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May 05, 2021

Bruce Springsteen to be awarded Woody Guthrie Prize for continuing the late artist's legacy

Springsteen earned the award for his inspiring music about the lives and struggles of working class Americans

Music Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen Woody Guthrie Prize Anthony Behar/Sipa USA

Bruce Springsteen will be awarded the Woody Guthrie Prize next week in a members-only, virtual event.

Bruce Springsteen will be awarded the Woody Guthrie Prize at a members-only, virtual event held on May 13.

The prize is awarded to artists that continue the legacy of the late folk legend, and the Woody Guthrie Center said Springsteen's themes of the American Dream and the struggles of the working class earned him the award. 

Pete Seeger was first awarded the prize in 2014, followed by artists like Joan Baez, Chuck D, John Mellencamp, Norman Lear, Kris Kristofferson and Mavis Staples.

"Springsteen’s music provides a soundtrack of resilience, strength, heart and joy despite or even in spite of the struggles thrown our way," the Guthrie Center stated. "Drawing from his experiences growing up in New Jersey, Springsteen’s songs have connected on a universal level with fans worldwide." 

Springsteen said Guthrie's work inspired his own music and he often performed his songs, like "This Land is Your Land" before the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009.

"I’m honored to receive the 2021 Woody Guthrie Prize," Springsteen said in a statement. "Woody wrote some of the greatest songs about America’s struggle to live up its ideals in convincing fashion. He is one of my most important influences and inspirations."

Bruce will accept the 2021 Woody Guthrie Prize in recognition of his work in continuing Woody’s legacy in a virtual...

Posted by Bruce Springsteen on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Woody Guthrie Center Director Deana McCloud said Springsteen was "a true child of Woody Guthrie," and continues to write about human struggles while inspiring people to "find the power of their own voices."

"We’ve been hoping that Bruce would join our extended family – which includes the spirit sons and daughters of Woody, Pete Seeger and Lead Belly – as we gather this year to say  'thank you for caring and for speaking out.' Welcome, brother!” said Nora Guthrie, president of Woody Guthrie Publications and Woody’s daughter.

The Jersey Shore rocker has recorded more than 20 studio albums and sold 120 million records worldwide. He's been awarded 20 Grammy awards, an Oscar and a Tony. 

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, was honored by the Kennedy Center 10 years later and in 2016 was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Earlier this year, Springsteen teamed up with former president Barack Obama for a podcast called "Renegades: Born in the USA."

To watch the award ceremony, fans can register to become members on the organization's website.

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