Sir Paul will receive the award early next year
Sir Paul McCartney will receive America's highest award for pop music, the Library of Congress' Gershwin Prize, it has been announced.
It was created in 2007 to recognise the "profound and positive effect of popular music on the world's culture".
Librarian of Congress James Billington said it was hard "to find a performer who has had more of an indelible and transformative effect on popular song".
Sir Paul will collect the award next year at a ceremony at the White House.
Paul Simon won the inaugural prize followed by Stevie Wonder last year.
Presenting Wonder with the honour in February, US President Barack Obama said the Motown legend had provided the soundtrack to his youth.
"I think it's fair to say that had I not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle might not have dated me, we might not have married," he said.
"The fact that we agreed on Stevie was part of the essence of our courtship."
An all-star tribute concert featuring a performance by Sir Paul and other guests is scheduled for spring 2010 to celebrate his distinction.