GRAMMY-winning classical composer John Tavener died Nov. 12 at his home in England. A cause of death was not revealed. He was 69. A native of London, Tavener was trained in piano and organ as a young adult, and subsequently studied composition at London's Royal Academy of Music. He burst onto the public scene with the help of the Beatles, who released his album The Whale via their Apple Records label in 1970. The following year Apple released Tavener's Celtic Requiem. Much of Tavener's later work was inspired by his spiritual journey, including his conversion to Orthodox Christianity and his collaboration with Mother Thekla, a Russian immigrant and nun with whom he composed "Song For Athene" in 1993, which was performed at Princess Diana's funeral in 1997. Tavener earned the lone GRAMMY of his career in 2002 for Best Classical Contemporary Composition for Tavener: Lamentations And Praises, a collaboration with San Francisco-based all-male classical vocal ensemble Chanticleer. "John Tavener was a prolific and eclectic composer whose work reached beyond the bounds of classical music," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "He strived to create compositions that were noble, magnificent and inspirational."
You've seen the official 59th GRAMMY nominations list, but do you really know the nominees? In case you're not sure, we've dissected the categories to bring you 59 must-know factoids about this year's nominations class. While these facts won't help you predict the winners, they're certain to impress your friends at your GRAMMY viewing party. Read all 59 facts below and be sure to follow your favorite artists on Music's Biggest Night.
Beyoncé received nine GRAMMY nominations this year, more than any other artist. She now has 62 career nominations, extending her lead as the most-nominated female artist in GRAMMY history.
2. Lukas Graham
Lukas Graham's "7 Years" is nominated for Record Of The Year. The Danish group is just the second group or duo from continental Europe to receive a nomination in this category. The first was Daft Punk. The French duo won three years ago for "Get Lucky" (featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers).
Rihanna received her third Record Of The Year nomination for "Work" (featuring Drake). All three of these nominations are for collaborations. Rihanna was previously nominated for "Umbrella" (featuring Jay Z) and Eminem's "Love The Way You Lie" (on which she was featured).
Beyoncé landed her fifth Record Of The Year nomination with "Formation." (This counts "Say My Name," which she recorded as a member of Destiny's Child.) This puts her in a tie with Barbra Streisand as the woman with the most career nominations in this category.
Adele's 25 is nominated for Album Of The Year. The singer's previous album, 21, won in this category five years ago. This is the first time an artist's follow-up to an Album Of The Year winner has been nominated in this category since Bob Dylan's Love And Theft (the follow-up to Time Out Of Mind) was a 2001 nominee.
6. Justin Bieber, Drake
Canadians Justin Bieber and Drake are among the nominees for Album Of The Year for Purpose and Views, respectively. Bieber, from London, Ontario, and Drake, from Toronto, are each vying to become the first Canadian solo artist in 20 years to win the category. Celine Dion won for Falling Into You for 1996.
7. Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd
Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd, who were nominated for Album Of The Year last year for their albums To Pimp A Butterfly and Beauty Behind The Madness, respectively, are nominated in the same category this year as featured artists on Beyoncé's Lemonade.
8. Sturgill Simpson
Sturgill Simpson's A Sailor's Guide To Earth is nominated for both Album Of The Year and Best Country Album. Simpson produced his album. It's the first entirely self-produced album to receive an Album Of The Year nomination since 2014, when two such albums — Beck's Morning Phase and Pharrell Williams' Girl — were nominated.
"Hello," which Adele co-wrote with Greg Kurstin, is nominated for Song Of The Year. A different song with the same title, by Lionel Richie, was nominated in this category 32 years ago. This marks the first time in GRAMMY history that two different songs with the same title have been nominated in this category.
10. "I Took A Pill In Ibiza"
Mike Posner's "I Took A Pill In Ibiza" is nominated for Song Of The Year. Posner wrote the song. It's vying to become the first song written by a single songwriter to win in this category since Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" (2007).
11. Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran is looking to become the first songwriter in GRAMMY history to win Song Of The Year two years in a row. Sheeran won in this category last year for "Thinking Out Loud" (which he co-wrote with Amy Wadge). He's nominated this year for "Love Yourself" (which he co-wrote with Justin Bieber and Benjamin Levin aka Benny Blanco).
12. Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris
Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris are both nominated for Best New Artist. This marks the first time in GRAMMY history that two country artists have received nominations in this category in the same year.
13. The Chainsmokers
The Chainsmokers are only the second electronic dance music artist to receive a Best New Artist nomination. Skrillex, a 2011 nominee, was the first.
14. Chance The Rapper
Chance The Rapper is nominated for Best New Artist. The rapper, 23, wasn't even born in 1989 when Tone Loc became the first rap artist to receive a nomination in this category.
15. Anderson .Paak
Anderson .Paak is nominated for both Best New Artist and Best Urban Contemporary Album for Malibu. He is the first artist to be nominated for both of these awards in the same year since Frank Ocean four years ago. (Ocean's Channel Orange won Best Urban Contemporary Album.)
16. Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for the second year in a row. The rock legend is nominated for Fallen Angels. Dylan is the fourth GRAMMY nominee to have won a Nobel Prize. The other three are Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama and Toni Morrison.
17. Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson received his third nomination in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category. The country legend is nominated for Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin. Nelson was previously nominated for Moonlight Becomes You (1994) and American Classic (2009).
18. Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand could win her first GRAMMY in 30 years. The star is nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway. Her most recent GRAMMY win was for her first Broadway collection, The Broadway Album, which won for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female (1986).
19. Best Pop Vocal Album
20. Herb Alpert
Herb Alpert is among the nominees for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for Human Nature. (The title track is the John Bettis/Steve Porcaro song made famous by Michael Jackson.) Alpert received his first GRAMMY nominations (and awards) for 1965 for his work with the Tijuana Brass.
21. Jack White
Jack White, who is nominated for three GRAMMYs this year, will be honored for his contributions "behind the glass" at the Producers & Engineers Wing's annual GRAMMY Week celebration on Feb. 8, 2017. White is nominated for Album Of The Year as one of the featured artists and producers on Beyoncé's Lemonade; Best Rock Performance for "Don't Hurt Yourself" with Beyoncé (her first nomination in a Rock Field); and Best American Roots Song for "City Lights."
22. Best Rock Performance
Two of this year's nominees for Best Rock Performance were recorded live on television programs. Alabama Shakes' "Joe" was recorded for the PBS series "Austin City Limits." Disturbed's version of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound Of Silence" was recorded on TBS' "Conan."
The title track from Megadeth's album, Dystopia, is among the nominees for Best Metal Performance. This is the band's 12th nomination in this category (including nominations in the discontinued Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category). The band is seeking to win their first GRAMMY.
24. Iggy Pop
Iggy Pop earned his first nomination since 1988: Best Alternative Music Album for Post Pop Depression. In 2016 Pop appeared at the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live for a wide-ranging talk with Josh Homme as part of the Museum’s A Conversation With series.
Radiohead are vying to become the first four-time winner for Best Alternative Music Album. The band is nominated for A Moon Shaped Pool. Radiohead won in this category for OK Computer (1997), Kid A (2000) and In Rainbows (2008). Radiohead are currently tied with the White Stripes as the only three-time winners in the category.
Solange's "Cranes In The Sky" is nominated for Best R&B Performance, marking her first career nomination. Solange's older sister, Beyoncé, has won nine of her 20 GRAMMYs to date in R&B performance categories.
Rihanna is vying to become the first repeat winner in the Best Urban Contemporary Album category (which dates to 2012). Her album Anti is nominated this year. Unapologetic won three years ago.
28. Jay Z, Kanye West
The Throne aka Jay Z and Kanye West are nominated for Best Rap Performance with Drake for "Pop Style." If they win, it would be their eighth collaboration to score a GRAMMY. Their previous wins together are "Swagga Like Us," "Run This Town" (which won two GRAMMYs), "Otis," "N****s In Paris" (which won two GRAMMYs), and "Church In The Wild."
Drake's "Hotline Bling" is nominated for Best Rap/Sung Performance. The category was formerly known as Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. The change was made to expand the category beyond collaborations between rappers and vocalists to include recordings by a solo artist who blurs the lines between rapping and singing. Drake is the first beneficiary of that change.
30. De La Soul
De La Soul's Best Rap Album-nominated And The Anonymous Nobody, which they crowdfunded via Kickstarter, is looking to become the first crowdfunded album to win the category. De La Soul were first nominated for a 1989 GRAMMY for Best Rap Performance.
31. Kanye West
Kanye West's The Life Of Pablo is nominated for Best Rap Album. West is a four-time winner in this category. Only Eminem has received more awards (six) in the category.
32. Best Country Duo/Group Performance
Three pop or rock artists are nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. Elle King is nominated as a featured artist on Dierks Bentley's "Different For Girls." P!nk is nominated as Kenny Chesney's duet partner on "Setting The World On Fire." Pentatonix are nominated for their rendition of Dolly Parton's "Jolene," which features Parton.
33. Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is nominated with Pentatonix for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "Jolene." A master of collaborations, this is Parton's 18th GRAMMY nomination for recordings in conjunction with other artists. Collaborators over the years have included Norah Jones, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, and Kenny Rogers.
34. Loretta Lynn
Loretta Lynn is among the nominees for Best Country Album for Full Circle. She won in this category 12 years ago with Van Lear Rose. If she wins again, she'll become the first female solo artist to win in this category twice. Lynn, 84, received her first GRAMMY nomination 50 years ago for "Don't Come Home A Drinkin'."
35. Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna
Hillary Lindsey and Lori McKenna, who collaborated (along with Liz Rose) on "Girl Crush," last year's winner for Best Country Song, are competing against each other in the category this year. Lindsey is nominated for co-writing the Keith Urban hit "Blue Ain't Your Color." McKenna is nominated for writing the Tim McGraw hit "Humble And Kind." If either woman wins this year, she would become the first songwriter to win back-to-back awards in this category since Robert John "Mutt" Lange and Shania Twain won for "You're Still The One" (1998) and "Come On Over" (1999).
36. Shirley Caesar
With her two nominations for Best Gospel Performance/Song and Best Gospel Album, Shirley Caesar is looking to add to her 11 career GRAMMYs, which is the highest total for a female gospel artist. Caesar is among the 2017 recipients of The Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award.
37. Kirk Franklin
Kirk Franklin could become the first artist to win twice in the Best Gospel Album category (which dates to 2011). Franklin won the 2011 award for Hello Fear. He is nominated this year for Losing My Religion.
38. Hillary Scott
Hillary Scott, who has won seven GRAMMYs as a member of Lady Antebellum, is nominated for two awards for a family project (Hillary Scott & The Scott Family). Love Remains is nominated for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. "Thy Will," a track from the album, is nominated for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song.
Joey+Rory's Hymns is among the nominees for Best Roots Gospel Album. The duo received their first career nomination last year for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. Joey Martin Feek, the female half of this married couple, died on March 4, 2016.
40. Vince Gill
Vince Gill's "Kid Sister" is nominated for Best American Roots Song. Gill has won two of his 20 GRAMMY Awards to date for songwriting. "I Still Believe In You" (1992) and "Go Rest High On That Mountain" (1995) were both voted Best Country Song.
41. William Bell
Stax Records veteran William Bell, whose R&B hits date to 1966, is nominated for two GRAMMYs. This Is Where I Live is nominated for Best Americana Album. "The Three Of Me," a track from the album, is nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance. Bell wouldn't be the first R&B veteran to win for Best Americana Album. Mavis Staples took the 2010 award for You Are Not Alone.
42. Judy Collins
Judy Collins is nominated for Best Folk Album for Silver Skies Blue, a collaboration with Ari Hest. Collins received her first GRAMMY nomination 53 years ago for her album, Judy Collins #3. It was nominated for Best Folk Recording.
43. Ziggy Marley
Ziggy Marley is vying to win his seventh GRAMMY in the Best Reggae Album category for his album Ziggy Marley. Marley won his first three awards in the category for albums on which he fronted Ziggy Marley And The Melody Makers.
44. Anoushka Shankar
Anoushka Shankar is among the nominees for Best World Music Album for Land Of Gold. Shankar's late father, Ravi Shankar, won twice in this category, for Full Circle: Carnegie Hall 2000 (2001) and The Living Room Sessions (2012). This is Anoushka Shankar's sixth nomination in this category (counting one in the discontinued Best Contemporary World Music Album category).
45. Patti Smith
Punk-rock poet Patti Smith is nominated for Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling) for the second year in a row. She is nominated this year for M Train. She was nominated last year for Blood On Snow. This would be Smith's first GRAMMY win.
46. Best Comedy Album
Three of the five nominees for Best Comedy Album — Margaret Cho's American Myth, Tig Notaro's Boyish Girl Interrupted and Amy Schumer's Live At The Apollo — are by female performers. This is the first time that female performers have accounted for three of the nominees in the history of this category (which goes back to 1958, the first year of the GRAMMY Awards).
47. Kinky Boots
The Original West End Cast Album from Kinky Boots is nominated for Best Musical Theater Album. The Broadway cast album from the show won in this category three years ago. Kinky Boots is vying to become the fourth show to win twice in this category (with two different recordings of the score). The first three were Gypsy, West Side Story and Les Misérables.
48. Steve Martin, Edie Brickell
The Original Broadway Cast album to Bright Star is among the finalists for Best Musical Theater Album. Steve Martin and Edie Brickell collaborated on the score. The two musicians won a GRAMMY three years ago for Best American Roots Song for "Love Has Come For You."
The soundtrack to Amy, a film about the late Amy Winehouse, is nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media. The film itself won a GRAMMY last year for Best Music Film. A win this year would mark the first time a film and its companion soundtrack each won in their category.
50. Straight Outta Compton
The soundtrack to the hit film Straight Outta Compton is a nominee for Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media. The nomination comes in the same year that N.W.A's landmark 1988 album of the same name is inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame.
Vinyl: The Essentials Season 1, featuring music from the HBO series, is nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media. It's vying to become the second TV soundtrack to win in this category, following Boardwalk Empire, Volume 1, which won five years ago. Boardwalk Empire was also a HBO series.
52. John Williams
John Williams, one of the top winners in GRAMMY history, received his 66th career GRAMMY nomination for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Williams has now received nominations for six of the seven Star Wars films he has scored. (The lone film in the franchise he did not receive a nod for was 2002's Star Wars: Episode II — Attack Of The Clones.)
53. "Stranger Things"
Both Stranger Things Volume 1 and Stranger Things Volume 2 — composed by Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein — are nominated for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media. This is the first time in the category's history two albums from the same TV series have been nominated.
54. Ryuichi Sakamoto, The Revenant
The Revenant, composed by Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto, is nominated for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media. Sakamoto won in this category 28 years ago for The Last Emperor, which he composed with Cong Su and David Byrne.
55. Suicide Squad
Two songs from the film Suicide Squad are nominated for Best Song Written For Visual Media. They are "Heathens" (Tyler Joseph, songwriter) and "Purple Lamborghini" (Shamann Cooke, Skrillex & Rick Ross, songwriters). Last year, two songs from Fifty Shades Of Grey were nominated in this category.
56. Max Martin
Max Martin is nominated for Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical. The Swedish hit-maker won in this category two years ago. If he wins again this year, he'll become the first producer to win twice in the space of three years since Rick Rubin, who won the 2006 and 2008 awards.
57. Judith Sherman
Judith Sherman could win Producer Of The Year, Classical for the third year in a row. To date, only one producer has won this award three years running. Robert Woods won for 1987, 1988 and 1989.
58. The Beatles
The Beatles: Eight Days A Week The Touring Years is vying for Best Music Film. It would be the third Beatles-related film to win in this category (or its predecessor category, Best Music Video, Long Form). The Beatles Anthology won the 1996 award. The Beatles Love—All Together Now won the 2009 award.
59. Special Merit Awards
Current nominees Herb Alpert, Blind Boys Of Alabama, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn, Ennio Morricone, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Barbra Streisand have been previously honored by The Recording Academy with Special Merit Awards. (Lifetime Achievement Award: Blind Boys Of Alabama, Bowie, Dylan, Kristofferson, Lynn, Nelson, Parton, and Streisand.; Trustees Award: Alpert and Morricone).
The 59th GRAMMY Awards will take place Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, live from Staples Center in Los Angeles and broadcast on the CBS Television Network from 8–11:30 pm ET/5–8:30 pm PT. Follow Recording Academy/GRAMMYs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use #GRAMMYs to join the conversation.
What can you really learn from a GRAMMY winner? For select icons who have made an indelible mark on music, enough to build a college-level course.
That's the thinking behind "Dolly's America," a University of Tennessee course patterned after eight-time GRAMMY winner Dolly Parton.
Designed for history students in the school's honors program, the class presents an educational overview of how "a poor white girl born in midcentury Appalachia" grew to become an international sensation.
It's more than just a class on Parton's career: students will also gain perspective on how Appalachian people have been portrayed in pop culture, Appalachia's modern history and her role in it. Syllabus materials include Parton's 1994 autobiography Dolly: My Life And Other Unfinished Business as well as TV shows such as "The Beverly Hillbillies" and films such as Coal Miner's Daughter.
"I think there are some stereotypes associated with the area, especially in rural Appalachia," instructor Dr. Lynn Sacco told The New York Times. "I think it's great that we have a figure like Dolly Parton who comes from the area and is able to shed light on it and be an ambassador."
The course, which was taught for the first time this past year and will be offered again in the fall, garnered some attention when Parton herself recently tweeted about the class, "From the girl voted in high school 'least likely to succeed' this sure is a blessing!"
Parton's "blessing" represents just one of the latest college-level offerings based on a GRAMMY-winning artist.
In fall 2016, the University of Texas at San Antonio debuted an English course zeroing in on Beyoncé's Lemonade album. "Black Women, Beyoncé And Popular Culture" delves into the GRAMMY-winning opus track by track — from "Formation" to "All Night" — to explore the "theoretical, historical and literary frameworks of black feminism."
The Beatles yielded countless hits, so it comes as no surprise that multiple universities offer courses based around the Fab Four. Debuting in 1982, Indiana University's "The Music Of The Beatles" helps students attain a deeper appreciation of the Beatles' music while exercising critical listening skills. Meanwhile, the University of Southern California offers "The Beatles: Their Music And Their Times," a class that explores the group's music, lyrics, and sizable impact on pop culture and technology.
Some college courses on GRAMMY winners are performance-based. For aspiring jazz improvisers, there is arguably no better course of study than jazz icon Miles Davis. Berklee College of Music's "The Music Of Miles Davis" offers students the chance to examine and discuss the evolution of Davis' wide-ranging playing and writing styles, with a focus on analyzing "improvised solos, tunes, forms, harmonic practice, and his influence on other performers."
On the surface, courses designed around musicians could be construed as an easy A. However, according to the instructors themselves, that is not the case.
For his Beatles class, Dr. Glenn Cass has warned Indiana U students they will be "responsible for knowing all of the Beatle albums, along with the singles collected on the two Past Masters CDs," while adding that "laptops, texting [and] Twittering have proven to be too detracting and will not be allowed in class."
"Studying race, gender, class, and pop culture theory is incredibly fun ... and incredibly hard," said Professor Kinitra Brooks, the instructor of UAT's Lemonade class, who cautions students to "do an internal check for your maturity and ability to handle such a self-directed course."
Meanwhile, students enrolling in "Dolly's America" should get ready to buckle down instead of expecting an educational ride akin to Parton's Dollywood amusement park.
"It's really kind of a nerdy class," said Sacco.
The Recording Academy and Hal Leonard Books have announced A GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends, a brand-new hardcover book collecting two decades of Special Merit Awards tributes from the GRAMMY Awards program book. The book is now available for purchase via the GRAMMY Store.
Each year, The Academy honors a handful of musical icons through its Special Merit Awards, which include the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical GRAMMY Award. One of the highlights of the GRAMMY program book is the Special Merit Awards section, in which legendary honorees are paid tribute via testimonials by noted artists and musicians. Others who have worked with the honorees, grew up as fans, or whose lives and careers were altered by the honorees' gravitational pull also contribute powerful testimonials within each program.
Until now, these appreciations have been seen and enjoyed nearly exclusively by those fortunate enough to attend the GRAMMY Awards ceremony. Available to the public for the first time, the honorees featured in A GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends have made extraordinary contributions to blues, classical, country, R&B, rock, rap, and other forms of music either as performers or behind the scenes as producers, engineers, songwriters, executives, or technical innovators. The collected tributes are sometimes touching, sometimes humorous and always inspiring.
In some cases, the relationship between the writer and legend is obvious (Quincy Jones honoring Michael Jackson or Miranda Lambert writing about Dolly Parton); in others the influence is perhaps surprising (Queen's Brian May paying tribute to Doris Day or Steven Van Zandt writing about Dean Martin). Sometimes the reverberations transcend music entirely, as when Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) writes about his friendship with the Grateful Dead. Additional honorees highlighted in the book include the Beatles; David Bowie; Earth, Wind & Fire; Leonard Cohen; Carole King; Run DMC; and Barbra Streisand.
David Konjoyan, the book's editor and Recording Academy Vice President of Creative Services, writes in his introduction: "As with other innovations, whether science-, technology- or business-related, none happen in a vacuum and all have deep reverberations. That's what this book is all about: the sources of those reverberations and the revelations of those who were impacted by them and filtered them into their own groundbreaking work."
For music fans of all kinds, the essays in A GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends offer a glimpse into how artists are personally affected by other artists, and the debt of gratitude, influence and inspiration they owe each other.
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