By: Renee Grant
Adding a much-deserved honor to a career that spans 70 years, Tony Bennett, 90, has been awarded the 2017 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The announcement came down from the Library of Congress on Tuesday (June 20).
The award, named for famed songwriting duo George and Ira Gershwin, celebrates singers and songwriters who entertain, inform, and inspire. Past recipients include Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, and Smokey Robinson.
Bennett has seen his music career reinvented several times over, most recently when he teamed up with Lady Gaga for an unlikely but incredible album of duets titled Cheek to Cheek. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in 2014.
“His staying power is a testament to the enduring appeal of the Great American Songbook the Gershwins helped write, and his ability to collaborate with new generations of music icons has been a gift to music lovers of all ages,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in a statement.
One of Bennett’s earliest recorded songs was a song by the Gershwins called Fascinating Rhythm.
“To be receiving an award named in their honor is one of the greatest thrills of my career, and I am deeply appreciative to the Library of Congress to be named this year’s recipient,” Bennett said in a statement.
Bennett will travel to Washington to accept the award in November of this year.