TESS PRIMACK's version of the Gerry Goffin-Carole King standard "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" is the result of around-the-piano "hey, do you know this song..." chatter. Realizing that Tess was a big fan of the track, the task quickly became how to do something a bit different with it. A few loose takes told us that the difference maker was going to be Tess's stage voice.
A cabaret-centric approach eventually rose to the top. The arranging became easy: Just keep stripping away all instrumental ideas until all that was left was a voice and a piano on a lonely stage, with an audition-like ambience.
"I grew up listening to Carole King, she's always been an inspiration to me," said Tess. "I come from a theater and classical background, so the trickiest thing about recording this song was making it sound less like a polished show tune, and more like the heartfelt , soulful song that it really is. It’s not about it being perfect, it’s about finding the deep humanity and yearning that we can all connect with."
THE ORIGINAL: The first commercially-released version of WYLMT was by the Jersey-based girl group The Shirelles, in Nov. 1960. A breezy and innocently-voiced #1 hit, the track used an uptempo arrangement that today sounds somewhat dated by the rudimentary string arrangement (written overnight by 18-year old Carole).
Far more listeners know the singer/songwriter version recorded 10+ years later in California for Carole King's breakout solo album "Tapestry" (1971), one of the best selling records of all time. King's vocal approach there, so earthy and unencumbered, remains as striking today as it was influential back then.
SONGWRITERS: When they wrote WYLMT in 1960 Gerry Goffin and Carole King were newlywed Long Island teenagers working as songwriters for Don Kirshner's Aldon publishing co., near the Brill Building at Broadway and West 49th St. WYLMT was their first million seller and it allowed Gerry to quit his day job as a chemist.
Pianist Carole wrote the music to WYLMT, which is arguably the pair's most effecting and timeless song. A common misconception is that she also wrote the lyrics. Not so. "Those lyrics were written by Gerry," King later wrote, "whose understanding of human nature transcended gender."
The world quickly started seeking out their talents and things began moving very fast. Within a few short years their songs would be recorded by a crowd of hit makers, including The Beatles ("Chains"), Aretha ("Natural Woman"), The Monkees ("Pleasant Valley Sunday"), The Drifters ("Up On the Roof") and Herman's Hermits ("I'm Into Something Good"). Younger listeners may be more familiar with Goffin-King from the formulaic jukebox musical about them ("Beautiful: The Carole King Musical") that opened on Broadway in 2014 – the same year Goffin passed away, after a life checkered by addiction and mental health issues.
REFERENCES: A fast 450-page read and chock full of bold-face anecdotes, King's autobiography "Carole King: A Natural Woman" (2012) is an insider's take on both Brill Building NYC pop and L.A. smooth rock of the 70s. She comes off as worldly-wise yet ironically homespun and relentlessly family-focused. Carole writes that in the new house financed by their early hits she and Gerry had the doorbell "pretentiously and expensively modified to to play WYLMT."
PRODUCTION: Tess sings through a Shure SM7A mic and a Brent Averill/Neve 1272 preamp. Paul is playing an 88-key MIDI keyboard addressing a Yamaha C7 grand piano audio library from Impact Soundworks. Paul's background vocals are recorded using a JZ V67 condenser mic. Recording and mixing were done in Pro Tools. Mastering is by Bruce Barielle in New Orleans.
released January 27, 2023
Words/music by Gerry Goffin/Carole King
EMI Music Publishing Group/Screen Gems-EMI Music.
Used by licensed permission.
Triple-threat songwriter-musician-producer Paul Mark has been mystifying critics and barflies for decades. With a striking
lyrical edge and an encyclopedic facility with American roots music, NYC-based Paul Mark has built a top-drawer original song catalog that tugs on the ears of the literary as well as the liquidated. Mark is principal owner of Radiation Records....more