburse members

Travel8 hours ago

Phuket’s 5 most stunning villas for rent

News9 hours ago

USA tentatively plans to require all foreign visitors to be vaccinated

Thailand9 hours ago

Bangkok closure order extended until August 31

Best of9 hours ago

Ayutthaya’s 5 most amazing hotels

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Nonthaburi field hospital adds an ICU

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending