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Gerry Goffin’s collaboration with Bob Dylan

Gerry Goffin's Back Room Blood
Gerry Goffin's Back Room Blood
Genes Records

Gerry Goffin, who co-wrote such classics as “Chains,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “The Porpoise Song,” “Goin’ Bank,” and “Take A Giant Step,” among many others, died earlier today in Los Angeles. He was 75. Goffin often wrote with his then-wife and songwriting partner, Carole King, early in his career.

In the mid 1990s, Goffin collaborated with Bob Dylan. According to Searching For A Gem, Dylan co-wrote two songs on Goffin’s first release in 22 years, 1996's “Back Room Blood”:

  • “Tragedy Of The Trade” (Bob Dylan/Gerry Goffin/Barry Goldberg) - Dylan provides vocals and guitar to this co-composition.
  • “Time To End This Masquerade,” titled shortened to “Masquerade” on the official release (Bob Dylan/Gerry Goffin) - Dylan provides vocals and guitar to this co-composition.

In an article published in the April 13, 1996 issue of Billboard, Goffin was quoted as saying that Dylan is “sort of like a god to me.”

Discussing the song ‘Tragedy of The Trade,” Goffin told Billboard’s Chris Morris, “When (Dylan) came over, he gave me the title and about four lines to the first verse. I finished the first verse, I wrote the remaining six, and when I called him up to do the music on it, he said, ‘I haven't got enough time to write the music. I'm going on the road with my band, but get someone else.’ So I got (keyboardist and longtime collaborator) Barry Goldberg to write the music.”

According to Clinton Heylin, Dylan contacted Goffin first about a collaboration, and both songs included on the album were copyrighted in March 1995. Goffin told Billboard that Dylan played "all the music" on “Masquerade.” However, Heylin noted that the music from "Masquerade," with Dylan listed as co-producer, was from the same 1985 London session that produced "Under Your Spell," as the unreleased track known as "Pipe Organ Ska" can be heard in the fade.

Dylan has also appeared with Carole King on a number of occasions, including the 10th anniversary of David Letterman's late night NBC talk show in 1992, and shows in London and Dublin in the spring of 1995. Dylan also played King's version of "You've Got A Friend" on his Theme Time Radio Hour.

Selected tributes:

The Drifters: It is with great sadness we learn the sad news of the passing of Gerry Goffin who wrote many great songs some he wrote with his wife Carole King including Some Kind of Wonderful that went on to be a great success for this group when released in 1962. Our condolences a great talent who will be sadly missed.

Brian Wilson: I found out this afternoon that Gerry Goffin passed away. I loved the songs Gerry and Carole King wrote together and they were a big influence for me as a young songwriter. Love and mercy to Gerry's family – he will be missed.

Carole King originally posted on Facebook: “Gerry Goffin 1939-2014. There are no words.” Later, she said in a statement: "Gerry Goffin was my first love. He had a profound impact on my life and the rest of the world. Gerry was a good man and a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come. His legacy to me is our two daughters, four grandchildren, and our songs that have touched millions and millions of people, as well as a lifelong friendship. He will be missed by his wonderful wife Michele, his devoted manager, Christine Russell, his five children, and six grandchildren ...

"His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn’t know how to say. If you want to join his loved ones in honoring him, look at the names of the songwriters under the titles of songs. Among the titles associated with me, you’ll often find Gerry’s name next to mine.”

Trivia: Rod Stewart covered “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Man.”

Keep up with Bob Dylan Examiner news. Just click on Subscribe above, or follow @DylanExaminer on Twitter. Harold Lepidus also writes the Performing Arts column for Thanks for your support.

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