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Music legend Paul McCartney, seen at right performing in Halifax with lead guitar Rusty Anderson in July, has been named the third winner of the fledgling Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. ((Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press))

Paul McCartney will be honoured with a fledgling but prestigious musical honour, after being named Monday as the latest recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

The U.S. Library of Congress, which administers the honour, announced the 67-year-old British musician and former Beatle as its third winner of the songwriting prize on Monday.

"It is hard to think of another performer and composer who has had a more indelible and transformative effect on popular song and music of several different genres than Paul McCartney," Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in a statement.

Billington selected McCartney after discussion with entertainment industry leaders.

The Library of Congress houses the George and Ira Gershwin Collection, a vast resource of musical manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, other documents and memorabilia that originally belonged to the famed songwriting brothers.

"As a great admirer of the Gershwins' songs, I am highly honoured to be given the Gershwin Prize by such a great institution," McCartney said.

Organizers will celebrate McCartney with a star-studded tribute concert being planned for spring 2010, with a line-up of performers to be announced later.

First awarded in 2007, the Gershwin Prize was created by Bob Peter and Bob Kaminsky, Mark Krantz and Cappy McGarr — who also created the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

The first two Gershwin Prize recipients were musical icons Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon.

With files from The Associated Press