Artists Celebrate Lionel Richie Receiving Library's Gershwin Prize
Lineup Includes Gloria Estefan, Boyz II Men, Luke Bryan, Andra Day, Chris Stapleton and More, Premiering May 17 on PBS
The nation’s library, musical artists and American leaders honored pop music icon Lionel Richie in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, March 9, as he was awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song during an all-star tribute concert.
The lineup includes performances by previous Gershwin Prize honoree Gloria Estefan, Boyz II Men, Luke Bryan, Andra Day, Chris Stapleton, Miguel, Yolanda Adams, and a special performance by honoree Lionel Richie. Actor and comedian Anthony Anderson will host the event. The concert is by invitation only.
PBS stations will broadcast the concert — “Lionel Richie: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” — at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 17 (check local listings) and on PBS.org and the PBS Video App as part of the co-produced Emmy Award-winning music series. It will also be broadcast to U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world via the American Forces Network.
Richie also appeared at the Library on Monday, March 7, at 7 p.m. ET in conversation with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. The event was streamed live on the Library’s YouTube channel and was open to the public with seating at a reduced capacity on a first-come, first-serve basis.
A songwriting superstar of the first order and 2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee, Richie is known for his mega-hits such as “Endless Love,” “Lady,” “Truly,” “All Night Long,” “Penny Lover,” “Stuck on You,” “Hello,” “Say You, Say Me” and “Dancing on the Ceiling.” He also co-wrote one of the most important pop songs in history, “We Are the World,” for USA for Africa. His song catalog also includes his early work with The Commodores, where he developed a groundbreaking style that defied genre categories, penning smashes such as “Three Times a Lady,” “Still,” and “Easy.” Richie achieved the incredible distinction of writing No. 1 songs for 11 consecutive years.
Beyond his own impressive music career, Richie has mentored young artists as a judge on ABC’s “American Idol” for the past four seasons and is back for the fifth season.
Richie’s songs are part of the fabric of pop music and American culture. The Tuskegee, Alabama, native has sold more than 125 million albums worldwide. He has won an Oscar®, a Golden Globe®, four Grammy Awards®*, the distinction of MusicCares Person of the Year in 2016, and was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2017.
“This is truly an honor of a lifetime, and I am so grateful to be receiving the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song,” Richie said.“I am proud to be joining all the other previous artists, who I also admire and am a fan of their music.”
Bestowed in recognition of the legendary songwriting team of George and Ira Gershwin, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song celebrates the work of artists whose careers reflect their influence, impact and achievement in promoting song as a vehicle of musical expression and cultural understanding. The honoree is selected by the Librarian of Congress in consultation with a board of scholars, producers, performers, songwriters and other music specialists. Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, and Garth Brooks.
“Lionel Richie: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” is a co-production of WETA Washington, D.C.; Bounce, a division of Concord Music Group; and the Library of Congress. The executive producers are Carla Hayden for the Library of Congress and John F. Wilson for WETA Washington, D.C. The producers are Tim Swift and Bill Urban for Bounce; and Susan H. Vita and Jarrod MacNeil for the Library of Congress. The program director is Jerry Foley. The writer is Neal Kendall. Major funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Wells Fargo is the presenting sponsor. Funding is also provided by AARP; The Ira and Leonore Gershwin Philanthropic Fund and The Leonore S. Gershwin Trust for the benefit of the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board, Michael Strunsky, trustee; Universal Music Group; the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers; and William C. Burton. Air transportation is provided by United Airlines.
About Lionel Richie
International superstar Lionel Richie has a discography of albums and singles that are second to none. With more than 125 million albums sold worldwide, he has been awarded an Oscar®, a Golden Globe®, four Grammy Awards®*, the distinction of MusicCares Person of the Year in 2016, and was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2017.In March 2018,Richie put his handprints and footprints in cement at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX in Hollywood, one of the oldest awards in Hollywood. He recently received the Ivor Novello PRS for Music Special International Award.
Richie sold out arenas worldwide with a set list of his brightest and best anthems on his All The Hits, All Night Long Tour. In recent years, he also headlined festivals including Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, and Glastonbury, drawing the festival’s biggest crowd ever with more than 200,000 attendees.
Richie took fans on a spectacular musical journey with his latest album, Live from Las Vegas along with his most recent tour, the “Hello” tour, which kicked off in summer 2019. The album, which was released on August 16, 2019, was No. 1 on the Billboard Artist 100 chart. The album also marks the legendary artist’s first release on Capitol Records.
Richie was a judge on ABC’s “American Idol” for the past four seasons and is back in the ‘judge’s’ chair for the fifth season.He launched his Las Vegas headlining residency show, Lionel Richie — All the Hits in April 2016. In an unforgettable evening featuring his brightest and best anthems that have defined the music icon’s unparalleled career, Richie took his fans on a spectacular musical journey, performing a variety of his seminal hits. Richie recently extended his “Back to Las Vegas” residency at Wynn Las Vegas’ Encore Theater.
About the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song
The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song honors living musical artists whose contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin, by promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations of musicians.
In making the selection for the prize, the Librarian of Congress consulted leading members of the music and entertainment communities, as well as curators from the Library’s Music Division, American Folklife Center and National Audio-Visual Conservation Center.
The Gershwin name is used in connection with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song courtesy of the families of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. GERSHWIN® is a registered trademark of Gershwin Enterprises.
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Brett Zongker, Library of Congress, firstname.lastname@example.org | Lameka Lucas, WETA, email@example.com
Website: Gershwin Prize, loc.gov/gershwin