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Shirley Caesar, The Muppets, B.B. King: 7 Christmas Albums That Won A GRAMMY

Kermit the Frog

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Shirley Caesar, The Muppets, B.B. King: 7 Christmas Albums That Won A GRAMMY

Spanning comedy, children's recordings, gospel, jazz, and the blues, these seven Christmas recordings brought home GRAMMY gold

GRAMMYs/Dec 25, 2017 - 06:00 pm

Whether its Boris Karloff's iconic narration of a beloved Dr. Seuss children's fable, Shirley Caesar's testifying soulful praises through gospel renditions of holiday standards, or even Stephen Colbert's festive enlistment of GRAMMY winners for a fireside tale of modern Christmas hilarity mixed with a viral campaign aimed at giving Kanye West a good-natured poke in the chops, timeless Christmas music can take many forms.

Despite the remarkable variety, here's a look at seven recordings that share one thing in common: they each earned a GRAMMY.

Boris Karloff, Dr. Seuss: How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Best Recording For Children (1967)

Airing first in 1966, Dr. Seuss' "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" ranks as one of TV's iconic holiday specials of all time. Known for his acting roles in horror films such as Frankenstein (1931) and The Mummy (1932), Boris Karloff provided the festive voice-over work for not only the TV special but the album audio companion that ultimately took Best Recording For Children honors for 1967. With his rich, distinguished baritone, the Englishman voiced many children's stories, including Three Little Pigs, Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes and The Hunting Of The Snark. But it was his Grinch-like work on the Dr. Seuss Christmas classic that hatched his lone career GRAMMY win. — Tim McPhate

Larnelle Harris, Christmas
Best Gospel Performance, Male (1988)

Perhaps best known for his GRAMMY-winning hit with Sandi Patti, "More Than Wonderful," gospel artist Larnelle Harris has Christmas to thank for his fifth career GRAMMY. The Kentucky-born singer/songwriter took home Best Gospel Performance, Male for his 1988 holiday album, Christmas, at the 31st GRAMMY Awards. The album features covers of classics such as "Silent Night," "O Holy Night" and "Go Tell It On The Mountain" sung in Harris' signature smooth tenor voice. "You know there are just some things that make Christmas very special," Harris said to introduce a performance of "The Christmas Song/Silver Bells." "One of the things is the music." He sure delivered on the music. — Renée Fabian 

Take 6, He Is Christmas
Best Jazz Vocal Performance (1991)

Their combination of a cappella jazz with soul gospel has taken Take 6 to eight GRAMMY wins out of 19 nominations, including their 34th GRAMMY Awards Best Jazz Vocal Performance for the He Is Christmas album. Christmas caroling about singing angels establishes the desirable festive connect to season's blessings, made more credible by the group's excellent (as always) delivery. All it takes is one listen and Take 6 will encourage even the biggest Christmas cynic to believe. — Philip Merrill

Shirley Caesar, Christmas With Shirley Caesar
Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album (1999)

Newly minted Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Shirley Caesar's career as the "First Lady of Gospel Music" has seen her take home Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album five times. One of those five trips to the podium was for her celebratory 1998 holiday album, Christmas With Shirley Caesar. Featuring a balanced mix of traditional Christmas favorites such as "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear," "Do You Hear What I Hear" and "We Three Kings Of Orient Are" alongside original holiday gospel songs such as "The Gift" and "What Are You Going To Name Your Baby," the album made for a triumphant follow-up to the 11-time GRAMMY winner's highly acclaimed previous holiday album, 1986's Christmasing. — Brian Haack

B.B. King, A Christmas Celebration Of Hope
Best Traditional Blues Album (2002)

B.B. King's ability to squeeze more emotion and feeling out of a single note than most guitar players can achieve in a lifetime is on full display on this, his 39th album of his career and sole Christmas album. The collection features King's blues-based takes on holiday classics such as "Back Door Santa," "Please Come Home For Christmas" and "Blue Decorations." The album won Best Traditional Blues Album at the 45th GRAMMY Awards and its closing song, "Auld Lang Syne," nabbed Best Pop Instrumental Performance honors. — Nate Hertweck

The Muppets, A Green And Red Christmas
Best Musical Album For Children (2007)

Expanding Jim Henson's legacy, the Muppets' A Green And Red Christmas presents the iconic star cast of furry friends in high holiday form. Cute voices and spirited take-offs on well-known Christmas songs and themes helped the LP capture Best Musical Album For Children at the 50th GRAMMY Awards. Fun for any family Christmas get-together, Miss Piggy singing "Santa Baby,"  Pepe the King Prawn leading "Merry Christmas Baby" and Kermit the Frog crooning "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" especially put the a in adorable. — P.M.

Stephen Colbert, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift Of All
Best Comedy Album (2009)

Add a dash of irreverence to your holiday listening lineup with "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert. On A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift Of All, which won Best Comedy Album at the 52nd GRAMMY Awards. Colbert celebrates the season with satirical holiday anthems such as "Another Christmas Song," "Nutmeg," and "Can I Interest You In Hannukah?" The dead-pan demeanor his fans come to expect from his dry-humored monologues and tongue-in-cheek interviews is in full effect on this album. Best of all, he enlists a star-studded lineup of guest artists, including fellow GRAMMY winners Elvis Costello, John Legend, Jon Stewart, and Willie Nelson, plus GRAMMY nominees Feist and Toby Keith. — N.H.

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Universal language: Why humans need music

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Universal language: Why humans need music

Learn why music is truly a common language that is key to human development and evolution

GRAMMYs/Jul 3, 2017 - 11:51 pm

There's no doubt music finds a way into nearly every moment of our daily lives, whether it's marking milestones such as a first dance at a wedding, the soundtrack to our favorite movie or singing in the shower for fun. In fact, it's hard to imagine times when we are more than an ear-length away from hearing another song.

But why does music mean so much to us? A powerful form of communication that transcends all barriers — music is our common language, but why?

A composer and educator with a lifelong fascination for music, Adam Ockelford has traced our connection with music back to infants and caregivers. Infants are unable to follow words, but they are developmentally primed to trace patterns in sound, such as through the songs a caretaker sings to them. Therefore, understanding music is intuitive for humans, even at a very young age, and it encourages healthy development.

In addition, there may be another evolutionary purpose for music. Music provides a sense of sameness between humans — if you can copy the sounds someone else makes, you must be an ally. This synergy plays a role in human survival because it evokes empathy and understanding, a lesson we still learn from music in today's culture.

"Music is central to the notion of what it is to be human, and spans cultures, continents and centuries," writes Ockelford. "My music, your music, our music can bind us together as families, as tribes and as societies in a way that nothing else can."

Need a playlist? Check out our favorite songs of summer 2017 

Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program

GRAMMYs/Oct 12, 2017 - 11:03 pm

On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.

Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.

"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."

The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.

"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."

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Mixcloud Signs Warner Music For Subscriptions Remix

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Mixcloud Signs Warner Music For Subscriptions Remix

There is more to the Mixcloud difference than just electronic dance music, and now the listening service has signed its first major label deal

GRAMMYs/Oct 10, 2017 - 04:49 am

Among the 1 million curators who have helped build British-based listening service Mixcloud into a destination visited by 17 million listeners each month are GRAMMY winners Erykah Badu, David Byrne, and Tiësto. Limited to streaming-only since its founding in 2008, Mixcloud announced a direct licensing agreement with Warner Music Group this morning, opening the door to offering downloads and new kinds of subscriptions.

Perhaps the standout statistic that describes the Mixcloud difference is that the average length of its user-uploaded programs is 45 minutes. Within the service's general emphasis on DJing, EDM and remix culture, the tendency to drill down and explore narrower listening topics in depth distinguishes the service from competitors such as Spotify or SoundCloud.

Warner Music Group Executive VP for Business Development & Chief Digital Officer Ole Obermann said, "Mixcloud's success is driven by the curiosity and passion of its community, as they engage with new music and rediscover timeless older songs."

Being able to listen to downloads offline seems a natural follow-up to direct licensing deals, but the service hints there's more in store. Mixcloud still hopes to sign indies and the other majors, as its fans have speculated. And with its own proprietary Content ID in place and established relationships with royalty collecting societies, the company has the tech infrastructure to explore new monetization strategies, paying artists and curators in new ways. Launching a new business model for its upcoming approach to paid content and subscriptions is a remix many are anticipating. Not knowing what to expect is part of the excitement.

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