Prolific Pop Lyricist Gerry Goffin Dies At 75

Along with his musical partner and onetime wife, Carole King, Gerry Goffin wrote such Top 40 hits as "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and "Up on the Roof."

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And news this morning that one of Americans most prolific pop lyricist has died. Gerry Goffin penned dozens of top 40 hits like "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and "Up On The Roof," many of them co-written with his then wife, Carole King. He was 75. Jacki Lyden has this remembrance.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "UP ON THE ROOF")

THE DRIFTERS: (Singing) When this whole world starts getting me down and people are just too much for me to face - up on the roof.

JACKI LYDEN, BYLINE: "Up On The Roof" sung by The Drifters, written by Gerry Goffin. I was still in my teens in the Midwest and had never even seen New York City. But I love that song. Now when I come home to my Brooklyn apartment, feeling tired and beat, I do go up to where the air is fresh and sweet.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "UP ON THE ROOF")

THE DRIFTERS: (Singing) I go up where the air is fresh and sweet, up on the roof.

LYDEN: Brooklyn is where Gerry Goffin was born. He met Carole King the next borough over at Queens College. She was 17, when they married in 1959 - pregnant with morning sickness, while working on their first hit for The Shirelles, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WILL YOU LOVE ME TOMORROW")

THE SHIRELLES: (Singing) But will you love me tomorrow?

LYDEN: They worked in legendary Brill Building for Alden Music. By 1968, they were divorced. But Goffin kept writing songs, including the Whitney Houston mega-hit "Saving All My Love For You."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAVING ALL MY LOVE FOR YOU")

WHITNEY HOUSTON: (Singing) Saving all my love - yes, I'm saving all my love for you.

LYDEN: Carole King issued a statement saying, Jerry Goffin was my first love. He was a good man and a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come. Goffin's wife, Michelle, announced his death, due to natural causes. He's survived by her and five children and by his ballads of fun, heartache, survival, an American playbook. For NPR News, I'm Jacki Lyden.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAVING ALL MY LOVE FOR YOU")

MONTAGNE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

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