Her birth name is Carole Klein. She has played the piano since she was 4 years old.
While she was a student at Brooklyn high school, she dated Neil Sedaka, who was in a band called The Tokens. Soon after, she formed her own group called the Co-sines and took the professional name Carole King. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
She met first husband Gerry Goffin at Queens College in New York. She and Goffin became songwriting partners, writing in the Brill Building for Aldon Music. They wrote hits for some of the biggest names of the day: The Animals, the Shirelles, Herman's Hermits, and the Byrds. They wrote "The Loco-Motion" for Little Eva. It was not their only #1 hit.
She set a record in 1973 with a concert in Central Park that drew 100,000 people. That record, though, has since been broken.
King had stage fright, which is why one of her bands, The City (with guitarist Danny Kortchmar), never toured. That probably explains why their 1968 album flopped.
Kortchmar had previously played with the Flying Machine, which included James Taylor. Taylor and King became good friends, and he was the one who encouraged her to try a solo career.
Her previous band The City also included bassist Charles Larkey, who King married after her divorce with Goffin.
King wrote for the children's television program Really Rosie in 1975. Around that time she also started writing with Goffin again.
Her third husband, Rick Evers, died of a heroin overdose in 1978.
King acted on Broadway in 1994 for the first time, taking over for Petula Clark in Bloodbrothers.
She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 1987.
Her 1994 live album Carole King: In Concert included David Crosby, Graham Nash, daughter Sherry Goffin, and Guns n' Roses guitarist Slash.
Carole and her daughter Louise Goffin, also a singer, sang the theme song "Where You Lead," for the long-running mother/daughter sitcom The Gilmore Girls. King's music was used throughout the show's run. (thanks, brea - Philadelphia, PA)
Her 1971 Tapestry album was the best-selling album ever until 1978 when Fleetwood Mac's Rumours outsold it. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)