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You may not have heard the name Gerry Goffin before learning of his passing Thursday night, but you have definitely heard the songs. Goffin was one-half of the greatest American pop songwriting duo in the 1960s, writing countless hits with his then-wife Carole King.
Their marriage lasted less than ten years, from 1959 to 1968, but their music together has made a lasting impact on the music business. Without them, we would never have had the catchy rhythm of “The Loco-Motion” or the heartbreaking lyrics of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” Aretha Franklin may never have sang “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and The Monkees would never have taken us on a trip in “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”
His career didn’t end with King’s divorce. While she would go on to sell millions of records herself as a performer, Goffin continued to stay behind the scenes, penning hit after hit. He was even nominated for an Oscar for writing the lyrics to “Mahogany” with Michael Masser for Diana Ross.
Goffin died on Thursday at the age of 75 from natural causes. King and Goffin were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame together in 1990 and also joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987.
To honor his work and remind you of how great those songs remain, here are some of the best songs he wrote.