News / Arts & Entertainment

    Billy Joel to Receive Library of Congress Gershwin Prize

    FILE - Billy Joel performs at Madison Square Garden in New York, May 9, 2014.
    FILE - Billy Joel performs at Madison Square Garden in New York, May 9, 2014.
    Katherine Cole

    The Library of Congress has announced this year’s winner of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song: singer, piano-player and songwriter Billy Joel.

    Library of Congress Librarian James Billington calls Joel a "storyteller of the highest order."  Billington said his songwriting carries "an intimacy" that bridges the gap between the listener and the worlds in his songs.

    With a career spanning five decades, Joel, known for his piano-driven compositions, is one of the most popular recording artists in the world.

    Billy Joel to Receive Library of Congress Gershwin Prize
    Billy Joel to Receive Library of Congress Gershwin Prizei
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    On his current tour, Joel has been poking fun at those lyrics to “The Entertainer,” noting that he has broken all the rules for success he sings about.  Now he’s being honored with The Gershwin Prize for a career that includes 33 Top-40 hits, and six Grammy wins out of 23 nominations.  His hits, including "Piano Man," "New York State of Mind" and "Uptown Girl," have made him the sixth top-selling artist of all time.

    Joel has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  His touring history includes a groundbreaking 1987 sojourn in what was then the Soviet Union. Not bad for a guy who doesn’t like his own singing voice.

    Named for composer George Gershwin and his lyricist brother Ira, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize is handed out yearly to a living artist in recognition of his or her lifetime achievements. But this isn’t an award given to just any pop-star.

    “We’re not looking for an artist who’s simply popular in one genre," said Suzanne Hogan, the executive in charge of production for The Gershwin Prize at the Library of Congress.  "The Gershwins, George and Ira, were remarkable in not only symphonic music, but also gospel and jazz and country and pop and blues. The type of artist we’re looking for also for also embodies those same qualities.”

    Hogan says Joel was chosen because he is a great storyteller and writes songs everyone relates to. For example, his song “Allentown” showed what happened to a small American town after the factories there closed down, putting people out of work.

    Previous winners of the Gershwin Prize are Carole King, Burt Bacharach & Hal David, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon, a group Hogan calls responsible for “the world songbook.” She says Joel was honored to join their ranks.

    “He was very surprised. He was humble. He wants to live up to the legacy that was established by the Gershwins," she said. "He has been a longtime admirer and studied the Gershwins, particularly George Gershwin, so he was quite honored by it.  I think most importantly he was honored that his country has recognized his contribution to American culture.”

    The Library of Congress will present Billy Joel with The Gershwin Prize in November. The events will end with an all-star concert featuring some of Joel’s former touring partners, along with other artists he’s inspired.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Melisa from: New York
    July 22, 2014 1:10 PM
    Billy is so deserving. Here's a great, up-close video of Jimmy Fallon singing Happy Birthday to Billy at MSG on Billy's birthday this year. As you can see, he is so humble! Glad to see this honor bestowed on him. One of the greatest song writers and performers of our generation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayu83eu-fus

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs