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Will You Love Me Tomorrow

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"Will You Love Me Tomorrow"
Single by the Shirelles
from the album Tonight's the Night
  • November 1960 (US)
  • 1961 (UK)
StudioBell Sound (New York City)
Producer(s)Luther Dixon
The Shirelles singles chronology
"Tonight's the Night"
"Will You Love Me Tomorrow"
"Mama Said"

"Will You Love Me Tomorrow", sometimes known as "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow",[3] is a song with words by Gerry Goffin and music composed by Carole King. It was recorded in 1960 by the Shirelles at Bell Sound Studios in New York City, and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was the first by an African-American all-girl group to reach number one in the United States.[4] It has since been recorded by many other artists, including a version by co-writer King released on her 1971 album Tapestry.

The Shirelles' version[edit]


In 1960, the American girl group the Shirelles released the first version of the song as Scepter single 1211, with "Boys" on the B-side. The single's first pressing was labeled simply "Tomorrow", then lengthened later. When first presented with the song, lead singer Shirley Owens (later known as Shirley Alston-Reeves) did not want to record it, because she thought it was "too country". She relented after a string arrangement was added. However, Owens recalled on Jim Parsons's syndicated classic radio program, Shake Rattle Showtime, that some radio stations had banned the record because they had felt the lyrics were too sexually charged. The song is in AABA form.[5]


In addition to reaching No. 1 in the United States, the song reached No. 2 on the R&B chart and No. 4 in the UK.[6] It reached No. 3 in New Zealand.[7] This version of the song, with session musicians Paul Griffin on piano and Gary Chester on drums, was ranked at No. 126 among Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Billboard named the song No. 3 on its list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.[8]

In 1999, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[9]

Chart history[edit]

Answer songs[edit]

Bertell Dache recorded an answer song entitled "Not Now Tomorrow, But Always" on United Artists label in 1960, arranged by Carole King giving King and Goffin the proper credit.

The Satintones, an early Motown group, also recorded an answer song called "Tomorrow and Always" (in two different versions), which used the same melody as the original but initially neglected to credit King and Goffin. Following a threat of litigation, later pressings of the record included proper credit. Eventually, it was withdrawn and replaced by the song "Angel" with the same "b" side.[17] The Satintones' versions are included in the box set The Complete Motown Singles, Volume 1: 1959–1961.

Carole King version[edit]


In 1971, Carole King, who composed the music of the song, recorded a version of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" for her second studio album Tapestry, with Joni Mitchell and James Taylor performing background vocals on separate audio channels.[18] King's version of the song was taken at a considerably slower tempo. David Hepworth analyzed it as "less like the pleas for gentleness on the part of a trembling virgin and more like a mature woman requiring parity in a relationship."[18] It gained considerable album-oriented rock airplay due to the large-scale commercial success of the album.

The song became a feature of King's live shows. Taylor recreated his part during their joint arena-based Troubadour Reunion Tour of 2010.

In the 2013 Broadway musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, the song is featured in part four times: once during its writing, once during King recording a demo of it, then with the Shirelles performing it, and then King singing and playing it later during an especially bad time in her marriage with Goffin. No other song is featured as frequently in the musical.


Notable cover versions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Breihan, Tom (November 15, 2022). "The Shirelles - "Will You Love Me Tomorrow". The Number Ones: Twenty Chart-Topping Hits That Reveal the History of Pop Music. New York: Hachette Book Group. p. 28.
  2. ^ a b Hutcheon, David (2015). "The Shirelles - "Will You Love Me Tomorrow". In Dimery, Robert (ed.). 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die. New York: Universe. p. 111.
  3. ^ Chilton, Martin (June 20, 2014). "Gerry Goffin: 10 great songs". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 16, 2020. Among the musicians who have recorded the song, which is sometimes called Will You Still Love me Tomorrow[...]
  4. ^ Bronson, Fred (1992). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. New York City: Billboard Books. ISBN 978-0823076772.
  5. ^ Covach, John (2005). "Form in Rock Music: A Primer". In Stein, Deborah (ed.). Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis. New York City: Oxford University Press. p. 70. ISBN 0-19-517010-5.
  6. ^ a b "Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. February 15, 1961. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Flavour of New Zealand, 6 April 1961". Flavourofnz.co.nz. Retrieved October 27, 2023.
  8. ^ "100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time: Critics' Picks". Billboard. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  9. ^ https://www.grammy.com/awards/hall-of-fame-award#w
  10. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. January 23, 1961. Retrieved May 21, 2024.
  11. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  12. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, February 4, 1961". Cashboxmagazine.com. Retrieved October 27, 2023.
  13. ^ "British single certifications – Shirelles – Will You Love Me Tomorrow". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved February 2, 2024.
  14. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1961/Top 100 Songs of 1961 | Music Outfitters". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved October 27, 2023.
  15. ^ "The Top 100 R&B Singles of 1961 - RYM/Sonemic". Rateyourmusic.com.
  16. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 30, 1961". Tropicalglen.com. Retrieved October 27, 2023.
  17. ^ Discogs https://www.discogs.com/release/14257749-Satintones-Angel-A-Love-That-Can-Never-Be. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ a b Hepworth, David (2016). Never a Dull Moment: 1971 - The Year That Rock Exploded. New York: Henry Holt and Company. pp. 25–26. ISBN 9781627793995.
  19. ^ "Dana Valery - Chart Singles Discography". Musicvf.com. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  20. ^ "www.discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  21. ^ James Hamilton's Disco Page - RAM & TAM: ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’ (HAWK HSP 8)
  22. ^ Music Week, December 15, 1979 - Page 32 DISCS, RAM & TAM New Single "WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW" in the reggae charts at no. 25
  23. ^ Mier, Tomás (November 18, 2020). "Watch Kelly Clarkson Channel Amy Winehouse in Kellyoke Cover of 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow'". People. Retrieved December 3, 2023.
  24. ^ Ramirez, Rauly (October 16, 2012). "Leslie Grace Youngest Woman To Top Latin Airplay Chart". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  25. ^ Graff, Gary (October 30, 2021). "Taylor Swift Helps Induct Carole King, Sings 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' at Rock Hall Ceremony". Billboard.

External links[edit]