U2 HAVE been named among several other to be recognised at the 45th Kennedy Centre Honours - celebrating recipients for their contributions to American culture through the performing arts - in Washington DC later this year.
The quartet - Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen - will join actor George Clooney, singers Amy Grant and Gladys Knight and composer Tania León as recipients of the prestigious US award. The ceremony traditionally takes place in December, with a reception beforehand in the White House.
Previous honorees include Joni Mitchell, Bette Midler, Joan Baez, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Philip Glass. The annual ceremony is set for 4 December at Washington, D.C. and will broadcast at a later date on CBS.
U2, featuring singer Bono, guitarist the Edge, bassist Adam Clayton, and drummer Larry Mullen Jr., said:
"In December 1980, we made our first trip across the Atlantic to America. Our first show was at the Ritz in New York City, the second, The Bayou in D.C.
"We had big dreams then, fueled in part by the commonly held belief at home that America smiles on Ireland. And it turned out to be true, yet again. But even in the wilder thoughts, we never imagined that 40 years on, we would be invited back to receive one of the nation’s greatest honours….
"It has been a four-decade love affair with the country and its people, its artists, and culture. We consider America to be a home away from home and we are very grateful to the Kennedy Center Honors for welcoming us into this great clan of extraordinary artists."
In a statement, Deborah Rutter, President of the Kennedy Center, said:
"The Honours is often referred to by past recipients as the pinnacle of awards because it recognises not just one performance, album or film, but esteems an artist's cumulative body of work and influence over many decades.
"This level of distinction is important. Through this holistic viewpoint, each year's Honourees add another layer to the complex and inspiring collage of artists that together tell the story of our collective contribution to global culture."
David Rubenstein, the Chairman of the Kennedy Centre, said U2 had "won over America and the world long ago with their iconic anthems, potent lyrics and powerful messages of social justice and global citizenship - earning a musical legacy that crosses generations, inspires and unites".