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Billy Joel to Be Honored with Gershwin Prize for Popular Song
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The Library of Congress has announced that it will honor legendary musician Billy Joel with its Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The singer-songwriter, well known for such classics as "Piano Man" and "New York State of Mind" will receive the award in Washington DC this November.
Billy Joel is one of the highest grossing touring artists in the world. Having sold more than 150 million records over the past quarter century, Billy Joel ranks as one of most popular recording artists and respected entertainers in history. Throughout the years, Joel's songs have acted as personal and cultural touchstones for millions of people, mirroring his own goal of writing songs that "meant something during the time in which I lived ... and transcended that time." The singer/songwriter/composer is the sixth best-selling recording artist of all time and the third best-selling solo artist.
Joel is the recipient of The Kennedy Center Honor, one of the United States' top cultural awards. New York's quintessential son performed at the historic 12.12.12 The Concert For Sandy Relief, joining other music greats to raise awareness and money to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Billy Joel was honored by Steinway & Sons with a painted portrait that hangs in Steinway Hall in Manhattan, making him the first non-classical pianist to be immortalized in the collection. He played to more than 110,000 fans when he performed the final concerts at Shea Stadium, featured in the 2010 documentary film "The Last Play At Shea."
Billy Joel has received six GRAMMY(R) Awards, including the prestigious Grammy Legend Award. He has been inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has received numerous industry awards. His music has also served as the inspiration and score for the hit Tony Award-winning Broadway play "Movin' Out."
The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song celebrates the work of an artist whose career reflects lifetime achievement in promoting song as a vehicle of musical expression and cultural understanding. The styles in which these works are composed reflect myriad contemporary traditions like rock, jazz, country, pop, blues, folk, and gospel. The recipient-whether composer, singer/songwriter, or interpreter-is recognized for entertaining and informing audiences, for drawing upon the acknowledged foundations of popular song, and for inspiring new generations of performers on their own professional journeys.
The selection is made by the Librarian of Congress in consultation with a board that is both credible and broad enough in scope to represent the full spectrum of popular song. Board members may include but need not be limited to scholars, producers, performers, music critics, songwriters, and subject specialists within and outside the Library of Congress.
Previous recipients include Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, the songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, and Carole King.
Joel is among the world's most popular recording artists. He has said his piano-driven compositions spring from personal experiences, and that he strives to write songs that capture and transcend those moments.
With a career spanning 50 years in the entertainment industry, Joel is the sixth top-selling artist of all time.