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A Natural Woman: A Memoir [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Carole King , Author
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 10 2012
Carole King takes us from her early beginnings in Brooklyn, to her remarkable success as one of the world's most acclaimed songwriting and performing talents of all time. A NATURAL WOMAN chronicles King's extraordinary life, drawing readers into her musical world, including her phenomenally successful #1 album Tapestry, and into her journey as a performer, mother, wife and present-day activist. Deeply personal, King's long-awaited memoir offers readers a front-row seat to the woman behind the legend.

The audiobook includes a bonus PDF of pictures, an original piano piece, a cappella performances, and a video conversation with the author are included.

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Review

Weaving a tapestry of rich and royal hue, King's affecting memoir eases readers through her life, from the girlhood in Brooklyn where she was already jotting down lyrics and her teenage years that culminated musically with the hit "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?"; through her tumultuous marriage and songwriting years with her first husband, Gerry Goffin; her moves back and forth between New York and California; her three marriages after Goffin; and her deep commitment to environmental issues bred by her living self-sufficiently with her family in the mountains of Idaho. She confronts the physical abuse she experienced at the hands of her third husband; her disbelief that she would let someone treat her that way, and her incredulousness at her own decision to remain in the relationship; and her eventual decision-with the help of an abuse support group-to leave him. King's passionate engagement with all kinds of music, and her musical genius (her Tapestry album remained on the charts for six years running, a distinction that eluded even the Beatles) flood through these reflections, and she recreates the excitement of working with producers such as Lou Adler, Jerry Wexler, and Ahmet Ertegun, musicians James Taylor, Danny Kortchmar, Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar, and Aretha Franklin, and songwriters Neil Sedaka, Cynthia Weil, and Barry Mann, among many others.—Publishers Weekly

An acclaimed singer-songwriter invites fans into her personal life.
When King embarked on her Living Room Tour in 2004, she re-created onstage the atmosphere that millions had come to expect from the slew of albums she recorded from the 1970s onward. Tapestry, her breakthrough 1971 album, not only became a bestseller and a benchmark for women's achievements in the music industry but also introduced the down-to-earth, optimistic and liberated worldview of a woman with some timely stories to tell. King's trajectory mirrored that of many of her fellow musical peers. Bitten by the music bug at an early age and subsequently converted to rock 'n' roll in the '50s, she began writing her own songs, landing a record deal at the age of 15. She would experience far greater success, however, when she and co-songwriter Gerry Goffin turned out hit after hit for such artists as Aretha Franklin, the Shirelles and the Monkees. Having married Goffin when she was 17, King spent most of the '60s balancing her career with her responsibilities as a wife and mother. Change was in the air, though, and when her marriage deteriorated, she set off for Los Angeles to seek her own voice. That voice comes through strongly on every page of this memoir, an engaging assortment of recollections comprising a journey that started in her working-class Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, took her to Manhattan and Laurel Canyon and saw her escape what Joni Mitchell called "the star maker machinery" to settle in rural Idaho. In one of the book's best sections, King explains her decision to retreat from fame in the mid '70s, chronicling the joys and sorrows of going "back to the land" as well as the tempestuous relationships she had with two men during this period. She is also refreshingly candid about her four marriages.

A warm, winning read that showcases baby-boomer culture at its best.—Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Carole King had her first No. 1 hit in 1961, at age 18, with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow". Collaborating with former husband Gerry Goffin, the team went on to write more than two dozen chart-toppers, including "One Fine Day", "The Loco-Motion", "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", and "(You Me Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman." Her 1971 solo-album, Tapesty, won 4 Grammys, and earned her the record for longest time an album by a female artist has remained on the Billboard Charts (6 years), as well as the longest time holding the #1 position (15 consecutive weeks).

King, in addition to writing more than 100 top-selling songs has recorded 25 solo albums. In 2007 she and longtime collaborator James Taylor reunited and recorded Live at the Troubadour. Released in 2010 the album debuted at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and The Troubadour Reunion Tour became the second highest grossing Tour of that year. She has won numerous lifetime achievement honors and has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, "Hit Parade" Hall of Fame, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Carole King continues to entertain audiences the world over. She released her most recent album in December, 2011, Carole King: A Holiday Carole, to rave reviews.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Life... Jan. 6 2014
By Bootsy Bass TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating story of one of the greatest song writers of our times. Unfortunately the fact it is an auto biography seems to hurt it. There are many details and times in her life that seem to be glossed over. Especially when these times could contain some not too pleasant reflections on herself. Don't get me wrong....Carole gives plenty of "dirt" on her own life honestly and factually. I just think there are certain times in her life that I, as the reader, would have liked a fuller explanation. Its a good auto-biography but I think it could have been better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An untypical rock and roll tale Aug. 7 2012
By Louis TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Carole King needs no introduction, except maybe to those young enough to be tricked into considering Katy Perry as an accomplished songwriter. A music legend in spite of her reluctance towards fame, Carole has finally decided to let her fans find out about her life in "A Natural Woman: A Memoir". And although this autobiography doesn't always allow you close enough to gain a new understanding of her music, it certainly allows the readers to get to know her a little better.

The book briefly describes King's childhood, then moves on to her untypical ascension as one of the very few successful female songwriters and her eventual popularity as a recording artist in her own right. Although her marriages and family life form the core of the book, King provides stories about her extraordinary career and the friendships she has forged with some of her peers over the years. One of the most interesting elements of this book is that King has witnessed each decade of rock's golden era, both musically and culturally, and she has some insightful stories to share about the times that shaped her life and her music. Her description of New York's social and cultural scene in the 50s, and the way record companies were literally willing to give anyone a fair chance to develop their talent, makes you long for those days when making music came from a genuine desire to create something new and revolutionary. She tells those stories with warmth, simplicity and humor, reflecting some of the essential traits that have made her music so appealing.

Still, for all of its qualities, one can't help but feel that "A Natural Woman" could have been better.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Like?....not so much Aug. 16 2012
By Maxine
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Like so many others of my generation, Carole King's "Tapestry" was the best of the best and years ago, living in a tiny basement apartment in Toronto, thought my vinyl record and stylus on the turntable were going to give out, as I played it continually!! What a singer, what a great songwriter - she embodied what I classed as amazing songs and lyrics at the time.

I'm afraid I was very disappointed unlike most of the reviewers here. I found the writing very child-like and was getting bored mid-way. Yes, I found snippets of her life that I didn't know but on the whole I found it focused WAY too much on Carole's relationships with men, that were for the most part physically and/or mentally abusive. These revelations took away from aspects of her personal and professional life that I would have like to have read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Audiobook is best! June 26 2012
Format:Hardcover
When I listened to Carole read and sing her memoir, it was like listening to my best friend speak on the phone. I was hooked from the beginning. Until this audiobook, I only knew her music. Now I call her my friend.
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By Mary Lavers TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Carole King is a little before my time, but I've always liked her music. Her autobiography is well-written and enjoyable, but I wish I had gotten the audiobook instead. Apparently it's read by the author and is like a performance, with musical interludes and everything.

For more reviews, please visit my blog, CozyLittleBookJournal.

Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from the publisher from NetGalley. I was not obliged to write a favourable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.
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