James Taylor Honored at Kennedy Center

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James Taylor at the Kennedy Center taping on Dec. 4, 2016

A bevy of music superstars took to the stage to honor the music and songs of James Taylor at the 2016 Kennedy Center Honors which was broadcast by CBS on Tuesday night, Dec. 27.

The award is considered one of the highest compliments an artist can receive in the U.S. Besides Taylor, the recipients honored at the event were: the Eagles, actor Al Pacino, gospel and blues singer Mavis Staples, and Argentine pianist Martha Argerich.

The singer-songwriter said: “I was totally surprised. I’ve seen it as a performing member of the cast on five different occasions. It’s wonderful to be singled out. It’s wonderful to be acknowledged, to be validated in this way. It’s very moving.”

Related: Bob Seger leads a “Life in the Fast Lane” tribute to the Eagles

Unfortunately many of the performances honoring Taylor at the event have been removed from YouTube including those by Sheryl Crow, Darius Rucker and Garth Brooks.

Watch President Barack Obama’s tribute to the singer-songwriter at the announcement ceremony…

Taylor has achieved pretty much every honor a recording artist can earn. He has five Grammy Awards and is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has sold more than 100 million records in his career and finally had a #1 album with 2015’s Before This World. His hit singles include 1971’s #1 “You’ve Got a Friend” as well as the Top 5 songs “Fire and Rain,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” and “Handy Man.”

Related: Taylor will play at several U.S. ballparks this summer with Bonnie Raitt

Among the Center’s 200 recipients since they were started in 1978 are such rock and pop music legends as Led ZeppelinStingBilly JoelPaul McCartneyBruce SpringsteenThe Who, and many more. For years, it was strictly a highbrow affair with Honorees like Fred Astaire, Leonard Bernstein, and so on. It wasn’t until 1994 when a more contemporary music icon, Aretha Franklin, was first selected. Since then, the committee has chosen performers from the classic rock era virtually every year.

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