Sting is one of five people to be awarded the Kennedy Center honour for influencing American culture through art this year.
The former Police singer is the only non-US recipient of the accolade this year. The other four artists honoured were Al Green [pictured right], Tom Hanks, comedian Lily Tomlin and ballerina Patricia McBride.
The ceremony took place at a gala performance in Washington DC which will be broadcast on December 30 and involved a host of celebrities paying tribute to the selected stars, while President Obama also addressed the winners at The White House beforehand.
Upon receiving the award, Sting said, “You know, for an Englishman to receive this reward, it’s not unique, but it’s rare, and I take that pretty seriously”.
Bruce Springsteen, who was one of four artists to sing a tribute to the star, also joked, “Sting makes me feel like a musical Neanderthal. When we get together, we always have the same argument. He insists that there are more than three chords, while I insist that there are not.”
As well as Springsteen, Lady Gaga performed ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith In You’, Bruno Mars sang a medley of ‘So Lonely’, ‘Roxanne’ and ‘Message In A Bottle’, while US jazz singer Esperanza Spalding sang ‘Fragile’.
The award honours the accomplishments of five artists per year. In recent years, recipients have included Led Zeppelin, Billy Joel and Paul McCartney.