meta-scriptBeatles reissue to put 'Sgt. Pepper's' back into perspective | GRAMMY.com
Beatles reissue to put 'Sgt. Pepper's' back into perspective
Studio Two at Abbey Road Studios in London, where the Beatles recorded 1967's 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'

Photo: Naki/Redferns

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Beatles reissue to put 'Sgt. Pepper's' back into perspective

The GRAMMY Museum will celebrate the upcoming 50th-anniversary re-release of 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' with a hot-ticket conversation featuring the son of the "Fifth Beatle"

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2017 - 01:36 pm

One of the most influential albums of all time is turning 50 this summer.

The Beatles logged more than 400 hours in Abbey Road's Studio Two sculpting soundscapes and layering melodies on their journey into psychedelic pop for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Released June 1, 1967, the masterpiece of studio wizardry and experimental songwriting won them critical acclaim and honors for Album Of The Year and Best Contemporary Album at the 10th GRAMMY Awards.

In celebration of the upcoming anniversary, the GRAMMY Museum will host an intimate conversation on May 2 with Giles Martin, producer/songwriter and son of the Beatles' legendary producer George Martin. This exclusive sold-out event, Celebrating 50 Years Of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, will focus on the efforts behind Giles Martin's masterful new stereo and 5.1 surround mixes for the forthcoming 50th-anniversary reissue of Sgt. Pepper's …, which will be released in multiple formats on May 26.

A special collector's edition of the set will also offer touchstones for young listeners and lifelong fans alike to relive "A Day In The Life" of recording with the Beatles. The set includes a compendium of detailed track notes for each song, a newly written introduction from Paul McCartney, early outtakes and alternate mixes, and 34 previously unreleased recordings from the marathon sessions at Abbey Road.

Don't miss out on future events: Become a GRAMMY Museum member today!

The GRAMMY Museum Celebrates Black History Month 2024 With A Series Of Special Programs And Events

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The GRAMMY Museum Celebrates Black History Month 2024 With A Series Of Special Programs And Events

Throughout February, the GRAMMY Museum will celebrate the profound legacy and impact of Black music with workshops, screenings, and intimate conversations.

GRAMMYs/Feb 9, 2024 - 08:31 pm

The celebration isn't over after the 2024 GRAMMYs. In recognition of Black History Month, the GRAMMY Museum proudly honors the indelible impact of Black music on America and the fabric of global pop culture. 

This programming is a testament to the rich heritage and profound influence of Black artists, whose creativity and resilience have shaped the foundation of American music. Through a series of thoughtfully curated events — including educational workshops, family programs, special screenings, and intimate conversations — the Museum aims to illuminate the vibrant legacy and ongoing evolution of Black music. 

From a workshop on the rhythmic storytelling of hip-hop following its 50th anniversary and the soulful echoes of Bill Withers' classics, to the groundbreaking contributions of James Brown and the visionary reimagination of "The Wiz," these GRAMMY Museum programs encapsulate the enduring legacy and dynamic future of Black music.

The GRAMMY Museum invites audiences to delve into the stories, sounds, and souls that have woven Black music into the tapestry of our shared human experience. Through this journey, the Museum and the Recording Academy honor the artists, visionaries, and pioneers whose talents have forever altered the landscape of music and culture. 

Read on for additional information on the GRAMMY Museum's month-long tribute that explores, appreciates and celebrates the invaluable contributions of Black music to our world.

Thurs., Feb. 8

History of Hip-Hop Education Workshop

WHAT: In celebration of the 50 years of hip-hop, this workshop examines the unique evolution of Hip Hop from its origin to where the genre is today. Highlighting the golden age of Hip Hop, this lesson will provide students with a greater understanding of the struggles and triumphs of the genre.

WHEN: 11 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

REGISTER: Click here.

Sat., Feb. 10

Family Time: Grandma’s Hands

WHAT: Join us for a very special family program celebrating the recently released children’s book Grandma’s Hands based on one of Bill Withers’ most beloved songs. Bill’s wife, Marcia, and daughter, Kori, will participate in a book reading, conversation, audience Q&A, and performance, followed by a book signing. The program is free (4 tickets per household.)

WHEN: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 

REGISTER: Click here.

Mon., Feb. 12

Celebrating James Brown: Say It Loud

WHAT: The GRAMMY Museum hosts a special evening on the life and music of the late "Godfather of Soul" James Brown. The program features exclusive clips from A&E's forthcoming documentary James Brown: Say It Loud, produced in association with Polygram Entertainment, Mick Jagger’s Jagged Films and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s Two One Five Entertainment, followed by a conversation with Director Deborah Riley Draper, superstar Producer Jimmy Jam, and some surprises.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  

REGISTER: Click here.

Sat., Feb. 17

Backstage Pass: "The Wiz"

WHAT: Presented in partnership with the African American Film Critics Association, join us for an afternoon spotlighting the famed Broadway Musical, "The Wiz," with the producers and creative team responsible for the Broadway bound reboot. The program will feature a lively conversation, followed by an audience Q&A in the Museum’s Clive Davis Theater, and will be hosted by AAFCA President, Gil Robertson, and GRAMMY Museum Education & Community Engagement Manager, Schyler O’Neal. The program is free (four tickets per household).

WHEN: 1 p.m.

REGISTER: Click here.

Thurs., Feb. 22

History of Hip-Hop Education Workshop

WHAT: In celebration of the 50 years of hip-hop, this workshop examines the unique evolution of Hip Hop from its origin to where the genre is today. Highlighting the golden age of Hip Hop, this lesson will provide students with a greater understanding of the struggles and triumphs of the genre.

WHEN: 11 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

REGISTER: Click here.

Reel To Reel: A Hip Hop Story

WHAT: In conjunction with the GRAMMY Museum's exhibit, Hip-Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit, the GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to host a special screening of A Hip Hop Story with a post-screening conversation featuring Affion Crockett to follow.

WHEN: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  

REGISTER: Click here.

Sun., Feb. 25

Lunar New Year Celebration

WHAT: Join us for a special program celebrating Lunar New Year as we usher in the Year of the Dragon with a performance by the South Coast Chinese Orchestra. The orchestra is from Orange County and uses both traditional Chinese instruments and western string instruments. It is led by Music Director, Jiangli Yu, Conductor, Bin He, and Executive Director, Yulan Chung. The program will take place in the Clive Davis Theater. This program is made possible by the generous support of Preferred Bank. The program is free (four tickets per household).

WHEN: 1:30 p.m.

REGISTER: Click here.

Tues., Feb. 27

A Conversation With Nicole Avant

WHAT: The GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to welcome best-selling author, award-winning film producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Ambassador Nicole Avant to the museum’s intimate 200-seat Clive Davis Theater for a conversation moderated by Jimmy Jam about her new memoir Think You’ll Be Happy – Moving Through Grief with Grit, Grace and Gratitude. All ticket buyers will receive a signed copy of the book.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  

REGISTER: Click here.

GRAMMY.com’s 50th Anniversary Of Hip-Hop Coverage: A Recap

Em Cooper's GRAMMY-Nominated Beatles Video Is A "Protest" Against Time
Em Cooper

Photo: John Ford

interview

Em Cooper's GRAMMY-Nominated Beatles Video Is A "Protest" Against Time

British animator and film director Em Cooper's immersive video for the Beatles' 'Revolver' track "I'm Only Sleeping" is the product of some 1,300 hand-painted frames. Here's how the 2024 GRAMMY nominee for Best Music Video came to be.

GRAMMYs/Feb 1, 2024 - 03:32 pm

The Beatles' discography can be heard as a long conversation between four brothers, and the songs on 1966's Revolver certainly talk to each other.

On "Love You To," George Harrison muses, "Each day just goes so fast/ I turn around, it's passed." On "Got to Get You Into My Life," Paul McCartney tunes in and drops out: "I was alone, I took a ride/ I didn't know what I would find there." And in every line of the somnambulant, gently roiling "I'm Only Sleeping," John Lennon declares war on awakeness itself.

Clearly, a shared energy flowed from each of their pens: an askance look at linear time, and how it pertains to modern society. And while painstakingly painting more than a thousand frames for "I'm Only Sleeping," oil painter and animator Em Cooper picked up exactly what Lennon was transmitting.

"I really love the fact that this is some major call towards rest and sleep and dreaming and allowing your mind to wander," the effervescent Cooper tells GRAMMY.com over Zoom. Productivity, efficiency, investment, return: as Lennon seemed to sing, they're for the birds.

As the lore goes, McCartney in 1966 was a man about town, soaking up Stockhausen and Albert Ayler and the avant-garde, while a suburbia-bound Lennon opted to drop acid and, well, lay in bed.

This is reflected in their contributions to Revolver, which got a 2022 remix and expansion: McCartney's tunes, like "Here, There and Everywhere" are borderline classical, while Lennon sometimes couldn't be bothered to add a third chord. But Lennon being Lennon, he made inertia into a transcendent force.

"It feels as though it's a bit of a protest against the calculus view of time and the idea that our time is for sale, we can just slice up our hours and sell it off by the chunk," Cooper says. "I feel like in John's desire for just letting himself sleep and rest, he's saying to the world, 'Let's allow ourselves our own time, our own lives.'"

But the experience of making the "I'm Only Sleeping" clip — which involved painstakingly painting each frame by hand — was anything but tranquil: at times, Cooper even found it painful. This labor of love paid off, though: it's nominated for Best Music Video at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Cooper details the development of  "I'm Only Sleeping" video, her methodology for mapping the visuals to the music, and, after numberless listens, whether she's sick of this Revolver favorite.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

The Beatles' story is filled with unforgettable sights, and with the "I'm Only Sleeping" video, you added to their visual language. Was that a daunting responsibility?

Absolutely. It really was. And, I think maybe if I had really stopped to think about it too much, it would've really tightened me up. In a way, weirdly, I was quite lucky it was on a tight schedule. That took precedence. I was just in the flow, trying to just focus on each task ahead of me and get it done.

Sophie Hilton, who's the Creative Studio Director at Universal Music, commissioned the film with Jonathan Clyde from Apple Corps. They were very good at guiding the project in a very natural way, so that it made a very natural fit into where they needed it to fit, as it were, in that big, big legacy. So, the fact that I'm an oil paint animator and I work with archive footage — it's got that timeless quality a little bit to it anyway, as does the song.

I worked with the Beatles' archivist, Adrian Winter, who helped me find footage; managing to place it within the history of the Beatles was really important. I didn't get too worried until finally when it came out. 

And then, literally, that was the first moment it really hit me about the legacy — of what I suddenly realized I'd just done.

Em Cooper

*Photo courtesy of Em Cooper.*

Like the experience of sleep itself, "I'm Only Sleeping" is flowing, undulating. It looks like you picked up on that, with this impressionistic continuum of visuals.

Yeah, absolutely. I was inspired by the song itself, because the song has just that continuous rocking motion to the melody. It was as though it was a synesthetic reaction to the song. It felt almost like it just drew itself out in my mind — the movement all kind of choreographed itself around those moments where it's like [sings lyric in dramatic swoop]  "Yawning," and then it felt like it goes over the top.

But, I don't know whether everybody else hears that when they hear that lyric, but that's certainly what I heard, and I could just produce that movement to match. All I really felt I had to do was just stay incredibly true to the song and the movement that was already there, and it just flowed.

How did you do this under such a tight schedule? One thousand, three hundred oil paintings?!

Yeah, I'm not going to lie. It was painful. It was a very tight schedule to produce an entirely hand-painted oil paint animation in. I literally painted every frame on a cel; sometimes, I painted and wiped and repainted.

It's hard work, but I just love oil painting. Now that I've had enough projects that it flows out of me, I find I'm reasonably quick. Some parts were easier than others; doing the faces was particularly difficult. Trying to get John Lennon's likeness over and over again was a real challenge, but other parts of it were much easier.

Obviously, lots of people these days are working digitally to do drawings and things, but I just work in actual oil painting. I find that I'm definitely not quicker at doing something digitally than I am just manually.

I suppose I want to promote the real artforms, because actually there isn't anything that much quicker or different about dipping a brush in some red paint and doing a stroke than doing a digital stroke. If you just gain confidence, it's fine.

How did you collaborate with Apple Corps on this, whether they offered artistic direction or just moral support?

Jonathan Clyde really helped direct all of that. I put all my ideas together into a document, and there was lots of consultations with them and honing those ideas and making sure that they fit with everybody's vision and what everybody was thinking.

And then, carrying on honing and honing, so that by the time I got to actually going, Yeah. We're going for it. We're going to start making this, it was all very clear.

I did a pencil-drawn animatic, which was about, I think two frames a second, which is quite a lot for an animatic, so as to really show the flow of imagery, so that there were no questions. I think there were a couple of changes after that, but very, very few.

So, it was quite clear, and everybody agreed on all the imagery and everything. But, I came up with most of it andwould maybe put some suggestions.

And, we came up collectively with this idea of  the backwards guitar sequence going backwards through Beatles' history from that moment, from 1966 backwards as it were, so as to the feeling from Revolver back to the beginning of the Beatles.

And, I was trying to meld that all together with the magnetic tape in the magnetic tape recorders going in and out of that. It was group calls, so I would take one and spark off and think, Oh, yeah. I remember Adrian Winter, the archivist, mentioning how John Lennon often had a notebook with him because he was always just thinking of ideas; he suggested that. And so, I put the notebook next to his pillow and things like that.

Em Cooper

*Photo courtesy of Em Cooper.*

When Giles Martin's remix of Revolver came out, it was striking how modern it sounded. How did this project enhance your appreciation for this song, album and band?

I watched it again just before jumping on this call with you, and I love the song. I was listening to little individual parts of it over and over again, whilst I was working on it, getting really into the detail of tiny bits of each line. And, it holds up, it's so good. I do not get bored of it. I love it.

I just could carry on listening to it over and over, which really, to be honest, says a lot, because when you work very hard on something, you do tend to find yourself a little bit bored by it by the end. But, absolutely not the case with this.

And, actually, after it was all finished, we went to Abbey Road together as a treat to listen to the [remixed and] remastered version of Revolver that was being re-released, and wow! To listen in Abbey Road Studios with the surround sound, it was just mind-blowing.

I already had an incredible respect for the Beatles, and that has only grown.

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

Virginia's Annie Ray To Be Honored With 2024 Music Educator Award
Annie Ray

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Virginia's Annie Ray To Be Honored With 2024 Music Educator Award

Presented by the Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Museum, 2024 Music Educator Award recognizes educators who have made a significant contribution and demonstrate a commitment to music education.

GRAMMYs/Feb 1, 2024 - 02:32 pm

Ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs, Virginia educator Annie Ray will receive the 2024 Music Educator Award during the Recording Academy's Special Merit Awards Ceremony on Sat, Feb. 3.  

Ray is both the Orchestra Director and Performing Arts Department Chair at Annandale High School in Virginia's Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) system. She advocates for universal access to quality music education, and has developed creative opportunities to make music accessible to students of all demographics. 

For example, her FCPS Parent Orchestra enables just under 200 caregivers to learn to play their child’s instrument each year. Ray also created the Crescendo Orchestra program to bring the joy of orchestra to high school students with severe developmental or intellectual disabilities. In January 2022,  the program was featured in The Washington Post. 

Based on this work, TEDx reached out and asked Ray to give a talk in April 2022. She has presented at numerous colleges and conferences on the topic and was named the 2023 FCPS Outstanding Secondary Teacher of the Year for her work on equity in education. Ray is also a member of the StringRise professional development team and was a 2023 Wolf Trap Educator Guarantee for the AHS partnership with GRAMMY-nominated artist Christylez Bacon

She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband Irving and their girls Eloise and Millie. She is an adventurer at heart, and her biggest bucket list item is to one day win "The Amazing Race."

As the Music Educator Award recipient, Ray will receive a $10,000 honorarium and matching grant for her school's music program. Nine additional finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium and matching grants. The remaining 15 semifinalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants.

The nine semifinalists are:

Meg Byrne: Pleasant Valley High School  Bettendorf, Iowa

Ernesta Chicklowski: Roosevelt Elementary   Tampa, Florida

Michael Coelho: Ipswich Middle and High School Ipswich, Massachusetts

Antoine Dolberry: P.S. 103 Hector Fontanez School  Bronx, New York

Jasmine Fripp: KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School   Nashville, Tennessee

J.D. Frizzell: Briarcrest Christian School  Eads, Tennessee

Coty Raven Morris: Portland State University  Portland, Oregon

Kevin Schoenbach: Oswego High School  Oswego, Illinois

Matthew Shephard: Meridian Early College High School  Sanford, Michigan

The award is open to current U.S. music teachers, and anyone can nominate a teacher — students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans, and administrators. Teachers are also able to nominate themselves, and nominated teachers are notified and invited to fill out an application. Initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states.

Nominations and applications for the 2025 Music Educator Award are now open via grammymusicteacher.com.

The Music Educator Award program, including honorariums, is made possible by the generosity and support of The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation. In addition, the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, NAMM Foundation, and National Education Association support this program through outreach to their constituencies.

How To Watch The 2024 GRAMMYs Live: GRAMMY Nominations, Performers, Air Date, Red Carpet, Streaming Channel & More

GRAMMY Week 2024: At GRAMMY Museum's Student Showcase Finale, High School Students Shred, Sing & Inspire
Honeybee performs at the GRAMMY Museum Student Showcase at the GRAMMY Museum

Photo: Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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GRAMMY Week 2024: At GRAMMY Museum's Student Showcase Finale, High School Students Shred, Sing & Inspire

An eclectic group of performers took to the Clive Davis Theater stage on Jan. 27, wowing audiences with everything from intimate tales of perseverance to all-out rock and 2024 GRAMMYs-related raps.

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2024 - 09:53 pm

High school students from throughout Southern California descended upon the GRAMMY Museum on Jan. 27 for a two-hour musical extravaganza. At the inaugural Student Showcase Finale, an eclectic blend of jazz, rock, pop, dance, soul, hip-hop and R&B acts performed for a jam-packed audience inside the Museum's Clive Davis Theater.

It had already been a full day at the GRAMMY Museum by the time Emcee Schyler O’Neal — whose offstage role is GRAMMY Museum’s Manager of Education and Communication — welcomed attendees for the evening showcase. Beginning at 9 a.m., the students were immersed in activities aimed at offering tools for moving forward in the music industry. The students learned about live production and touring, then worked with the GRAMMY Museum’s production team to learn the soundboard and how to communicate with engineers. Each performer also received live feedback from music industry professionals immediately following their rehearsals. 

Each performer during the Student Showcase Finale performed two songs, and opening act Hedy began the night with high energy. The newly formed jazz-fusion band, named after legendary actress Hedy Lamarr, is fronted by the enchanting Lexie Shehab. The four-piece of HP Emerich (piano), Fenella Nishigawara (bass) and Savannah Tweedt (drums) celebrates women in jazz, and delivered a soulful cover of Esperanza Spaulding’s "Precious."

Next up was Dione, a Mexico-born singer/songwriter who told the audience that her song "Se Deja Sentir" allowed her to connect with her Latin roots. Donning a black cowboy hat and silver cowboy boots with tassels, the powerhouse vocalist brought a unique flair to her performance. One of the highlights of her set was a playful dance routine incorporated into her song during an instrumental break. 

Multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Kieler (pronounced Kyler) Avery followed, sharing that she wrote her song, "Living Room," after a six-month bout of writer’s block. It would seem that the excellent song was definitely worth the wait for Avery, who donned an eye-catching bright green outfit as she strummed on an acoustic guitar. 

Reviving the era of barbershop quartets, Spark, entranced the audience with their color-coordinated black and white outfits and engaging cover of Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody." Comprised of best friends Ava Winkle, Prajna Krishnamurthy Adiga, Rheyah Gangadharan and Sanjeevani Kumar, Spark also performed synchronized dance moves.

Multi-instrumentalist Sam Sweeney took the stage next for his first-ever live performance. At once compelling and nonchalant, Sam rapped over a blend of jazz, psychedelia and soul instrumentals, which he also produced. His song "Wall Sketches" featured clever rhymes about the 2024 GRAMMYs and bold commentary about the music industry.

It’s not every day that a singer/songwriter co-writes a song with her mother, but that’s exactly what Kayla Pincus did with her mom, Dorothy, a musician and singer who has toured with Barry White and Barry Manilow. Together, they penned "Everything’s Closed," an emotional song performed beautifully by Kayla and her backing band of Eliya Ben-Ezra (guitar), Max Weiner (bass) and Victor Cyrus-Franklin (drums).

Shaking things up with some blistering, melodic hard rock, the high energy trio Honeybee, raised the roof with their thunderous new song "Crashing Down." Lead singer/guitarist Liam Williams, donned an on-brand t-shirt with graphics of a honeycomb and bees, alongside bassist Theo O’Gara and drummer Vinnie Naccarato.

Multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Iris Le took the stage next for a softer but equally powerful performance. Before launching into a gorgeous, goosebumps-inducing performance of "Could I," Iris bravely shared that they wrote the song during a period in which they were struggling with mental health and self-esteem issues.

Zharia Armel, who has coined herself the "Pop Princess of Compton," promptly took ownership of the stage following Iris Le. Zharia offered a sassy, soulful delivery of her catchy hip-hop, pop and R&B-infused song "Friends" while also moving alongside her energetic backup dancers Asenath Alexander and Zoe Miller. 

Next, singer/songwriter Maya Ixta Delgado told the audience she was proud to be in touch with her cultural heritage and singing "Time," a bilingual English and Spanish song. Maya shared how the song was inspired her elementary school experience in Texas where she was told that she was only permitted to speak in English. She was accompanied for her stirring performance by musicians Daniel Jimenez Alfanador (guitar), and Noah Unterberger (drums). Justin Tinucci (bass) joined in for her second song.

The final performance of the night was Latina punk rock trio What Can I Say, comprised of Krista Warner, Sophia Zavala, and Natalia Luevanos. The group closed the evening with a potent display of Latina girl boss power with their sassy, dynamic song "Jane Bond," which left the audience shaken, not stirred, in the best way possible.

After the performances, GRAMMY in The Schools Director Julie Mutnansky thanked everyone for attending and to express the GRAMMY Museum’s enthusiasm for this new program which allows students to showcase their music. 

GRAMMY Museum Announces 2024 GRAMMY Week Programming Schedule