Artists salute Elton John & Bernie Taupin at Gershwin Prize ceremony

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The Library of Congress awarded Elton John and Bernie Taupin the prestigious Gershwin Prize for Popular Song at a ceremony held in Washington, D.C., on March 20, where their songs were performed by acts as wide-ranging as Metallica, Garth Brooks, Joni Mitchell, Annie Lennox, Brandi Carlile and Charlie Puth.

The Gershwin prize is presented for influence, impact and achievement in popular music. According to The Washington Post, at the ceremony, Elton talked about how honored he was to be given a distinctly American award. “When I grew up as a little boy in suburban London, the only good music that I heard was American,” he said. “British music sucked.”

“I’m so proud to be British, and to be here in America to receive this award because all my heroes were American,” he continued, adding that America has been “responsible for everything that I love in my musical life.”  For his part, Bernie said, “Everything I’ve written emanates from this country … I have an American heart, an American soul.”

While Elton performed several songs himself — including “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” and “Your Song” — the night mostly consisted of the night’s guests performing Elton and Bernie’s catalog for an audience that included a number of prominent U.S. representatives and senators.

Metallica started the show with “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding.”  The whole show will air on PBS on April 8 at 8 p.m. Other performances included:

Maren Morris: “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”

Joni Mitchell, Annie Lennox and Brandi Carlile: “I’m Still Standing”

Brandi Carlile: “Skyline Pigeon,” “Madman Across the Water”

Annie Lennox: “Border Song”

Garth Brooks: “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word”

Billy Porter: “The B**** Is Back”

Charlie Puth: “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me.”

Jacob Lusk of Gabriels: “Bennie and the Jets”

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