♫ Up On The Roof ♫

Ever feel like you just want to get away from the world and the people in it?  Like you just need solitude, quiet, fresh air?  I feel that way a lot these days.  My bedroom is my refuge, though I rarely see it, for I am usually writing until the wee hours, and by the time I get to my bedroom, my eyes are already half shut.  But still, it is the only place in the house where there are no voices, no kitties.  I cannot go “up on the roof”, for I’m not well balanced, and our roof is fairly steep-pitched.  Anyway … I am rambling.  On to the song …

This song, released in 1962 first by Little Eva, and later by The Drifters, was written by then husband-and-wife team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King.  Gerry Goffin would cite Up on the Roof as his all-time favorite of the lyrics he’d written. After Carole King suggested that he write lyrics for the tune which had occurred to her while she was out driving, with King suggesting “My Secret Place” as the title, Goffin kept King’s suggested focus of a haven, modifying it with his enthusiasm for the movie musical West Side Story which contained several striking scenes set on the rooftops of Upper West Side highrises.

The song went to #5 in the U.S., but in the UK they must not have been crazy about The Drifters at that time.  However, another artist, Kenny Lynch, did one that made it to #10 in the UK, so I will present that as well, for my Brit friends.  And, because I just love James Taylor, I’m playing his version too!!!  Now, don’t say I never give you choices!

Up On The Roof
The Drifters

When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space
On the roof, it’s peaceful as can be
And there the world below can’t bother me
Let me tell you now

When I come home feelin’ tired and beat
I go up where the air is fresh and sweet (up on the roof)
I get away from the hustling crowd
And all that rat-race noise down in the street (up on the roof)
On the roof, the only place I know
Where you just have to wish to make it so
Let’s go up on the roof (up on the roof)

(brief instrumental-chiefly strings)

At night the stars put on a show for free
And, darling, you can share it all with me

I keep a-tellin’ you

Right smack dab in the middle of town
I’ve found a paradise that’s trouble proof (up on the roof)
And if this world starts getting you down
There’s room enough for two
Up on the roof (up on the roof)
Up on the roo-oo-oof (up on the roof)
Oh, come on, baby (up on the roof)
Oh, come on, honey (up on the roof)

Everything is all right (up on the roof)

Songwriters: Carole King / Gerry Goffin
Up On The Roof lyrics © Emi Music Publishing France

♫ It’s Too Late ♫

It was almost a year ago that I played the flip-side of this one, I Feel The Earth Move.  Carole King wrote this with Toni Stern, a free-spirited painter and lyricist from Los Angeles who complemented King very well. Said Stern:

“I’m sure there was a California quality in me that appealed to Carole. She was moving from a familial, middle class lifestyle to Laurel Canyon, where she started to let her hair down, literally and figuratively. We worked off our contrasts.”

This song was rumored to be about James Taylor, who was good friends with King and played on the Tapestry. In early 1971, Taylor and King toured together with King the opening act. Many people tended to think that this song was about a short romance between the two. King never confirmed these rumors, and Taylor later dated and married Carly Simon.

Toni Stern, however, did have a relationship with Taylor and wrote the lyrics after they broke up and he moved on to Joni Mitchell, but she won’t confirm it’s about the troubadour. “I won’t say who ‘It’s Too Late’ is about.  I don’t kiss and tell.”

Some people saw a political message in this song, as the idealism of the ’60s had faded and the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy in 1968 had left a young generation jaded, believing that “It’s too late” to change things.

It’s Too Late
Carole King

Stayed in bed all mornin’ just to pass the time
There’s somethin’ wrong here, there can be no denyin’
One of us is changin’, or maybe we’ve just stopped tryin’

And it’s too late, baby now, it’s too late
Though we really did try to make it
Somethin’ inside has died, and I can’t hide
And I just can’t fake it, oh, no, no

It used to be so easy, livin’ here with you
You were light and breezy, an’ I knew just what to do
Now you look so unhappy, and I feel like a fool

And it’s too late, baby now, it’s too late
Though we really did try to make it
Somethin’ inside has died, and I can’t hide
And I just can’t fake it, oh, no, no

There’ll be good times again for me and you
But we just can’t stay together, don’t you feel it, too?
Still I’m glad for what we had and how I once loved you

But it’s too late, baby now, it’s too late
Though we really did try to make it (we can’t make it)
Somethin’ inside has died, and I can’t hide
And I just can’t fake it, oh, no, no, no, no, no

It’s too late, baby, it’s too late now, darling
It’s too late

Songwriters: Carole King / Toni Stern
It’s Too Late lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ You’ve Got A Friend ♫

This song was written by Carole King during the January 1971 recording sessions for her album Tapestry. According to King …

“The song was as close to pure inspiration as I’ve ever experienced. The song wrote itself. It was written by something outside myself, through me.”

She also said that the inspiration for the song was a line from Taylor’s song, Fire and Rain … “I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend.” When the song was released in 1971, James Taylor was only 23 years old, and the song would go on to be his only #1 U.S. hit.  But now for the really interesting history …

James Taylor sang this after the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo murders in France at a rally in Paris, which Secretary of State John Kerry attended. He explained to Billboard magazine how that performance came about:

“At the time of the attacks, my wife and I were in Switzerland, taking vacation time before I went to Paris to do press for a tour of Europe. John and Teresa Kerry are, I would say, our good friends. Kim was texting him after the attacks and said, ‘John, I think you need to go to Paris.’ They were having a solidarity march two days after the attack. But John had to be in Peshawar, for a secret meeting. He said, ‘I’ll be there as soon as I can.’

When he came to Paris, we had dinner and he said, “I’m giving a speech with the mayor tomorrow. James, will you sing ‘You’ve Got a Friend’?” It was done at the drop of a hat. When I stood up to sing, my guitar wasn’t working. So the mayor [Anne Hidalgo] came over and held her mic in front of my guitar.”

You’ve Got a Friend
James Taylor

When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yeah baby, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you’ve got to do is call
And I’ll be there, ye, ye, ye
You’ve got a friend

If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep you head together
And call my name out loud now
Soon you’ll hear me knocking at you door

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yes I will, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall, ye
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, ye, ye, yeah

Ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend
When people can be so cold
They’ll hurt you, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them, oh yeah, don’t you let ’em now

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again, oh baby, don’t you know
Winter, spring, summer or fall
Hey now, all you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes I will
You’ve got a friend
You’ve got a friend, yeah

Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend

Oh, ye yeah, you’ve got a friend

Songwriters: Carole King
You’ve Got a Friend lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Will You Love Me Tomorrow ♫

We’re going waaaaay back tonight … almost 60 years … some of you weren’t even born when this song was first recorded by The Shirelles!  Written by the husband & wife songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, the song hit #1 in the U.S., the first ever to reach that milestone by a black, all-girl group.  It has since been recorded by many artists over the years, including a 1971 version by co-writer Carole King.

When first presented with the song, lead singer Shirley Owens (later known as Shirley Alston-Reeves) did not want to record it, because she thought it was “too country.” She relented after a string arrangement was added. However, Owens later recalled that some radio stations had banned the record because they had felt the lyrics were too sexually charged.  My how times have changed!!!

Goffin and King were proud of their breakthrough hit and had their New Jersey home’s doorbell “pretentiously and expensively” modified to play it.

Will You Love Me Tomorrow
The Shirelles

Tonight you’re mine, completely
You give your love so sweetly
Tonight the light of love is in your eyes
But will you love me tomorrow

Is this a lasting treasure
Or just a moment’s pleasure
Can I believe the magic in your sighs
Will you still love me tomorrow

Tonight with words unspoken
You say that I’m the only one
But will my heart be broken
When the night meets the morning sun

I’d like to know that your love
Is a love I can be sure of
So tell me now and I won’t ask again
Will you still love me tomorrow

So tell me now and I won’t ask again
Will you still love me tomorrow
Will you still love me tomorrow
Will you still love me tomorrow

Songwriters: Carole King / Gerry Goffin
Will Love You Tomorrow lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ I Feel The Earth Move ♫

Written and recorded by pop singer-songwriter Carole King, I Feel the Earth Move, along with its flip-side, It’s Too Late became among the biggest mainstream pop hits of 1971.  Yesterday, I was having a conversation with a friend, and this song happened to come up in the convo … it then managed to embed itself in my head, so I am sharing it with you in hopes that it will hop from my head to yours!  This is my favourite version of the song, for James Taylor on guitar adds a certain energy to the song that the version on King’s album Tapestry just doesn’t seem to have.  Or maybe it’s just the fact that I drool over James Taylor!

I Feel the Earth Move
James Taylor, Carole King

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down
I feel my heart start to trembling
Whenever you’re around

Ooh, baby, when I see your face
Mellow as the month of May
Oh, darling, I can’t stand it
When you look at me that way

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down
I feel my heart start to trembling
Whenever you’re around

Ooo, darling, when you’re near me
And you tenderly call my name
I know that my emotions
Are something I just can’t tame
I’ve just got to have you, baby, uh huh huh uh huh huh yeah

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, a’tumbling down
I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, a’tumbling down

I just lose control
Down to my very soul
I get hot and cold, all over, all over, all over, all over
I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, a’tumbling down

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, a’tumbling down,
A’tumbling down, a’tumbling down, a’tumbling down, a’tumbling down, tumbling down!

Songwriters: Carole King
I Feel the Earth Move lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC