Paul McCartney will receive the coveted outstanding contribution to music honor at the Brit Awards 2008.

The legendary Beatles singer and bass player will perform at the ceremony, which will be held Feb. 20 at London’s Earl’s Court venue and broadcast live on national network ITV1.

"This is a historic moment for the Brits,” comments Ged Doherty, chairman of the Brits committee, in a statement issued today.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of trade body the BPI, continues, "Over a career spanning five decades and more than 100 million albums, very few contemporary artists have had as significant an impact on British music and culture as Sir Paul." Taylor added, "Few artists can truly be described as legends, and even fewer are revered by the public like Sir Paul."

The gong, a gift from the council of the BPI, organizers of the annual gala, has been collected over the years by a list of luminary artists, including U2, Paul Weller, Tom Jones, Sting, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, Eurythmics, the Who, and the most recent recipient, Oasis.

The Beatles and former EMI chief L.G. Wood were joint-winners of the award at the inaugural Brits ceremony in 1977, where the seminal band also won the British group award and took out the best British album category for “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band.”

McCartney last picked up a Brit Award in 1983 for best male solo artist. But the former Wings frontman was back among the winners at the sister Classical Brit Awards earlier this year when his solo album “Ecce Cor Meum” -- which represented a huge shift in his musical direction -- took out classical album of the year honors.