Elton John and Bernie Taupin Receive Library of Congress Gershwin Prize

Published March 21, 2024

On a memorable Wednesday evening, the legendary Sir Elton John and his long-time collaborator, Bernie Taupin, were honored with the esteemed Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The accolade celebrates their indelible impact on music and their charitable efforts, particularly through the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Addressing the press, Sir Elton John shared his credo of giving back, which he adopted firmly following his sobriety in 1980. His iconic partnership with Taupin was also highlighted as they stepped out, with John donning a vibrant pink suit, to express why their music continues to resonate across generations. Both spoke of their songs' vast range, each with its own unique narrative and emotional landscape.

The gala event was a showcase of diverse musical talents with performances by distinguished artists such as Garth Brooks, Charlie Puth, Brandi Carlile, Joni Mitchell, and Annie Lennox, with Billy Porter serving as the host. Adding a robust rock dimension, Metallica electrified the stage with a rendition of "Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" from John and Taupin's renowned 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' album.

Throughout the evening, renditions of John and Taupin's classics enthralled the audience, including Garth Brooks' soul-stirring "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word," and Brandi Carlile's haunting "Madman Across the Water." The event culminated in a collective spotlight for Gershwin Prize honorees as John, Taupin, Mitchell, and Brooks graced the stage together.

The audience was further energized by the Gabriels' Jacob Lusk, whose explosive "Bennie and the Jets" got everyone on their feet. Annie Lennox, before her performance of "The Border Song," praised John's significant influence on HIV/AIDS activism.

Capping off the event, Sir Elton John presented a trio of his beloved songs, and with Taupin by his side at the piano, mirrored the depth of their shared musical journey. The Gershwin Prize, since its inauguration in 2007, has recognized numerous musical luminaries, including Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.

A PBS special celebrating the event is scheduled to be broadcast on April 8, offering music fans a chance to partake in the festivities.

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