The popular singer will be honored with a tribute concert on PBS on May 17 and receive the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song
Former Commodore member Lionel Richie is scheduled to become the next recipient of The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Richie will be honored with an all-star tribute concert in Washington, D.C. that will be broadcast nationally on PBS on May 17 at 9 p.m. ET.
The Pop/R&B superstar is known for many of his popular and best-loved mega-hits, including “Endless Love,” “Lady,” “Truly,” “All Night Long,” “Penny Lover,” “Stuck on You,” “Hello,” “Say You, Say Me,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” and he co-wrote one of the most important pop songs in history, “We Are the World,” for USA for Africa. Richie developed his own groundbreaking style with the Commodores with timeless classics “Three Times a Lady,” “Still,” and “Easy.”
Richie's impressive career also led him to mentoring young talent on "American Idol" for the past four seasons and is set to return for the show’s 20th season.
“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.
Carla Hayden, the spokesperson for the Library of Congress said in their press release that Lionel Richie has achieved so much in his successful long-standing career.
“In so many ways, this national honor was made for Lionel Richie whose music has entertained and inspired us — and helped strengthen our global connections,” Hayden said. “Lionel Richie’s unforgettable work has shown us that music can bring us together. Even when we face problems and disagree on issues, songs can show us what we have in common.”
Richie's songs are a fabric woven in today's popular culture and continue to be. 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.
The Gershwin Prize is The Library of Congress's highest honor in music. The award is in recognition of the legendary songwriting team of George and Ira Gershwin, the Gershwin Prize recognizes a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of entertainment, information, inspiration, and cultural understanding. Richie said in the Library of Congress's news release that he is elated to be honored with this award. Past recipients of the Gershwin Award include 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.
“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.”
Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA said in the news release that she is honored to partner with The Library of Congress to broadcast the concert on PBS along with Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS.
“As producer of the vibrant series since its inception, we are excited to bring this new concert honoring Lionel Richie to the American people in collaboration with the Library of Congress,” said Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president, and CEO of WETA. “This special production exemplifies WETA's ongoing commitment to showcasing arts and culture in the nation’s capital and honoring leading artists who have made extraordinary contributions to popular music.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with the Library of Congress, WETA, and our member stations to celebrate Lionel Richie and his extraordinary artistic contributions,” said Paula Kerger, president, and CEO of PBS. “As America’s largest stage for the arts, PBS remains committed to bringing the best of music, theatre, and dance to our audiences.”