Gerry Goffin, who conjured lyrics to some of the seminal pop-rock hits of the 1960s with his then-wife, songwriter Carole King, before his affairs, prodigious drug use and mental breakdown derailed their relationship, died June 19 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75.

His wife, Michele Goffin, announced the death but did not disclose the cause.

With a style known as “uptown rhythm and blues,” Goffin and King formed one of the most prolific and successful musical teams of the 1960s. Their first hit, written for the Shirelles in 1960, was “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?”

King once said that Goffin’s “understanding of human nature transcended gender,” a quality that explained not only the tender lyrics of the Shirelles’ song but also the sexually unbridled words of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” a bespoke composition for Aretha Franklin in 1967.


The Goffin-King duo also wrote “The Loco-Motion” for their then-babysitter Little Eva, “Up on the Roof” for the Drifters, “One Fine Day” for the Chiffons, “Take Good Care of My Baby” for Bobby Vee, “Go Away Little Girl” for crooner Steve Lawrence, “Pleasant Valley Sunday” for the Monkees, “I’m Into Something Good” for Herman’s Hermits and “Don’t Bring Me Down” for the Animals.

In 1963, John Lennon said he wished to be “the Goffin-King of England” and used their song “Chains” on one of the Beatles’ first albums.

The marriage imploded in the late 1960s, and King reinvented herself as a singer-songwriter with her 1971 album, “Tapestry.” With songs such as “So Far Away,” “I Feel the Earth Move” and “You Have a Friend,” “Tapestry” sold more than 13 million records over the decades and became a critical influence on artists such as Tori Amos and Reba McEntire.


“It was completely original, and Carole really showed me up as a lyricist,” Goffin later told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “When we were together, she never contributed one line, so I had no indication that she could do it.”

Goffin released two solo albums that did not sell well, but he teamed fruitfully with songwriter Michael Masser to write for others. With Masser, he earned an Academy Award nomination for “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?)” for a 1975 Diana Ross movie.

They also wrote the romantic ballad “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love” (1983), which became a well-played duet between Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack. Goffin and Masser’s pop R&B ballad “Saving All My Love for You” (1985) became singer Whitney Houston’s first No.1 hit and earned her a Grammy Award.

Goffin and King were inducted together into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, with a citation that noted their individual accomplishments but mostly highlighted “a string of classic hits and cherished album tracks” from the 1960s.

Overall, King became a household name as a solo star while he receded into the background.

“The fact is, however, that many of King’s greatest songs were written with Goffin,” rock music historian Anthony DeCurtis wrote in an email. “And, not to be harsh, but how many great songs did King write after ‘Tapestry’? They were their own best collaborators.”

Goffin was born in Brooklyn on Feb. 11, 1939.