Santana, Billy Joel To Receive Kennedy Center Honors

Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana. (Maria Ives for

Carlos Santana and Billy Joel lead this year’s honorees at the 36th Annual Kennedy Center Honors Ceremony, which highlights artists for their lifetime contributions to American culture. Also honored this year: funk/jazz legend Herbie Hancock, opera singer Martina Arroyo and actress Shirley MacLaine.

The ceremony will take place December 8 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The event will be broadcast on Sunday, December 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

The annual event always features star-studded tributes to the honorees, who don’t participate in the ceremony but watch from the balcony along with the President and the First Lady. Music legends are often celebrated at the event: last year’s ceremony honored Led Zeppelin and Buddy Guy with a performances from Heart, Kid Rock, Foo Fighters and Lenny Kravitz covering Zep, and Gary Clark Jr., Tracy Chapman, Jimmie Vaughan, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Beck and Beth Hart celebrating Guy.

Other musicians honored by the Kennedy Center over the years include Paul McCartney, Smokey Robinson, the Who, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross and Elton John.

“The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein in a release. “Martina Arroyo has dazzled the world with her glorious soprano voice and continues to share her artistry with a new generation of opera singers; Herbie Hancock has established himself as one of the most innovative musicians in the world, constantly breaking musical barriers and redefining the art of jazz; Billy Joel’s melodies have provided the soundtrack of our lives for over four decades making him one pop music’s most prolific and memorable singers and songwriters; the remarkable breadth and range of Shirley MacLaine’s acting has left an indelible impression over a nearly 60-year career on stage and screen; from his legendary performance at Woodstock to his sweep at the 2000 GRAMMYs and beyond, Carlos Santana’s artistry transcends genres while entertaining millions.”

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