Elton John and Bernie Taupin will jointly accept this year’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the Library of Congress announced Tuesday. A tribute concert celebrating their songwriting will be held in Washington, D.C. on March 20 and broadcast on PBS stations April 8.
No lineup has yet been announced for the tribute, which will be held before an invitation-only audience. Ken Ehrlich Productions, the producing force behind the Grammys for many decades, will co-produce the Gershwin event with WETA in Washington, D.C. and the Library of Congress.
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“I’ve been writing songs with Bernie for 56 years, and we never thought that that one day this might be bestowed upon us,” John said in a statement. “It’s an incredible honor for two British guys to be recognized like this. I’m so honored.” Added lyricist Taupin in his own statement, “To be in a house along with the great American songwriters, to even be in the same avenue is humbling, and I am absolutely thrilled to accept.”
Plaudits have been plentiful for both songwriters recently. Taupin, the lyricist of most of John’s greatest hits, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last fall. John, meanwhile, completed his EGOT earlier this month by winning an Emmy Award for his Dodger Stadium concert special.
The prize for John and Taupin comes on the heels of last year’s salute to Joni Mitchell, which brought in guests including Brandi Carlile, Annie Lennox, Marcus Mumford, James Taylor and Herbie Hancock. Previous recipients of the Gershwin Prize include Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Billy Joel, Garth Brooks, Smokey Robinson and the writing team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
“Elton John and Bernie Taupin have written some of the most memorable songs of our lives,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in a statement. “Their careers stand out for the quality and broad appeal of their music and their influence on their fellow artists. More than 50 years ago, they came from across the pond to win over Americans and audiences worldwide with their beautiful songs and rock anthems. We’re proud to honor Elton and Bernie with the Gershwin Prize for their incredible impact on generations of music lovers.”
“Elton John and Bernie Taupin: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” will air on most PBS stations at 8 p.m. local time on Monday, April 8, and will be available for streaming on PBS.org and the PBS app.
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