Songwriter Billy Joel has been awarded the noted Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, in recognition of his contribution to songwriting
illy Joel has seen his songwriting honoured in Washington DC this week, with the songwriter becoming the seventh recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. During the award ceremony Joel played a series of his hits, with musicians and Hollywood celebrities joining him on stage. Those joining Joel included LeAnn Rimes, Tony Bennett and Kevin Spacey, with Spacey playing harmonica while Joel played his hit song Piano Man.
The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song was created by the Library of Congress in 2007, and is given to a composer or performer in recognition of their lifetime contribution to popular music. Previous winners of the prize are Paul Simon (2007), Stevie Wonder (2009), Paul McCartney (2010), Burt Bacharach and Hal David (2012) and Carole King (2013).
Joel dedicated the award to his mother Rosalind, who died earlier this year. Marking his dedication, he said “I keep seeing this through her eyes now. She would have just gotten such a kick out of this.”
Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, called Joel an inspirational figure, saying, “For more than five decades, Billy Joel has inspired new generations of performers, musicians and singer-songwriters.”