President Obama to Give Carol King Gershwin Prize

Gershwin Prize for Carole King

White House Officials announced today that President and Mrs Obama will be hosting the Carole King: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize In Performance at the White House where he will give Carol King the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Ms King will be the first female singer to receive the prize.

This will be the eleventh In Performance at the White House program hosted by the President and Mrs. Obama. These events started in February 2009 and they have been held to honour the musical genius of Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

They have also been used to celebrate Hispanic musical heritage during Hispanic Heritage Month; marked Black History Month with events that featured music from the Civil Rights Movement, Motown, Memphis Soul and the Blues. They also focussed on Broadway and the unique spirit of the American musical; and explored the rich roots and resiliency of Country Music.”

King is to receive the award during a concert Wednesday, which sill feature performances by Gloria Estefan, Billy Joel, Jesse McCartney, Emeli Sande, James Taylor, Trisha Yearwood and, of course, Ms King.

The concert is scheduled to be broadcast on PBS stations on May 28 and will be streamed live at www.whitehouse.gov.

Carole King’s life and career served as the inspiration for the Broadway-bound “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” which spans the singer’s Brooklyn beginnings, five-decade career and her marriage to songwriter Gerry Goffin.

King first made her name by writing and co-writing songs that became hits for other artists. Songs that include Up On The Roof by the Drifters, Pleasant Valley Sunday by the Monkees, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin, and You’ve Got A Friend for James Taylor.

In 1972, King wrote, recorded, and released one of the great albums of all time: Tapestry. Its songs include So Far Away and It’s Too Late.

The biographical musical is to have out-of-town tryouts at San Francisco’s SHN Curran Theatre ahead of its Broadway debut, scheduled for next spring.

Carole King has been a legend in the music industry and her main success as a performer was in the first half of the 1970s, when she would sing her own songs, accompanying herself on the piano, in a series of albums and concerts. She had her first number 1 hit as a songwriter in 1960 at age 18, with “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”, which she co-wrote with Goffin. In 1997, she co-wrote “The Reason”, which was a hit for Celine Dion.

King has made 25 solo albums, with her 1971 album Tapestry being the most successful. Her most recent non-compilation album is Live at the Troubadour, a collaboration with James Taylor, which reached number four on the charts in its first week, and has sold over 600,000 copies.

She has won four Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her songwriting. Carole’s album Tapestry held the record for most weeks at #1 by a female artist for more than 20 years until broken by Whitney Houston with the soundtrack album The Bodyguard.

On April 10, 2012 her autobiography “A Natural Woman: A Memoir” was published by Grand Central Publishers. It entered the NYT best seller list at number six.

By Michael Smith

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