It’s no great surprise that Carole King has become the first woman to win the prestigious Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song– what a talent. She was co-writing hits that got huge airplay when she was still a teen in bobby sox: “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “One Fine Day,” “Up On The Roof.”
But one of the most satisfying things about her storied career is how she wrote song after song and hit after hit for everyone’s voice, it seemed, but her own – and when she finally put her own singing behind her own words, the result was “Tapestry,” an album that blew the doors off the music industry.
That breakout 1971 album remains one of the best-selling record albums of all time. It became the first solo album by a female artist to reach the Recording Industry Association of America’s “Diamond” status, meaning it sold more than 10 million copies. (Actually, more than 25 million copies.) Packed with hits – “You’ve Got A Friend,” “It’s Too Late,” “I Feel The Earth Move,” and her own rendition of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”—“Tapestry” was named to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry in 2003 as worthy of preservation for coming generations.
Tonight her voice was heard once again, as Carole King and a cast of stars celebrated her career and her prize in the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium, closing with rousing collective renditions of “You’ve Got A Friend” and “I Feel The Earth Move.” Tomorrow night, she’ll sing again at the White House, and President Barack Obama will present her with the Gershwin Prize medal.
Is there a moral to this amazing story? Sure. Something like: Share your gifts, but don’t forget to share them with yourself.
Congratulations to Carole King.