Carole King to Receive Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

Legendary singer-songwriter Carole King has been selected to receive the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song – becoming the first woman to receive this honor. In a music career spanning five decades, more than four hundred of her songs have been recorded by up to one thousand recording artists, with at least a hundred hit singles between them. Her 1971 album, Tapestry, sold twenty-five million copies worldwide and contained a host of unforgettable hit songs such as You’ve Got a Friend, I Feel the Earth Move, So Far Away and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.

The prize will be presented in spring 2013 in Washington, D.C., and will be accompanied by a number of events in King’s honor, including a performance in the Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress and an honoree’s luncheon. Prior recipients of the award, which honors lifetime achievements to the high standard set by iconic songwriters George and Ira Gershwin, include Paul Simon, Sir Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and duo Hal David and Burt Bacharach.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington noted that Carole King has been one of the most influential songwriters of our time, drawing attention to her ability to communicate “with beauty and dignity the universal human emotions of love, joy, pain and loss”, going on to say that “her body of work reflects the spirit of the Gershwin Prize with its originality, longevity and diversity of appeal.”

Born in Manhattan, New York City, in 1942 with the given name Carol Joan Klein, the singer-songwriter was raised in Brooklyn and went to Queens College along with Neil Sedaka, Paul Simon and Gerry Goffin, whom she later married. They wrote Will You Love Me Tomorrow together, and it was recorded by The Shirelles, topping the American charts in 1960. This was the beginning of a long and successful career for King during which time she has collaborated with other songwriters, written hit songs for many superstars, and performed solo and with other bands and singers, as well as appearing in some movies and television shows. Her talent and love for music has touched the lives of millions and Carole King is surely a worthy recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.