Carole King has been named the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song recipient by the Library of Congress. The veteran singer and songwriter is also the first woman to be given the prestigious prize, which applauds the "lifetime achievement of artists whose work exemplifies the standard of excellence associated with towering songwriters George and Ira Gershwin." She will receive the distinction for her vast body of work in music spanning five decades.
In a statement released via L.A. Times, King said, "I was so pleased when the venerable Library of Congress began honoring writers of popular songs with the Gershwin Prize." The singer gushed, "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."
"Carole King has been one of the most influential songwriters of our time," Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, said in his announcement. "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."
King will receive her Gershwin Prize in spring 2013 in a ceremony to take place in Washington, D.C. The event is usually attended by other big names in music who will pay a tribute to the year's recipient via performances of his or her songs. Other Gershwin Prize winners include Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, and the team of Hal David and Burt Bacharach.