The late Elvis Presley is to be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The ‘Hound Dog’ hitmaker who passed away in 1977 aged 42 will join seven other “distinguished individuals” to be recognized with the prestigious accolade from President Donald Trump on 16 November.
The “nation’s highest civilian honor” is given out for those who have “made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavor.”
Similarly, baseball legend Babe Ruth and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will also posthumously receive the medal, along with Senator Orrin Hatch, Dallas Cowboys player Roger Staubach, football player-turned-judge Alan Page and Republican donor Miriam Adelson.
Elvis has been chosen for the medal for the way he “defined American culture” and also his service in the US Army.
The White House said in a statement: “Elvis Presley defined American culture to billions of adoring fans around the world. Elvis fused gospel, country, and rhythm and blues to create a sound all his own, selling more than a billion records.
“Elvis also served nearly two years in the United States Army, humbly accepting the call to serve despite his fame. He later starred in 31 films, drew record-breaking audiences to his shows, sent television ratings soaring, and earned 14 Grammy Award nominations. He ultimately won 3 Grammy Awards for his gospel music. Elvis Presley remains an enduring American icon four decades after his death.”
The ‘Love Me Tender’ singer is only the third musician to have received the honour posthumously, following Ronald Reagan bestowing the medal on bandleader Meredith Wilson and jazz icon Count Basie.
Under Barack Obama’s administration, singers including Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Diana Ross, Loretta Lynn and Bruce Springsteen were bestowed the accolade.