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Lionel Richie to receive Library of Congress’s Gershwin Prize

Lionel Richie attends a ceremony honoring television producer Nigel Lythgoe with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Associated Press/Chris Pizzello

Lionel Richie could soon be “Dancing on the Ceiling” at the Library of Congress — the singer has been named this year’s winner of its Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden revealed Richie as the recipient of the prestigious award in a Thursday morning announcement, saying in a statement that his music has “entertained and inspired us — and helped strengthen our global connections.”

“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,” Hayden said.

The “Hello” and “All Night Long” hitmaker is poised to be honored as part of an all-star tribute concert in Washington in March, which will air as a TV special on PBS stations nationwide on May 17.

The award show event also marks a return to tradition — there was no Gershwin Prize last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Richie, 72, called the recognition an “honor of a lifetime,” saying in a statement, “I am proud to be joining all the other previous artists, who I also admire and am a fan of their music.”

Some of the past recipients of the Gershwin Prize include: Garth Brooks — who was honored in March 2020 just days before many businesses, performing arts spaces, schools and more shuttered their doors as COVID-19 spread around the world — Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.

Tags Gershwin Prize Library of Congress Lionel Richie

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