James Glader; Timothy WhiteThe Eagles and James Taylor will be saluted at the 39th annual Kennedy Center Honors this December.

The famed rock band and the lauded singer/songwriter will join gospel/soul legend Mavis Staples, Oscar-winning actor Al Pacino and classical pianist Martha Argerich in receiving the prestigious award, which is presented annually by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in recognition of recipients’ lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.

The Eagles originally had been scheduled to be saluted at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors, but that was postponed because of singer/guitarist Glenn Frey‘s health. Sadly, Frey died in January at age 67.

In announcing the recipients, Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein praised the Eagles for creating “ambitiously themed albums [that] epically merged the American West and rock n’ roll, paving the way for unconventional music makers and artists to come.” He also noted that Taylor’s “warm baritone and poetic lyrics embody the art of songwriting, making him one of the defining musical figures of our time and his music the soundtrack of our country.”

Taylor posted a message on his official website saying, “I am deeply moved to be included in such august company and hugely grateful to the Kennedy Center Honors for the gift of this great award.”

This year’s honorees will be feted at a star-studded gala December 4 at the Kennedy Center Opera House that will be attended by President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. The event will be recorded for a special airing December 27 on CBS at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

The awards themselves will be presented December 3 at the State Department, at a dinner hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry.

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