Photo by HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images
Earlier this month, Carlos Santana and Billy Joel rubbed elbows with politicians and fellow celebrities in Washington, D.C. as they were recognized for their impact on American culture at the annual Kennedy Center Honors. Two hours of highlights will be shown on CBS this Sunday night at 9 ET.
After the event, Carlos told us it was "incredible and very gratifying." At the ceremony, Harry Belafonte spoke on his behalf, saying, "Now Carlos is a citizen of the world. He belongs to all of us. Carlos, you haven't transcended race and origin. Really, who of us has? You continue to be informed by the immigrant experience on the journey to the great American dream." And Santana's musical tribute came from Buddy Guy, Sheila E., Steve Winwood, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, and Latin artists Juanes and Fher Olvera, the lead singer of the Mexican rock band Mana.
Tony Bennett spoke on behalf of Joel, saying, "Billy Joel is no less than the poet, performer, philosopher of today's American songbook." Don Henley serenaded him with "She's Got a Way" and Garth Brooks, who covered Joel's "Shameless" in 1989, did a medley of "Only the Good Die Young," "Allentown" and "Goodnight Saigon," which featured a choir of Vietnam veterans. Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco did "Big Shot," and Rufus Wainright chipped in with "New York State of Mind" before leading the audience in a sing-along of "Piano Man."