Beatles great McCartney receives top music award from US President Obama at the White House

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New York, June 3 (ANI): Paul McCartney has been honoured with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the highest American award for popular song conferred by the US. He received the award from US President Obama in a glittering ceremony that saw several music legends in attendance.

McCartney is only the third person and first non-American to receive the award.

The phenomenal Beatles' bassist regaled the distinguished audience with some of his biggest numbers including "Let it be" and "Eleanor Rigby".

This is the first time the award ceremony was held at the White House and it was a low-key affair, with none of the usual Rock n' Roll saturnalia. But McCartney kept up the good-natured banter quipping "After the last eight years, it's great to have a president who knows what a library is," the New York Times quotes.

Several other celebrated musicians also performed at the event and the lineup included Herbie Hancock, Elvis Costello, the Jonas Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Faith Hill, Corinne Bailey Rae, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, and Jack White of the White Stripes, backed by McCartney's touring band.

The gala also saw an enthralling duet being performed by the prodigious Stevie Wonder and McCartney.

Wonder is one of the previous recipients of the award apart from Paul Simon.

While some musicians adhered to the original Beatles' style in their covers, others infused it with their own signature flavour. Herbie Hancock and Bailey Rae transformed "Blackbird" into a classy jazz number.

President Obama and McCartney expressed mutual admiration for one another and Obama also raised the issue of the devastating Gulf Oil Spill that has thrown the life of the Gulf Coast dwellers completely out of gear. The region is well-known for its rich and vibrant musical tradition.

Obama spoke about "part of the country this is so rich in musical heritage" and said he was committed to "see to it that their lives and their communities are made whole again."

Describing the process of song-writing, McCartney said: "You start with a black hole and if you're lucky, a couple hours later there'll be a song waiting there. That mystery, that magic is still the same for me." (ANI)

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