Saturday, May 31, 2014

Brush With Greatness #1: Carole King

One thing I've pretty much resisted doing is talking about meeting celebrities. Until now, I guess.

Having been a music and film obsessed teenager and young adult in Los Angeles, then working first in major record stores in Hollywood and Studio City, then working for a music video production company, I've crossed paths with many famous people.

It was just part of what I was doing at the time, and not really that big a deal, and so I don't usually talk about it. But, for whatever reason, or maybe just for the hell of it, I think I'll start sharing some of those stories here for those who care about such things.

During my time as a production assistant at Limelight Film & Video in Hollywood (roughly 1988-89) I worked with dozens of popular artists. But one of my favorite moments of that time came from somebody I only met on the phone.

We had just completed the Bridge of Sighs video for Louise Goffin, when one of the Limelight office staff came to me, very irritated, and said, "Louise Goffin's mother is on the phone. She wants a copy of the video," (exasperated over-dramatic sigh), "Do you mind talking to her?"

Understanding that Louise was the daughter of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, one of the most successful songwriting teams of the 1950-60s, and appreciating that Carole King's Tapestry held the record for most weeks on the Billboard chart for an album by a female artist (a record eventually broken by Whitney Houston), I didn't mind. I picked up the phone.

KG: "Ummm... Hello?"

CK: "Hi, this is Carole. I'm Louise Goffin's mom. How does the video look?"

KG: "Well... it looks very good, actually. Suits the mood of the song, and Louise looks great..."

We talked like that for about 5-10 minutes, and I shared how I'd enjoyed Louise's work since her Kid Blue debut, but that this new album showed a new maturity, yadda, yadda, yadda. Since she wanted to talk about Louise, and had not introduced herself as "Carole King," I refrained from comparing Louise's songs to Carole's.

Eventually we got around to her asking if it were possible for us to send her a VHS copy of Bridge of Sighs. Yes, we could. "Where should I send it?"

CK: "To Carole King, c/o..." (address in NYC, where she was then working on a play).

That five or ten minutes has stuck with me more than many of the other encounters with celebrities I met in person, and been a favorite moment of mine, because she wasn't being Carole King, most successful female composer of the 20th century (nearly 120 songs on the Billboard charts), popular recording artist, and sometime actress.

She was just being little Carol Klein, Jewish momma, who only wanted to talk about how proud she was of her baby. I had a glimpse of the real Carole King, and she did not disappoint.

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