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Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 Honorees To Be Celebrated With The Return Of The Special Merit Awards Ceremony And 64th GRAMMY Nominees Reception
The 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award honorees, which include Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Salt-N-Pepa, Selena, Talking Heads, and more, will be celebrated with the return of the Special Merit Awards Ceremony and 64th GRAMMY Nominees Reception
Editor's Note: The 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards Show has been postponed. Read a Joint Statement from the Recording Academy and CBS here.
The Recording Academy announced today that the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award honorees will be celebrated with the return of the Special Merit Awards Ceremony and 64th GRAMMY Nominees Reception event, which will be held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022. The recipient of the 2022 Music Educator Award, presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum, will also be honored at this event.
The previously announced Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Lionel Hampton, Marilyn Horne, Salt-N-Pepa, Selena, and Talking Heads. Ed Cherney, Benny Golson and Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds were named Trustees Award honorees; and Daniel Weiss is the Technical GRAMMY Award recipient. Given the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, honorees were unable to attend the 63rd GRAMMY Awards, nor receive in-person recognition during the show, but were acknowledged in the telecast. Bonnie Raitt, who was unable to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award last year due to COVID restrictions, joins the list of previously announced 2021 honorees.
"We are so excited to celebrate the 2021 honorees at the 64th GRAMMYs to ensure they get the celebration they deserve," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. said. "With the strict COVID protocols in place for the 63rd show, we were not able to properly and fairly honor our Special Merit Award honorees as we have done in past years. Before we induct a new class, we must come together to recognize this group of iconic creators who have paved the way not only in music, but also within our culture."
Formed in the South Bronx of New York City in 1978, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five are among the pioneers of hip-hop. The group's use of turntablism, break-beat DJing, choreographed stage routines, and lyricism was a significant force in the early development of the genre.
Lionel Hampton* started his career as a drummer in Chicago in the 1920s before he played the vibraphone with Louis Armstrong. In the 1930s, he broke barriers with the Benny Goodman Quartet, one of the first integrated jazz bands in America. In the 1940s, he formed his own Lionel Hampton Orchestra, which became one of the longest-running orchestras in jazz history.
Marilyn Horne is one of the most prolific opera singers of our time. Over her six-decade career, she has garnered numerous honors, including four GRAMMY Awards, a Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters from France's ministry of culture, and a National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors.
Bonnie Raitt is a singer, songwriter and guitarist whose unique style blends blues, R&B, rock, and pop. After 20 years as a cult favorite, she broke through to the mainstream in the early '90s with her GRAMMY Award-winning albums Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw. Raitt's widely acclaimed 2012 independent release Slipstream was one of the top-selling independent albums and earned Raitt her 10th GRAMMY Award (Best Americana Album). In 2016, Raitt released her GRAMMY-nominated album Dig In Deep, and in 2022, she will release her 21st studio album, Just Like That…, the third release on her Redwing Records label.
As one of the first all-women rap groups, Salt-N-Pepa broke down a number of doors for women in hip-hop. Formed in Queens, New York, in 1985, the group crafted hits such as "Push It," "Shoop," "Whatta Man," and the GRAMMY-winning "None Of Your Business." They were also one of the first rap artists to cross over, laying the groundwork for hip-hop's widespread popularity in the early '90s.
The Queen of Tejano, Selena* became a household name not long after her career took off in the 1980s. Her 1993 album Live won Best Mexican-American Album at the 36th GRAMMY Awards, marking the first time a female Tejano artist won the category. Though her life was tragically cut short in 1995, Selena's crossover album, the posthumously released Dreaming Of You, sold 175,000 units on the day of its release, a then-record for a female vocalist.
Talking Heads, formed in 1975 in New York City, helped pioneer new wave music by blending elements of punk, rock, art pop, funk, and world music with an avant-garde aesthetic. In 2002, 11 years after the group disbanded, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Ed Cherney* was one of the most sought-after engineers in the industry. His four-decade career began as an assistant engineer working with Bruce Swedien and Quincy Jones on Michael Jackson's Off The Wall. Cherney went on to record, mix and engineer albums for artists such as the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, and Fleetwood Mac, among others. A four-time GRAMMY winner, he also co-founded the Recording Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing.
Benny Golson is an international jazz legend who has composed more than 300 works over his 70-year career. He has composed and arranged music for artists such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, and Lionel Hampton, and is the only living artist to write eight jazz standards. His prolific writing also includes scores for many hit TV series and films.
Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds is a poignant tunesmith, prolific producer, superstar recording artist, and revolutionary label owner. An 11-time GRAMMY winner, including a record four Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical awards, Babyface has been instrumental in the careers of artists such as Toni Braxton, Usher and TLC and has crafted hundreds of pop and R&B hits with artists including Whitney Houston, the Whispers, Brandy, Boyz II Men, Madonna, and Eric Clapton.
Daniel Weiss is one of the true pioneers of digital technology. In 1985, he founded Weiss Engineering Ltd. in Zurich, Switzerland. The company has designed and manufactured groundbreaking digital audio equipment for mastering studios, including the IBIS digital mixing console and the ultra-high quality Gambit Series digital products.
The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording, while the Trustees Award honors such contributions in areas other than performance. The Recording Academy's National Board of Trustees determines the honorees of both awards. Technical GRAMMY Award recipients are voted on by the Recording Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing Advisory Council and Chapter Committees and are ratified by the Recording Academy's Trustees. The award is presented to individuals and companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording industry.
Explore the full lists of every past recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award, Technical GRAMMY Award, and Music Educator Award.
*Denotes posthumous honoree.
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Remembering Seymour Stein: Without The Record Business Giant, Music Would Be Unrecognizable
The music man who signed everyone from the Ramones to Madonna will be profoundly missed throughout the global music community. He passed away on Apr. 8 at 80.
There’s a Belle and Sebastian song titled “Seymour Stein” that evokes a real-life, lavish feast between the soft-spoken Scottish indie band and the record company executive.
In the 1998 ballad, singer Stuart Murdoch details the tension between their working class identities and the dizzying prospects that Stein held in the palm of his hand. “Promises of fame, promises of fortune/ L.A. to New York/ San Francisco, back to Boston,” Murdoch dreamily sings. But he demurs, thinking of a girl back home in the country: “My thoughts are far away.”
There was a very good reason Murdoch and company associated Stein with an almost blindingly paradisiacal vision of music success. For an entire generation of alternative weirdos, Stein — the co-founder of Sire Records and vice president of Warner Bros. Records — was the guy who made it happen.
Sadly, Stein passed away on April 2 at his home in Los Angeles of cancer at the age of 80. This seismic loss to the global music community has rightfully earned tributes from far-flung corners of the music industry. Many, like his signee Madonna, openly pondered where their lives would be without his razor-sharp perception and adoration of all things music.
Think of the three-or-four-chord powderkeg of the Ramones’ 1977 self-titled debut, and the CBGB-adjacent army that answered to its detonation: Talking Heads, the Pretenders, Richard Hell and the Voldoids — on and on. Stein signed them all to Sire, either initiating their careers, as per the Ramones, or heralding their second acts, as he did the Replacements.
That paradigm arguably amounted to the biggest shift in guitar-based music since the Beatles — the ratcheting-down of opulent ‘70s rock into something leaner, meaner, and arguably more honest. But even that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Stein's influence on music and culture at large.
Stein was the man who signed Madge, a profoundly pivotal figure in the following decade. And the rest of his resume was staggering: the Smiths, the Cure, Seal, k.d. lang, Brian Wilson, Lou Reed, Body Count… the list goes on.
He helped to establish the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, by way of the foundation of the same name, initiated by Ahmet Ertegun in 1983 — and was himself inducted in 2005. In 2018, the Recording Academy bestowed him with a coveted Trustees Award, which acknowledged his decades of service to the music community.
Indeed, the music man’s loss reverberates throughout the world’s leading society of music people.
“Seymour Stein was one of the greatest A&R executives of all time,” Ruby Marchand, the Chief Awards & Industry Officer at the Recording Academy, tells GRAMMY.com. “His passion, magnetic energy and natural curiosity underscored a lifelong dedication to unique artistry.
“He especially prized the art of songwriting and had an encyclopedic knowledge of songs, often bursting out in song to regale and delight friends and colleagues,” recalls Marchand, who worked with Stein for decades. “Seymour traveled the globe for decades and basked in the glow of discovering emerging artists singing to small audiences, from Edmonton to Seoul.
“He was a doting mentor, advisor, cheerleader and advocate for hundreds of us in the industry worldwide,” she concludes. “We cherish him and miss him terribly, and know how fortunate we were to have had him in our lives.”
The Recording Academy hails the late, great Stein for his monumental achievements in the music industry — ones that have fundamentally altered humanity’s universal language forever.
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6 Things To Know About Bonnie Raitt: Her Famous Fans, Legendary Friends & Lack Of Retirement Plan
During "A Conversation With Bonnie Raitt" at the GRAMMY Museum, 13-time GRAMMY winner detailed her career trajectory, history of big-name collaborations, and how her win for Song Of The Year at this year’s GRAMMY Awards was "a total surprise."
For the uninitiated, Bonnie Raitt is just an "unknown blues singer" — albeit one who managed to nab the Song Of The Year award at the 2023 GRAMMYs, plus two other trophies. But to the millions in the know, and the choice few in attendance for a chat with Raitt at the Grammy Museum on March 5, she is a living legend.
Over the course of her decades-long career, Raitt has earned 30 GRAMMY nominations, taking home 13 golden gramophones for tracks like "Nick Of Time," "Something To Talk About," and “SRV Shuffle,” as well as albums such as Luck Of The Draw and Longing In The Hearts. Last year, Raitt was awarded the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award, and at this year’s ceremony, she snagged GRAMMYs for Best American Roots Song, Best Americana Performance and the coveted Song Of The Year.
Before she heads out on a tour of the western United States and Australia, Raitt sat down to chat with moderator David Wild for about two hours, musing not only about her "total surprise" about snagging the Song trophy, but also about her experience at the ceremony. It was an illuminating and downright charming experience — as well as an educational one. Here are six things we learned at "A Conversation With Bonnie Raitt."
Taylor Swift Is A Fan — And A Humble One At That
Raitt recounted being chatted up by Taylor Swift during the GRAMMYs, with Swift telling Raitt backstage that she felt okay losing Song Of The Year to her. Swift's "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)" was in competition, alongside works by Lizzo, Adele and Harry Styles.
Swift also introduced herself to Raitt, whom she’d never met, saying,"Hi, I’m Taylor." Raitt said she responded, "Ya think?" — which made the audience in the Clive Davis Theater crack up.
She’s A Master Collaborator, With More On The Way
"No one commands more respect" amongst their musical peers than Bonnie Raitt, said Wild, who's worked on the GRAMMY Awards as a writer since 2001. Whenever the show’s team has struggled to think of who could best pay tribute to someone like John Prine, Ray Charles, or Christine McVie, "the answer is always Bonnie Raitt."
That’s probably why, as Raitt noted, she’s recorded duets with more than 100 different musical acts — from Bryan Adams to B.B. King. Raitt added that she’d still love to work with Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, and H.E.R., and that fans can anticipate new collaborative work coming from work she’s done with Brandi Carlile and Sheryl Crow.
Raitt added that she’s gotten really into Unknown Mortal Orchestra lately, who she heard about through Bruce Hornsby.
She’s Learned From And Befriended Musical Masters
Raitt was effusive about her love for King, among others, saying that one of the great joys of her career has been sitting at the feet of blues greats like Sippie Wallace and Son House. The singer/songwriter expressed her gratitude for being able to help get so many of these once-forgotten masters both the attention and the pay they deserved. She cited her work with the Rhythm And Blues Foundation as being of great importance to her personally, saying that it’s vital that the roots of blues and jazz are taught in schools today.
Wild also got Raitt to open up about her friendship with legendary gospel-soul singer Mavis Staples, who toured with Raitt just last year. Calling Staples, "all the preacher I’ll ever need," Raitt said she thinks she and Staples bonded over being the daughters of famous fathers. "It’s a great honor of my life being friends with her," Raitt said of her "mutual sister."
Later, Raitt also waxed rhapsodic about another famous daughter, Natalie Cole, who she said she’d been thinking about all day.
Raitt’s Got An Independent Spirit And An Independent Label
A good portion of Wild and Raitt’s chat was devoted to the star’s career trajectory. The two detailed how, as a 21-year-old college student, Raitt signed to Warner Bros. only after they promised her complete creative control of her own indie label, Redwing.
Raitt said it was only with the help of a"team of mighty women" that she was able to go independent. She cited lessons from friends like Prine, Staples, and Jackson Browne, from whom she learned going it alone could be done successfully.
Bonnie Raitt Almost Missed Out On "I Can’t Make You Love Me"
Raitt also talked a bit about her previous GRAMMY triumphs, including her run of nominations and wins around 1989’s Nick Of Time. Her popular single, "I Can’t Make You Love Me," was originally written for Ricky Skaggs, who intended to make it a lively bluegrass record.
Raitt added that she thinks the song "Nick Of Time" struck a chord because she opened up about what it means to be getting older.
She’s Not Planning On Retiring (Or Dying) Any Time Soon
After joking that COVID lockdown felt like "house arrest" and "hibernation," Raitt said that her recent tours have been a blessing. "It feels like I was under the earth without any sunshine," Raitt says, reassuring attendees that she’s "never retiring." She said that while she’s lost eight friends in the past three or four weeks, including the great David Lindley, the 73-year-old is optimistic that she can "be here and celebrate for another couple of decades."
Raitt capped off the event doing what she loves best, teaming with long-time bassist Hutch Hutchinson for an intimate four-song set that included "Angel From Montgomery," "Shadow Of Doubt," "Nick Of Time," and the GRAMMY-winning "Just Like That." Raitt ended the evening by thanking the Recording Academy for inviting her out, joking, "I can’t believe I get to do this for a living."
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Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
The 2023 GRAMMYs Effect: Bad Bunny, Kendrick Lamar, Lizzo & More See Major Sales And Streams Boost After Record-Breaking Show
Take a look at the impressive gains that 2023 GRAMMYs winners and performers made in Spotify streams and album/song sales, from Beyoncé to Harry Styles.
The 2023 GRAMMYs weren't just historic, they were iconic — and the numbers show it.
The telecast itself saw a 30% increase in viewership, with more than 12.4 million viewers tuning into the Feb. 5 ceremony, the best ratings since 2020 per Nielsen data. In turn, several of the night's winners and performers saw major spikes in sales and streams.
Album Of The Year winner Harry Styles returned to the top 10 of the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart, as Harry's House — which also took home the GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Album — earned 38,000 equivalent album units in the U.S., a 51% gain. His previous two albums, 2019's Fine Line and his 2017 self-titled debut also made gains, the former up 15% and the latter up 11%.
Kendrick Lamar and Adele also enjoyed increases in sales and streams on several albums. Lamar — who won three GRAMMYs this year, including Best Rap Album for Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers — had a 20% gain for his fifth LP, as well as a 26% gain for 2015's To Pimp a Butterfly, 11% for 2017's DAMN., and 6% for 2012's good kid, m.A.A.d city.
Adele's 30 had a 25% increase in equivalent album units, while her 2015 album 25 went up 14% and 2011 release 21 went up 10%. (30's lead single, "Easy On Me," earned Adele her fifth GRAMMY for Best Pop Solo Performance — a record in the category.)
After Beyoncé made GRAMMY history at the 2023 ceremony with her 32nd win, her Best Dance/Electronic Music Album-winning RENAISSANCE made a huge jump. The album earned 37,000 equivalent album units, up 109%, helping Bey move from No. 24 to No. 11 on the Billboard 200.
Rising jazz star Samara Joy also had a monumental night, scoring the coveted GRAMMY for Best New Artist. As a result, her 2022 album, Linger Awhile, made its debut on the Billboard 200, with an equivalent album units gain of 319% and a 5,800% increase in Spotify streams in the U.S. The project also hit No. 1 on the Jazz Albums, Traditional Jazz Albums and Heatseekers Albums charts for the first time, as well as the top 10 of the Top Album Sales and Top Current Album Sales charts.
Blues great Bonnie Raitt's win for Song Of The Year (for her 2022 track "Just Like That") served as one of the night's biggest surprises, but also served as a catalyst for some serious streams and sales success. The song spiked from about 10,000 daily on-demand streams in the U.S. on Feb. 3 to 697,000 the day after the GRAMMYs (Feb. 6) — a gain of around 6,700% — according to Luminate. The song's sales were even better, gaining more than 10,000% on Feb. 6; the rest of Raitt's discography also climbed 161%, from 333,000 on-demand U.S. streams on Feb. 3 to 869,000 on Feb. 6.
Most of the 2023 GRAMMYs performers also celebrated sales and streams increases post-telecast. Show opener Bad Bunny saw gains on his GRAMMY-winning albumUn Verano Sin Ti (up 16%), as well as his 2020 albums YHLQMDLG (up 11%) and El Ultimo Tour del Mundo (up 8%). One of the songs Bad Bunny performed, Un Verano Sin Ti single "Despues de la Playa," also saw a 100% increase in Spotify streams in the U.S. in the hour following the telecast.
Lizzo delivered a soaring medley of her Record Of The Year-winning smash "About Damn Time" and the title track from her AOTY-nominated LP Special, the latter of which saw a 260% increase in Spotify streams in the U.S. after the show. Special also moved 11,000 equivalent album units, up 52%.
Steve Lacy won his first GRAMMY in the Premiere Ceremony, Best Progressive R&B Album for his album Gemini Rights. He also took the GRAMMYs stage for a sultry rendition of his hit "Bad Habit," all helping Lacy see a 16% increase in equivalent album units for Gemini Rights.
Sam Smith and Kim Petras also celebrated a historic win at the 2023 GRAMMYs, taking home Best Pop Duo/Group performance for their viral hit "Unholy" — marking the first win in the category by a trans woman. That moment, combined with the pair's risqué performance, helped the song see an almost 80% increase in Spotify streams in the U.S.
The heartfelt In Memoriam segment catalyzed stream increases, the biggest coming from Quavo's "Without U," which he sang in tribute to his late Migos bandmate and nephew Takeoff; the song jumped 890% in U.S. streams following the show. Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird," which Mick Fleetwood, Bonnie Raitt, and Sheryl Crow sang in honor of late Fleetwood Mac member Christine McVie, experienced an almost 100% increase in U.S. streams.
In other U.S. Spotify stream gains for performers, Harry Styles' "As It Was," saw a more than 75% increase; Brandi Carlile's "Broken Horses" saw a more than 2,700% increase; DJ Khaled's star-studded "God Did" (featuring Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, and John Legend) saw a more than 650% increase; Mary J. Blige's "Good Morning Gorgeous" saw a more than 390% increase.
Streaming numbers are from DKC News, a PR representative of Spotify.
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Watch: Babyface Performs A Soaring "America The Beautiful" Ahead Of Super Bowl LVII
Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds kicked off Super Bowl LVII with the annual pre-kickoff performance of "America the Beautiful." Watch it below.
Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds kicked off Super Bowl Sunday with the annual pre-kickoff performance of "America the Beautiful."
Brandishing an acoustic guitar emblazoned with the American flag, the 12-time GRAMMY winner strummed along as he sand, "O beautiful for spacious skies/ For amber waves of grain/ For purple mountain majesties/ Above the fruited plain!" even adding an impressive key change for the second half of the song.
The 1895 patriotic standard written by Katharine Lee Bates and church organist Samuel A. Ward was first performed at Super Bowl VIII in 1967 by Charley Pride, who also sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" that year. Three years later, "America the Beautiful" was actually performed in place of the national anthem by Vikki Carr — which marks the only time in NFL history that the game didn't include the latter.
However, "America the Beautiful" didn't officially become an annual staple of the pre-game festivities until 2009. Artists who've performed the song in recent years have included Leslie Odom Jr., Chloe x Halle, Yolanda Adams, H.E.R. and Jhené Aiko.
This year, Babyface's number was preceded by Sheryl Lee Ralph belting out "Lift Every Voice and Sing." Colloquially known as the "Black national anthem," the spiritual prayer of thanksgiving has been added to the lineup of Super Bowl musical moments since 2021, when Alicia Keys became the first artist to ever perform it ahead of kickoff.
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