Photo: David Shankbone

Photo: David Shankbone

Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Billy Joel is to be honoured with the prestigious Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. He will receive the prize in Washington, D.C. in November.

Joel follows in the footsteps of six previous recipients: Carole King, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney and songwriting partners Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David.

The Gershwin Prize honours individuals for lifetime achievement in popular music. It is named after legendary songwriting brothers George and Ira Gershwin.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billlington said: “Billy Joel is a storyteller of the highest order. There is an intimacy to his songwriting that bridges the gap between the listener and the worlds he shares through music.”

Billy Joel said: “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.”

Six-time Grammy Award winner Billy Joel was presented with a Grammy Legend Award in 1990. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

During his 50-year career, he has had 33 Top 40 hits and has sold more than 150 million records worldwide. His Grammy awards include Song of the Year and Album of the Year in 1978 for ‘Just the Way You Are’.

Since releasing his first hit song, ‘Piano Man’, in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States.

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