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Carole King interview: 'This musical helped me transcend the pain of my youth'

Carole King: 'The music business is very demanding'
Carole King: 'The music business is very demanding' Credit: Redferns

In the songwriters’ pantheon, few can hold a candle to Carole King. By the time she was 25, she’d co-written such pop classics as the Shirelles Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Aretha Franklin’s (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and Little Eva’s The Loco-Motion.

Before she was 30, she’d released her 1971 solo album Tapestry (there’ve been 24 others), which sold more than 25 million copies and won four Grammys, becoming the soundtrack to a generation’s lives. Last summer, she performed it in full to a rapturous Hyde Park, yelling exultantly as she strapped on an electric guitar: “This is what 74 looks like.”

It was a rare moment in the spotlight for one of pop’s most retiring icons. King’s no oddball recluse, simply a musical genius with little interest in fame. It’s an attitude encapsulated in Beautiful, the Olivier-award winning musical about her early life, when her character declines to...

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