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Paul Simon lauded at Gershwin gala

June 26, 2007 at 2:46 PM

WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- U.S. singer Paul Simon has been named the first recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, USA Today reported Tuesday.

The honor was captured in "Paul Simon: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song," a 90-minute musical extravaganza taped last month in Washington and set to air Wednesday on PBS.

The prize was created to celebrate those who demonstrate a "profound and positive impact on popular music and the world's culture," in the tradition of composers George and Ira Gershwin, the newspaper noted.

"I'm sure I could play 'Summertime' or 'I've Got Rhythm,' but I did not particularly study the Gershwins," the 65-year-old Simon said. "But I came to understand the value system the prize is based on, and it's what I've embraced throughout my career. So I felt there was a logic to being the recipient."

As part of the festivities, the singer/songwriter was serenaded by Alison Krauss, Shawn Colvin, Stephen Marley, Marc Anthony and the South African choir, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Simon said performing at the event was also a pleasure.

"I got to sing with Artie (Garfunkel), which always has its drama and a constant element of comedy."

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