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Elton, Music Rising Earn Billboard Touring Honors

Sir Elton John and Music Rising will receive the Legend of Live and Humanitarian Awards, respectively, at the Third Annual Billboard Touring Conference & Awards, to be held Nov. 8-9 at the Rooseve

Sir Elton John and Music Rising will receive the Legend of Live and Humanitarian Awards, respectively, at the Third Annual Billboard Touring Conference & Awards, to be held Nov. 8-9 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.

Awards at the Nov. 9 reception will also go to a wide variety of tours, venues, and touring professionals, based on data reported to Billboard Boxscore between Dec. 1, 2005, and Sept. 30, 2006.

But rather than recent accomplishments, John's recognition will be based on his remarkable career achievements. He will be the first artist ever honored with the Legend of Live Award, which recognizes concert business professionals who have made a significant and lasting impact on the industry. Previous Legend winners include Rolling Stones producer Michael Cohl (2004) and Cellar Door Concerts founder Jack Boyle (2005).

John, whose first began touring in the U.S. in 1970, has over the course of four decades been one of the most consistent and critically acclaimed live performers in the business. In the last 15 years alone, John has notched nearly $600 million in grosses and 10 million in attendance from more than 600 public performances reported to Boxscore.

"Next March on his 60th birthday [John] will perform his 60th sold out show at Madison Square Garden," his manager Merck Mercuriadis says. "I do not believe I have ever seen another artist as happy and passionate on stage as he is."

Music Rising is a musical instrument replacement fund founded by U2's the Edge, producer Bob Ezrin, and Gibson Guitar chairman Henry Juszkiewicz, with MusiCares and the Guitar Center Foundation.

"We are so thankful to Billboard for this recognition," says Ezrin, "especially because it keeps the devastated musical culture of the Central Gulf in the minds of our peers. We need the help of the entire industry to restore that culture. This award shines a brilliant light on that need."

Jusczkiewiz says when Music Rising was launched in November 2005 with the intention of helping as many musicians affected by the Hurricane disasters as possible. "We have helped close to 2,000 musicians regain their livelihood and the spirit of a region in our country rich in music heritage and tradition," he says.

Adds the Edge, "We are just trying to help out our brother musicians from the Gulf Coast, and while getting this award is a great honor and a wonderful thing, we feel like there is still so much to do before New Orleans and the whole area are back to full strength. Here's to seeing that day."