Carole King Klein (born Carol Joan Klein; February 9, 1942) is an American singer-songwriter who has been active since 1958, initially as one of the staff songwriters at the Brill Building and later as a solo artist. She is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century in the US, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100. King also wrote 61 hits that charted in the UK, making her the most successful female songwriter on the UK singles charts between 1962 and 2005.
King’s major success began in the 1960s when she and her first husband, Gerry Goffin, wrote more than two dozen chart hits, many of which have become standards, for numerous artists. She has continued writing for other artists since then. King’s success as a performer in her own right did not come until the 1970s, when she sang her own songs, accompanying herself on the piano, in a series of albums and concerts. After experiencing commercial disappointment with her debut album Writer, King scored her breakthrough with the album Tapestry, which topped the U.S. album chart for 15 weeks in 1971 and remained on the charts for more than six years.
Studio: 17 albums from 1970 – 2011
Live: 5 albums from 1994 – 2017
Compilation: 9 albums from 1978 – 2015
Soundtrack: 1 album in 1975
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King’s autobiography, A Natural Woman: A Memoir was published by Grand Central in the United States in April 2012. It entered The New York Times best seller list at No.6.
In late 2012, the Library of Congress announced that King had been named the 2013 recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song – the first woman to receive the distinction, given to songwriters for a body of work. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama hosted the award concert at the White House on May 22, 2013, with the President presenting the prize and reading the citation.
Carole King has been one of the most influential songwriters of our time. 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.
–James H. Billington
Librarian of Congress