WASHINGTON, D.C. — January 18, 2022 — LIONEL RICHIE: THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS GERSHWIN PRIZE FOR POPULAR SONG, a PBS music special, honors the singer-songwriter as he receives the distinguished honor from the Library of Congress. The hour-long television special will premiere Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide and on PBS.org and PBS Video App (check local listings). The program will also be shown on the American Forces Network to audiences of service members and civilians at U.S. Department of Defense and diplomatic locations around the world. WETA and Bounce, a division of Concord Music Group, and the Library of Congress are producing the music special, which will be recorded in Washington, D.C., on March 9, 2022, when Lionel Richie will be presented the Gershwin Prize by Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, and a delegation of Members of Congress, amid an all-star tribute concert. Additional participants will be announced later.
“This is truly an honor of a lifetime, and I am so grateful to be receiving the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song,” said Lionel Richie. “I am proud to be joining all the other previous artists, who I also admire and am a fan of their music.”
“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.”
“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.”
"The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song has become widely recognized as one of the most coveted honors in the music industry,” remarked Tim Swift, producer with Bounce. “The Bounce team is distinctly privileged to have produced this very special event since 2015. We are excited to be working with our friend, the 2022 honoree, the legendary 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 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,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” and 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 has had 11 consecutive years where he wrote number 1 songs.
Richie sold out arenas worldwide with a setlist 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, 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 set to return to the ‘judge’s’ chair for the show’s 20th season. He launched his Las Vegas headlining residency show, in April 2016. In an unforgettable evening performing a variety of his seminal hits throughout 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 with a 12-show engagement in 2022
The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song honors living musical artists whose lifetime 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 Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. 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.
From June 2007 to the most recent broadcast in March 2020, these events have honored the musical genius of Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Emilio and Gloria Estefan and Garth Brooks. The talented line-ups celebrating the honorees have included Yolanda Adams, Marc Anthony, Tony Bennett, Boyz II Men, Wayne Brady, Edie Brickell, Leon Bridges, Michael Bublé, Elvis Costello, Gloria Estefan, Ana Gabriel, CeeLo Green, Josh Groban, Faith Hill, Jamey Johnson, the Jonas Brothers, Diana Krall, Cyndi Lauper, Jay Leno, Lyle Lovett, Martina McBride, John Mellencamp, Micah Nelson and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Corinne Bailey Rae, LeAnn Rimes, Emeli Sandé, Jerry Seinfeld, Esperanza Spalding, James Taylor, Jack White, Will.i.am, Vanessa Williams, Bruce Willis, Stevie Wonder, Trisha Yearwood, Neil Young, and Buckwheat Zydeco.
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 Dr. 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. Wells Fargo is the presenting sponsor. Additional funding is provided by The Ira and Lenore Gershwin Fund and The Lenore S. Gershwin Trust; AARP; Universal Music Group; ASCAP; and William C. Burton. Air transportation is provided by United Airlines.
For more information about LIONEL RICHIE: THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS GERSHWIN PRIZE FOR POPULAR SONG, visit www.pbs.org/show/Gershwin-Prize. To follow The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize on Twitter, use the hashtags #GershwinPrize and #PBSgershwin.
WETA is the leading public broadcaster in the nation’s capital, serving Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia with educational initiatives and with high-quality programming on television, radio and digital. WETA Washington, D.C., is the second-largest producing-station for public television in the United States, with news and public affairs programs including PBS NewsHour and Washington Week; performance specials including In Performance at the White House, The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize, National Memorial Day Concert and A Capitol Fourth; films by Ken Burns and Florentine Films including Muhammad Ali and Benjamin Franklin; series and documentaries by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., including Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr; and health content from Well Beings, a multiplatform campaign that includes original broadcast and digital content, engagement campaigns, and impactful local events, and the forthcoming documentary Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org.Visit www.facebook.com/wetatvfm on Facebook or follow @WETAtvfm on Twitter.
Bounce is an EMMY Award-winning broadcast production company known for producing one-of-a-kind live events. They are the producers of this year’s Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song honoring Lionel Richie as well as previous years’ specials honoring Garth Brooks, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennet, and Gloria and Emillio Estefan. For over 25 years, Bounce produced the annual MusiCares Person of the Year gala during GRAMMY Week. The Bounce team also produced the National Christmas Tree Lighting, several episodes of the acclaimed PBS series In Performance at the White House, and last year’s Nurse Heroes, streamed on live NBC’s Peacock platform. Bounce also specializes in brand integration and marketing, working closely with luxury brands on launching and maintaining their overall brand status. Tim Swift is the founder and CEO.
About the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song
The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song honors living musical artists whose lifetime 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 Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.
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.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States – and extensive materials from around the world – both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.
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