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Billy Joel Honored With Gershwin Prize For Songwriting – Newsday

For Billy Joel, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song holds special significance because of the award's namesake.

“George Gershwin was always a hero of mine,” Joel said as he accepted the award, adding that he even used Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue” to open his historic concerts in Russia. “This is something that is very important to me. I will always treasure this.”

…Tony Bennett delivered a showstopping, jazzy version of “New York State of Mind,” complete with powerful high notes. Natalie Maines transformed “She's Got a Way” into an acoustic, country-tinged ballad, while John Mellencamp reworked “Allentown” into a folk protest song. …The tributes showed how wide-ranging Joel's catalog is — from a chorale version of “Everybody Has a Dream” to the doo-wop R&B of Boyz II Men's reworking of “The Longest Time.”

Read more at Newsday.

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Photo by Carolyn Kaster/AP