The elements known as Earth, Wind & Fire are arguably the greatest band in the history of music. Their accolades are endless including becoming the first R&B group to receive recognition at the Kennedy Center Honors on Thursday (July 18), Billboard reports.
“The Kennedy Center Honors celebrates icons who, through their artistry, have left an indelible stamp on our collective cultural consciousness,” stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “Earth, Wind & Fire’s hooks and grooves are the foundation of a seminal style that continues to shape our musical landscape.”
Usually, the honor is bestowed on solo acts. Earth, Wind & Fire will join three other legendary groups that have been honored with the distinction: American rock band the Eagles in 2016, and English rock bands Led Zeppelin in 2012, and The Who in 2008. Also, they have the distinction of being the only African American band ever honored.
Other honorees for the upcoming ceremony include Academy Award-winning actress, Sally Field American singer Linda Ronstadt, who holds 10 Grammy Awards, one Emmy, three Academy of Country Music Awards in addition to her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. PBS most famous program, Sesame Street, which has been a hallmark on television for children and adults over the last 50 years. American conductor, composer, and pianist Michael Tilson Thomas is the music director of the San Francisco Symphony, Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony.
“Sally Field has brought us unforgettable characters, both joyous and poignant, for more than five decades,” Rubenstein continued. “Linda Ronstadt is the defining voice of a generation, spanning genres, languages and continents; Sesame Street continues to revolutionize how children and adults learn about the world; and Michael Tilson Thomas goes far beyond keeping score: he has shaped American music and musical institutions for the 21st century.”
Verdine White bassists and brother of the late Maurice White, the late founder of the group said to Associated Press, “We’re part of the culture. We’re part of people’s lives,” he said. “The music makes people happy. When you come to a show you leave happier than when you came.”
The 42nd annual Kennedy Center Honors will celebrate the honorees on Sunday (Dec. 8), in Washington, D.C.