‘One of the nation’s greatest honors’ – U2 among five artists to receive this year’s Kennedy Center honors

It will be a “Beautiful Day” for the band U2 and four other artists when they receive this year’s Kennedy Center Honors in December.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Thursday that the Irish rock band, along with actor George Clooney, singers Gladys Knight and Amy Grant and composer Tania León will be honored this year. .

The Center typically honors five people annually for influencing American culture through the arts. But other bands and groups also get titles sometimes. The most recent was the Disco-funk band Earth, Wind & Fire, in 2019, the year the children’s TV series “Sesame Street” was honored. The Eagles were honored in 2016 and Led Zeppelin in 2012.

Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter said in an interview that her team has “worked very hard to think about” Do we include all the performing arts? “” When organizing the award ceremony. She chose Grant’s music in particular as another genre to be represented in this year’s honor.

“We had the gospel before. We’ve got a lot of R&B and soul. … We’ve got country music, but we don’t necessarily have Amy Grant and Christian pop the same way,” she said, comparing Grant’s participation to the center’s LL Cool J tribute in 2017, was honored to include a hip-hop artist for the first time.

This is the 45th year of the honor, which will include a December 4 gala performance in Washington featuring top artists. The show will air on CBS at a later date.

Rutter said the honor “is not about a work that will be loved this year. Or a movie. Or a piece of the choreography. “It is” about lifetime achievement. “

A look back at this year’s titles:


Rutter said she was told Bono, U2’s head of department, was eating and dropped his fork when he was told the band had been chosen for the honor. But it took a while for the band to accept because Bono had to rely on other members of the band – The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr. – buy in and they’re not all in the same place, says Rutter.

U2 has sold 170 million albums and been honored with 22 Grammy Awards. The band’s epic singles include “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, “Pride (In the Name of Love)” and “Bloody Sunday”.

In a statement thanking the Kennedy Center, the band noted that they played their first US concert in New York in 1980. Its second performance was in Washington.

“We had big dreams back then, partly driven by the common belief back home that America smiled at Ireland. And it came true, again. But even in our wildest thoughts, we never imagined that 40 years later, we would be invited back to receive one of the nation’s greatest honors,” the band said in a statement. , calling the United States “home away from home”.

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Clooney, who played sly thief Danny Ocean in “Ocean’s Eleven” and its sequels, wouldn’t need to mastermind any kind of conspiracy to take home the Kennedy Center award.

The 61-year-old actor and director has won two Academy Awards – for best supporting actor in “Syriana” and as a producer on the award-winning film “Argo” – and starred in the films. like “O Brother, Where Art Thou? ” “Up In the Air,” “Michael Collins” and “The Descendants.”

“Growing up in a small town in Kentucky, I could never have imagined that I would one day be the one sitting on the balcony at Kennedy Center Honors,” Clooney said in a statement, adding that the honor The event was a “really pleasant surprise” for his entire family.

Clooney and his wife, British human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, have 5-year-old twins. Clooney first became known to the audience through the television series “ER”, in which he played the role of Dr. Doug Ross. His directing credits include “Good Night, and Good Luck,” “Confessions of A Dangerous Mind,” and “The Tender Bar.”


Knight, 78, is the only one of this year’s honorees to have been a performer at the Kennedy Center Honors. In 2021, the eight-time Grammy Award winner sang “We Shall Be Free” by Garth Brooks in honor of the country singer, who wiped an eye and kissed her after her performance.

Knight — who, with backup group The Pips, has recorded soul classics like “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Train to Georgia” — said she never expected she would. on the other side of the stage. When she learned the Kennedy Center wanted to honor her, she said, her response was, “What?”

“I couldn’t believe it, and here we are,” she said in an interview.

“I love the fact that they thought of me. I don’t take those things for granted,” she said.

Knight joined Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Dionne Warwick for the 1985 hit “It’s Friends”. Wonder was honored by the Kennedy Center in 1999 and John in 2004.


Six-time Grammy winner, Grant has had a successful year. Daughter Millie, who inspired her 1991 hit “Baby Baby,” gave birth to a daughter, Penelope Willow.

The Christian music star has two other grandchildren through her husband’s daughter, country musician Vince Gill.

Grant, 61, said in an interview that when she heard from the Kennedy Center, she initially thought it was Gill they wanted to honor. “He has performed many times at the Kennedy Center Honors. I have never even been to the ceremony. I was never his plus,” she said.

The singer – also known for “Every Heartbeat” and “That’s What Love is For” – has her roots in gospel music but found a larger audience with the release of her 1991 disc “Heart in Motion” .

Grant said she currently has two songs that she’s going into the studio to record, including a Christmas song that will be part of a Hallmark movie. “Like a lot of good songs come out of a therapy session,” she says.

Grant said one of the things that’s currently “invigorating me at this point in my life is creating chat circles to help address issues” like expropriation and homelessness. reside in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.


Composer and conductor León has worked with the Kennedy Center several times – so, she said, she didn’t think it was “anything spectacular” when she received an email setting up a call. call. She was stunned and silent when it was announced that the center wanted to honor her.

León, 79, said it was the second time she was “a little bit paralyzed” by a phone call. The other call was the one telling her she had won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her orchestral work “Stride.”

Born in Havana, León is a founding member of the Harlem Dance Theater and has guest conducted orchestras around the world. León said she’s currently working on a short solo piece due out next week and an orchestral piece, among other things. She’s happy to be busy, she said, explaining that her mantra is “We’ll be dead for a long time.”

“We have to live our lives to the fullest and do the best we can while we are alive,” she said.

© Washington Post

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/music-news/one-of-the-nations-greatest-honours-u2-among-five-artists-set-to-receive-this-years-kennedy-centre-honours-41857774.html ‘One of the nation’s greatest honors’ – U2 among five artists to receive this year’s Kennedy Center honors

Fry Electronics Team

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