President Barack Obama will be on hand to celebrate the career of Bruce Springsteen at this year's Kennedy Center Honors Gala on December 6th. Springsteen will be joined by fellow honorees actor Robert DeNiro, director Mel Brooks, jazz great Dave Brubeck and opera singer Grace Bumbry at the ceremony, which will air December 29th on CBS. "With his gritty and honest songs that speak to the everyman, Bruce Springsteen has always had his finger on the pulse of America," the Kennedy Center wrote today in a statement.
As Rolling Stone previously reported, Springsteen rigorously worked the campaign trail at all stages of the 2008 election for Obama, a candidate Springsteen called "head and shoulders above the rest" when he endorsed Obama way in April 2008. Springsteen played numerous fundraisers and swing state concerts in support of Obama, culminating in a performance at the President-Elect's inauguration concert in January. Barack and Michelle Obama will sit with Springsteen and the rest of this year's honorees, at the Gala.
While Springsteen is the headliner as far as Rolling Stone is concerned, one cannot understate the contribution of Robert DeNiro, one of the greatest actors of his generation. Martin Scorsese, the man responsible for so many of DeNiro's greatest roles from Taxi Driver to Raging Bull to Goodfellas, was an Kennedy Center Honoree in 2007, so it was only a matter of time until the director's muse was recognized.
In addition to the Gala itself, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton will also host a December 5th dinner for the honorees, while the Obamas will also welcome the honorees to the White House for a reception to day before the Gala. Past Kennedy Center honorees include the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, Diana Ross, Elton John, Tina Turner, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and, last year, the Who's Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend.