Carole King Is First Female Songwriter Honored With Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize

Previous recipients of the Library of Congress award include Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney 

Singer and songwriter Carole King will be awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced on Thursday.

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The 70-year-old musician — responsible for hits like "You've Got a Friend" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" – is the award's first female recipient.

She will be honored in Washington, D.C., next spring during a luncheon and musical performance in the Library of Congress’s historic Coolidge Auditorium. 

"Carole King has been one of the most influential songwriters of our time," Billington said in a statement. "For more than five decades, she has written for and been recorded by many different types of artists for a wide range of audiences, communicating with beauty and dignity the universal human emotions of love, joy, pain and loss. Her body of work reflects the spirit of the Gershwin Prize with its originality, longevity and diversity of appeal."

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Created in 2007, the prize is named after brothers George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, who wrote some of the most memorable music of the 20th century. Previous recipients include Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney and songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

"I was so pleased when the venerable Library of Congress began honoring writers of popular songs with the Gershwin Prize," King said in a statement. "I’m proud to be the fifth such honoree and the first woman among such distinguished company. I look forward to performing in the nation’s capital."