Monday, December 17, 2012

Carole King's Crown

Music has always had the power to heal, to soothe, to bring people together. So, after last week's devastating news, I am happy to celebrate some truly good news about an inspired and inspiring artist.

Carole King will be the 2013 recipient the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. She will be the first woman to enjoy the much deserved and lauded recognition, and only the third composer, following behind the pioneering Pauls, Simon and McCartney respectively.

When I was nine, ten years old, I couldn't resist the lure of my older sister's record collection. The Beatles, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Jim Croce, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Patti Smith, all held my passport to the mysterious and forbidden teenage world. I'd find out about Elton John, Blondie, The Ramones, Talking Heads, The Smiths, and Elvis Costello a bit later on during my precocious adventures in Marconi's box.

But Carole King's "Tapestry" album was one of my sister's perennials. The earth moved us through that seminal album over and over. Long before I truly understood the heartbreaking pathos behind 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? and "It's Too Late." the yearning in "Way Over Yonder" or "So Far Away."

The irony of "Smackwater Jack's" jaunty tune eluded my innocent imagination, and for obvious reasons, now grips my psyche at this writing.

It would be a while before I learned about King's first fame as a (very) young Brill Building scribe, penning hits for a slew of groups from The Shirelles to The Monkees.

Carole King's music has become indelibly etched into the pop cultural landscape. The celebration of her musical canon will give us another chance to revel in its powers.

Bravo, Carole King! And congratulations.

Drive Safe. Play nice. Think peace.


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