Billy Joel Wins High Honor From U.S. Government
Billy Joel has joined the ranks of Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon as a recipient of the Library of Congress' Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington broke the news today (July 22) via press statement, calling the highly-decorated 65-year old performer "a storyteller of the highest order." Joel will receive the prize this November in Washington, D.C., where he'll be feted with a series of events, complete with an honoree's luncheon and musical performances.
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According to the Library of Congress' website, the Gershwin Prize "honors a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations."
Joel himself added a shout-out to the award's namesake:
"The great composer, George Gershwin, has been a personal inspiration to me throughout my career. And the Library’s decision to include me among those songwriters who have been past recipients is a milestone for me."
Joel is a six-time Grammy winner and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame.
After playing Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia in the coming weeks, Joel is set for a string of five dates -- one each month -- in New York's Madison Square Garden from August to December.