According to the Library of Congress, Richie will be awarded the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song by the national library. Richie will receive the award at an all star tribute in Washington, D.C. on March 9.
The concert will be broadcast by PBS stations on May 17.
Richie stated in a statement that "this is truly an honour of a lifetime,... and I am so thankful to be receiving the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song." Richie said, "I am proud that I am joining all the previous artists, whom I admire and love their music."
Past recipients include Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson and Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson and Tony Bennett.
Richie was a founding member and songwriter of the Commodores. This soul-funk band made waves in 1970s. Richie was a part of the Commodores, a group that enjoyed tremendous success, supported by chart-topping hits like "Three Times a Lady," and "Still."
He has been awarded four Grammys, an Oscar, and the MusicCares Person-of-the Year distinction in 2016. In 2017, he was honored by the Kennedy Center.
Richie was a mentor to aspiring musicians as a judge for ABC's "American Idol." He has been with the show for four seasons. Richie expects to be back for the 20th season.
Carla Hayden (Librarian of Congress) said Richie was an inspirational entertainer who helped to "strengthen global connections."
Hayden stated, "Lionel Richie’s extraordinary work has shown us music can bring people together." Songs can help us find common ground even when we disagree on certain issues and face difficulties.