This is, in my opinion, one of the most perfect love songs ever written. The lyric was written by Gerry Goffin, early in his marriage to Carole King, who wrote the music, as the songwriters at their studio were tasked by their label to pen the next hit for the girl group The Shirelles. They had had a first hit with ‘Tonight’s The Night’ written by lead singer Shirley Owens and Luther Dixon, and needed another in a similar style quickly. The race to write the next hit began amongst the songwriters at the studio and Carole and Gerry’s song was chosen ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’
This was released by The Shirelles in 1961, and an instant hit. The royalties from this allowed both Gerry and Carole to write full time, as they had enough income from that one song, that neither of them needed to go out to a job to support their young family. They were living in a basement apartment in Brooklyn to be close to the studio and had two young girls.
The Shirelles’ arrangement was upbeat and positive sounding, despite the desperation of the lyric. It’s faster, bouncy tempo gives the lyric ‘But will you love me tomorrow?’ more of a feeling of general, cheeky, curiosity, like an idle wondering, the answer to which doesn’t really matter, in my opinion. ‘I’d like to know I your love is a love I can be sure of’…
Carole released this song on the B-Side of Tapestry, ten years later, as a tear-jerking ballad, with backing vocals from James Taylor and Joni Mitchell, to me, the definitive version of this song, which so astutely captures the desperate vulnerability and fear in the question ‘Will you still love me tomorrow?’
This time it’s like an internal monologue, with a question the answer to which most certainly does matter. ‘I’d like to know if your love is a love I can be sure of’… In my view this optimises the insecurity we all feel, taking a risk when we fall in love. Exquisite.
Here’s a rendition of The Tapestry Band performing it at The Ashcroft Arts Centre
‘I’m gonna follow where you lead!’
This song was originally written for Tapestry, released in January 1971, and also became a hit for Barbara Streisand later that year. This song features the fabulous Russle ‘Rusty’ Kunkel on drums @pocketgroover
Lyrics were written by Carole and Toni Stern, who began writing with Carole after her marriage to Gerry Goffin came to an end around 1968.
Having read Carole’s autobiography I can’t help feeling that this song is about her relationship with Gerry. They both grew up in Brooklyn in New York, and Carole always dreamed of a country, or at least suburban lifestyle. She hated the city living, the late night parties, and general bustle of the town, and she very much wanted to have babies, be a housewife and have a normal life. Gerry on the other hand, loved the excitement and the glamour of their life in the city, and was a source of tension between them.
Carole cites the devastating divorce between her own parents when she was a young child, as the catalyst to her desire to focus on family life from such a young age. But she knew that her chosen career of songwriting, and her husband, required her to be close to the studio in New York to start with. Nevertheless, living in a basement apartment, and Gerry still working a 9-5 job, they were married and had their first daughter Sherry by the time Carole was 18.
When Gerry and Carole separated in 1968, he told her he was moving to California. A few months after he had gone, she packed up their two daughters and went as well, just living in a different house. This is ultimately where she met Lou Adler, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell, and recorded Tapestry.
We perform the complete Tapestry album live as well as other hits written by Carole King.