Carole King receives Gershwin Prize from Barack Obama

Carole King: "I had parents who encouraged me every step of the way"

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US singer-songwriter Carole King has become the first woman to be awarded the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

US President Barack Obama presented King with the honour, which celebrates a lifetime achievement in popular music, at the White House in Washington.

King, 71, who is best known for penning hit songs such as Aretha Franklin's (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, was called a "living legend" by Mr Obama.

Several stars performed in her honour, including British singer Emeli Sande.

Grammy-award winner Gloria Estefan, American singer Billy Joel, and James Taylor, who had his first number one single with a recording of King's You've Got a Friend, also attended the event.

"I can't say it enough. I am so excited," King said.

The four-time Grammy winner co-wrote her first number one hit in 1960 aged 17 with Will You Love Me Tomorrow, recorded by The Shirelles.

Written with her then-husband, Gerry Goffin, the pair went on to pen hits including Take Good Care of My Baby, The Loco-Motion and Pleasant Valley Sunday.

As a solo artist, King became the first female solo artist to sell more than 10 million copies of a single album with her 1971 release, Tapestry.

It topped the chart for 15 weeks and spawned hits I Feel The Earth Move, It's Too Late and So Far Away.

Past recipients of the award include Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney.

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