(For a complete list of 53rd GRAMMY Awards nominees, click here.)
Clive Davis and The Recording Academy will continue the tradition of the annual Pre-GRAMMY Gala on Feb. 12 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., the evening before the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards. This exclusive, star-studded celebration will feature special musical performances and will be attended by artists and industry VIPs in music, film and television.
As part of the evening's celebration, the 2011 GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons will honor Geffen Records founder and DreamWorks SKG co-founder David Geffen. The Recording Academy will present Geffen with the President's Merit Award in recognition of his significant contributions to the music industry and the impact his efforts have had on music and the business of music. Past recipients of the GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons President's Merit Award include Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, Clive Davis, Ahmet Ertegun, Berry Gordy, Doug Morris, and Mo Ostin.
"It is a true pleasure to again partner with the legendary Clive Davis to present our Pre-GRAMMY Gala, a memorable evening of special musical moments and camaraderie," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy."This year, we are especially pleased and proud to honor David Geffen, a unique and pioneering entrepreneur in music, stage and film who has had a profound impact on our culture, on the entertainment industry, and whose notable philanthropy has positively affected the lives of so many through his charitable acts."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Geffen began his career in the mailroom at William Morris Agency, where he worked his way up as an agent for top talent. He launched his first record label, Asylum Records, in 1971, signing artists such as Jackson Browne, the Eagles and Joni Mitchell. In 1980 he formed Geffen Records, building a roster that included Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, Elton John, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono. During this time he began Geffen Pictures, which would produce films such as Beetlejuice, Little Shop Of Horrors and Risky Business. After selling Geffen Records to MCA in 1990, Geffen remained chairman/CEO and inaugurated another label, DGC Records, which launched successful acts such as Beck, Counting Crows, Nirvana, and Sonic Youth.
In 1994 Geffen parlayed his creative vision into a bigger venture by co-founding DreamWorks SKG, the first new major motion picture studio to be formed in more than 50 years, with partners Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. He helped shepherd the launch of DreamWorks Animation, which would create the successful Shrek films, among many others. He financed Broadway productions of "Cats" and "Dreamgirls." The latter a project he would later make into a motion picture through DreamWorks. He brokered the sale of DreamWorks SKG and its catalog to Paramount Pictures in 2006. In 2009, along with Spielberg, he secured private funding to once again make DreamWorks a private company before retiring from the entertainment industry.
Passionate about many causes, Geffen is a philanthropist who has made many charitable donations to a diverse array of organizations. In 2002 he made a $200 million donation to the UCLA School of Medicine, as well as gifts to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Save the Children. As an industry leader in the fight against AIDS, he has contributed to AIDS Project Los Angeles, amfAR, Project Angel Food, and more. A prolific supporter of the arts, he is a lead benefactor of the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and has made generous donations to the Museum of Contemporary Art, National Public Radio and USC School of Cinema-Television, among others.
The Pre-GRAMMY Gala is part of the GRAMMY Week series of events, culminating with Music's Biggest Night. The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 13 at Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live in high-definition TV and 5.1 surround sound on CBS from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.