Taylor Swift, in between having a hot squirrel Halloween, made it down to Cleveland, Ohio to help induct Carole King into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and perform a spirited cover of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” on Saturday evening.
Attending Rock Hall’s 2021 induction ceremony, the star helped kick off the evening with a rousing performance of the King-penned classic which was originally recorded and popularized by the ‘60s Black girl group Shirelles, and later covered by King on her 1971 album Tapestry. Wearing a sparkling, form-fitting leotard, Swift updated the swinging love song with soft electronic production as she belted out its lyrics. It was a moving moment — and even King was seen gesturing wiping away tears at the end of her performance.
In her speech introducing King, Swift remembered growing up and listening to the veteran artist, whom she called “the greatest songwriter of all time,” per a transcript of her full, 700-word speech from Variety.
“I grew up dancing around the living room in socked feet to the sounds of Carole’s soulful voice, her infectious melodies and lyrics that I, a 7-year-old, thought had been crafted for my exact, specific life experience,” Swift recalled. “I listen to Carole’s music now and I feel that same tingle of recognition. Her songs speak to the true and honest feelings that everyone has felt, is currently feeling or hopes to feel one day. So it is only right for them to be passed down like precious heirlooms from parents to children, older siblings to younger, lovers to each other.”
She ended her speech by recognizing King’s pioneering career, “navigating ... an era that didn’t make space for a female genius,” she said. “Slowly but surely Carole King worked to create one, and it will be hers forever.”
It was King’s second induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but her first as a performer. In 1990, King was initially inducted alongside her ex-husband and writing partner Garry Goffin — with whom she co-wrote “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” — for her songwriting.
In her acceptance speech, King recognized Goffin and her team of collaborators, and thanked Swift for her tribute performance and for “carrying the torch forward,” calling her “my professional granddaughter.”
Swift has been open about her admiration of the veteran songwriter in the past. In 2019, as King presented Swift the Artist of the Decade award at the AMAs, Swift mentioned in her speech the importance Tapestry had on her life and shaping her artistry. “When I fell in love with music, it was right around that time I realized how marvelous it was how an artist could transcend so many different phases and changes in life,” she said to King on stage. “You taught me that was a possibility.”
In addition to King, Tina Turner, The Go-Go’s, Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, Todd Rundgren, Kraftwerk, Charley Patton, Gil Scott-Heron, LL Cool J, Billy Preston, Randy Rhoads, and Clarence Avant were inducted in the 2021 ceremony. Jennifer Hudson also paid tribute to King during the ceremony with a rousing performance of Aretha Franklin’s “Natural Woman,” also co-written by King and Goffin.