Legendary singer-songwriter Carole King gets fans in the holiday spirit with a festive new album.During her lifetime, Carole King has written or co-written 118 charted hits — enough to fill an entire volume of The Great American Songbook. So when King began recording a Christmas album, she was relieved to get to sing other people’s words for a change.
“It’s not that I’ll never write any songs again, but, my Lord, I’ve written so many that I started wondering, ‘What can I say that I haven’t already?’ ” King laughs.
Fortunately, King’s new album, A Holiday Carole, has more surprises than an Advent calendar. The songs included range from the traditional (“Chanukah Prayer”) to the unexpected (the Stax Soul classic “Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday”). King even sings in Spanish on “Christmas Paradise,” a Latin swing original co-written by King’s daughter, Louise Goffin, who also produced the record.
“So many people fly during the holiday season and go someplace warm where there’s no snow on the trees,” King explains. “[‘Christmas Paradise’] says, ‘We don’t need the chestnuts roasting; we can have the coconuts toasting!’ ”
Notably, A Holiday Carole begins with a song of gratitude: “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. The selection was no accident. “I am a person who wakes up every day and says ‘thank you,’ ” she says. “That’s my first thought.”
King, 69, certainly has a lot to be grateful for of late. Forty years after her landmark album Tapestry, which featured “You’ve Got a Friend” and “It’s Too Late,” King is feeling the earth move under her feet once again: Her recent collaboration with James Taylor, Live at the Troubador, spent 37 weeks on the charts, and the duo sold out arenas on their 2010 world tour.
“There seems to be a hunger in people for something authentic,” she muses. “I was surprised how familiar young people were with my songs and James’ songs.”
In April, King will release an autobiography titled A Natural Woman, which will delve into her four tumultuous marriages as well as her iconic hits, which have been interpreted by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand and the late Amy Winehouse. And though King has been writing for decades, the process of penning her life story was different — and somewhat eye-opening.
“It was interesting to write about some of the bad times and see how much gratitude there has been,” King says. “I feel very centered, and, yes, it’s joyous.”