Garth Brooks has been named the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song — and he’s the youngest songwriter to ever receive it.
“An award is only as good as the names on it,” said Brooks. “First off, for any musician, the name Gershwin says it all. Add to Ira’s and George’s names the names of the past recipients, and you have an award of the highest honor. I am truly humbled.”
Brooks’ songwriting catalog includes No. 1 country hits like “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” “Unanswered Prayers,” “The Thunder Rolls,” and many others. He will receive the prize at an all-star tribute concert in Washington, D.C., in March 2020.
A statement from the Library of Congress reads, “Brooks is one of the major changemakers in the history of country music. His music weaves the beauty of poetry, the universality of the human experience and the inclusiveness of other musical genres, making him one of the most influential performers in country music today. He has combined the sound of traditional country music with the performance style of arena rock legends of the 1970s, creating a unique artistic vision.”
Bestowed in recognition of the 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.
Previous recipients are 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 and Emilio and Gloria Estefan.
The concert will air on PBS stations nationwide in spring 2020 (a broadcast date will be confirmed at a later time). The program also will be broadcast via the American Forces Network to U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.