May 21, 2013 Library of Congress Honors Carole King at Congressional Luncheon and Live Concert May 21
WETA to Live-Stream All-Star Library Concert May 21; PBS Broadcast May 28
Press Contact: Gayle Osterberg (202) 707-0020 | Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-6456
Groundbreaking songwriter Carole King made history once again when she became the first female recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The nation’s library today kicks off a series of events honoring the singer-songwriter. As the 2013 recipient of the prize, which commemorates George and Ira Gershwin—the legendary American songwriting team whose extensive collection resides in the Library of Congress—King is being celebrated by the nation’s top leaders and artists.
Events include a luncheon with members of Congress and an all-star tribute concert tonight at the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium. The Library concert will feature performances by major stars including Patti Austin, Colbie Caillat, Michael Feinstein, Siedah Garrett, Louise Goffin, Shelby Lynne, Gian Marco, Arturo Sandoval and a special performance by King. The concert will be streamed live May 21 at 7 p.m. on the Library of Congress website at www.loc.gov.
On Wednesday, King will be feted with a second tribute concert at the White House, where President Barack Obama will present the prize. King will be joined at the White House concert by Gloria Estefan, Billy Joel, Jesse McCartney, Emeli Sandé, James Taylor and Trisha Yearwood.
The White House program, to be taped by WETA Washington, D.C., as part of its “In Performance at the White House” series, will premiere on PBS stations nationwide on Tuesday, May 28 at 8 p.m. EDT (check local listings) as “Carole King: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize In Performance at the White House.” The program also will be broadcast at a later date via the American Forces Network to the nation’s military personnel and civilians at U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world. The executive producers of the Gershwin Prize all-star tribute and broadcast at the White House are Peter Kaminsky, Bob Kaminsky, Mark Krantz and Cappy McGarr; WETA executive producers are Dalton Delan and David S. Thompson.
The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song honors artists whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin, by bridging musical styles, bringing diverse listeners together and fostering their mutual respect and appreciation. Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney and the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
“For more than five decades, Carole King has enriched our lives through her music,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “She has been an influential force in the industry and her music reflects the beauty and universality of the human experience.”
In making the selection for the prize, the Librarian of Congress sought advice from leading music and entertainment notables. The 2013 award advisory committee consisted of Burt Bacharach, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Paul McCartney, Steve Moore, Phil Ramone, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.
King’s illustrious career can be tracked through the registrations of her published and unpublished works in the U.S. Copyright Office, which is a part of the Library of Congress. Among her earliest unpublished works are two songs—“Goin’ Wild” and “The Right Girl”—submitted in 1958.
At age 17, King wrote her first hit, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” for the Shirelles with then-husband Gerry Goffin. They wrote dozens of chart hits together, including “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “Some Kind of Wonderful,” “Chains,” “The Loco-Motion,” “One Fine Day,” “Up on the Roof” and “Don’t Bring Me Down.”
King’s breakout 1971 album “Tapestry” guaranteed her place in music history and remains one of the best-selling records of all time. It is the first female solo album to reach Diamond status, surpassing 10 million copies, as certified by the Recording Industry Association of America’s Gold and Platinum program. “It’s Too Late” and “I Feel the Earth Move” were both No. 1 songs for King from the album. Other songs from the album that reached No. 1 include “You’ve Got a Friend,” recorded by James Taylor, and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” recorded by the Shirelles.
“Tapestry” was ranked 36 in Rolling Stone magazine’s 2003 list of the 500 best albums of all time. The Library named “Tapestry” to the National Recording Registry in 2004.
King was the first woman to win four Grammy Awards in a single year (Best Album, Best Song, Best Record and Best Vocal Performance in 1972). Her 25 solo albums have garnered a total of six Gold awards, two Platinum awards, and one Diamond award. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
More than 400 of her compositions during a five-decade career have been recorded by more than 1,000 artists and resulted in 100 hit singles. Her songs have been recorded by The Beatles, Mary J. Blige, Cher, Phil Collins, Celine Dion, The Drifters, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Little Eva, Lorrie Morgan, the Monkees, Aaron Neville, Laura Nyro, Donny Osmond, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Linda Ronstadt, Diana Ross, Rod Stewart, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor, Tina Turner, Bobby Vee, Dwight Yoakam and hundreds more.
King has written songs for movie soundtracks including “Now and Forever” for “A League of Their Own” in 1992 and “Anyone At All” for the film “You’ve Got Mail” in 1998.
In April 2012, King’s memoir, “A Natural Woman,” debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at No. 6. As a companion to King’s life story, Concord/Hear music released “The Legendary Demos” with 13 previously unreleased demo recordings featuring some of her most celebrated songs from 1960-1970.
“In Performance at the White House” is a music series distributed for national television broadcast by PBS and produced since its inception in 1978 by WETA Washington, D.C. WETA, the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital, created the series to showcase the rich fabric of American culture in the setting of the nation’s most famous home. Throughout the years, the series has embraced virtually every genre of American performance from pop, country, gospel, jazz, and blues to theatre and dance.
The Library of Congress is home to the George and Ira Gershwin Collection, the world’s preeminent resource for the documentary legacy of the Gershwin brothers. It contains a wealth of materials that provide insight into their careers and personalities, including manuscripts and printed music, photographs, correspondence, business papers, scrapbooks and iconography. The Gershwin Room – a permanent tribute to the Gershwins and their work – features George’s piano and desk, Ira’s typing table and typewriter, self-portraits of both brothers and a selection of musical manuscripts from Gershwin stage and screen shows such as "Lady Be Good," "Funny Face," "Girl Crazy" and "Of Thee I Sing." Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through www.loc.gov. For more information on the Gershwin Prize, visit www.loc.gov/about/awardshonors/gershwin/.