By Eric Kelsey and Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Gerry Goffin, the lyricist who co-wrote some of the biggest hit songs of the 1960s with his former wife and longtime collaborator Carole King, died on Thursday at age 75, King said in a message posted on Facebook.
Goffin, who died of natural causes at his Beverly Hills home, co-wrote numerous top-40 singles with King, including "The Loco-Motion," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," and "Up on the Roof," most of which were hits for other performers.
"Gerry Goffin was my first love," King, 72, said in a tribute posted on her Facebook page. "He had a profound impact on my life and the rest of the world. ... His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn't know how to say."
One of their most popular songs, the No. 1 hit "The Loco-Motion," ignited a dance craze and was originally performed by the singer Little Eva, who was working for the couple as a babysitter when they asked her to record it in 1962.
The bluesy love song "Chains" was first recorded by the Cookies but later covered by the Beatles. Queen of soul Aretha Franklin hit the charts with "Natural Woman," but King herself later recorded the ballad as a track on her breakthrough 1971 solo album "Tapestry."
Other notable hits co-written by Goffin and King included "Up on the Roof" by the Drifters, "One Fine Day" by the Chiffons, "I'm Into Something Good" by Herman's Hermits, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" by the Shirelles, "Take Good Care of My Baby" by Bobby Vee, "Don't Bring Me Down" by the Animals, "Take a Giant Step" by the Monkees and "Goin' Back" by the Birds.
Goffin met and married King in 1958 while attending Queens College. The couple were later hired by pop music producer Don Kirshner to write songs for his song publishing firm, Aldon Music.
With Goffin writing lyrics to tunes King composed at the piano, the couple churned out songs for a wide range of artists ranging from rhythm-and-blues groups to British Invasion bands of the era.
The couple divorced in 1968 but they remained friends. They were inducted together into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
Their relationship and collaboration as a song-writing team is chronicled in the current Broadway hit show "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical," which was produced by Sherry Goffin Kondor, who is their daughter and King's manager.
In addition to the hits he wrote with King, Goffin teamed up with Michael Masser to write the movie ballad "Do You Know Where You're Going To (Theme from Mahogany)," which earned them an Academy Award nomination and was a No. 1 hit for Diana Ross. He and Masser also co-wrote "Saving All My Love for You," a chart-topper for Whitney Houston.
(Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Bill Trott and Cynthia Osterman)