The Arty Semite

Carole King Charms Massachusetts

By Susie Davidson

  • Print
  • Share Share
Susie Davidson

In a reverse case of “Where you lead, I will follow,” a verse from one of Carole King’s countless hit songs, Bostonians trailed the iconic Brooklyn-born songstress around their state last month.

On May 11, along with Willie Nelson and Annie Lennox, King received an honorary degree from Berklee College of Music. That Friday, she spoke about her memoir “A Natural Woman” at Porter Square Books in Cambridge. She took a detour to Washington, D.C. for a May 22 White House ceremony, where she received the Library of Congress’ annual Gershwin Prize for Popular Song and where President Obama called King, the first female recipient of the award, “a living legend.” Then she was back in Beantown, on the bill of megastars performing in the May 30 “Boston Strong” benefit concert for the Marathon bombing victims.

King could rest right there on her laurels, but the longtime environmental activist and politically active citizen is neither a secluded celebrity nor a passive observer. During May she also made several campaign appearances on behalf of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey, at venues like Zaftig’s Delicatessen in Brookline, private homes in Lexington and Wellesley, The Center for Arts at the Armory in Somerville, and Lyndell’s Bakery in Cambridge.

The Arty Semite caught up with King at Lyndell’s on June 2, where she began her remarks atop a chair, inviting the assembled to come closer. “I feel a little unstable, and all the Jewish mothers here must be worried, so I’m coming down!” she joked, segueing into a speech about the importance of gender equality. “Why wouldn’t a man want his wife to have more money?,” she asked. “When Mama isn’t happy, no one’s happy. And women know why it is so important to get out and vote.”

King, who was born Carole Joan Klein, also took some time to tell me about her father, a firefighter, and her mother Eugenia Gingold, a teacher and actress. Gingold, who was active in South Florida community theater, died in 2011 in Delray Beach, at age 94. “I have a great respect for the customs and the traditions of Judaism,” King said. “It is part of our lives.”

While at Queens College in New York King dated Neil Sedaka, who wrote a hit song about her, “Oh! Carol!” Ultimately, she married four times, and had four children and four grandchildren. Next year will see the opening of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” on Broadway. In her memoir, King discusses the modernization of Jewish prayers, and the Hannukah prayer she recorded with daughter Louise.

In her remarks at Lyndell’s, King recalled campaigning with the Markeys in May, riding with the couple in a car in Western Massachusetts for eight hours or more. “I came away loving them,” she said.

It’s safe to say that everyone at Lyndell’s loved King just as much. “Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall,” they sang toward her, “All you gotta do is call.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Susie Davidson, Ed Markey, Carole King

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.