King's breakout 1971 smash album "Tapestry" remains one of the best-selling records of all time. It is the first female solo album to reach Diamond status, surpassing 10 million copies sold, as certified by the Recording Industry Association of America's Gold and Platinum Program (the milestone has been achieved by only 11 other female solo artists in history).
King will receive the Gershwin Prize in Washington, DC, in spring 2013, when she will be celebrated with a series of events, including an honoree's luncheon and musical performance in the Library of Congress' Coolidge Auditorium. The prize "honors the lifetime achievement of artists whose work exemplifies the standard of excellence associated with towering songwriters George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin."
"Carole King has been one of the most influential songwriters of our time," Billington said. "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 said, "I was so pleased when the venerable Library of Congress began honoring writers of popular songs with the Gershwin Prize. 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."
The Library named "Tapestry" to the National Recording Registry in 2004. King was the first woman to win four Grammy Awards in a single year (Best Album, Best Song, Best Record and Best Vocal Performance in 1972). Her 25 solo albums have garnered a total of six Gold awards, two Platinum awards, and one Diamond award. To date, more than 400 of her compositions during a five-decade career have been recorded by more than 1,000 artists and resulted in 100 hit singles.
The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song "was created to honor artists whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin, by bridging musical styles, bringing diverse listeners together, and fostering their mutual respect and appreciation."
The Library of Congress is home to the George and Ira Gershwin Collection, "the world's preeminent resource for the documentary legacy of the Gershwin brothers. It includes a wealth of manuscripts, printed music, photographs, correspondence, business papers, scrapbooks and iconography. The Library's Gershwin Room is a permanent tribute to the Gershwins and their work. It features George's piano and desk, Ira’s typing table and typewriter, self-portraits of both brothers and a selection of musical manuscripts from Gershwin stage and screen shows such as Lady Be Good, Funny Face, Girl Crazy and Of Thee I Sing."