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A Natural Woman: A Memoir (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Carole King
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'If you've ever wanted to walk alongside a world class musician ... this is your starting point ... well worth the read. Just be wary not to be found singing too loudly, too badly and in public -- Cerys Matthews The Times I read her memoir exclaiming, 'Oh, did she write that?' again and again Daily Mail King's story is a valuable addition to the story of American rock and pop Sunday Express What a memoir, intelligent, honest, self-effacing, well-written Independent


The life that inspired Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway.

Carole King takes us from her early beginnings in Brooklyn, to her remarkable success as one of the world's most acclaimed songwriting and performing talents of all time. A NATURAL WOMAN chronicles King's extraordinary life, drawing readers into her musical world, including her phenomenally successful #1 album Tapestry, and into her journey as a performer, mother, wife and present-day activist. Deeply personal, King's long-awaited memoir offers readers a front-row seat to the woman behind the legend.

The book includes dozens of photos from King's childhood, her own family, and behind-the-scenes images from her performances.


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5.0 von 5 Sternen Interessantes Künstlerleben 17. April 2013
Von NoMa
Format:Kindle Edition
Ich bin seit Jahren Fan von C.Kings Album "Tapestry".
Ihre langlebige und teilweise legendäre Künstlerkarriere in ihren Worten zu lesen, hat mich begeistert.

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.2 von 5 Sternen  319 Rezensionen
173 von 185 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen a Tapestry woven by the last half of the twentieth century 10. April 2012
Von Robert Carraher - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
If you are a baby boomer , indeed, if you were alive anytime after 1960 and were born blessed with hearing then you have heard a Carole King song. She had her first Number 1 hit at the age of 18, incidentally launching the `Girl Group' craze of the early `60s, with the Goffin & King classic, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow". In 1997, she had her last chart topper with "The Reason" which was written for Aerosmith, but performed by Celine Dion. In May 4, 2010 King and James Taylor released an album called Live at the Troubadour, which debuted at No.4 in the United States. In between she had 116 other pop hits, according to Billboard Magazine. Making her, far and away, the most successful female songwriters of the last half of the 20th Century.

As if that wasn't enough, her 1971 album, Tapestry, won her 4 Grammy Awards as a performer. It also topped the U.S. album chart for 15 weeks in 1971, and remained on the charts for more than six years. Until Michael Jacksons Thriller, it was the biggest selling pop album by a solo artist in history. She still holds the record for the longest time for an album by a solo female to remain on the charts for Tapestry at 306 weeks. An amazing feat when you consider the competition; Madonna, Cher, Aretha, Barbra Streisand, Joni Mitchell, the list is endless and impressive.

Doubly impressive when you take into account she hates touring, and even at the height of her career as a singer & performer she only toured for short stints away from home, as she wouldn't be separated from her children for any length of time. She also hated being in the spotlight.

But this isn't about the most successful female songwriter of (probably) all time. And it's not about the singing sensation with the four Grammys and perhaps the record-est breaking album by a female singer or a solo artist. It's not even about the woman who , if not the creator of,then certainly is one of the pioneers and legends of the "Singer/Songwriter" genre of the early `70s (think Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, Leon Russell, James Taylor, Jim Croce et al). It's not even about the woman who has starred on Broadway as the lead actress. It's not about the woman who was the subject of Neil Sedaka's first hit song in 1958, about his then girlfriend, Carol Klein who would change her name for a less `Jewish sounding' name to Carole King. It's about A Natural Woman. And it's about a woman who not only achieved all of those marvelous goals listed above, but who has written one of the most engaging, honest, stories this reader has read in a very long time. And what is more, it's her story.

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 it's 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.

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 where 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 McCarthy, James Taylor, Brian Wilson and so many other giants. Her songs, either in collaboration with other songwriters or singly, were recorded by The Shilelles, 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. She 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 Canyon 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.

Then she 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 wash laundry in a hot springs and hauled water to cook with and drink by the bucket.

She marries four times in search of the approval of a strong man only to find weakness. She becomes a battered wife, and eventually manages to extricate herself.She also raises four children who become successful in their own right, and maybe that says more about Carole King than anything else.

She talks about the almost religious experience of hearing Aretha Franklin sing the title of this book. "Few people would consider it hyperbole to call Aretha's voice one of the most expressive vocal instruments of the twentieth century. Hearing that instrument sing a song I had participated in creating touched me more than any recording of any song I had ever written."

When I started A Natural Woman I read it on my Kindle, and I love the "notes and highlight" function. It's so useful when you get down to writing the review. Well, I went to look at those notes and highlights when I started this and found that I have , highlighted nearly half of the 496 pages. The book is that memorable and quote worthy. King's writing style is also engaging. It's like sitting around the kitchen table listening to a friend tell the story of their life, and finding commonalities to your own. You'll laugh, you'll cry you'll smile in both remembrance of an event and at the jokes life plays on us, great and small. The story is told without bitterness and with very little regret. The story paints the life of one of the greatest songwriters of all time, but it also paint the journey that we all take. There is frustration, compassion, love and the joy of creating, the love of making an audience come alive. There is a spiritual journey and a cultural journey and a personal journey of growth. It is, indeed, a Tapestry woven by the last half of the twentieth century and the start of the twenty-first. She discovers, along the way that the key to success in performing her music is to be authentically herself. She also discovered that that is the key to living life.

The Dirty Lowdown
57 von 60 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Engaging memoir, absorbing cultural history 10. April 2012
Von Suzanne - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Even leaving out her entertainment career, Carole King has led a fascinating, full life. In her personable and engaging new book she references the many current events, societal shifts and pervasive memes that have had an effect on her, so besides being the memoir of someone at the heart of the music business, A Natural Woman is an absorbing cultural history of the last 60-some years. I couldn't put it down.

Carole King has a lot to recount about her long love of music. She began making up songs when she was three and had her first public performance on the Horn and Hardart Children's Hour television show at eight. As a young adolescent, her ability to compose and sing helped her begin to make the move from nerdy toward cool. Barely out of high school, she and her young husband got jobs writing popular, highly acclaimed songs, many of which are still covered, including Loco-motion and the at the time risqué Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. By the early 1970s her album Tapestry added multiple Grammy winning recording star to her list of accomplishments, and she's still creating and performing today.

But Carole King's career in music is only part of what makes her wide ranging story so interesting. She married and had her first children while not much more than a child herself, just before the free-love era of the later 1960s, and there were three other marriages, two more children, and several long term relationships, all of which she writes about in a reasonably candid manner. One husband became a drug addict, another was physically abusive, and she explores the reasons why she stayed with them as long as she did, and offers advice to women in similar situations. Carole grew up in the New York City area, moved with her children to the hip Laurel Canyon section of Los Angeles when her first marriage ended, where she jammed with other famous and soon-to-be-famous musicians, and then lived a rugged, off-the-grid, back-to-the-land life in Idaho where she fought a multi-year legal battle to retain property rights to a road through her homestead. Because she had children while she was still young, all her musical and peripatetic adventures had to not compromise what she thought would be best for her offspring, though she admits to making mistakes. Carole's life and her capacities for engagement and reinvention are remarkable enough to make for captivating reading, but she's ordinary and everywoman enough to make it feel like she's one of us.
71 von 79 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Thank you Carole for the music and this great memoir! 10. April 2012
Von Jill Stevens - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Wasn't really sure what to expect since I'm such a fan and sometimes these books can be a bit laborious to get through but this was really effortless, almost like a novel.

Carole grew up during my favorite period, the 40s and 50s, and she has got a brilliant memory since she's able to recount early life episodes that later impacted her music and worldview. Her parent's love of music and listening to the Hit Parade of that time explained much about Carole's approach to music. Usually I skim these parts, but this was really compelling.

The first 200 pages focus on Carole's youth and her first breakthroughs into writing songs, and I loved it all since she mentioned so many of the artists I know and love.

The second 200 pages really dig deep into Carole's personal life and shifts the focus from her music. She actually says little about Tapestry---only gives the back story to two songs ("So Far Away" and "Beautiful) and then she only casually mentions that she went on to record six more albums (1971-1977), says they sold well, but doesn't provide any details. These albums all went gold and are generally considered among her best work. I would have loved to read more about those 1971-1977 albums.

Her encounters with John and Yoko in NYC and Paul and Linda McCartney in Japan are brilliantly recounted and emotionally told, as are her interactions with U2, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello and Chrissie Hynde.

Her marriages and relationships are the focus of the book, and she literally lives off the grid for several years. It's really an incredible story, what she goes through and the people she meets.

You really feel like you "know" Carole King when you finish the book, and that's exactly what the goal was.

HIGHLY recommended.
34 von 37 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen Listen To Her Music Instead 8. Mai 2013
Von Arlette Stuip - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
You know that feeling you get when you're reading a book and you think, I wish I could have edited this? I would definitely have left out that sentence! Well that was me, from the first to the last page. This book bursts with irritants.

I grew up listening to Carole King. Many of my early 70's memories connect to hearing her songs on my car radio, and playing her LPs in my living room. She had the Midas touch, writing one golden hit after another.

Except for her first husband, King's taste in men was dreadful therefore much of her personal life turned out disappointing. When she met a penniless stranger at a party who lived in a van and sold sheepskin coats he sewed, she married him. She married four times, had four children. From a junkie who punched her in the face on a regular basis, a schizophrenic (later diagnosed as manic and treated with Thorazine and electric shock treatment), a man five years her junior, a hunter... - to be honest, I am now mixing up all her husbands...- mooching off of her, and bringing friends who moved in for years and mooched off of her, to her last boyfriend 20 years her junior, she seems to have had either really bad luck with men or really bad taste, but was definitely a poor judge of character.

Her adult life consisted of buying properties in Idaho, trying to get away from it all, to live so close to nature that it involved sweeping mouse droppings off her floor mattress at night, hauling water to her cabin, home-schooling her children, then driving back to LA to hobnob with the rich and famous celebrities of Laurel Canyon.

It was impossible to relate to King, and this made it harder to enjoy her story. She did a lot of good things in her life, besides the music; she is a present-day environmental and political activist. I just wish she could have conveyed those aspects without the distracting and awkward voice which was baffling: " experience has always been that gender doesn't matter to cats as long as they respect the bandleader as a fellow cat. Being a sideman taught me that nothing makes a cat happier than having a good song to play and a leader who recognizes a cat's ability to play it." And, about her children, "I admired the kids' crayon drawings and Molly's workbook pages with motherly love and supportive compliments. I attached their drawings to the refrigerator with magnet with a folksy kitchen theme that I'd found at a grocery store in Boise." Borrrrring. Her referrals to "my" band, "my" manager, "my" soundman, "my" producer was nerve-grating. I didn't expect someone from my hippy generation to use terms like freaks, cats, hipsters, and the man.

King is a brilliant, highly-accomplished and successful songwriter, singer and performer. That's a given. She wrote or co-wrote numerous hits for other singers: You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman (Aretha), Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (the Shirelles), I Feel the Earth Move)... but I had no idea she had written the Loco-Motion (for her babysitter Little Eva), I'm Into Something Good (for Herman's Hermits), One Fine Day (The Chiffons), Up On the Roof (the Drifters), and You've Got A Friend (James Taylor) to seriously name but a few.

It's hard to write a 450-page tome about one's entire life; Carole King did a good job of chronicling it. Her life is full, exciting and musically amazing. But her writing style is the weak link. And therein lies the reason this book disappointed me. I expected more. I expected King to be a good author because she is a good songwriter. Instead, I found it boring, at times bragging, and often naïve. It's with her editor that I find fault. A good revision once-over would have done wonders. As it stands, I wish I had not read it and had, instead, kept the magic feeling I had when listening to her beautiful voice belt out her hits.
15 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von Noah - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Carole King is my favorite recording artist, keyboardist and songwriter. I have all her recordings released throughout the decades in multiple formats and have seen her in concert throughout the U.S. on at least 10 occasions (most recently from the front row of her excellent Troubadour Reunion with James Taylor.) Her memoir "A Natural Woman" is an overall achievement on many levels. Carole King understands and has interesting insights into not only the music industry itself, but also how the social issues and upheavals during the 60s and 70s had an impact on the evolution of the music and songwriting. Just like with her song lyrics, she seems to write from a mostly honest place and with a passionate perspective.

With "A Natural Woman" I find that (as I often do with other biographies written entirely by the artist), there is a tendency to be slightly less than forthcoming, to omit important details from time to time, or to briefly summarize many years of experiences which may be of real interest, particularly to fans. If you've read Sheila Weller's "Girls Like Us", you will get a more explicit and detailed description of many of the same episodes discussed in Carole's book. Understandably, there is a great deal of time in "A Natural Woman" devoted to the "Tapestry" sessions (but much of this information has already been discussed by others or by Carole in her live interviews over many years.) Sadly, the subsequent years (1972-1976) following "Tapestry" are basically "glossed over" in a single sentence. Carole merely provides a list of the albums which followed "Tapestry" and gives few details of her life during her most successful era, which seems a missed opportunity particularly for those interested in her music. Instead of providing long explanations about the "Tapestry" sessions, I would have been even more interested in knowing about what it must have been like (from her perspective) to have suddenly been thrust into the limelight, about her life in L.A. during those years and about the process she followed to create the many remarkable album projects which followed on the heels of Tapestry's success. Instead, she more or less skips from "Tapestry" right up to the year where she decided to leave L.A. for the wilds of Idaho.

The last sections of the memoir (perhaps the final 50 pages or so) seem more rushed and fragmentary, as if Carole might have been in a hurry to finish after 12 years of working on the book. At one point during the opening set of her "Living Room" concert in front of a live audience, she finds herself daydreaming during a song and having a lengthy contemplation about the meaning and existence of God. While there is no reason to doubt that these types of scenes actually took place, the writing here seems a bit more if her editors may have been giving her advice on how to wrap up the book with as much insight and vision as possible. Other sections, particularly a colorful chapter describing her experiences with the New York City subway, seem more candid and spontaneous.

Also, what I recently find a little disappointing is how artists increasingly release multiple editions of their work in an effort to improve their sales. For example, they release a "Kindle" edition of the book, followed shortly thereafter by the release of an "enhanced edition" of the same book, which forces those who are dedicated fans to buy a second copy of the work to simply get another set of photos or an additional music track or special video. In the case of "A Natural Woman" the hardback and Kindle edition were released on the same day. Then in a week or so another Kindle edition for Ipad was released, including 60 additional photos, two music tracks and a "making of" video which was not made available to those who bought the book on its release date. Also, there is now an audiobook edition of "A Natural Woman", which includes other material not available in the first two or three formats. This happens increasingly with album releases as well, where artists release one version of the album and simultaneously or shortly thereafter release another version of the same work with two additional tracks. I guess by getting fans to buy multiple copies of the same work they can increase sales during the first few important weeks following its release.

Overall, "A Natural Woman" is an entertaining and often insightful read, particularly if you are interested in Carole King, her life and her contribution of popular music and songwriting.
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