The Library of Congress has announced that it will be awarding Billy Joel its honorable Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. He will be joining an elite group of musicians who have won the award since its creation in 2007: Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, the songwriting duo of Burch Bacharach and Hal David, and Carole King.
This announcement comes at the tail end of his world tour and right before the start of a series of performances at Madison Square Garden in New York City, which will occur August 7, September 17, October 2, November 25, and December 18. The honor of this award will likely drive up ticket sales for these monthly events.
The Gershwin Prize, named after American composer George Gershwin, honors a living artist’s achievement in music over their lifetime. Honorees are selected for their success in having promoted music as a vehicle of cultural understanding, entertained and informed audiences, and inspired new generations. The choice of its winner is made by the Librarian of Congress, as well as a board that is credible and broad in scope to represent the full gamut of popular music. For example, these board members could be scholars, producers, performers, critics, and songwriters.
“Billy Joel is a storyteller of the highest order,” Librarian of Congress James Billington commented. Joel has said that he strived to write songs that both “meant something during the time in which I lived…and transcended that time.” An international icon with universal songs, the artist has achieved that goal. Having sold more than 150 million records over more than 50 years in the music industry, Joel is the sixth top-selling artist of all time.
Joel will be honored with a series of events including musical performances when he receives his award in November in Washington, D.C. Tickets for these events have not yet gone on sale.
You can learn more about Billy Joel at his website.