Paul McCartney is awarded a Kennedy Center Honor

Saturday, December 4, 2010
Timeline More from year 2010
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington, USA

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Paul McCartney was finally awarded with a Kennedy Center Honor in Washington. He had been selected as an honoree in 2002 but had been unable to attend because of an “inescapable personal obligation”, his cousin’s previously planned wedding. After initially saying that McCartney’s award would be postponed until the following year, the Kennedy Center announced in August 2003 that “Paul McCartney will not be receiving a Kennedy Center Honor.” He, therefore, had to wait seven more years before being awarded. From Wikipedia:

The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. The honors have been presented annually since 1978, culminating each December in a star-studded gala celebrating the honorees in the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C.

President Kennedy was such an icon for us in the sixties and his presidency was so inspiring for so many people that it is a great pleasure for this kid from Liverpool to receive this honour

Paul McCartney

From Whom The Bell Tells, August 28, 2010:

As the papers have already reported, Paul will be heading back to Washington in December to receive a prestigious Kennedy Honour. The award recognises a lifetime contribution to American culture through the performing arts and will see Paul back at the White House for the second time in just six months. As The LA Times noted, “Paul McCartney may be in the running for his own parking space in the White House lot: He’s being honoured yet again in the nation’s capital.” Everyone at Macca HQ is thrilled for the boss of course, and still buzzing from their last trip to America’s most famous address. Roll on December!

Stuart Bell

From, September 7, 2010:

America to Celebrate the Careers of Extraordinary Artists Sunday 5th December, 2010

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced that Paul McCartney has been selected to receive an annual Kennedy Center Honour this year.

Each year the prestigious Honours, now in their 33rd year, are awarded to five special recipients for their lifetime contribution to American culture through the performing arts. Previous recipients include, Robert De Niro, Brian Wilson, Steven Spielberg and Bob Dylan.

On selecting Paul for this highly prestigious award, Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein said, Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most influential and successful songwriters and musicians of all time, whose work has continuously altered both the creation and perception of music all over the world.

The annual Honours Gala will take place on Sunday December 5th in a star-studded celebration at the Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington. The honourees will be received by the President of the United States and Mrs Obama at a reception at the White House prior to the Honours Gala. The honourees and The President will then move to the Opera House to take their seats. The Gala will see the 2010 honourees watch surprise performances and receive heartfelt tributes
by world-class performers and superstars, yet to be announced.

Prior to the event The Kennedy Center Honours medallions will be presented on Saturday 4th December, the night before the gala, at a State Department dinner hosted by Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

Speaking about receiving this special honour Paul said, “President Kennedy was such an icon for us in the sixties and his presidency was so inspiring for so many people that it is a great pleasure for this kid from Liverpool to receive this honour“.

Paul is certainly no stranger to The White House, he visited there earlier this year in June when he was awarded with The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. That, now legendary, evening included performances by Paul himself as well as a cast of household names including Stevie Wonder, Dave Grohl and the Jonas Brothers.

The Honours Gala will be broadcast in the US on CBS.

From RollingStone, December 7, 2010:

Last night’s Kennedy Center Honors show was a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll — and a little bit Oprah. Sir Paul McCartney and Merle Haggard were feted along with the daytime talk queen, dance impresario Bill T. Jones, and Broadway composer Jerry Herman. Willie Nelson, Dave Grohl, Sheryl Crow, Steven Tyler, Norah Jones, Kid Rock and No Doubt all performed at the Washington, D.C. gala, which will air on CBS December 28th.

President Obama and the first lady sat next to the five honorees at the event, which celebrates individuals who have made significant contributions to American culture.

After the night’s first half — in which Julia Roberts, Sidney Poitier, John Travolta, and Barbara Walters payed earnest tribute to Oprah, and Bill T. Jones and Jerry Herman were honored — Vince Gill came out to briefly praise his “old friend and lifelong favorite” artist Merle Haggard. “Hag tells it like it is,” Gill said. “He is the poet of the common man.” Kris Kristofferson and Miranda Lambert performed Haggard’s “Silver Wings,” and Gill and Brad Paisley delivered a juiced-up version of “Workin’ Man’s Blues.” Haggard — who was wedged between Jerry Herman and Oprah, and looked a little stiff in his tux — noticeably perked up at the performance. He was even more riveted by Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow performing “Today I Started Loving You Again.” Nelson then called out “a couple buddies of mine” — Kid Rock and Jamey Johnson, whose slick baritone sounded eerily like Haggard’s — to play “Ramblin’ Fever.”

Alec Baldwin kicked off the tribute to Paul McCartney. “It’s a miracle he made it this far,” Baldwin quipped. “He labored in the Quarrymen, Johnny and the Moondogs, the Silver Beetles, and finally, the plain old Beatles.” Striking a more serious note, he then said that McCartney “married rock and roll to beauty, and forever raised the bar for musicians and songwriters.”

After a brief video, the curtain went up to reveal a colorful, McCartney-themed backdrop straight out of the swinging Sixties. No Doubt, who wore mod-like gray suits, gave a faithful performance of “Hello Goodbye,” then reworked “All My Lovin’” and “Penny Lane” ska-style. Dave Grohl and Norah Jones paired up for a smoky version of “Maybe I’m Amazed,” which climaxed with Grohl giving a punky howl.

Steven Tyler appeared in his usual black cloak (and with his scarf-festooned mike stand). “I’ve done a lot of things in my time,: he declared, “but I’ve never been prouder than to stand here at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Abbey Road.” His versions “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window,” “Carry That Weight,” and “The End” (all from Abbey Road) were somewhat sloppy, but clearly impassioned.

James Taylor stepped out to perform the obvious McCartney closer, “Let It Be.” When Mavis Staples joined Taylor for the second verse, McCartney and Haggard exchanged pleasantly surprised looks across Oprah’s lap. And of course, there was a big finale, with all of the performers returning to the stage and ushers distribute glowsticks to the crowd, which was swaying them and chanting, “Na, na, na, na-na-na-na.” McCartney simply beamed at the spectacle.

From Whom The Bell Tells, December 23, 2010:

Unbelievably, Paul’s first appointment this month was at the White House, which is becoming something of a common feature in this column. Even the President joked that Paul is becoming something of a regular there. This time, he was awarded a Kennedy Centre Honour, which recognises exceptional talent in the arts but also the ability to bring people together. On the night, Paul received his award alongside fellow honourees Oprah Winfrey, country legend Merle Haggard, Broadway lyricist and composer Jerry Herman and avant-garde choreographer Bill T. Jones, while Macca’s achievements were celebrated by Steven Tyler, Norah Jones, Dave Grohl and Gwen Stefani with No Doubt who all performed Beatles songs. Not a line up anyone will forget in a hurry!

Stuart Bell
From The Christian Science Monitor – Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo – The Kennedy Center honorees for 2010, Merle Haggard, top left, Bill T. Jones, Paul McCartney, and from bottom left, Jerry Herman, and Oprah Winfrey, pose for a photograph after a dinner held at the State Department honoring the recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors, in Washington, on Saturday, Dec. 4.

Last updated on December 4, 2021


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