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Billy Joel, Carlos Santana to Receive Kennedy Center Honors

Billy Joel, Carlos Santana
Rick Diamond / Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Two classic rockers will receive 2013 Kennedy Center Honors in Washington D.C. this December. Carlos Santana and Billy Joel were named as part of the group of five new honorees.

‘Piano Man’ Joel said he was honored to join a legendary list of artists who’ve received what is considered the highest honor for artists. “But to be chosen for this special award essentially for doing what I love most amazes me more than anything,” he said in a written statement.

Santana and opera singer Martina Arroyo’s inclusion is particularly noteworthy, since a year ago the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts criticized the organization for ignoring Hispanic artists. It led to a revised selection process for 2013 in which the public was invited to help with the nomination process and a new committee of artists was called upon to help.

“I guess people understand that Santana is not just a Mexican guitar player,” the 66-year-old rock legend said. “I bring a collective-consciousness awareness agenda with me.”

Also being honored this year is actress Shirley MacLaine and jazz musician Herbie Hancock. President Obama will welcome the five at the White House in December, and Secretary of State John Kerry will later host a dinner at the State Department. A performance will follow on Dec. 8 to be broadcast on CBS on Dec. 29. Last year, Led Zeppelin and blues musician Buddy Guy were among the honorees.

Next: Top 10 Billy Joel Lyrics

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