INDIANAPOLIS — A new addition is headed to rocker John Mellencamp's trophy case: the Woody Guthrie Prize.
Mellencamp, inducted last month to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, will receive the Woody Guthrie Prize on Aug. 30 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the Woodie Guthrie Center is located.
In tandem with honoring Mellencamp's career of spotlighting "the everyday man and woman, the less fortunate and the forgotten," the center will host an exhibition recently seen at Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Titled "Mellencamp," the exhibit includes the singer's 1966 Silver Honda Scrambler 305 motorcycle; the Gibson Dove acoustic guitar used throughout his career; and paintings such as “The Stardust Sisters,” which depicts actresses Meg Ryan and Laura Dern.
Visitors also will see handwritten lyrics to the songs Small Town, R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A., Cherry Bomb, Pop Singer, and Longest Days (Life Is Short).
► May 10: John Mellencamp embraces art, politics, learning to love on new release
► Feb. 3: John Mellencamp kneels on ‘Late Show’ to oppose racial inequality
► Jan. 11: John Mellencamp's son sentenced to community service for intoxication
The annual Woody Guthrie Prize is given to an artist who best exemplifies the spirit and life work of folk singer Woody Guthrie by speaking for the less fortunate and serving as a positive force for social change.
Previous recipients were TV writer/producer Norman Lear last, and singers Kris Kristofferson in 2016, Mavis Staples in 2015 and Pete Seeger in 2014. Mellencamp, like Guthrie, “has used his artistic gifts to spread a positive message of hope, equality and freedom,” the center said in a news release.
► August 2016: Christie Brinkley defends her ex: Mellencamp is no right-winger
► June 2016: Kris Kristofferson to receive Woody Guthrie Prize
Mellencamp, 66, is an Indiana native, Farm Aid co-founder and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His latest album, Sad Clowns and Hillbillies, includes the song My Soul’s Got Wings, with music by Mellencamp and lyrics originally written by Guthrie, who was 55 when he died in 1967 of Huntington's disease, a genetic disorder that results in the death of brain cells.
He was a Grammy Award winner in 1983 for Hurts So Good and recipient of the Billboard Century Award in 2001, Huntington's Disease Society of America's Woody Guthrie Award in 2003, Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement for Songwriting in 2010 and John Steinbeck Award in 2012.
Contributing: Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY; The Associated Press. Follow David Lindquist on Twitter: @317Lindquist