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Recording Academy Remembers Those We Lost | GRAMMY In Memoriam
Take a moment to reflect and salute the members of the music community who we lost in 2018–2019
(The following is a list of artists and industry professionals the music community lost in 2018–2019. The 61st GRAMMY Awards telecast on CBS will feature an In Memoriam segment highlighting some of these individuals via a video tribute, and all of these individuals who died prior to Jan. 8, 2019 are included in the official 61st GRAMMY Awards program book. The Recording Academy salutes each individual for their respective talents and contributions to our culture and community.)
José Antonio Abreu
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.
Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.
A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.
This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system.
"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."
He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.
"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.
To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes.
Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Remembering Clarence Avant: The Black Godfather, Renowned Entertainment Mentor & Recording Academy Honoree
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, L.A. Reid and Babyface, and Jimmy Iovine counted the entertainment pioneer as an essential piece of their success. The manager, label and broadcast media owner, and mentor died on Aug. 13 at age 92.
Known variously as the Black Godfather, the Godfather of Black Music and the Godfather of Black Entertainment, industry legend Clarence Avant was a pioneer over some seven decades in entertainment. The manager, label and broadcast media owner, and mentor died on Aug. 13 at age 92.
The breadth of Avant’s impact cannot be overstated. For his myriad accomplishments — many of which were historic and groundbreaking — he received the Recording Academy's Trustees Award in 2008. In 2019, Avant received the GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons Award.
"Clarence Avant will forever be remembered as a trailblazer and changemaker whose commitment to music and the community paved the way for opportunity and greater inclusion within our industry," said Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. "He fundamentally transformed the musical landscape for the better. The depth of Clarence’s legacy will last for generations."
A lengthy list of luminaries in the worlds of entertainment, music, politics and more paid tribute to Avant on social media.
(L-R) Jay-Z, Clarence Avant and Sean Combs attend 2020 Roc Nation THE BRUNCH on January 25, 2020, in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation
Bill Clinton tweeted, "It was impossible to spend time with Clarence Avant and not come away feeling more positive and wanting to follow his example."
The Rev. Al Sharpton called Avant "a revolutionary," adding that "When people in the entertainment world were delegated to a near master/slave relationship, he broke through that wall of exploitation and made us respected business people.
"This man was singularly responsible for helping so many Black artists get paid their worth," civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill tweeted.
Magic Johnson tweeted, "He knew how to touch every individual he met and meet them where they were in order to get them where they needed to be."
Jay-Z’s Roc Nation reflected on Avant's legacy:
Born Feb. 25, 1931, in North Carolina, Avant began his career under the tutelage of Louis Armstrong manager Joe Glaser. He would soon branch out on his own to manage artists including Sarah Vaughan, Freddie Hubbard and pioneering Black record producer Tom Wilson. Avant opened a Los Angeles office in 1964.
In 1967, Avant helped negotiate what is said to be the first joint venture between a Black artist and a major label when he mediated a deal for Motown writer-producer William "Mickey" Stevenson with MGM for the soul subsidiary Venture Records.
In 1969, Avant founded his own label, Sussex. The label’s first release was Cold Fact, the unsuccessful debut from the late Sixto Rodriguez, who would years later become the subject of the Oscar-winning doc Searching for Sugar Man. While it took 50 years for Rodriguez to get his due, such was not the case for other Sussex releases such as Dennis Coffey’s smash funky instrumental "Scorpio" and certainly not for Bill Withers, who from 1971 to 1972 had three singles go platinum or gold.
During this time, Avant also bought what became one of the first Black-owned U.S. radio stations, Los Angeles R&B outlet KTYM. Both this venture and Sussex would wind down by 1975, which led to Avant’s founding of Tabu Records.
It was at Tabu that Avant discovered the songwriting and production talents of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who had both been members of the Prince-owned band the Time. Jam and Lewis would create one of the most gravity-defying sounds of the ’80s, and Avant would eventually introduce them to Janet Jackson.
That kind of behind-the-scenes dot-connecting was the norm for Avant. He was considered an important mentor by Jam and Lewis, L.A. Reid and Babyface, industry titans Sylvia Rhone, Jheryl Busby, Jon Platt and Jimmy Iovine, and many others — including football great Jim Brown, whom Avant reportedly convinced to take up acting.
He was a political activist, especially for Black causes, and was an unofficial advisor to Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama.
He would also serve as Chairman of Motown Records and would become the first Black person to serve on the international management board for PolyGram. He was the subject of the 2019 documentary The Black Godfather.
In addition to his Recording Academy Trustees Award, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021 and is due to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Oct. 7.
There was no blueprint for Avant’s storied career. "I kept hearing about this guy Clarence Avant, but no one seemed to know what his actual official title was," Jim Brown recalled.
"My whole career has been like this," Avant once told Variety. "People ask me, ‘how did you do all this?’ How the f— do I know? I just do things. I just like to take shots."
Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Watch The 2023 GRAMMYs Star-Studded Tribute To Lost Legends Loretta Lynn, Christine McVie & Takeoff | 2023 GRAMMYs
The moving GRAMMY Awards segment featured friends, family and bandmates honoring their departed loved ones in song — including tributes from Kacey Musgraves, Quavo, and Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood, and Bonnie Raitt.
A moving 2023 GRAMMYs segment featured friends, family and bandmates honoring their departed loved ones in song — including tributes from Kacey Musgraves, Quavo, and Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood, and Bonnie Raitt.
The GRAMMY Awards' annual tribute to music industry icons who passed in the preceding year is always a bittersweet highlight of the ceremony — and this year's moving edition was certainly no exception.
In addition to honoring the many artists, producers, executives, and more who we lost, three legendary musicians received individual recognition from their close friends, collaborators, and loved ones.
A longtime admirer of Loretta Lynn, Kacey Musgraves became friends with the late country legend after opening for Lynn's 2012 tour — and thus was the perfect person to honor the four-time GRAMMY-winner.
Surrounded by a spray of red flowers and wearing a red dress that would've suited the Songwriter Hall of Fame honoree, Musgraves delivered a sterling rendition of Lynn's autobiographical "Coal Miner's Daughter."
With each strum of her guitar — with Lynn’s name inlaid on the neck in enamel — Musgraves brought more of her hero's trademark warmth and country legacy into fuller bloom, the names and images of other lost legends materializing behind her.
The rap world was stunned when it lost Migos member Takeoff in a tragic shooting in November, and his uncle and bandmate Quavo paid tribute with the elegiac "Without You." The rapper's soulful delivery was rounded out by the rich harmonies of gospel group Maverick City Music, the pain evident in his face as he sat next to an empty stool, his nephew’s chain hanging from a tragically unused mic stand.
As the song concluded, Quavo rose, holding that chain up to the heavens, his hope to see Takeoff again ringing out.
While clips of heroes like Jeff Beck and David Crosby surely brought tears to many an eye, the heartfelt tributes were rounded out by the trio of Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, and Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood. Together, they honored Christine McVie with a poignant rendition of Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird."
While Fleetwood stood with a resonant hand drum, Crow took to the piano with Raitt seated at her side. "And the songbirds are singing/ Like they know the score," they sang: "And I love you, I love you, I love you/ Like never before."
The crystalline performance immaculately suited the songwriter's immense spirit and unparalleled writing, with Fleetwood’s somber hand drum lending a beautiful final note.
Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs.
Head to live.GRAMMY.com all year long to watch all the GRAMMY performances, acceptance speeches, the GRAMMY Live From The Red Carpet livestream special, the full Premiere Ceremony livestream, and even more exclusive, never-before-seen content from the 2023 GRAMMYs.
Photo: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The Recording Academy Remembers The Music People We've Lost | GRAMMY In Memoriam (2022)
Take a moment to reflect on and salute the members of the music community we lost.
The following is a list of artists and industry professionals the music community lost from Jan. 1, 2022 to Dec. 6, 2022.
The 2022 GRAMMYs telecast on CBS featured an In Memoriam segment highlighting some of these individuals via a video tribute, and all of these individuals who died prior to its print date are included in the official 2023 GRAMMYs program book.
The Recording Academy salutes each individual for their respective talents and contributions to our culture and community.
Juan Alfonso Abreu (Xtassy)
Bobbe "Beegie" Long Adair
Clive "Zanda" Alexander
Silas "SiMan Baby" Alexander
Ian Alexander jr.
Jerry Ivan Allison
Classie Ballou, Sr.
Sultan "Traxamillion" Banks
King Louie Bankston
Shandler "Wavy Navy Pooh" Beaubien
María José Cantilo
Jo Carol Ann
Roland Anthony Chirico
Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury
Roderick 'Pooh' Clark
Bob "Dr. Jazz" Cohen
José Luis Cortés
Warren "Waz" Costello
"Jessie D" Lee Daniels
Rosa de Castilla
Marc Lee Dé Hugar
Aurelio De La Vega
Paulino Deanda Bernal
Martin C. Dreiwitz
Eddie Edwards Drennan
Howard Alexander Dumble
John L. Eastman
Vince "CPO Boss Hogg" Edwards
Mary Ellin Barrett
Muvaffak "Maffy" Falay
Fallece Bernardo Adam Ferrero
Juan Francisco González
Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr.
Charles "is-City" Gatt
Ellen Zoe Golden
Robert Louis Gordy
Barbara Maier Gustern
"Big John" Harte
Rosa Lee Hawkins
Arnold "Arno" Hintjens
Tohru "Monamour" Hiroshima
Gary "Chicken" Hirsh
Ivy Jo Hunter
Pau Riba i Romeva
Michael James Jackson
Big Rude Jake
Keith Wonderboy Johnson
Jerry Ray Johnston
Justin Alexander "J $tash" Joseph
Kenwrick "Kenny J" Joseph
John C. Koss
Dr. Paul Kwami
Carmelo La Bionda
Quentin Oliver Lee
Jerry Lee Lewis
Shirles "Re Styles" Macleod
Lucy Rowan Mann
Jane "Nightbirde" Marczewski
Mor Mario Martínez
Gazi Mazharul Anwar
Sister Janet Mead
Grachan Moncur III
Benjamin Moore, Jr.
Juan José Mosalini
Rodger E. Mosley
María Inés Naveillán
David Ornette Cherry
Pedro Pablo García Caffi
Mark L. Perthel
Seymour "Red" Press
John Rice Irwin
Walter Riley King
Ismael Rivera Jr.
Hargus "Pig" Robbins
Martin "Marty" Roberts
Pamela "Jordan" Rooke
José Enrique "Chelique" Sarabia
Shiv Kumar Sharma
William B. Shelby
David "Ziggy" Sigmund
DJ Kay Slay
Elliott "Grandpa" Small
Pete St John
Alec John Such
Clifford S. Tinder
John P Varkey
William "Bil" VornDick
Sidhu Moose Wala
Lil Bo Weep
Krista Whitworth Beitter
David O. Will
Phyo Zayar Thaw
Club Q Victims