Lionel Richie will receive the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the Library of Congress said.
He will be bestowed the prize at an all-star tribute in Washington, DC, on March 9.
“This is truly an honour of a lifetime, and I am so grateful to be receiving the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song,” Richie said in a statement.
“I am proud to be joining all the other previous artists, who I also admire and am a fan of their music.”
Past recipients include Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Emilio and Gloria Estefan and Garth Brooks.
Richie is known for his catalogue of hits, including All Night Long, Endless Love, Lady, Penny Lover, Truly and Stuck On You.
He co-wrote the historically popular song We Are The World with Michael Jackson.
Before his superstar solo career, Richie was a founding member of the Commodores, a funk and soul band that made waves in the 1970s.
The group had tremendous success backed by chart-climbing hits such as Three Times A Lady, Still and Easy.
The singer has won four Grammys, an Oscar and the distinction of MusiCares Person of the Year in 2016.
Richie has mentored aspiring music artists as a judge on American Idol for the past four seasons.
He expects to return for the show’s 20th season.
Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, said Richie has been an inspiring entertainer who helped “strengthen our global connections”.
“Lionel Richie’s unforgettable work has shown us that music can bring us together,” Ms Hayden said.
“Even when we face problems and disagree on issues, songs can show us what we have in common.”