The Brits, an annual showcase of the UK recording industry, announced on Tuesday that the 2008 lifetime achievement award is being given to Paul McCartney.

The former Beatle, being given the award next February for his outstanding contribution to music, was hailed by Brits chairman Ged Doherty as one of the greatest songwriters of all time and a member of Britain's biggest ever group.

McCartney is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most successful composer and musician in history with a career spanning five decades and sales of more than 100 million albums.

(Reporting by Paul Majendie; editing by Paul Casciato)