EGOT status and a Gershwin Prize in the same month? 2024 is proving to be another landmark year for Elton John.
The famed performer and his longtime creative partner, lyricist Bernie Taupin, are this year's recipients of the Library of Congress' Gershwin Prize for Popular Song — the nation's highest award for influence, impact and achievement in popular music.
“Elton John and Bernie Taupin have written some of the most memorable songs of our lives," Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, said in a Tuesday statement. "Their careers stand out for the quality and broad appeal of their music and their influence on their fellow artists.”
"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," Hayden added. "We’re proud to honor Elton and Bernie with the Gershwin Prize for their incredible impact on generations of music lovers."
The iconic songwriting duo behind the hits “Your Song,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me" and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” will be honored with a tribute concert in Washington, D.C., that will air on PBS stations nationwide on April 8.
"I've been writing songs with Bernie for 56 years, and we never thought that that one day this might be bestowed upon us," the "Bennie and the Jets” and “Crocodile Rock” singer said in a statement, noting that "it's an incredible honor for two British guys to be recognized like this."
"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," Taupin added.
John, 76, and Taupin, 73, join the ranks of past Gershwin Prize recipients, including Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Garth Brooks, Lionel Richie and Joni Mitchell.
The honorees are selected by the librarian of Congress, who consults with a board of scholars, producers, performers, songwriters and music specialists.
Earlier this month, John was drafted into the rarefied class of EGOT winners — artists who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award. The superstar clinched the E — and the 19th spot in the class — with his Emmy win for his variety special “Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium." The special was based on his trio of Dodger Stadium shows in November 2022, when he paid tribute to his landmark 1975 concert at the Los Angeles venue.
He also has five Grammys, two Oscars (for the songs "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from "The Lion King" and "[I'm Gonna] Love Me Again" from "Rocketman"), and a Tony ("Aida") on his proverbial mantle. Taupin, who has always stayed more behind the scenes than his bedazzled counterpart, also won an Oscar for the song from "Rocketman."
While 2024 brought the awards, 2023 marked another milestone for John. The Rocket Man bid farewell with his globe-trotting Farewell Yellow Brick Road retirement tour over the summer after wearing 16 Gucci suits and playing 330 shows with 6.25 million fans. The tour, which launched in 2018, became the highest grossing tour of all time (but was ultimately overtaken by Taylor Swift's juggernaut Eras tour).
Before the Dodger Stadium shows, the “Cold Heart” singer played a handful of concerts at the Forum in Inglewood and Staples Center (now Crypto.com Arena) in downtown Los Angeles in 2019, commemorating his five-decade touring love affair with L.A. that former Times music critic Robert Hilburn helped launch in the 1970s.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.