Obama honours “living legend” Carole King at White House

WASHINGTON D.C., United States, Friday May 31, 2013 – Saluting Carole King’s five decades as an award-winning singer-songwriter and calling her a “living legend,” President Barack Obama presented King with this year’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song during a tribute concert in her honour in the East Room of the White House last week.

The presentation of the Library of Congress award made King the first woman so honoured, placing her among a list of recipients that comprises Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and Hal David.

King, 71, accepted the honour on behalf of the co-writers who worked on some of her songs, in a massive portfolio of megahits that includes such enduring favourites as “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “You’ve Got a Friend.”

“I’m honoured to be recognized by the Library of Congress as the fifth recipient and first woman as has been stated,” the evergreen entertainer said. “I can’t say it enough. I am so excited.”

Performing in King’s honour at the White House were several friends from the music business, including Gloria Estefan, Billy Joel, Jesse McCartney, Emeli Sande, James Taylor and Trisha Yearwood.

The iconic singer-songwriter opened the show on the piano before taking a front-row seat between the president and Vice President Joe Biden.

Estefan, Yearwood and Sande followed with one of King’s many No. 1 hits “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”. King and longtime friend Taylor closed the concert with her classic “You’ve Got a Friend”.

King got her start in music growing up in Brooklyn, and penned her first No. 1 hit at just 17-years-old with “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” for the Shirelles, co-written by then-husband Gerry Goffin.

“Tapestry,” her breakout 1971 album, remains one of the best-selling records of all time and was the first female solo album to reach Diamond status, surpassing 10 million copies sold. The album included No. 1s “It’s Too Late” and “I Feel the Earth Move,” as well as “You’ve Got a Friend” recorded by Taylor.

The landmark album was the first by a female artist to win all the top Grammy awards — for record, song and album of the year, along with the Grammy for best pop vocal performance.

“And as one of the best-selling albums of all-time, it cemented Carole’s status as one of the most influential singer-songwriters that America has ever seen,” President Obama said.

Over 1,000 artists have recorded hundreds of King’s songs, including Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, Mary J. Blige, Cher, Phil Collins, Barbra Streisand and many more. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)