Carole King has written a memoir that is not only autobiography but the narrative of a generation. The book isn’t only about Carole King and her life, it is an honest observation into all the cultural phenomena of the past 60 years or so. The birth of rock and roll and it’s impact not only on America’s young, but its role in breaking down racial barriers. The British Invasion which would forever change pop music. The civil rights movement of the ‘60s. The drug culture, the hippie movement. The birth of America’s awakening to ecological issues. Women’s Lib, which would not only adopt one of King’s songs as an anthem, but to some extent adopt her as a spokesperson.
She also takes us inside the music business itself. From sound checks and a performers thoughts, fears, egos, and personality's to the rewards, both financially and artistically. She even falls for Bob Dylan, literally. She fell off of the stage after a performance with Dylan in Ireland and injured herself. The event caused a media storm in which, they got it mostly wrong, but the thing she remembers most is Dylan’s honest concern, even though it was in no way his fault.
Along the way she writes with her first husband Gerry Goffin, whose brilliance as a lyricist was only eclipsed by his chemical explorations and mental struggles. She goes to school with Paul Simon, Neil Sedaka, Al Pacino, Rafael Campos, the children of Lee Strasberg. She writes with rock/pop luminaries, Bob Dylan, Cynthia Weil, Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Brian Wilson and so many other giants. Her songs, either in collaboration with other songwriters or singly, were recorded by The Shirelles, The Beatles (“Chains”) the Hollies, Herman’s Hermits, The Everly Brothers, Bobby Vee, Blood Sweat and Tears, the list is a “whose who” of pop music. She has dinner with John and Yoko and confronts John over an earlier insult, and reveals his oh-so-human side of kindness and concern.
King lives next door to The Eagles, Graham Nash (who wrote “Our House” about a house there, where he and Joni Mitchell lived), Leon Russell, and the rest of Laurel Canyons musicians, actors, and song writers in that early '70s hotbed of creativity. A wonderful moment takes place when she was in the studio to cut the historic record Tapestry. In the studio on either side of her was James Taylor recording Mudslide Slim and the Blue Horizon, and Joni Mitchell was in the other studio recording Blue. Almost naturally, they all played on each others albums, she says.
Then King moves herself and her children at the very height of her commercial success to a cabin in Idaho that had no running water, electricity, or modern convenience. She bathed and washed laundry in a hot springs and hauled water to cook with and drink by the bucket.