On Wednesday, singer-songwriter Carole King was given the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the highest award for pop music in the United States, by the Library of Congress, cementing her place in America's musical history. The award was given to her by President Obama at a tribute concert which featured performances of King's songs by King herself, as well others, including Billy Joel, Gloria Estefan, and James Taylor.
Only five other songwriters have been given the prize: Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, and Hal David. King is the first woman to receive the Gershwin Prize.
King's 1971 album Tapestry, the first female solo album to be certified Diamond, held the record for most consecutive weeks at #1 for over 20 years until Whitney Houston's soundtrack for The Bodyguard, which was recently beaten by Adele's 21. She has also won four Grammys and is a member of both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Joel Whitburn of Billboard Magazine named her the most successful female songwriter of 1955-1999 because she had written or co-written 118 songs on the Top 100 list, including her first number one hit at age 17, which was The Shirelles' "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow."
The tribute concert will be broadcast on PBS and streamed on the White House website May 28.