Billy Joel, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, opera star Martina Arroyo and actress Shirley MacLaine are all recipients of the Kennedy Center honor for their impact on American culture through the arts.
American music icon Billy Joel is being honored on Sunday (Dec 8th) at the John F. Kennedy Center for The Performing Arts in Washington D.C.
The 64 year-old is having the award bestowed upon him for the impact he has made on American culture through the arts.
Joel, who has produced huge hits such as 'Just the Way You Are,' 'Uptown Girl' and 'Allentown,' will be presented with the Kennedy Center Honor by President Barack Obama.
The six time Grammy winner also feels this award eclipses each one of them.
"This is different. It's our nation's capital," he told The Associated Press. "This is coming more from my country than just people who come to see me. It's a little overwhelming."
Performers from around the world will play in tribute to the honoree, who has been playing the piano since he was a child, finding inspiration from his mother, who sang, and his father, who also played the piano.
"To be chosen for this special award essentially for doing what I love most amazes me more than anything," Joel said.
The Bronx native has just recently become Madison Square Garden's first ever music franchise as he secured a residency for a monthly show at the arena. Only sports teams have had a regular schedule in MSG until this deal.
Other entertainers been honored were Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, opera singer Martina Arroyo and actress Shirley MacLaine.
On Saturday night (Dec 7th), Secretary of state John Kerry, hosted a black-tie event for the recipients at the State Department and he commented on their lasting impression left on modern culture.
"They are loved by so many, imitated by some, but never ever can they be replaced," Kerry said. "We are reminded that the role of arts can also never be replaced."
The performances and award ceremony will be aired December 29th on CBS.
Billy Joel receives the Kennedy Center Honor