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American singer and songwriter Carole King has written or co-written over 400 songs that have been recorded by more than 1,000 artists.
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Of her home in the wilderness she says, "When I wake up every morning, I smile and say, 'Thank you.' Because out of my window I can see the mountains, then go hiking with my dog and share her bounding joy in the world."
The 1980s and 1990s saw a dip in her prolific songwriting, but not her active lifestyle. King has been working with the Alliance for the Wild Rockies since 1990, advocating for the passage of the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA); she testified before Congress twice in support of the legislation. She also became involved in electoral politics, becoming a strong supporter of Democratic candidates John Kerry and Hillary Clinton in 2004 and 2008, respectively. She married Idaho rancher Rick Sorenson in 1982; the couple has since divorced and King remains happily single and independent in her mountain home.
By the late 1990s, King was ready to launch something of a comeback in the music industry. She penned the hit "The Reason" for Celine Dion in 1997 and later performed it alongside the Canadian singer at VH1's Divas Live concert. In 2004, Cole recorded a well-received live album on her Living Room Tour. More recently, in 2007 she bridged divides of generation and genre by touring Japan with R&B star Mary J. Blige and Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas. In 2010, she linked up with longtime friend James Taylor for the Troubador Reunion Tour. The resulting Live at the Troubador album hit No. 4 on the U.S. charts and confirmed Carole King's lasting power as a force in the music industry. Over the course of her long career, she penned over 400 songs that have been recorded by more than 1,000 artists. When a reporter asked her what she would say now if she could give advice to her younger self, King said simply: "You're going to have a very rich and wonderful life."
In 2013, King made music history as the first woman to receive the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. President Barack Obama gave her this honor at a special ceremony held at the White House. Around the time she received this award, the legendary singer-songwriter told the Associated Press that she will continue making music and performing. "I still feel that it would be lovely to retire, but that time is not yet here apparently," she said.
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American society experienced a revolution in the late 1960s and early 70s, especially for African-Americans and women. Janis Joplin was the finest white blues singer of her generation; female singer-songwriters like Carole King and Joni Mitchell shared their innermost thoughts and feelings; Aretha Franklin emerged as the Queen of Soul; and Bonnie Raitt established herself as both a strong vocalist and a brilliant guitarist. Through their music, the women of this era created the soundtrack of social progress.
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