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Elton John & Bernie Taupin Named 2024 Recipients of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

Elton John and Bernie Taupin will receive the Library of Congress’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song on March 20 at Washington, D.C.’s Daughters of the American Revolution’s Constitution Hall. The invitation-only, all-star concert will premiere on PBS stations April 8. 

The renowned songwriting duo is only the third pair to receive the prestigious award, following Burt Bacharach and Hal David in 2012, and Gloria and Emilio Estefan in 2019. Established in 2007,  the Gershwin Prize honors artists whose creative works are collected and made accessible by the Library and acknowledges popular song’s vital role in society. The prize is named for another legendary songwriting team, George and Ira Gershwin, whose papers are held by the Library. (Elton performed two of the Gershwins’ most prized songs, “Our Love Is Here to Stay” and “Someone to Watch Over Me,” on the all-star 1994 album The Glory of Gershwin.)

Other past recipients include Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Lionel Richie and Garth Brooks. 

“Elton John and Bernie Taupin have written some of the most memorable songs of our lives. Their careers stand out for the quality and broad appeal of their music and their influence on their fellow artists,” said Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, in a statement. “More than 50 years ago, they came from across the pond to win over Americans and audiences worldwide with their beautiful songs and rock anthems. We’re proud to honor Elton and Bernie with the Gershwin Prize for their incredible impact on generations of music lovers.” 

The pair have penned such pop and rock classics as “Your Song,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Bennie & the Jets,” “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting’,” “Tiny Dancer” and “Crocodile Rock,” which became their first of eight No. 1s as a songwriting team on the Billboard Hot 100. 

“I’ve been writing songs with Bernie for 56 years, and we never thought that that one day this might be bestowed upon us,” John said in a statement. “It’s an incredible honor for two British guys to be recognized like this. I’m so honored.” 

Taupin added, “To be in a house along with the great American songwriters, to even be in the same avenue, is humbling, and I am absolutely thrilled to accept.”

In making the selection, 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 National Audio-Visual Conservation Center.

John is Billboard’s top solo male artist of all time with 59 songs in the Hot 100’s top 40. When his duet with Dua Lipa of “Cold Heart” cracked the top 40 in 2021, it marked his first top 40 hit in 22 years. The song peaked at No. 7, only to be surpassed by “Hold Me Closer,” his collaboration with Britney Spears, which reached No. 6 in 2022.  He also holds the record for the biggest selling physical single of all time with Taupin’s rewritten lyrics for “Candle in the Wind 1997,” which sold more than 33 million copies.

On Jan. 15, John won an Emmy for his Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium special, making him only the 19th performer to reach EGOT status for winning an Emmy, Oscar, Tony and Grammy. 

Taupin and John were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992. John entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, with Taupin following in 2023. 

Elton John and Bernie Taupin: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is a co-production of WETA Washington, D.C., Ken Ehrlich Productions and the Library of Congress. Performers will be announced closer to the event.

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