Sir Paul McCartney was made a Kennedy Center honouree by US president Barack Obama last night (05.12.10).

The Beatles singer and guitarist was given the award for contributions to American arts and culture, alongside other recipients; talk show host Oprah Winfrey, choreographer Bill T. Jones, composer Jerry Herman and singer Merle Haggard.

At a White House reception for the honourees, the President said: "They're being honoured for their unique ability to bring us closer together and to capture something larger about who we are."

After the reception was a concert paying tribute to the recipients of the awards - hosted at the Kennedy Center in Washington by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - which saw stars including No Doubt and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl taking to the stage to perform songs written by Paul.

No Doubt performed 'Hello, Goodbye' while Dave performed alongside pianist Norah Jones for Paul's track 'Maybe I'm Amazed'.

Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler then sung a medley of Beatles songs from their 1969 album 'Abbey Road'.

The show was closed with a performance by James Taylor and gospel vocalist Mavis Staples, who played 'Let It Be' and 'Hey Jude', which moved most of the crown, including Paul and the President, to their feet.

Paul later told the BBC: "It's a huge honour. It is one of American's highest honours and as a performing artist it is just great to get it.

"I am a big fan of this president, and I think he's a great man."