Jake’s Take On…The 10 People Who Deserve Kennedy Center Honors

Kennedy Center Honors wish list

I hope that the Kennedy Center honors the following artists in the future. (Logo property of the Kennedy Center)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

In a few short days, CBS will air its annual special: The Kennedy Center Honors! This year, Tom Hanks, Sting, Lily Tomlin, Patricia McBride and Reverend Al Green joined the ranks of countless performers to be inducted into the Kennedy Center’s revered honor society.

While only a few people with close ties to American culture determine which artists would get recognized for their work, Jake’s Take has come up with 10 names of performers who harnessed their craft and inspired the entire country to embrace the arts.

In addition, I also came up with recommendations on which performers should pay tribute to them!


Robin Williams will definitely be in spirit if the Kennedy Center honors his longtime friends: Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal. (Photo property of ABC)

Robin Williams’ spirit will definitely be at the Kennedy Center in spirit if the organization decides to honors his longtime friends: Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal. (Photo property of ABC)

Billy Crystal

For nearly 40 years, Mr. Crystal has made everyone laugh with his incredible comedy! He has starred in countless films and television shows ranging from Soap and Saturday Night Live to When Harry Met Sally and his hosting duties for both the Grammys and the Oscars. Mr. Crystal’s tribute could feature tributes from John Goodman, Jay Leno, Jon Lovitz, Robert Di Nero, Jimmy Fallon and most likely this next artist.

Whoopi Goldberg

Ms. Goldberg is one of the most decorated artists on this planet! She has won an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony, two Golden Globes, a BAFTA award, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and two American Comedy Awards. Since 1980, the trail blazer has made audiences laugh in the Sister Act movies and Ghost, cry in The Color Purple and forced them to think as she shared her opinions as The View’s moderator. A diverse cast of superstars such as Mr. Crystal, Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Laverne Cox, Wanda Sykes, Whoopi’s current and former View partners-in-crime Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, Rosie Perez & Nicolle Wallace and Patti LaBelle might lead the charge during this high-octane tribute!

Bette Midler

The Divine Miss M has elevated the art of performing with her outstanding performances. Whether she was frightening audiences as Winnie in Hocus Pocus or craving attention as either Georgette in Oliver & Company or Mary Rose Foster in The Rose, Bette Midler’s ambidextrous showmanship has provided a roadmap for future generations to follow. 50 Cent, Barbara Walters, Debra Messing, Debbie Harry, The First Wives Club castmates Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn and Rosie O’Donnell would bring down the house if they joined forces for this tribute.

Lorne Michaels

Speaking of superstars, Saturday Night Live has created a ton of household names! Chevy Chase, the late Gilda Radner, John Belushi and Phil Hartman, Mike Meyers, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers and Kristin Wiig are among the comedians that were featured on the show that iconic TV producer Lorne Michaels built. The man who changed Saturday nights forever has inspired generations of comedians-in-training to focus on their craft, so they could one day say…”Live from New York…It’s Saturday Night!”

Regis Philbin

I was among the countless fans that were disappointed that the Kennedy Center did not honor Regis! Many Americans have grown up watching the media personality on various television programs ranging from Live to Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. In fact, the Notre Dame alum’s television programs marked the debuts of several major stars such as Celine Dion, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Radcliffe, Neil Patrick Harris, Josh Groban and Michael Buble. Besides those actors and singers, it would also be nice to see former co-host Kathie Lee Gifford, fellow media personalities Rachael Ray and Katie Couric and longtime friends David Letterman and Don Rickles partake in the tribute.


Longtime friends and music trailblazers Carole King and Gloria Estefan might honor each other if they get honored by the Kennedy Center. (Photo property of Getty Images North America's Ethan Miller)

Longtime friends and music trailblazers Carole King and Gloria Estefan might honor each other if they get honored by the Kennedy Center. (Photo property of Getty Images North America’s Ethan Miller)

Gloria Estefan

When Ms. Estefan launched her career with the Miami Sound Machine in the late 1970s, little did she know that she would become an inspiration to a new generation of Latin artists and to millions of fans around the world. Her ability to work with a range of performers ranging from Aretha Franklin & Stevie Wonder to the late Celia Cruz & the late Frank Sinatra speaks so much about her artistry. Among the artists that should participate in the tribute are Shakira, Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Ariana Grande, John Legend, *NSYNC, Patti LaBelle and this next candidate.

Carole King

One of the greatest singer-songwriters of all-time is Carole King! With her late former husband, Gerry Coffin, the duo wrote the soundtrack for so many lives. She also inspired countless singer-songwriters to follow their dreams and enter the music world. Artists such as Ms. Estefan, Sara Bareilles, Celine Dion, Jewel, Taylor Swift and longtime friend James Taylor would make this tribute a highlight of the night.

Patti LaBelle

However, if you want to send the audience to church…pay homage to the Queen of Rock and Soul herself, Patti LaBelle! For over 55 years, Ms. LaBelle rocked the music world with her bombastic vocals and superior artistry. The artists that should pay tribute to Ms. LaBelle are her god-daughter, Mariah Carey, longtime friends Prince and Cyndi Lauper and the next generation of soul singers Oleta Adams, Christina Aguilera. Fantasia, Mary J. Blige, Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson.

Steven Tyler and Joe Perry

Steven Tyler and Joe Perry changed American rock music forever! Hopefully, the duo would be honored by the Kennedy Center soon! (Photo property of “Dallas Morning News” special contributor Rex C. Curry)


Steven Tyler & Joe Perry

Aerosmith’s founder fathers have changed American rock and roll forever! With over four Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, 10 MTV Music Awards and 21 Top 40 hits in the Billboard Top 100 charts, Misters Tyler and Perry’s sound and songwriting have ignited the fires in the bellies of aspiring musicians and filled countless stadiums around the world. Slash, Carrie Underwood, Mary J. Blige, former Kennedy Center Honorees Billy Joel and Sir Paul McCartney and a new generation of performers from Idol (Jessica Sanchez and Caleb Johnson), AGT (Emil & Dariel) and Rising Star winner Jesse Kinch would rock the opera house to its core!

Who should be honored by the Kennedy Center next?


  1. as someone who first saw Patti LaBelle, live (with “LaBelle”), when I was all of 6 yrs of age, Im thinking that a Kennedy Center Honor for the “Philly Song Bird” aka Patti LaBelle, is “longgggggg over due” (a song reference to her song, ‘I Dont Go Shopping”). I saw her tip her cap, and sing for, her ony REAL “vocal peer”, Aretha Franklin, years ago, when Aretha was honored @ the Kennedy Center. And that was the first time it crossed my mind, that she too, deserved one..

    Im originally from DC…Philly is “right around the corner” from DC. So, it stands to reason that Patti’s music (whether she was with her group(s) or whether she was solo) was ALWAYS featured in our household, when I was coming up, during the 70s. And its something of an understatement to say that Patti’s talent is legit’, and had NOTHING to do with her hair, or shoes or “drag” (as she likes to call her clothes).

    Her REAL talent starts and ends with the sounds coming out of her mouth. And in my opinion, there is NO ONE in music who was even in her ballpark, in her heyday, at her peak….NO ONE. Anything that was asked of her to sing, she could do it…rock, gutbucket soul, Broadway showtunes, ‘middle of the road, R&B”…social commentary soul & HARD rock (w/LaBelle), light opera…and it should be said, without any shame, she even did a better than average job of venturing into ‘disco’, to keep pace with the disco divas that had more credibility in that genre, during the disco era. Disco actually ENDED a lot of careers…so, to think that she was able to hang in there during that time, speaks again to her perserverence and talent.

    so, yea….Id be shocked if she didnt get the KCH…and Id like to throw another name in the ring, to honor her. The one and only, Bette Midler, who let LaBelle, open her shows at the Continental Bathhouse (NYC), back in the early 70s. Bette is a fan of many girl groups from the 60s..and has spoken, with a LOT of respect, regarding Patti, Sarah, Cindy and Nona…she felt that Labelle and and any group that featured Darlene Love, were the best of the best, when you talk about girl groups back in the 60s. She introduced Patti’s set, at LIVE AID..and has called herself the “white Patti LaBelle”

    When I went to see Patti, live, on a regular basis, back in the day, thru the 80…thru the 90s…there wasnt a professional singer, who was remotely close to her, in talent and stage presence….NOT EVEN ARETHA, who at that time, was having a hard enough time trying to kick her smoking habit, while she was trying to keep her vocal ability from completely disappearing. Needless to say, she had a very hard time, doing both of those things…and it was apparent, to most of us.

    lets just say, Id be happy to carve time out of my busy schedule to watch the legendary Miss LaBelle, receive her honor at the Kennedy Center..a place, I might add, where she first peformed live, when she broke away from “LABELLE”. I was there…Lenny Williams (former lead singer for Tower of Power opened for her) ….my Mom her then boyfriend, took me to see her perform at the Kennedy Ctr in 1977. Lenny’s set lasted half and hour….I’ll have you know, Patti LaBelle sang for 2 1/2 freaking hours!!!!!…and did everything short of taking her clothes off, to keep her audience on the edge of their seats. The thing I remember the most about that performance and all the ones Ive seen subsequent to that one, was not knowing what she was going to do from one song to the next….you didnt know what she would throw at you. And for 38 yrs since then, Ive been a very loyal fan.

  2. Debra Ryan says

    I am totally disappointed that Regis Philbin has not been chosen as an honoree!!!! David Letterman before Regis!!!!?? Ridiculous!!!! I use to love to watch the show, but I am not interested at all anymore!


  1. […] to see George Lucas, Rita Moreno and Carole King (an artist who was on last year’s inaugural “10 People Who Deserve Kennedy Center Honors” article) join entertainment icons such as Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel, Carol […]

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