Billy Joel: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize
Billy Joel: Web Extras
Boyz II Men perform "The Longest Time" at the 2014 Gershwin Prize.
Josh Groban & Sharon Isbin perform " She's Always A Woman" at the 2014 Gershwin Prize.
Tony Bennett Performs "New York State of Mind" at the 2014 Gershwin Prize.
Billy Joel: Web Exclusives
“Billy Joel: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize” is a PBS music special honoring singer-songwriter Billy Joel’s receipt of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The evening will include performances by Joel, as well as Tony Bennett, Boyz II Men, Gavin DeGraw, Josh Groban, Natalie Maines, John Mellencamp and LeAnn Rimes, with a special performance by Kevin Spacey~— as well as a dance ensemble performance from Twyla Tharp’s “Movin’ Out.” (Program subject to change.) During the event, Joel will be presented the Gershwin Prize by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), U.S. Representative Candice Miller (R-MI10), U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA12), U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R-MS3) and Dr. James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress. The award ceremony will be taped on November 19, 2014 at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Constitution Hall. The program will premiere Friday, January 2, 2015 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide, as part of PBS Arts. (Check local listings.) The program will also be broadcast at a later date via the American Forces Network to American service men and women and civilians at U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.
The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is named in honor of the legendary George and Ira Gershwin. This award recognizes the profound and positive effect of popular music on the world’s culture. The prize is given annually to a composer or performer whose lifetime contributions exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins. The Gershwin Prize was first awarded to Paul Simon in May 2007, followed by Stevie Wonder in February 2009, Sir Paul McCartney in June 2010, the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David in May 2012, and to Carole King in 2013.
Billy Joel ranks as one of the most popular recording artists and respected entertainers in the world. His piano-fueled narratives take listeners into the relatable and deeply personal crevices of life, mirroring his own goal of writing songs that “meant something during the time in which I lived . . . and transcended that time.” His songs “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant,” “The Entertainer,” “Piano Man,” “Big Shot,” “New York State of Mind,” “You May Be Right,” “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” “Allentown,” “Uptown Girl” and “The Downeaster ‘Alexa’” are among many classics in a rich and deep catalog of music that have acted as personal and cultural touchstones for millions of people.
“WETA is proud to bring this concert to the American people in collaboration with the Library of Congress,” noted Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA. “It is our continuing honor to share these special musical events with the wide public television viewing audience.”
“As Beverly Sills once said, the arts are a signature of our civilization. PBS and our member stations are committed to using our media platforms to bring the best of American arts and culture to our audiences,” said Paula A. Kerger, president and CEO of PBS. “Billy Joel is~the voice of a generation with his music. Honoring and recognizing his contribution to music under the PBS Arts banner is just one way that we can help share our collective cultural legacy with all Americans.”~
“Through public media that informs, educates, inspires and entertains, we are pleased to support the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize and this celebration of the enduring musical contributions of Billy Joel to our country’s musical heritage,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
“Billy Joel’s array of work reflects the spirit of the Gershwin Prize with its originality, longevity and diversity of appeal,” commented Dr. James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress. “Since the start of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, PBS has brought this celebration of creativity directly and more broadly to the American people. We’re pleased that the greater public will be able to join in the recognition of this great artist.”