It is probably hard to find someone from the baby boomer generation who does not like at least one or two songs by pop musician Carole King.
Her hits she popularized through her expressive and natural voice and piano-playing skills include “So Far Away,” “Jazzman,” “I Feel the Earth Move,” and “It’s Too Late.”
Some fans might also identify with tunes she wrote or co-wrote initially for others. Among these are “A Natural Woman,” “Up on the Roof,” and “You’ve Got a Friend.”
While she has shown the public her musical genius for decades, she is now showing her human side in detail as well with her first autobiography, “A Natural Woman: A Memoir.”
In the book, Ms. King, 70, talks openly about not only her musical career, but also the happy times and struggles of several marriages. For example, her first husband, fellow song-writer Gerry Goffn, took LSD and battled mental illness, she said, while her third husband, Rick Evers, physically abused her before his death from an apparent cocaine overdose.
And in this book where she confesses as much about her life as about those close to her, the generally level-headed Ms. King admits she smoked marijuana some early in her musical career.
She also mentions her mostly joyful times as the mother of four children, her support of liberal political and environmental issues, and her search for spiritual meaning evolving from her Jewish heritage.
And the court battles she and fourth husband Rick Sorensen fought in the 1980s to keep the road through their Idaho property private are discussed in detail, as is her acting and theater career that blossomed in later years.
But perhaps the musical aspects of her life covered in the book still draw the most interest, even though they are what are already best known about her. Born Carol Klein, she learned to play the piano from her mother, whose Russian-born mother thought owning and playing a piano indicated status.
Ms. King’s talent demonstrated itself early on, and she was signed to a musical contract and eventually became a professional songwriter while still a teenager. A classical musician studying at a university and a 20-year-old aspiring garage band singer would likely enjoy with equal interest this part of the book.
Lovers of music history, meanwhile, will enjoy her descriptions from the same time of the live music shows she attended in New York when rock ‘n’ roll was in its infancy.
As Ms. King’s musical career developed, her desire to record her own material or perform live as the featured entertainer did not, however. But with the help of longtime pal James Taylor, she was convinced to perform “Up on the Roof,” during one of his concerts, and the rest is history.
Her overcoming her fears indirectly resulted in the recording of “Tapestry” in 1971. It would go on to become one of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed pop albums of all time and would bring her four Grammy Awards.
Fans will love the details she discusses about the making of the album, including the shooting of the now-famous album cover photograph of her and her cat by the window of her Laurel Canyon, Calif., home. Readers used to today’s paparazzi will also marvel at how she was able to avoid much public attention over the album, including not even accepting her Grammy Awards in person.
But the album itself continues to receive attention, signifying that Ms. King reached almost musical perfection with its release.
However, as she mentions in the book in detail honestly, much of her life has not been perfect.
But readers of this interesting memoir will likely still admire the way she expresses herself in print with the same raw and open feeling that she often has in her music.