Carole King wrote the song "You've Got a Friend," and she found out she had a lot of friends Friday night. The legendary singer/songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year in a black-tie bash held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and stars from pop, rock and country lined up to pay tribute to her work.
The party, one of the premiere events leading up to the Grammys, was hosted by ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who joked, “Carole, of course, wrote the classic ‘You’ve Got a Friend,’ and this was before Facebook when the word ‘friend’ still had meaning.” Kimmel also told the audience he had a personal connection to Carole: his dad went to high school with her, a fact he knows very well because his dad “has mentioned that every single day of my life.”
The red carpet at the event was packed with stars from music to film, including Lady Gaga , Tom Hanks , Yoko Ono , James Taylor , Steven Tyler , Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, and David Crosby, who told ABC News Radio that King “is one of the best writers in the world.” Gloria Estefan proclaimed that King “literally gave a voice to a generation of girls” and gushed, “She’s an icon to me.” Growing up, Steven Tyler said all he heard on the radio were songs by King. “I wanted to be someone who could write songs like that. She taught me a lot,” he said.
Inside the event, some of the biggest superstars in the business paid tribute to King through her songs. Lady Gaga took to the piano for a solo, emotional version of “You’ve Got a Friend” and before the performance, she thanked King “for inspiring us female songwriters every day.”
Steven Tyler and
rocked out to “Hi-De-Ho,” a song King wrote that was a hit for
Blood, Sweat & Tears
had everyone dancing in the aisles to “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” which was so electrifying that afterwards, Jimmy Kimmel proclaimed “Holy sh**, right?” Carole's longtime friend
sang his version of King's “Up On The Roof,” which was a hit for both him and
belted out the ballad “So Far Away” accompanied on piano by
. Country stars
Zac Brown, Miranda Lambert, Jennifer Nettles, Martina McBride
also paid musical tribute to King, as did King's daughter
But it wasn’t just comedians and musicians who celebrated King. Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton appeared in a video message, praising King for her “songs [that] have touched so many people all over the world for so long,” and saying “You have been able to brighten up even our darkest nights” -- a lyrical quote from "You've Got a Friend."
When King finally took the stage almost two hours after the performances started, she told the crowd that the night was not really about her, but about MusiCares: a community of people who care. The money raised on the night went to benefit the MusiCares emergency financial assistance and addiction recovery programs, which helps musicians who have no other resources.
About the high-powered performances, King told the crowd, “My dream was always and still is to hear great singers perform my songs. It does not get any better than this, folks.” She then launched into performances of her songs “Home Again,” “Sweet Season,” duetted with James Taylor on “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” Next came the 1974 hit “Jazzman,” followed by seemingly every performer in the house taking the stage to join in on “I Feel The Earth Move.” It was a finale so thunderous that it seemed the earth under the convention center actually was moving.
Here's the set list for the MusiCares Person of the Year tribute to Carole King:
Steven Tyler and LeAnn Rimes – “Hi De Ho”
Pink and Paul Mirkovich – “So Far Away”
Train – “I Feel The Earth Move”
Lady Gaga “You’ve Got a Friend”
Gloria Estefan – “It’s Too Late”
Will.I.Am with Leah McFall – “Love Makes The World”
Jason Mraz, Sara Bareilles, Zac Brown, and Raining Jane – “Beautiful”
Jesse and Joy – “Where You Lead”
Kacey Musgraves and Miguel – “Crying in the Rain”
Alicia Keys – “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”
Jakob Dylan and Louise Goffin – “Goin’ Back”
Amy Grant, Jennifer Nettles, Martina McBride, and Miranda Lambert -- Medley
James Taylor – “Up On the Roof” and “Hey Girl”
Carole King -- “Home Again,” “Sweet Seasons,” a duet with James Taylor of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Jazzman,” and “I Feel The Earth Move”
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