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The Library of Congress announced Tuesday that Billy Joel will be the latest recipient of its George Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Joel will be joining an esteemed club that includes some of his influences like Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and Carole King.
Joel will be just the sixth recipient of the award. In addition to King, Simon and McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David and Stevie Wonder have also won the award. It is given to songwriters who meet “the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin.”
“The great composer, George Gershwin, has been a personal inspiration to me throughout my career,” Joel said in a statement, reports The New York Times. “And the Library’s decision to include me among those songwriters who have been past recipients is a milestone for me.”
Joel was a songwriting powerhouse in the 1970s, winning Grammys for “Just The Way You Are” and Album of the Year for 52nd Street. He is best known for songs like “Piano Man,” “New York State of Mind,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” and “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song),” to name just a few. He continued recording pop albums through 1992, ending with The River of Dreams.
He is forever linked to New York City and currently is the first “entertainment franchise” for Madison Square Garden, performing there at least once a month.
image courtesy of Scott Roth/INFphoto.com