The Recording Academy® announced its Special Merit Awards today, and this year's recipients include: Leonard Cohen, Bobby Darin, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Michael Jackson, Loretta Lynn, André Previn, and Clark Terry as Lifetime Achievement Award honorees; Harold Bradley, Florence Greenberg and Walter C. Miller as Trustees Award honorees; and AKG and Thomas Alva Edison as Technical GRAMMY® Award honorees. The special invitation-only ceremony will be held during GRAMMY Week on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010, and a formal acknowledgment will be made during the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards telecast, which will be held at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010, and broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CBS Television Network.
"This year's honorees are a prestigious group of diverse and prominent creators who have contributed some of the most distinguished and influential recordings," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "Their outstanding accomplishments and passion for their craft have created a timeless legacy that has positively affected multiple generations, and will continue to influence generations to come. It is an honor and privilege to recognize such talented individuals who have had and will continue to have such an influence in both our culture and the music industry."
The Lifetime Achievement Award honors lifelong artistic contributions to the recording medium while the Trustees Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the industry in a non-performing capacity. Both awards are determined by vote of The Recording Academy's National Board of Trustees. Technical GRAMMY Award recipients are determined by vote of The Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing Advisory Council and Chapter Committees as well as The Academy's Trustees. The award is presented to individuals and companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording field.
About the Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees:
With a career that has spanned four decades and 18 albums, singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen has worked with the likes of such artists as Elton John, Willie Nelson, Neil Diamond, and Iggy Pop. He has garnered a number of awards including an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and just recently won a GRAMMY Award for his participation on the album Herbie Hancock: The Joni Letters, which won Album Of The Year at the 50th Annual GRAMMYs. This past February, Cohen launched an international tour that began with the reopening of the legendary New York City Beacon Theater.
One of the last touring Delta Blues musicians, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, career began in 1932 when he hit the road with Big Joe Williams. Throughout his career, he wrote a number of classic and well-known songs
including "Long Tall Woman Blues" and "Just Like Jesse James." In 1996, Edwards was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, and a year later he wrote his autobiography, The World Don't Owe Me Nothing. At age 94, Edwards continues to tour performing up to 100 shows a year.
Thirteen-time GRAMMY winner Michael Jackson* was one of the most commercially successful and influential entertainers of all time. With a career that spanned more than four decades, Jackson's Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous, and HiStory remain among the world's best-selling albums and spawned 17 No. 1 singles in the United States. Throughout his career, he received numerous awards and honors including his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and induction to the Songwriters Hall of Fame. And was featured multiple times in the Guiness Book Of World Records. Jackson's incredible dance moves, unique musical sound and identifiable voice inspired numerous artists and broke down racial, cultural and generational boundaries.
Three-time GRAMMY winner and country legend Loretta Lynn has been in the industry for nearly 50 years. She gained success when her 1960 debut single "I'm A Honky Tonk Girl" became a huge hit. Throughout her illustrious career, Lynn has had more than 70 hits including "You Ain't Woman Enough," "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)" and "Coal Miner's Daughter," which was also the name of her autobiography that was later adapted into a Hollywood film. In 1971 she began a professional partnership with fellow country artist Conway Twitty and the pair became one of the most successful duos in country history. In 2004, at the 47th Annual GRAMMY Awards, Lynn won a pair of GRAMMYs for her collaboration with Jack White on the album Van Lear Rose.
Conductor, composer, pianist, and 10-time GRAMMY winner André Previn has worked with the world's major orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and has held the chief artistic posts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra. As a composer, his first opera, "A Streetcar Named Desire," was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque and his second opera, "Brief Encounter," commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera, premiered in 2009.
Considered to be one of the early pioneers to use a flugelhorn in jazz, Clark Terry has worked with a number of artists including Charlie Barnet, George Hudson and Duke Ellington, with whom he recorded several albums in the late '50s. Additionally, he recorded with an array of groups including Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band and the Quincy Jones Orchestra. After appearing on the highly successful recording Oscar Peterson Trio Plus One, he joined "The Tonight Show" orchestra where he remained for 12 years before going back to work on a duet album with Peterson. Today, Terry continues to perform and record for a variety of jazz albums.
Musician Bobby Darin* was an accomplished singer/songwriter who taught himself how to play drums, harmonica, piano, guitar, and vibraphone. He reached huge success with a string of hits that included "Splish Splash," "Mack The Knife" and "Beyond The Sea." Though his life was short with his passing at age 37 in 1973, Darin made the most of his musical career penning more than 170 songs and winning two GRAMMY Awards. He transcended boundaries with his music that closed the gap between musical genres and generations.
About the Trustees Award Honorees:
In the mid 1950s Harold Bradley built Nashville's Music Row's first recording facility, the Quonset Hut, with his brother Owen. He was president of AFM Local 257 for 17 years and has served as its international vice president for the past 10 years. He was the first president of The Recording Academy's Nashville Chapter and was also a Nashville session musician for more than 50 years, which earned him a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006.
As the founder of Scepter Records, Florence Greenberg* was the first woman to own and run a major record label. The label's first singing group, the Shirelles, were the first female group to have a No. 1 pop single. Scepter Records went on to be home to an incredible lineup of artists that included Burt Bacharach, Hal David and Dionne Warwick. The Scepter label became one of a handful of classic early rock and roll and R&B imprints to be glorified via a box set collection, The Scepter Records Story.
Walter C. Miller has worked in television for more than 60 years as a producer and director of the Tony Awards®, Country Music AwardsSM and for the last 29 years, the GRAMMY Awards. Miller was instrumental in helping shape some of GRAMMYs' most memorable moments including Aretha Franklin's last-minute, unrehearsed rendition of "Nessun Dorma"; Bono presenting an award to Frank Sinatra; and Herbie Hancock and Lang Lang's complex and thrilling piano performance of "Rhapsody In Blue." The six-time Primetime Emmy® winner remains one of the most respected directors in the industry.
About the Technical GRAMMY Award Honorees:
AKG, founded by Dr. Rudolf Goerike and Ernst Pless in 1947, is globally recognized for its contributions to the recording industry. They have been a leader in the designs of both microphones and headphones, beginning in 1949 when their SKG DYN headphones first hit the market, revolutionizing the technology used to record music. AKG equipment has a long history on tour and in the studio with musicians such as Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Kanye West, and Stevie Wonder.
Thomas Alva Edison* was one of the most accomplished inventors in American history, holding nearly 1,100 U.S. patents including the incandescent light bulb, early motion picture, and X-ray images. In 1877 he gained public fame for his patent of the phonograph, the first device to record and reproduce sound. Edison's tabletop phonograph was integral in revolutionizing entertainment by bringing music into the homes of people all around the world.
Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture.
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