Aretha Franklin Named 2008 Person Of The Year
Seventeen-time GRAMMY winner will be honored for her artistic achievements and philanthropic efforts
Seventeen-time GRAMMY-winning recording artist Aretha Franklin will be honored at the 2008 MusiCares Person of the Year dinner and concert it was announced today by Recording Academy and MusiCares Foundation President Neil Portnow and MusiCares Board Chair Les Bider. Proceeds from this annual GRAMMY Week gala — to be held on Friday, Feb. 8, 2008, in Los Angeles two days prior to the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards — provide essential support for MusiCares, which ensures that music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need.
The recipient of a 2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom honor (the United States' highest honor), the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award, a GRAMMY Legend Award and numerous other awards and accolades, Franklin is being honored for her extraordinary artistic achievements as well as her philanthropic efforts, which include Save The Children, Easter Seals and various churches and food banks in the Detroit metropolitan area.
"As we celebrate the milestones of 50 years for The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Awards, it is most fitting that we honor one of the most influential and legendary talents in music — the incomparable Aretha Franklin," said Portnow.
"Aretha's musical legacy spans more than four decades and we feel it is an ideal moment to honor her career achievements," added Bider. "We look forward to paying tribute to her during GRAMMY Week."
The evening will begin with a special reception and silent auction that will offer an unparalleled range of luxury items, VIP experiences and unique memorabilia. The auction will be followed by a gala dinner, an award presentation and a star-studded tribute concert. The event is being chaired by Clive Davis, Berry Gordy and The Recording Academy's 50th Celebration ambassador Quincy Jones.
Aretha Franklin began singing in the Detroit church of her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, while growing up in the 1950s. She made her first recordings as a gospel artist at the age of 14 and has gone on to have a luminous career. Known the world over by her first name and as the undisputed, reigning "Queen of Soul," Franklin is incomparable. In 1987, she was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 1979 she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She has received countless international and national awards and accolades and has achieved global recognition on an unprecedented scale.
Beyond the timeless classic hits such as "Respect," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Chain Of Fools," "Think," "Day Dreaming" and "Freeway Of Love" among the dozens of chart-topping records that have established her as a cultural icon, Franklin's catalog of more than 40 albums, many of which have achieved gold and platinum status, informs listeners of her unmatched, unparalleled artistry as an interpreter of song, bar none. Showing no signs of slowing down, she is preparing to launch her own Aretha Records. In addition, plans for a Broadway musical and a major motion biopic are in the works based on her autobiography, Aretha Franklin: From These Roots.
The MusiCares Person of the Year tribute dinner is one of the most prestigious events held during GRAMMY Week, a celebration that culminates with the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 10, 2008, from Staples Center in Los Angeles. The telecast will be broadcast on the CBS Television Network at 8 p.m. ET/PT. For more information about the event, please click here.