Elton John and Bernie Taupin receive Library of Congress Gershwin Prize    

Washington— After receiving the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, Sir Elton John and writer Bernie Taupin stressed that their music and philanthropy, especially the Elton John AIDS Foundation, are in sync.

Success requires giving back. That was my mantra when I got sober in 1980, and it's been mine ever since," John told The Associated Press Wednesday night. John, who turns 76 on March 25, discussed their music's longevity with Taupin in a pink suit.

Songs last because they cover different territories. Philadelphia Freedom and Daniel are not like ‘Burn Down the Mission’ or ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.’ Garth Brooks, Charlie Puth, Brandi Carlile, Joni Mitchell, Annie Lennox, and host Billy Porter performed a variety of musical styles. The PBS version airs April 8.

Metallica's high-energy performance of “Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” from John-Taupin's “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” ignited the audience. After singing “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,” former Gershwin Prize winner Garth Brooks triumphantly raised his hat, receiving a standing ovation.

Brandi Carlile's “Madman Across the Water” and Maren Morris's “I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues” captivated the audience. Joni Mitchell, last year's recipient, sang “I'm Still Standing” with Lennox and Carlile. John, Taupin, Mitchell, and Brooks were the four Gershwin Prize winners by night's end.

Gabriels' Jacob Lusk may have had the greatest energy of the night. He rocked the crowd with "Bennie and the Jets," getting Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, and Sen. Tim Scott to their feet and singing.

Before performing “The Border Song,” Lennox called John’s dedication to fighting AIDS “immeasurable.” He appears to be comfortable with his celebrity and has made big worldwide contributions in significant areas. HIV/AIDS is a huge issue. Elton was and is saving lives, Lennox stated on the red carpet.

After receiving the distinction from Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, John performed “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters,” “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” and “Your Song” alongside Taupin at the piano. Since 2007, the Gershwin Prize has honored Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, and Carole King.

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