When I visited with Burt Bacharach at his home back in October for my Wall Street Journal interview, we spoke about the Gershwin Prize he was due to receive in May. Burt seemed a bit stunned by the enormity of the award and generous in praise of the others who had won previously.
On May 8, the esteemed composer and singer was presented with the award at the White House. He also was entertained by artists singing and playing his songs. The entire event was captured and broadcast on TV recently.
A bit of background: The Library of Congress' Gershwin Prize celebrates the work of an artist whose career reflects lifetime achievement in promoting song as a vehicle of musical expression and cultural understanding. Burt and his long-time collaborator, lyricist Hal David, are only the fourth honorees. The other three winners are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney—making Burt and Hal the first songwriting team to receive the award.
Here's Stevie Wonder singing and playing Alfie, and President Obama awarding the prizes...
If you want to watch the entire show with all of the tribute performances on PBS, go here.
And don't forget tomorrow! If you dig Stax Records, radio's Chris Cowles will be hosting his annual seven-hour tribute to the Memphis label on WRTC-FM (Hartford, Conn.). The show will feature on-air interviews with Stax legends along with Stax hits and plenty of rarities. It's horns-and-grit history with a backbeat, and no one knows Stax like Old King Cowles and Music-Maker Tom Shaker. More info, go here.
The Stax show starts at noon (EDT) and runs until 7 p.m. Tune in from anywhere in the world by going here.