Will You Love Me Tomorrow

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"Will You Love Me Tomorrow"
The Shirelles 45.jpg
Single by the Shirelles
from the album Tonight's the Night
Bell Sound Studios, New York, New York, U.S.
Producer(s)Luther Dixon
The Shirelles singles chronology
"Tonight's the Night"
"Will You Love Me Tomorrow"
"Dedicated to the One I Love"

"Will You Love Me Tomorrow", sometimes known as "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow",[1] is a song with words written by Gerry Goffin and music composed by Carole King. It was originally recorded in 1960 by the Shirelles, who took their single to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song is also notable for being the first song by a black all-girl group to reach number one in the United States.[2] It has since been recorded by many artists over the years, including a 1971 version by co-writer Carole King.

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 oldies 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.[3]


In addition to reaching No. 1 in the United States, the song also reached No. 2 on the R&B chart and No. 4 in the UK.[4] It reached No. 3 in New Zealand.[5] This version of the song, with session musicians Paul Griffin on piano and Gary Chester on drums, as of 2009 was ranked as the 162nd greatest song of all time, as well as the best song of 1960, by Acclaimed Music.[6] It 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 their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.[7]

The song later appeared on the soundtracks of Michael Apted's Stardust, Emile Ardolino's Dirty Dancing, and Tony Scott's True Romance.[8]

Chart history[edit]

Answer songs[edit]

Bertell Dache, a black demo singer for the Brill Building lyricists, recorded an answer song entitled "Not just Tomorrow, But Always".[15] It has been claimed by some historians that Dache was a pseudonym for Epic recording artist Tony Orlando,[citation needed] whose recording of the original song had not been released as Don Kirshner thought the lyric was convincing only as sung by a woman. However, an ad for United Artists Records that appeared in Billboard during 1961 featured a photo of the singer, which indicated that Dache was not Tony Orlando.[citation needed]

The Satintones, an early Motown group, also recorded an answer song called "Tomorrow and Always," 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 with a different song. 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.[16] 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."[16] 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 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.


  • Carole King – piano, vocals
Additional musicians

Other versions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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[...]
  2. ^ Bronson, Fred (1992). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. New York City: Billboard Books. ISBN 978-0823076772.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b "Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. February 15, 1961. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Flavour of New Zealand, 6 April 1961
  6. ^ "Acclaimed Music Top 3000 songs". Acclaimedmusic.net. May 27, 2009.
  7. ^ "100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time: Critics' Picks". Billboard. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  8. ^ "True Romance (1993)". IMDb. Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  9. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. January 30, 1961. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  10. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  11. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, February 4, 1961
  12. ^ Musicoutfitters.com
  13. ^ "The Top 100 R&B Singles of 1961 - RYM/Sonemic".
  14. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 30, 1961
  15. ^ "Will You Love Me Tomorrow by The Shirelles Songfacts". Songfacts.com. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Ramirez, Rauly (October 16, 2012). "Leslie Grace Youngest Woman To Top Latin Airplay Chart". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 21, 2012.

External links[edit]