Photo: Bill Marino/Sygma
Tina Turner To Queen: 2018 Recording Academy Special Merit Awards
It's time to celebrate another class of exceptional music creators with the Recording Academy's Special Merit Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical GRAMMY Award.
This year's Lifetime Achievement Award honorees are Hal Blaine, Neil Diamond, Emmylou Harris, Louis Jordan, the Meters, Queen, and Tina Turner. Bill Graham, Seymour Stein and John Williams will receive the Trustees Award. Tony Agnello and Richard Factor are the Technical GRAMMY Award recipients.
A special award presentation ceremony and concert celebrating the Special Merit Awards honorees will be held in summer 2018. Additional details regarding the ceremony will be announced.
In the meantime, why are these industry luminaries up for a Special Merit Award? Let's take a closer look.
Blaine is best known for his role as the lead drummer/founder of the Wrecking Crew studio band that backed iconic artists such as Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, and more. He worked on six consecutive Record Of The Year GRAMMY-winning tracks between 1965 and 1970, including Sinatra's "Strangers In The Night" and Simon And Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson."
Diamond's rich catalog has become a part of the fabric of America's songbook with hits such as "Sweet Caroline," "Solitary Man" and "You'll Be A Woman Soon." He earned a GRAMMY at the 16th GRAMMY Awards for Album Of Best Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special for Jonathan Livingston Seagull. He was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year in 2009.
A 13-time GRAMMY winner, Harris' genre-spanning style has earned her a permanent place among the contemporary country elite. She earned her first GRAMMY at the 19th GRAMMY Awards for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female for Elite Hotel. She most recently won for Best Americana Album for Old Yellow Moon at the 56th GRAMMYs.
The late Jordan has been dubbed the Father of Rhythm & Blues and the Grandfather of Rock and Roll for his recordings from the late 1930s to early 1950s. He has four recordings in the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame with his band Tympany Five: "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" (inducted 2013), "Caldonia Boogie" (1998), "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" (2008), and "Let The Good Times Roll" (2009).
The Meters — comprising drummer Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste, frontman Art Neville, percussionist/vocalist Cyril Neville, guitarist Leo Nocentelli, and bassist George Porter Jr. — are considered to be among the founding fathers of funk with iconic tunes such as "Cissy Strut," "Good Old Funky Music" and "Chicken Strut." "Cissy Strut" was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2011.
One of the most lauded rock bands of all time, Queen — bassist John Deacon, guitarist Brian May, frontman Freddie Mercury, and drummer Roger Taylor — have made an indelible impact on the music industry with blockbuster hits such as the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame-inducted recordings "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Will Rock You"/"We Are The Champions."
Heralded as the Queen of Rock and Roll, Turner remains a global recording star worldwide. She earned her first GRAMMY at the 14th GRAMMY Awards with Ike Turner for their rendition of "Proud Mary," which took home Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Group. She's since added an additional seven wins to her tally, most recently as a featured artist on Herbie Hancock's Album Of The Year-winning River: The Joni Letters at the 50th GRAMMY Awards.
The late manager/concert promoter Graham is credited with creating the modern rock concert thanks to his tour organization for legendary artists such as Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and George Harrison.
As a vice president of Warner Bros. Records and founder of Sire Records, Stein is responsible for ushering in the careers of some of our favorite artists, including the Ramones, the Pretenders, Talking Heads, k.d. lang, Barenaked Ladies, the Cure, Seal, Madonna, Depeche Mode, and Ice-T, among others.
Prolific composer Williams has made history for his unforgettable film scores, including Star Wars, Indiana Jones and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. He is one of the top GRAMMY winners of all time with 23 GRAMMYs to his name, most recently for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media for Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the 59th GRAMMY Awards. Star Wars — Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2007.
Technical GRAMMY Awards recipients Agnello and Factor have influenced the record-making process through their company Eventide, which produces a wide variety of original audio effects devices. The company's H910 Harmonizer effects processor, whose underlying technology forms the basis of all pitch-shifting and pitch-correction devices today, impacted the sound of classic LPs such as David Bowie's Low, Kraftwerk's Computer World and AC/DC's Back In Black, among others.
"This year's Special Merit Awards recipients are a prestigious group of diverse and influential creators who have crafted or contributed to some of the most distinctive recordings in music history," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy. "These exceptionally inspiring figures are being honored as legendary performers, creative architects and technical visionaries. Their outstanding accomplishments and passion for their craft have created a timeless legacy."