GRAMMY winner Gordon Stoker, lead tenor with country vocal group the Jordanaires, died March 27 in Brentwood, Tenn., following a lengthy illness. He was 88. In 1950 Stoker joined the Missouri-based Jordanaires, completing the four-piece that included Hoyt Hawkins (1927–1982), Neal Matthews (1929–2000) and Ray Walker. The Jordanaires garnered national attention in 1956 when they appeared on "The Steve Allen Show" with Elvis Presley, with whom they performed onstage and in the studio until 1968. ThThey were featured on such Presley hits as "It's Now Or Never," "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" and "Don't." They also appeared in films with Presley, including King Creole (1958), G.I. Blues (1960) and Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962). In addition, Stoker and the Jordanaires performed on other songs such as Patsy Cline's "Crazy" and "I Fall To Pieces" and Ricky Nelson's "Traveling Man." The Jordanaires received six GRAMMY nominations throughout their career, including a win in 2002 for Best Southern, Country, Or Bluegrass Gospel Album for We Called Him Mr. Gospel Music — The James Blackwood Tribute Album.
— Lionel Richie (@LionelRichie) August 18, 2015
i think we are all born for different roles, different purposes. none of them of lesser or more value than the other.
— Alanis Morissette (@Alanis) August 15, 2015
— The Band Perry (@thebandperry) August 19, 2015
One year ago today, 'Shake It Off' was released and I told you my album would be called 1989. Just.... Thank you. For everything.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) August 18, 2015
— Tiësto (@tiesto) August 20, 2015
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In light of the recent attack in Manchester, U.K., The Recording Academy joins the rest of the music community in sending our heartfelt condolences to everyone impacted by this tragic event.
"As details continue to unfold, we remain deeply saddened by the tragic event that took place last evening in Manchester," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "Our community of music creators will band together, as we always do in the face of adversity, to continue to make and offer music that forms the soundtrack of our everyday lives, and which continues to provide inspiration — and hope — to so many. Our sincerest condolences go out to the victims, their families and everyone impacted by this horrific act."
My thoughts, prayers and tears for all those affected by the Manchester tragedy tonight. I'm sending all my love.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) May 23, 2017
every musician feels sick & responsible tonight—shows should be safe for you. truly a worst nightmare. sending love to manchester & ari
— Lorde (@lorde) May 23, 2017
Sending love to the U.K., @ArianaGrande and all of her supporters who were caught up in this awful attack. Heartbreaking.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) May 23, 2017
No words can describe how I feel about what happened in Manchester. I don't wanna believe that the world we live in could be so cruel.
— Bruno Mars (@BrunoMars) May 23, 2017
I am so saddened to hear the news about what happened @ #ManchesterArena...Sending prayers to all & their families during this trying time
— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) May 23, 2017
(The following is a transcript of Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow's remarks on the 57th GRAMMY Awards telecast. Portnow was joined by GRAMMY winners Jennifer Hudson and Ryan Tedder.)
Neil Portnow: What if we're all watching the GRAMMYs a few years from now, and there's no Best New Artist award because there aren't enough talented artists or songwriters who are actually able to make a living from their craft? Could that really happen? Or more importantly, could any of us ever let that happen?
As great artists remind us this evening, music matters. Music has tremendous value in our lives. So while new ways of listening to music evolve, one thing should never change: For the artists, songwriters and producers, we must promise them that new technology and distribution will pay them fairly.
Jennifer Hudson: Watching the GRAMMYs at home tonight is a new generation dreaming of one day being on this stage, just as I did. So all of us who have enjoyed success in music have a responsibility to them. And that's why our friends at The Recording Academy started GRAMMYs on the Hill in Washington, D.C., which I was lucky enough to experience firsthand.
NP: In our first 10 years, nearly a thousand music creators have traveled to our nation's capital to stand together and speak out for our rights. We do so to educate those who make the laws so they understand the hard work and sacrifice of those who make the music. At a recent congressional hearing I made the case that any updates to the laws that set how creators are paid must strongly protect those who create the soundtrack of our lives.
Ryan Tedder: And music activism is coming at exactly the right time. From the Turtles to Taylor Swift, longtime established and new generations are speaking out. With all the changes in how we listen to music and the review of copyright laws which are set by Congress, music creators and fans must speak out now.
JH: So tonight, we are proud to launch the GRAMMY Creators Alliance, a coalition of many artists, some of whom are sitting among you tonight. Together, we will advise those who make policy in music and in government so that our next generation of creators are able to make tomorrow's music as great as tonight's.
RT: Join Jennifer and me and many of your other favorite music creators. Go to GRAMMY.com/alliance and be a part of this historic movement of music makers and fans. And tweet your favorite artists with the hashtag #GRAMMYAlliance to let them know you want to help keep the music playing too.
NP: Thanks to the artists who have joined our Creators Alliance, to our Academy members who lend their voices and to the fans. Together, we can make our musical future as vibrant as we all want it to be.
For many music buffs, studying the rich history of recorded music can uncover a wealth of information, inspiration and entertainment.
The latest resource in this endless deep dive into our past is PBS' insightful look at the earliest days of American recordings, aptly entitled "American Epic." This newest historical exploration, which comes on the heels of another PBS series, the successful "Soundbreakers," focuses on the 1920s and incorporates original photos and video with new interview and performance footage to create an undeniable link between modern music and a sometimes overlooked era.
At the helm of "American Epic" are two familiar names: T Bone Burnett and Jack White, both multiple GRAMMY winners and each former honorees at The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing GRAMMY Week celebration.
A three-part historical documentary, the first episode spotlights the significant role the original Carter Family and Will Shade's Memphis Jug Band played in advancing the culture and influence of rural and urban music, respectively. The second episode takes a look at how music provided a refuge in difficult times, from gospel church to the coal mines of West Virginia and cotton fields of Mississippi.
Narrated by Oscar winner Robert Redford, "American Epic" will air in full on PBS May 30, followed by "The American Epic Sessions" on June 6. A commemorative DVD is available for those wishing to own this precious piece of American music history.