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Singer Billy Joel to be honored with U.S. Gershwin Prize

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter Billy Joel, who penned hit tunes such as "Piano Man" and "New York State of Mind," will receive the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the U.S. national library said on Tuesday.

Joel, 65, is the sixth recipient of the prize that honors individuals for lifetime achievement in popular music. It is named after songwriting brothers George and Ira Gershwin.

"Billy Joel is a storyteller of the highest order," Librarian of Congress James H. Billlington said in a statement.

"There is an intimacy to his song writing that bridges the gap between the listener and the worlds he shares through music."

Joel, whose career has spanned 50 years, is one of the most popular recording artists and has had 33 top-40 hits. His multiple Grammy wins include song and album of the year in 1978 for "Just the Way You Are."

He was also presented with a Grammy Legend Award in 1990 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

"The great composer, George Gershwin, has been a personal inspiration to me throughout my career. And the Library's decision to include me among those songwriters who have been past recipients is a milestone for me," Joel said.

The New York-born singer will receive the prize in Washington, D.C. in November and will be honored at a series of events. Carole King, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney and the songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David are previous recipients of the award.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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