ABC News' Kristina Wong reports:
At a press conference Tuesday at the Library of Congress, legendary English singer, composer and song-writer Paul McCartney praised President Obama.
“I’m a big fan, he’s a great guy. So lay off him, he’s doing great,” McCartney said, to a roomful of journalists.
McCartney, 67, is this year’s recipient of the Library of Congress’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. He will perform Wednesday evening at a White House tribute concert honoring his work.
Also expected to perform are Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, the Jonas Brothers, Dave Grohl, Jack White, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Herbie Hancock, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Lang Lang.
“I intend to just try to have fun,” McCartney said, but expressed nervousness about performing “like, three feet away” from President Obama.
“It’s very special. It’s true, I’ve had some great awards, I’ve been really lucky on that score,” McCartney said. “But for an English kid growing up in Liverpool – the White House – that’s very special.”
McCartney was named the award recipient on November 16, 2009, and is also being honored tonight at the Library of Congress with a dinner, ceremony and music recital with the Loma Mar Quartet and Lang Lang.
The Gershwin prize was created in 2007 to “honor artists whose creative output transcends distinctions between musical styles and idioms, bringing diverse listeners together, and fostering mutual understanding and appreciation,” according to a Library statement. It commemorates George and Ira Gershwin, the American songwriting team whose extensive manuscript collections reside in the Library of Congress. Past recipients include Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.
Responding to a question at the press conference regarding what advice he would give his fellow environmentalists about the BP oil spill, he said, “I’m not a politician,” but added, “it is a disgrace.”
“I think most of us think it’s a disgrace, and the fact that something like that can happen and the people who are to blame don’t have the ability to instantly cap it and clean it up is something that is going to be addressed.”
In making the selection for the prize, the Librarian of Congress turned for advice to leading members of the music and entertainment communities. The advisory committee consisted of Rickey Minor, Carol Bayer Sager, Paul Simon, Jimmy Webb, and Paul Williams. McCartney’s next album, “Good Evening New York City”, is slated to be released Nov. 17.