In commemoration of George and Ira Gershwin's dedication to American song and culture and the generous efforts of their families to preserve and perpetuate that heritage, the Library of Congress has named its "Gershwin Prize" for Popular Song after these two prolific artists. The medal that will be awarded annually to a person of similar stature in American popular music is adapted from the design of their Congressional Gold Medal.
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Gershwin Prize - Paul Simon - Netflix
Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter and actor. Simon's musical career has spanned seven decades, with his fame and commercial success beginning as half of the duo Simon & Garfunkel (originally known as Tom & Jerry), formed in 1956 with Art Garfunkel. Simon was responsible for writing nearly all of the pair's songs, including three that reached number one on the U.S. singles charts: “The Sound of Silence”, “Mrs. Robinson”, and “Bridge over Troubled Water”. The duo split up in 1970 at the height of their popularity and Simon began a successful solo career, recording three acclaimed albums over the next five years. In 1986, he released Graceland, an album inspired by South African township music, which sold 14 million copies worldwide on its release and remains his most popular solo work. Simon also wrote and starred in the film One-Trick Pony (1980) and co-wrote the Broadway musical The Capeman (1998) with the poet Derek Walcott. On June 3, 2016, Simon released his 13th solo album, Stranger to Stranger, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Album Chart and the UK charts. Simon has earned sixteen Grammys for his solo and collaborative work, including three for Album of the Year (Bridge Over Troubled Water, Still Crazy After All These Years, Graceland), and a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2006 was selected as one of the “100 People Who Shaped the World” by Time. In 2011, Rolling Stone named Simon one of the 100 greatest guitarists. In 2015, he was named one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time by Rolling Stone. Among many other honors, Simon was the first recipient of the Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007. In 1986, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music, where he currently serves on the Board of Trustees.
Gershwin Prize - 1971–1976 - Netflix
After Simon and Garfunkel split in 1970, Simon began writing and recording solo material again. His album Paul Simon was released in January 1972, preceded by his first experiment with world music, the Jamaican-inspired “Mother and Child Reunion”, at the time one of the few songs by a non-Jamaican musician to use prominent elements of reggae. The single was a hit, reaching both the American and British Top 5. The album received universal acclaim, with critics praising the variety of styles and the confessional lyrics, reaching No. 4 in the U.S. and No. 1 in the UK and Japan. It later spawned another Top 30 hit with “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”. Simon's next project was the pop-folk album, There Goes Rhymin' Simon, released in May 1973. It contained some of his most popular and polished recordings. The lead single, “Kodachrome,” was a No. 2 hit in America, and the follow-up, the gospel-flavored “Loves Me Like a Rock” was even bigger, topping the Cashbox charts. Other songs like the weary “American Tune” or the melancholic “Something So Right” — a tribute to Simon's first wife, Peggy, which received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Song of the Year — became standards in the musician's catalog. Critical and commercial reception for this second album was even stronger than for his debut. At the time, reviewers noted how the songs were fresh and unworried on the surface, while still exploring socially and politically conscious themes on a deeper level. The album reached No. 1 on the Cashbox album charts. As a souvenir for the tour that came next, in 1974 it was released as a live album, Live Rhymin', which was moderately successful and displayed some changes in Simon's music style, adopting world and religious music. Highly anticipated, Still Crazy After All These Years was his next album. Released in October 1975 and produced by Simon and Phil Ramone, it marked another departure. The mood of the album was darker, as he wrote and recorded it in the wake of his divorce. Preceded by the feel-good duet with Phoebe Snow, “Gone at Last” (a Top 25 hit) and the Simon & Garfunkel reunion track “My Little Town” (a No. 9 on Billboard), the album was his only No. 1 on the Billboard charts to date. The 18th Grammy Awards named it the Album of the Year and Simon's performance the year's Best Male Pop Vocal. With Simon in the forefront of popular music, the third single from the album, “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” reached the top spot of the Billboard charts, his only single to reach No. 1 on this list. Also, on May 3, 1976, Simon put together a benefit show at Madison Square Garden to raise money for the New York Public Library. Phoebe Snow, Jimmy Cliff and the Brecker Brothers also performed. The concert produced over $30,000 for the Library.
Gershwin Prize - References - Netflix