Kennedy Center Honors 2014: Tom Hanks, Sting, Al Green Among Honorees

The Kennedy Center Honors have been an annual celebration since their inception in 1978, and the Kennedy Center has given its prestigious honor to a long list of notable names. 2014’s list of honorees, just announced, is no different and includes some of the biggest and most influential figures in recent years.

Among those announced as recipients for this year’s Honors include British rock legend Sting, leader of The Police and a hugely successful solo artist in his own right. Sting’s illustrious career has been highlighted by mega hits with his pioneering New Wave band, including “Roxanne” and “Every Breath You Take.” In his solo years, Sting also released a number of successful singles, notably “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You” and “Desert Rose.”

Most recently, the bassist and singer has added the title of Broadway composer to his resume with the opening of his musical The Last Ship, which is based on the frontman’s album The Soul Cages. Sting has commented on the news of his inclusion in this year’s ceremony at the Center, saying “I never anticipated being in Washington, D.C., with the president of the United States giving me an award. It’s not something that’s even likely. But I did dream a life where I was singing my songs for lots of people. I dreamed that very hard.”

Joining Sting for this year’s Honors is soul legend Al Green, best known for iconic songs like “Take Me To the River” and “I’m Still in Love With You,” the latter being famously sung – albeit in part – by President Obama in 2012. Green’s Kennedy Center recognition comes six years after the singer’s last album. The “Tired of Being Alone” singer became an ordained minister in 1976 and continues to serve to this day.

Also announced as an Honors recipient this year is Hollywood mega-star Tom Hanks, world-class ballerina Patricia McBride, and legendary actress and comedian Lily Tomlin. The Kennedy Center will host the ceremony, as it does every year, at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington D.C., and President Obama will be there to receive the honorees alongside first lady Michelle.

Tomlin says her inclusion among the long list of Kennedy Center honorees over the years is “a huge surprise, bigger than huge.” The I Heart Huckabees actress also revealed to the Washington Post that she didn’t open the letter from the Kennedy Center right away, initially assuming that she’d just been invited as a guest because she is on the nominating committee for the Honors. “It probably lay there for a week.”

In a statement, Kennedy Center chairman David Rubenstein praised this year’s honorees. “The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world.”

The Kennedy Center Honors will take place on December 7th in Washington, D.C. and is set to air on CBS on December 30th.

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