Earth Wind & Fire, Linda Ronstadt among 2019 Kennedy Center Honorees

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Douglas Mason/Getty ImagesSinger Linda Ronstadt and R&B superstars Earth Wind & Fire are among this year's recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors.

They, along with actress Sally Field, the TV show Sesame Street and famed classical conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, will receive their tributes during a star-studded Washington, D.C., ceremony on December 8, which will subsequently air December 15 on CBS.

The recipients are being honored for their "lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts," with the primary criterion being "excellence."

In a statement, Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein said, "Earth, Wind & Fire's hooks and grooves are the foundation of a seminal style that continues to shape our musical landscape...Linda Ronstadt is the defining voice of a generation, spanning genres, languages and continents."

EWF members Philip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson will be on hand to accept the Kennedy Center Honors on behalf of the entire band. Over the past five decades, they have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, scored eight #1 hits, won nine Grammys, and been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  In 2014, the band performed at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony in tribute to one of that year's honorees, the Rev. Al Green.

Ronstadt, who announced in 2013 that she is no longer able to sing due to Parkinson's disease, is one of pop music's most versatile vocalists, tackling rock, big band, country, jazz, opera, standards and Mexican music during her four-decade career. She's sold more than 50 million albums and won 10 Grammys.  A 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Ronstadt also received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama that same year.

Performers who'll appear in tribute to this year's honorees will be announced later.

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