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Carole King became the first woman to receive the Library of Congress’ George Gershwin Prize for Popular Song on Thursday. King is among the most successful songwriters of the past century, penning countless hits for herself and others.
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced that she will receive the price in Spring 2013 with a series of events in Washington, DC. Events include a luncheon and concert at the Coolidge Auditorium.
“Carole King has been one of the most influential songwriters of our time,” Billington said, adding, “Her body of work reflects the spirit of the Gershwin Prize with its originality, longevity and diversity of appeal.”
“I was so pleased when the venerable Library of Congress began honoring writers of popular songs with the Gershwin Prize,” King added. “I’m proud to be the fifth such honoree and the first woman among such distinguished company. I look forward to performing in the nation’s capital.”
The Library hands out the honor to recognize songwriters whose work reaches the standard set by the legendary George Gershwin. Past winners include Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and the songwriting team Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
King’s career started with her partnership with then-husband Gerry Goffin. The two wrote “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” for the Shirelles when King was just 17. Their other hits include “The Loco-Motion,” “Chains,” “Up on the Roof,” “Don’t Bring Me Down” and many, many more. Over 1,000 artists have had hits with her songs.
She is perhaps best known for 1971’s Tapestry, which was at the top of Billboard for a record 15 weeks. It sold 10 million copies. That year, she also wrote James Taylor’s Grammy-winning hit “You’ve Got A Friend.”
King joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987.