Billy Joel‘s fans have always thought of the pianist, singer-songwriter as an expert storyteller but now that title is official: Joel has been awarded with the Gershwin Prize for being “A Storyteller of the Highest Order.”
The prize, which has previously been awarded to Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Carole King, and songwriting partners Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, was awarded by the Library of Congress for Popular Song.
In a statement, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington explained his decision to award Joel with the prize.
“There is an intimacy to his songwriting that bridges the gap between the listener and the worlds he shares through music,” he said in a press release. “When you listen to a Billy Joel song, you know about the people and the place and what happened there. And while there may be pain, despair and loss, there is ultimately a resilience to it that makes you want to go to these places again and again.”