Tony Bennett, the 90-year-old crooner who has remained a commercial success for seven consecutive decades, will be honored for his life’s work by the Library of Congress, it announced Tuesday.
The world’s largest library said Bennett will be the next recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, which recognizes lifetime achievement, with a ceremony to take place in November.
Bennett said that one of his earliest recordings was of a song written by George and Ira Gershwin, the brothers instrumental in creating the Broadway sound.
“To be receiving an award that was 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, whose style has often been likened to that of his friend Frank Sinatra, grew up in New York City although his signature song is “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
His takes on pop standards have landed him in the charts since the 1950s and as recently as 2014, when an album of duets with Lady Gaga made him at age 88 the oldest person to hit number one.
He has shown no signs of slowing down, headlining a gala New York concert for his 90th birthday that was turned into a television special.
“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.
The Library of Congress, the government-backed hub for research and cultural preservation, created the Gershwin Prize a decade ago to honor contributions to popular music.
Folk legend Paul Simon was the inaugural recipient in 2007, with Motown great Smokey Robinson honored last year. Paul McCartney is the only non-American winner.
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