The 39th annual Kennedy Center Honors this weekend was a important one. President Barack Obama and First lady Michelle Obama were in attendance for their final time as leaders of the nation, with 'The Late Show' host Stephen Colbert hosting the event for the third time. 

The EaglesThe Eagles receive their belated honour

The honourees at the event in Washington on Sunday (December 4th 2016) were iconic rock band the Eagles, veteran Oscar winning star Al Pacino, Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, five-time Grammy winning singer-songwriter James Taylor and gospel singer Mavis Staples. 

The Eagles' award was a postponed honour from last year, when they were forced to delay their reception after founding member Glenn Frey had to undergo a gastrointestinal tract surgery. Unfortunately, the musician passed away on January 18th following complications with rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia following the operation. And so it was Frey's widow Cindy who joined 'Hotel California' hitmakers Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh at the Kennedy Center to collect the award. Bob Seger, Kings of Leon, Vince Gill and Juanes were all on hand to perform some of the band's greatest tunes.

James Taylor was also paid tribute to with renditions of his songs played by Sheryl Crow, Garth Brooks and Darius Rucker, and former President Bill Clinton dubbed him 'the sweet voice of our better angels'. Taylor joked that he'd been involved in the Kennedy Center Honors five different times before but 'this is less work'.

More: Tributes paid to Glenn Frey

The awards ceremony came after the gala dinner at the State Department the day before, which was hosted by the actor Kevin Spacey and littered with Donald Trump jokes. But attendees largely tried to keep the impending political turnaround at a distance for most of the weekend, focusing their attentions on the incredble lifetime achievements of these culture-changing stars.

The Kennedy Center Honors will air on CBS on December 27th 2016.