Country Icon George Strait Tapped for Billboard's Legend Of Live Award

George Strait performs onstage during the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 7, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Getty Images for ACM

The King of Country will be crowned with Billboard's highest accolade in the touring space at an event on Nov. 14

George Strait will be honored with the Legend Of Live Award at the 10th annual Billboard Touring Awards, to be held Nov. 14 at The Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Strait -- who has forged a reputation as a record-breaker -- becomes the first country artist to receive the trophy, which recognizes individuals or bands who've made lasting contributions to live music and the touring business.


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Beyond success at the box office, the honor rewards professionalism and steadfast commitment to the art and craft of live performance and the fan experience at concerts.

Strait says he's thrilled to be acknowledged for his contributions to live music. "There's nothing more rewarding than performing in front of a sold out, pumped-up, loud crowd," Strait notes. "That's what keeps us coming back. I love it."

During his stellar career, Strait has sold more than 44.5 million records (according to Nielsen Soundscan), has 33 different platinum or multi-platinum albums to his name, and has landed a staggering 44 No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart – more than any other artist in history. 

The country superstar also remains the only artist across all genres to have a top ten hit every year for 30 years.

Nearly 40 years into his touring career, Strait remains one of the most in-demand headliners on the road. He'll round-up his touring career with a sold-out tour, "Cowboy Rides Away," which will wind its way through arenas and stadiums in 2013-2014. 

"George Strait's fans span generations, and he is committed to making his live shows the best possible experience for fans and, as such, is uniquely deserving of this award," comments Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde. "From his days in the Texas honky-tonks, through the creation of country music touring festivals in stadiums, and his top-shelf, professional touring strategies and production, George Strait's talent and style transcends musical trends. Billboard is honored to name George Strait as our first country music Legend Of Live."

To further celebrate the veteran country star's achievements, Billboard's Aug. 24 issue carries a rare interview with Strait, celebrating his career all the way through from his early days to his upcoming final shows. The tribute issue also features in-depth stories on Strait's record-setting success as a recording artist and touring performer with comments from his label, manager, promoter, producer, and songwriters; and favorite Strait memories from a host of Nashville stars.

Neil Diamond, Kenny Chesney Light Up Billboard Touring Awards

On the night of the Annual Billboard Touring Awards, Strait will join an elite circle of previous participants which includes Sir Elton John, Journey, promoter Michael Cohl, promoter Jack Boyle, agent Frank Barsalona, the Allman Brothers Band, Ozzy Osbourne, Rush, and 2012 honoree Neil Diamond.

The 2013 Billboard Touring Awards honor the concert industry's top artists, venues and professionals for the year, primarily based on the Billboard Boxscore chart and actual box office performance between Oct. 1, 2012 and Sept. 30, 2013.  

The awards reception, in association with Shell Rotella, is the culmination of the two-day Billboard Touring Conference, which takes place Nov. 13-14 at Roosevelt Hotel in NYC. More details can be found here.