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Since its inception in 1989, MusiCares has provided a safety net for music people in times of need, including resources and services covering a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies.
Hosted each year during GRAMMY Week, the Person of the Year gala has continued to grow in size and prominence, while the theme has remained constant: to honor an artist who has not only made lasting contributions to the music world but who has also demonstrated extraordinary humanitarian and philanthropic efforts.
It's also doubled as an important reminder of the critical work that MusiCares undertakes year-round, oftentimes with the honorees themselves providing compelling testimonials.
"I'm proud to be here tonight for MusiCares. I think a lot of this organization. They've helped many people," Bob Dylan said during his Person of the Year acceptance speech in 2015. "I'd like to personally thank them for what they did for a friend of mine, Billy Lee Riley. … MusiCares paid for my friend's doctor bills, mortgage and gave him spending money. They were able to at least make his life comfortable, tolerable to the end. That is something that can't be repaid. Any organization that would do that would have to have my blessing."
You already know their music accomplishments, so let's take a focused look at the generous giving that helped gain these 28 esteemed artists the honor of MusiCares Person of the Year.
The first band to receive the honor, Fleetwood Mac — Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks — have supported numerous causes both together and individually. Organizations supported include the Elton John AIDS Foundation, U.K. music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins, the Red Cross, Starkey Hearing Foundation, and the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.
Leaving his mark on the world of giving, the late Petty supported a variety of causes throughout the years. This included Los Angeles-based program for the homeless Midnight Mission, for which Petty played numerous benefit concerts. He was honored with the organization's Golden Heart Award in 2011. He also supported Safety Harbor Kids, which helps orphan, foster and homeless children, environmental organization Rock the Earth, and the Special Olympics.
Richie's philanthropic contributions span anti-poverty and anti-human trafficking initiatives, fighting famine, and support for HIV/AIDS research and women's issues. Most notably, he co-wrote "We Are The World" with Michael Jackson in 1985, the proceeds of which went to famine relief through USA For Africa. Other organizations he has championed include the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, Unicef, and the Art of Elysium.
Dylan has quietly donated to causes such as Amnesty International, City of Hope, End Hunger Network, and K9 Connection across his career. He performed during George Harrison's Album Of The Year-winning The Concert For Bangladesh in 1971 to benefit relief efforts for East Pakistan refugees. In 2009 he donated all the royalties from his best-selling Christmas album, Christmas In The Heart, to Feeding America.
King tirelessly works to give back. She raised more than $1.5 million with fellow Person of the Year honoree James Taylor for environmental causes during their 2010 Troubadour Reunion tour. In 2016 she lent her voice to a reimagining of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "What the World Needs Now Is Love" to benefit victims of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting. She's also been an ardent supporter of MusiCares and the GRAMMY Museum.
The all-American singer/songwriter has taken on a variety of causes across his career. This includes the Thrill Hill Foundation, which he founded in 1987 to provide grants for AIDS and medical research, food services, and youth programs. He has worked with Stand Up for Heroes, which provides support to veterans, and regularly contributes to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The former Beatles member has supported more than 40 charities in his career, spanning issues such as disaster relief, animal rights, hunger, and more. McCartney had a hand in organizing the Concert for New York City in 2001, which raised more than $36 million through the Robin Hood Foundation for families of victims who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In 2012 he headlined the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief, another benefit concert hosted by the Robin Hood Foundation.
Founded in 1986, The Streisand Foundation has provided grants to a number of organizations over the years, awarding more than $25 million to more than 800 groups. More recently, Union of Concerned Scientists, Brennan Center for Justice, Planned Parenthood, and Mother Jones, among others, received noteworthy grants from the legendary singer's foundation.
Young has a long history of giving back, including co-founding Farm Aid and participating in the organization's annual concert series to raise funds for family farms in the U.S. Since 1986, he and his ex-wife, Pegi, organized and hosted the all-acoustic Bridge School Benefit Concert, which supports the Bridge School he helped found to support children through augmentative and alternative means of communication.
With a career's worth of charity efforts spanning three decades, Diamond's initiatives have included donating proceeds from tour program books at concerts to various charities, giving royalties from his 1969 hit "Sweet Caroline" to organizations benefitting the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, raising $1.7 million to help rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Ike on Oak Island, Texas, in 2008, and performing at the 2010 Stand Up To Cancer telecast.
Franklin contributes regularly to the United Negro College Fund and was the first woman to receive their Award of Excellence in 2007. She has also contributed to Easter Seal, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, Feeding America, Sting's Rainforest Foundation, and to food banks in her local Detroit area.
Eagles band member Henley is a co-founder of the Recording Artists' Coalition, now part of the Recording Academy's Advocacy office. To honor the literature and legacy of Henry David Thoreau, Henley also founded the Walden Woods Project in 1990, and established the Caddo Lake Institute in 1993 to fund and promote the vast wetland areas of East Texas.
Taylor performed at No Nukes, the anti-nuclear power benefit concert in 1979. He has donated proceeds from his ticket sales to causes such as the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, which works toward land conservation and environmental advocacy. In 2017 Taylor donated used guitar strings to be recycled into jewelry benefitting Tuberville, a non-profit that helps build stronger communities through potatoes, and headlined a Variety the Children's Charity of St. Louis benefit.
Wilson's philanthropic efforts have focused on the Carl Wilson Foundation to help fund cancer research, founded in 1999 on behalf of his late brother Carl, who was also a member of the Beach Boys. He also partnered with the Campaign to Change Direction in 2015, which promotes mental health awareness. He performed at Live Aid in 1985 and the 20th-anniversary companion, Live 8, making him one of the few artists to perform at both benefit concerts.
Over the years, Sting has been a passionate supporter of Amnesty International, which advocates for human rights worldwide. In 1989 he and wife Trudie Styler started the Rainforest Foundation International to promote global awareness of the need to conserve tropical rain forests and to support forests' indigenous peoples.
U2's Bono is a co-founder of the global campaign and advocacy organization ONE, which takes action to end extreme poverty by lobbying world leaders. For example, in 2003 he helped lobby for overseas aid to Africa, which resulted in a promise from former President George W. Bush to increase aid by an extra $5 billion a year for poor countries.
In 1978 Joel founded Charity Begins At Home with the mission to fund nonprofit agencies in need in the Tri-State area. In 2007 more than $400,000 was distributed to 80 nonprofit agencies that provide care for those afflicted by child abuse, autism, cystic fibrosis, Parkinson's disease, emotional disabilities, and cancer. He has given to the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Rainforest Foundation and provided funding for an arts scholarship for students in need in Long Island, as well as advocacy to preserve his current hometown of Oyster Bay, N.Y.
In 1987 Simon, along with pediatrician/child advocate Irwin Redlener, founded the Children's Health Fund, which provides comprehensive health care to medically underserved children in the United States by developing and supporting innovative primary care medical programs. Simon has also raised funds for worthy causes such as amFAR, Autism Speaks and the Nature Conservancy.
John established the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992 to support innovative HIV prevention programs, eliminate discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS, provide care and support services for people living with the disease, and to eradicate HIV/AIDS completely. The U.S. and U.K. branches of the organization have jointly raised more than $385 million for projects in 55 countries around the world.
Wonder was one of the strong proponents behind making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday, which former President Ronald Reagan signed into law in 1983. In 1985 Wonder participated in the recording of "We Are The World" to raise funds to end hunger through USA For Africa. Wonder has also earned recognition for his work with the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, the Children's Diabetes Foundation and Junior Blind of America. He provides toys for children and families in need with his annual House Full of Toys benefit concert.
In 1992 Pavarotti created Pavarotti & Friends, a series of charity concerts that brought together a diverse group of artists to benefit medical, vocational and education initiatives in Bosnia, Cambodia, Kosovo, Guatemala, Liberia, and Tibet, and for Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan, Angola, Zambia, and Iraq. The concert ran almost yearly through 2003, and included performers such as Bryan Adams, Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, and B.B. King, among others.
Collins supported Live Aid in 1985 for Ethiopian famine relief by playing both in the U.S. and abroad. He founded the Little Dreams Foundation in 2000 with his now ex-wife Orianne to support young talents in both the arts and sports. He is also an advocate for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Jones was one of the architects, along with Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, behind USA For Africa's We Are The World benefit concert and album in 1985, which has raised more than $63 million for Ethiopian famine relief. Through the Quincy Jones Foundation, the GRAMMY winner raises awareness and resources for global initiatives that support conflict resolution, malaria eradication, clean water, and efforts to restore the Gulf Coast.
In 2001 Bennett established the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, a New York public high school offering an extensive arts curriculum. He and his wife, Susan Benedetto, expanded on this initiative by founding Exploring the Arts in 1999, which works to provide an arts education to students in New York and Los Angeles. The United Nations presented Bennett with its Humanitarian Award in 2007.
Estefan established the Gloria Estefan Foundation in 1997, which promotes health, education and cultural development. The foundation has made donations to the American Red Cross, Save The Children and UNICEF, among others. Each year the foundation also donates to no-kill shelters throughout the U.S. Estefan was feted as the 2008 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, making her the first artist to receive both Person of the Year honors.
After beating addiction early in her career, Cole learned in 2009 she would need a kidney transplant as a result of an addiction-related complication. Following her kidney transplant, Cole became a spokesperson for the University Kidney Research Organization. The late GRAMMY winner also supported charity events benefitting multiple sclerosis and teamed with Aloe Blacc in 2015 to sing at the annual Songs of Hope charity benefit with proceeds benefitting the independent cancer research institution City of Hope.
Social activism has always been part of Raitt's career. She co-founded Musicians United for Safe Energy and performed at the No Nukes benefit concert in 1979. She's also a founding member of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, which works to advocate for early generation R&B artists. Recently, she partnered with the Guacamole Fund to donate a portion of her tour proceeds to benefit local organizations that work toward safe and sustainable energy, environmental protection, and peace.
The inaugural Person of the Year honoree, Crosby was chosen for his philanthropic efforts for Farm Aid. He performed at the annual Farm Aid in 1990 and 2000 in support of the organization's mission of raising awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep families on their land.
Photo: C Flanigan/FilmMagic
The soundtrack for the 1996 movie She's The One featured an original soundtrack by the late Tom Petty, and its single "Walls (Circus)" carries on with its message that a big heart can only remain surrounded by a barricade for a limited time. Now the Lumineers have reprised the anthem, donating all proceeds to MusiCares for its work helping members of the music community in critical times of need.
Honored at the 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year gala for his charity work, Petty's own big heart and philanthropic generosity was the theme of the evening. The Lumineers performed "Walls" at the occasion — an unforgettable moment rendered more poignant by Petty's tragic death at 66 later that year.
"After we played, Petty told me how much he liked and appreciated the version, which was a great honor," lead vocalist Wesley Schultz told Rolling Stone. "This is our way of paying homage to him."
One year later the pain of losing Petty still feels fresh but so is the inspiration of his legacy, music that carries on making a difference in millions of lives. The Lumineers' generosity will also enrich many lives, for those coping with struggle and receiving assistance from MusiCares' many dedicated programs.
MusiCares is offering music's biggest fans and patrons the first-ever opportunity to join the red carpet experience at the 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year gala honoring Tom Petty, one of the biggest charity events benefitting music people in need. Today, from 6–7 p.m. PT, award-winning host Natalie Rotman will anchor MusiCares Person Of The Year: Live From The Red Carpet via Facebook.com/MusiCares. The Facebook Live stream will give viewers exclusive access to special red carpet moments, artist interviews and personal testimonials from people directly touched by MusiCares.
Tune In At 6 p.m. For MusiCares Person Of The Year: Live From The Red Carpet
Last year, MusiCares delivered more than $4.7 million to music people struggling with financial and health crises. This year, tune in to watch and take action to support this life-changing four-star charity by donating to MusiCares directly on Facebook — without ever leaving the live stream experience.
The Person of the Year tribute concert honoring Petty will feature performances by GRAMMY-winning artists Gary Clark Jr., Jakob Dylan, Foo Fighters, Don Henley, Norah Jones, Jeff Lynne, Taj Mahal, Randy Newman, Stevie Nicks, George Strait, and Lucinda Williams; GRAMMY nominees Jackson Browne, Chris Hillman And Herb Pedersen, Elle King, the Lumineers, and Regina Spektor; and artists the Bangles, Dhani Harrison, the Head And The Heart, and the Shelters.
The MusiCares Person of the Year tribute ceremony is one of the most prestigious events held during GRAMMY Week. The celebration culminates with the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 12. The telecast will be broadcast live on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
As the excitement continues to build for the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards in February, the Recording Academy is hard at work preparing another stellar lineup of events for GRAMMY Week. The latest announcement sees several more all-star performers added to the already star-studded lineup for the 2019 MusiCares Person of the Year event honoring GRAMMY-winning country icon Dolly Parton. On Nov. 29 MusiCares announced GRAMMY winners Vince Gill, Don Henley, Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson and Mavis Staples, along with GRAMMY nominee Linda Perry will be joining the tribute concert to honor Parton's astonishing musical legacy.
#ICYMI: @leonbridges, @Lauren_Daigle, @norahjones, @ShawnMendes, @pink, @MarkRonson, and @ChrisStapleton will be performing in honor of @DollyParton at @MusiCares Person of the Year February 8!https://t.co/sng1bVJqhQ
— Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (@RecordingAcad) November 20, 2018
Gill, Henley, Musgraves, Nelson, Staples and Perry will join the lineup of previously announced artists in performing songs from Parton's impressive musical catalog; they are GRAMMY winners Norah Jones, P!nk, Mark Ronson and Chris Stapleton, GRAMMY nominees Leon Bridges and Lauren Daigle, and singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes, with even more artists to be announced leading up to the exciting event. The honoree will be closing out the program with a special performance as well, with GRAMMY-nominated musician Greg Phillinganes serving as the musical director for the evening.
More GRAMMY Week: Willie Nelson To Be Honored With 2019 Producers & Engineers Wing Award
Dolly was announced as the 2019 MusiCares Person Of The Year back in September, chosen for her unparalleled contributions to country music and a multitude of charitable causes, including the children's literacy organization she started in 1995, Imagination Library, with which she has donated over 100 million books to kids around the world.
"Dolly Parton has always been and continues to be a courageous trailblazer and indomitable inspiration for creators and artists—so for us to have the opportunity to honor her at our annual MusiCares Person of the Year gala is to pay tribute to a true pillar of strength and someone who we all look up to and cherish," Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow said. "Dolly also knows the power of philanthropy and she has used her stardom to contribute to a wide range of causes from natural disasters to education and literacy programs."
The proceeds from MusiCares annual Person of the Year gala, which will mark its 29th year in February, go directly to the charitable organization to continue their much-needed work helping music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need. Their work helps musicians in need receive access to health programs, including addiction recovery support, emergency financial assistance, educational workshops and more. During the last fiscal year, MusiCares provided more than $6.5 million dollars to approximately 8,600 members of the music industry—the largest number of clients served and dollars distributed in a year by the organization. The annual event not only celebrates outstanding musicians like Parton, but allows the charity to continue its work to help keep the music community healthy and thriving.
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