Battle of the “Spaceship Races”

How interesting that Carole King – the musical part of the Goffin-King songwriting partnership – had been writing hits since the very beginning of the 1960s and yet had not released her first solo album until 1970 – an album somewhat pointedly entitled, Writer.

Carole King

The album’s kick-off track is, for Carole, a bit of a rocker – “Spaceship Races” – and a determined one at that.  Who knew from Carole’s fairly straight-ahead reading that a joyous power pop of a colt could come thundering out of the same gates albeit when jockeyed by Tom Northcott?

Spaceship Races – Carole King
Spaceship Races – Tom Northcott

[Pssst:  Click on the triangles above to play “Spaceship Races” – the first as originally conceived by Carole King and the second as imaginatively interpreted by Tom Northcott.]

Tom Northcott’s more elaborate pop production was likewise the album-opening track on his 1971 album, Upside Downside, on Uni (imprint of MCA) – although a B-side of the single, “Suzanne” (the oft-covered Leonard Cohen classic).  What gives?

Tom Northcott

Northcott (popular in his native Vancouver) recorded 20 sides for Warner Brothers in the mid-to-late 60s and then jumped to MCA’s Uni label for exactly one album – and then nothing more for a long time.