John Legend, one of the bevy of stars who covered Carole King’s music at the Dolby Theater on Dec. 4, might have placed King’s singer-songwriter gifts in the greatest relief when he said, “It’s one thing to write a song that stands the test of time, it’s another thing entirely” to have a string of hits that spans decades. Legend then sat down at the piano and injected “You’ve Got a Friend” with a new level of heartbreaking emotion.
The sold-out tribute benefited the Painted Turtle, part of Paul Newman’s Serious Fun Children’s Network of Camps, and attracted three generations of King acolytes to perform her music, including Katy Perry, Amy Grant, Jacob Dylan, Herb Alpert and Jesse McCartney. The clear standout was Alicia Keys, who appeared early in the program to perform “I Feel the Earth Move” and later participated in the showstopper, a duet with the night’s honoree on “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
At one point, King, whose pot-smoking days were already well behind her by the time she recorded 1971’s “Tapestry,” noted, “It’s really addicting to be a part of these camps and let me tell you, it’s a healthy addiction!”