Joni Mitchell will be the next recipient of the coveted Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Mitchell will be honored during an all-star tribute concert in Washington, D.C. on March 1. Joni Mitchell: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song will later air on PBS.org and the PBS Video App on March 31.
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“This is a very prestigious award,” said Mitchell in a statement shared with the Library of Congress. “Thank you for honoring me.”
The Canadian folk legend is being honored for her contribution to music, specifically song, through her catalog of music spanning 19 albums and classics like “Chelsea Morning,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Woodstock,” “Both Sides, Now,” and “The Circle Game.”
“As a lyricist, she delves deeply into both the personal and political, unafraid to explore the raw reality of living underneath societal norms and time-worn traditions,” read a statement by the Library of Congress. “Mitchell redefined the role of women musicians. She oversaw all aspects of her albums, including songwriting, arrangements, performance, production, and artwork.”
In recognition of the legendary songwriting team of George and Ira Gershwin, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is the highest award for influence, impact, and achievement in popular music. Honorees are selected by the Librarian of Congress in consultation with a board, including scholars, songwriters, performers, and producers, among others in music.
Lionel Richie was the recipient of the Gershwin Prize in 2022. Previous recipients of the honor also include Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Paul Simon, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, the songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, and Garth Brooks.
Mitchell, who will play her first headlining concert in more than two decades with her Joni Jam this year, now adds the honor of a Gershwin Prize to her multiple Grammys, Kennedy Center Honor, Polar Music Prize, MusiCares Person of the Year, and inductions into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
“Joni Mitchell’s music and artistry have left a distinct impression on American culture and internationally, crossing from folk music with a distinctive voice whose songs will stay with us for the ages,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “Joni Mitchell’s music has so many artists and music lovers all singing her tunes. We are honored to present the Gershwin Prize to this musical genius.”
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