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A History Of Casablanca Records In 10 Songs, From Kiss To Donna Summer To Lindsay Lohan
Donna Summer (left) and Neil Bogart (center) in 1976.

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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A History Of Casablanca Records In 10 Songs, From Kiss To Donna Summer To Lindsay Lohan

As the Casablanca Records story hits the big screen with ‘Spinning Gold’ on March 31, revisit some of the hits that have defined the now-reinvented label’s legacy.

GRAMMYs/Mar 31, 2023 - 03:26 pm

Over the past five years, some of the most famous (and infamous) stories of the music industry have hit movie theaters, from Freddie Mercury’s meteoric arrival in Bohemian Rhapsody to Elton John’s breakthrough years in Rocketman, and most recently Whitney Houston’s remarkable rise in Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Now it’s time for the big-screen debut of a name that might not be as familiar: trailblazing record executive Neil Bogart.

Bogart is the outsized personality at the center of a new biopic, Spinning Gold, which hits theaters March 31. The film tracks the monumental first decade of Casablanca Records, the larger-than-life label that Bogart dreamed up in the summer of 1973. 

The industry upstart defied the odds to become one of the definitive labels of the 1970s, with a highly eclectic roster that included KISS, Donna Summer, Village People and George Clinton’s Parliament. At the same time, Casablanca Records typified 1970s excess, with infamous stories of drug-fuelled parties, flagrant spending and unchecked egos — all rich material for a big-screen treatment.

Written and directed by Bogart’s eldest son Tim, Spinning Gold stars Jeremy Jordan as Bogart alongside a cast of current music luminaries in key roles, including Wiz Khalifa as George Clinton, Tayla Parx as Donna Summer, Ledisi as Gladys Knight and Jason Derulo as Ron Isley. (The hit-filled soundtrack is just as star-studded.)

After he was pushed out at Casablanca, Bogart went on to found Boardwalk Records (signing a young Joan Jett) before his tragic death in 1982, at the age of 39. In the decades since, Casablanca has had several lives, including its reinvention as a dance music label in 2012. 

To celebrate the release of Spinning Gold, we’re taking a trip back through 10 of the label’s hallmark releases from the 1970s to the 2010s. 

KISS, "Rock and Roll All Nite" (1975)

Neil Bogart’s first gamble as a label boss was on New York shock rockers KISS. Bogart signed the band to Casablanca Records on the strength of their demo tape, recorded with DIY grit alongside former Jimi Hendrix producer Eddie Kramer. While initially dubious of the group’s garish makeup, he backed their lean and mean 1974 debut album, KISS, even as it failed to ignite the charts.

As detailed in Classic Rock Magazine, KISS played Casablanca’s launch party at Los Angeles’ Century Plaza Hotel, bemusing the glamorous crowd to a flurry of smoke bombs and a levitating drum kit. Bogart stuck by his hard rockers, and in 1975 they released Dressed to Kill, featuring the undeniable anthem "Rock and Roll All Nite," one of KISS’ setlist staples to this day. 

As the story goes, Bogart, who is a credited producer on "Rock N Roll All Nite," challenged songwriters Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons to write the definitive KISS song. Later in 1975, the band hit No. 9 on the Billboard 200 with the live album, Alive!, and their fire-breathing, fake-blood-spitting path was set. 

Parliament, "Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)" (1976)

If KISS represented one extreme of Casablanca’s early catalog, George Clinton’s Parliament confirmed there was no rulebook. Bogart recognised Clinton’s shambolic genius early on, signing the bandleader and his funk disciples to Casablanca in 1973. After a pair of slow-burning albums, in 1975 Parliament released Mothership Connection, an outlandish concept record exploring afrofuturism in outer space.

On an album that sounded like nothing else out there, "Give Up The Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)" was a supremely funky standout. It became Parliament’s first certified million-selling single and gave the group the cachet to build their signature stage prop, The Mothership, which landed theatrically mid-show in a swirl of smoke. 

Donna Summer, "I Feel Love" (1977)

Bogart’s circle of gifted friends included Giorgio Moroder, the Italian producer behind the hallowed Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany. In 1975, Moroder played Bogart a song he’d produced for an up-and-coming American singer named Donna Summer, who was living as an expat in Munich after appearing in the musical Hair.

That song was "Love To Love You Baby," a slow, slinky disco number that, on Bogart’s insistence, morphed into a 17-minute version. In its extended form, "Love To Love You Baby" seduced dance floors and took disco into a new realm of slow-burning sexuality. 

In 1976, Summer returned to Musicland Studios with Moroder and his studio partner Pete Bellotte to record "I Feel Love," released on Casablanca the next year. Still exhilarating and influential to this day, the record’s futuristic synth sound cemented Casablanca as the go-to disco label. 

Village People, "Y.M.C.A." (1978)

With Donna Summer now a certified star, Bogart found his next disco hitmakers in Village People. Founded in 1977 by French dance producers Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo, and fronted by vocalist Victor Willis, the group emerged from and celebrated New York’s gay club culture, with each member adopting a "macho man" persona and costume.

Village People’s third album on Casablanca, 1978’s Cruisin’, featured the instant earworm "Y.M.C.A.," which hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979. A winking advertisement for the fraternal pleasures of the Y.M.C.A., the song became a gay anthem and paved the way for future hits "In The Navy,” "Go West" and an actual song called “Macho Man.” 

"[Casablanca] was a very trendy label," Belolo recalled to DJHistory in 2004. "Neil Bogart was known as an entrepreneur who had the guts to take risks, and he was a very good promoter." 

KISS, "I Was Made For Lovin’ You" (1979)

Released on their 1979 album, Dynasty, "I Was Made for Lovin’ You" proved even KISS weren’t immune to disco fever. Coming two years after the hard rocking Love Gun album, this glam, light-on-its-feet return had some fans reeling.

Co-written by Paul Stanley with pop songwriters Desmond Child and Vini Poncia, the single sold over 1 million copies and remains a favorite sing-along at KISS shows. To this day, its detractors include none other than Gene Simmons, who never liked his pop-tinged vocal part. 

Cher, "Take Me Home" (1979)

While Casablanca was founded on new talent, by the late 1970s, the label was courting already established stars. With 14 albums to her name by 1977, Cher met Neil Bogart through her then-boyfriend Gene Simmons. After a run of underperforming releases, Cher came around to trying disco.

"Take Me Home," Cher’s shimmering foray into the still-hot genre, unleashed her inner disco diva, which she explored further on two Casablanca albums, Take Me Home and Prisoner. While the legendary singer later strayed from disco, the lush, Studio 54-soaked sound of "Take Me Home" is testament to Casablanca’s gravitational pull. 

Lipps Inc., "Funkytown" (1980)

As the 1970s ticked over into the ‘80s, Casablanca went looking for the next sound. Behind the scenes, the label was in turmoil. With Polygram now overseeing Casablanca, co-founder Larry Harris quit and Bogart was pushed out. Disco’s popularity was also waning in the wake of the infamous Disco Demolition Night at Chicago’s Comiskey Park.

If times were tough, you couldn’t hear it in "Funkytown," a party-starting track by Minnesotan funk/disco band Lipps, Inc. Featuring Cynthia Johnson’s peppy vocals over a perfect marriage of synths, strings and cowbell, the song was a surprise hit for Casablanca and a gentle clapback to the disco doomsayers. 

Irene Cara, "Flashdance…What A Feeling" (1983)

Throughout its first decade, Casablanca was closely aligned with Hollywood — after all, the label took its name from the Golden Age classic starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. In the mid-’70s, the label even merged with a film production company to make Casablanca Record And Filmworks, Inc.

Following Bogart’s exit from Casablanca, the label struck gold with Irene Cara’s "Flashdance…What A Feeling" from the 1983 dance drama Flashdance. Produced by label mainstay Giorgio Moroder, the song is a pure hit of 1980s nostalgia, elevated by Moroder’s synth and Cara’s roof-raising vocals. 

"Flashdance…What A Feeling" won the GRAMMY for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and the Academy Award for Best Original Song, giving Casablanca Records one last victory lap before it folded in 1986. 

Lindsay Lohan, "Rumors" (2004)

Two decades after Jennifer Beals spun and vaulted through the music video for "Flashdance…What A Feeling," Casablanca was relaunched under Universal by veteran music exec Tommy Mottola.

One of Mottola’s early signings was "it-girl" Lindsay Lohan, who was coming off star-making roles in Freaky Friday and Mean Girls. Lohan’s 2004 debut album, Speak, featured the bonus track "Rumors," a club banger with spiky lyrics aimed at paparazzi and rumor-mongers hounding her every move. A long way from the halcyon days of KISS and Donna Summer, "Rumors" is still a time capsule to a quainter era before Instagram and iPhones. 

Mottola’s other mid-aughts signings included singer and actress Brie Larson (long before she was Captain Marvel) and pop artist Mika, whose 2007 album, Life in Cartoon Motion — and particularly its infectious lead single, “Grace Kelly” — was a breakthrough success.

Tiesto, "Red Lights" (2013)

After its brief mid-2000s run, Casablanca Records went quiet again — that is, until its next relaunch in 2012 as a dance/electronic imprint under Republic Records. Capitalizing on the EDM boom at the time, Casablanca snapped up Dutch superstar Tiesto and his label Musical Freedom.

In December 2013, Tiesto dropped "Red Lights," the lead single from his fifth studio album, A Town Called Paradise, released on Casablanca the following year. A surging dance-pop confection built for Tiesto’s then-residency at Hakkasan Las Vegas, "Red Lights" endures today as a three-minute flashback to EDM’s heyday. 

While Tiesto is no longer with Casablanca, the label has been a steady home for both veteran and rising dance acts over the past decade, including Martin Solveig, Chase & Status, Nicky Romero, Felix Jaehn and James Hype. Meanwhile, Lindsay Lohan has remained with the label, releasing her club-ready comeback single, "Back to Me,” in 2020. 

Bringing the story full circle, a resurgent Giorgio Moroder also landed back on Casablanca Records in 2016. As the story of Casablanca's glory days hits the big screen, the label's latest chapter is still being written.

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Erick The Architect Steps Into A New World On 'I’ve Never Been Here Before'
Erick The Architect

Photo: Ellington Hammond

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Erick The Architect Steps Into A New World On 'I’ve Never Been Here Before'

The Flatbush Zombies' member says his debut double album is more than catchy introspections: 'I’ve Never Been Here Before' is the arrival of a new persona and sound.

GRAMMYs/Feb 21, 2024 - 08:47 pm

Rapper/producer Erick The Architect is no stranger to reinvention. 

The Brooklyn-bred MC cut his teeth over alt-East Coast beats as Erick Arc Elliot before forming psychedelic rap trio Flatbush Zombies with childhood friends Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice. But after multiple mixtapes and two albums with the group, Erick is returning to solo form and venturing into new creative ground. 

Following 2021’s Future Proof EP, Erick is embarking on new musical travels with the release of his official debut album, I’ve Never Been Here Before. Out Feb. 23, the double album explores Erick’s flowy instrumentation, poeticism, and artistry at full scale. The project is fueled by singles "Shook Up" featuring FARR and Joey Bada$$, "Ezekiel’s Wheel" with funk forefather George Clinton, and the breezy "Instincts" with Westside Boogie.

Erick says I’ve Never Been Here Before is more than a collection of catchy introspections, melodic monologues, and '90s-inspired jams. It’s the shedding of one persona — and sound — and the beginning of a new: the Mandevillain. 

"This album is an identity of a new person," Erick the Architect tells GRAMMY.com, noting that the moniker is an ode to his father’s hometown of Mandeville, Jamaica. "A lot of people may have thought there was a ceiling to what I’m capable of, but I think this album will showcase a brand new artist and identity, which is really hard to do when people think they already know you. But I really think this is unique." 

The switch isn’t just in name — he’s taken on a new approach to music, too. For the first time in years, Erick says he’s prioritizing himself and his specific musical world. "It’s the first time I have created with the headspace that I’m free," he says. "I find that other artists don’t listen to other people’s music when they’re in a creative space, but this is the most locked off I’ve been from things."

As much as I’ve Never Been Here Before signals new creative ground for Erick to fertilize, it also represents his collective efforts to limit distractions and break free of any barriers — personally and sonically. 

While it was difficult to stay so focused and inward-looking while creating his debut album, turning to some of his legendary collaborators provided some clarity. After having conversations with James Blake, George Clinton, and other artists as part of the project, Erick no longer feels forced to fit a mold or address outside criticism. 

"This album is about sacrifice, and I’ve Never Been Here Before is me being okay with losing things," he says. "I think that losing has always a negative connotation because nobody wants to lose, everybody wants to win. But it's the first time I'm losing stuff and it’s better being lost. Whether it's a habit or a person in your life, you don't need to hold everything."

I’ve Never Been Here Before lives up to its title in both theme and creation. Where Erick previously wrote songs in moments of vulnerability, the rapper says he "doesn’t feel that way anymore." 

Citing the work of Keith Haring, Miles Davis and Pablo Picasso as inspiration, Erick says he was driven to write more high-spirited songs, rather than ones tethered to struggle and hardship. As a result, the album is more accessible than some of his previous work.

"I’m tired of writing from a perspective of just being like, 'I’m sad today, bro,'" he says. "I haven’t made a project that I feel like you can just put that joint on and just play it, don’t even think about anything else because it’s commanding an energy that we all need." 

In transforming the project, the "Die 4 U" artist pieced together a blend of new and older songs he recorded five years ago. And while a double album is a "death sentence" in the eyes of most rap fans, Erick says he’s prepared for both heaps of praise and hurls of "he’s overrated" from listeners. He would feel more anxiety only if the music never came out.

"I’ve always believed that I had another special part of me that I think people didn’t witness because I didn’t put it out in the forefront," he says.

While getting a new release across the finish line can be a heavy weight to bear, Erick says he’s determined to prove his doubters wrong and own his legitimacy as a solo act. "I didn’t get lucky or sneak in here and steal beats from somebody’s laptop," Erick says. "This project is great to defeat people who have perceptions about me that are incorrect."

With the momentum of I’ve Never Been Here Before, Erick is set to test his new music and moniker on the road during his upcoming Mandevillain Tour, which kicks off in Austin on March 25.

Now that he’s fulfilling his ambitions as a solo act, the artist has a few more mediums he plans to explore – TV and film. After being a rapper/producer for more than a decade, Erick says he’s ready to take grander creative leaps.  "I’m just trying to take this to the highest caliber," he says.

Benny The Butcher Is Ready To Rise On 'Everybody Can’t Go'

Inside The 2024 Special Merit Awards Ceremony Honoring N.W.A, Gladys Knight, Donna Summer & More
Chair of the Recording Academy's Board of Trustees Tammy Hurt, Trustees Honoree Award Honoree DJ Kool Herc, Cindy Campbell and CEO of the Recording Academy and Musicares Harvey Mason Jr.

Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Inside The 2024 Special Merit Awards Ceremony Honoring N.W.A, Gladys Knight, Donna Summer & More

A deeply emotional pre-GRAMMY ceremony honored an extraordinary group of musical creators, pioneers, educators and icons including the Clark Sisters, Tammy Wynette, K'naan and others legendary innovators.

GRAMMYs/Feb 7, 2024 - 04:20 pm

This year, the Special Merit Awards ceremony was not for the faint of heart. 

The 2024 GRAMMY Week event, held Saturday at a capacity Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, presented Lifetime Achievement Awards, Trustees Awards, the Technical GRAMMY,  and the Music Educator Award to a dazzling gallery of musical innovators whose work has generated deep emotional connections across decades. In a world currently ensnared in a pattern of global conflict, the presentation of the award for Best Song for Social Change for the first time at the Special Merit Award ceremony this year added an extra layer of poignancy.

The presentation was touching from the very beginning, with a video montage of previous winners set to the historic recording of Aretha Franklin singing the Puccini aria "Nessuna Dorma." Glimpses of many legendary faces and performances on the screen underscored the Academy’s empathy for impactful music history: from Marvin Gaye to Janis Joplin; Billie Holiday to The Carter Family; The Beatles and Tina Turner to Dolly Parton and The Supremes.

The 2024 Music Educator Award was then given to Annie Ray, a music teacher and orchestra leader from Annandale, Virginia selected for her relentless positivity and inclusive energy. "Orchestra is much more than a class — it’s a family," said one of her students during a brief video chronicling her work. Ray, whose classrooms include students from 66 different countries — put together, they speak 59 languages — was visibly touched as she received the award. "I am thankful to share with the world what my students have taught me," she said.

The year’s Technical GRAMMY belonged to Tom Scott and the late Tom Kobayashi, who met at Lucasfilm’s Skywalker Sound in 1985 and together launched the Entertainment Digital Network (EDnet), which allows the sharing of high-quality video and audio. An estimated 250,000 musical collaborations have been facilitated by their innovations, including many GRAMMY performances. 

Next up were the three Trustee Awards: British pop legend Peter Asher, member of Peter & Gordon, prolific A&R executive, producer, manager, and a self-professed "admirer and member of the Recording Academy for almost 60 years"; legendary entertainment attorney and former Recording Academy Chairman Joel Katz, known as "the dealmaker who thinks outside of the box"; and Jamaican American DJ Kool Herc, renowned as one of the founders of East Coast hip-hop in ‘70s. He received the award joined by his sister Cindy who promoted his initial series of parties in the Bronx, noted for his groundbreaking use of two turntables and the extension of funky breaks in songs. 

It was time to honor the Lifetime Achievement recipients, and a sprightly Laurie Anderson stepped onstage and gave a witty assessment of her reputation as an uncompromising song alchemist. "They say my music is experimental, which sounds like doing something in the lab that might explode," she said. From her wonderfully robotic, left-field 1982 hit "O Superman" to her poetic concept album Homeland in 2010, Anderson has created her share of aesthetically explosive works of the art-pop and avant-garde variety.

"I love music so much, and I married a musician," she said acknowledging her husband, the late Lou Reed. "Wouldn’t it be great if there was a piano on every corner?"

The best-selling female gospel group in history, Detroit-based The Clark Sisters are known for their soaring vocal harmonies and powerhouse hits like "You Brought The Sunshine." 

"We thank our Lord and Savior for allowing us to do what we do: singing," they said, adding words of gratitude for their mother — "the lady who paved the way" — the late choral director Dr. Mattie Moss Clark.

The importance of a rich spiritual life was also emphasized by Motown legend and Soul empress Gladys Knight. The singer known for classic hits such as "Midnight Train to Georgia" and a raucous rendition of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" beamed onstage as she recalled her beginnings in music, before she became an international star with The Pips. "We had to go to church every Sunday, and it did make a difference," she said. "Everybody was singing around me when I grew up. And my mom would never allow me to do it easy. It had to come from the heart."

It was time to witness the strength of street knowledge. Delving into the very core of hip-hop identity, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to N.W.A, the revolutionary Los Angeles collective that transformed the landscape of popular music with its 1988 debut Straight Outta Compton. The group was joined by the mother and son of late rapper Eazy-E, who passed away in 1995 at age 30. The surviving members of the group – excepting Dr. Dre, who was celebrating his daughter’s birthday and sent a text greeting – looked vindicated. "We always knew that a GRAMMY was not in the cards for us, but we still wanted to express ourselves," said Ice Cube. "When you do your thing, the world will come to you."

Donna Summer, the ethereal and visionary singer who took disco music into progressive territory during the ‘70s, passed away in 2012. The "I Feel Love" star received a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday — and her husband Bruce Sudano and their three daughters were there to collect it. "Her voice and music are omnipresent in the [cultural] zeitgeist," said Sudano. "Donna continues to inspire people worldwide. She always referred to herself as an ordinary girl."

Last but not least, GRAMMY winning country star Tammy Wynette, who died in 1998, was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award — accepted by her daughters, Georgette Jones and Jackie Daly.

"Mom would feel very humbled to be in such a talented group of people," Jones said. "She always thought that the GRAMMYs were the biggest accomplishment in music. And she never fully understood her own impact."

When rapper and singer K’naan was a child in Mogadishu, his mother managed to get the family out of Somalia on the last commercial flight before the civil war erupted. Together with songwriters Gerald Eaton and Steve McEwan, K’naan was honored with the Best Song for Social Change award for "Refugee," a track about the plight of political refugees around the world.

"In the Somali language, the word 'home' derives from the word 'mother,'" explained K’naan as he received the award to a standing ovation. "I dedicate this GRAMMY to my home — my mother."

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Winners & Nominees List

The Recording Academy Announces 2024 Special Merit Award & Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees: N.W.A, Gladys Knight, Donna Summer, DJ Kool Herc & Many More
(Top Row, L-R): Gladys Knight, the Clark Sisters, Tammy Wynette, Laurie Anderson, Gerald Eaton; (Middle Row, L-R): N.W.A, Tom Scott, Donna Summer, Joel Katz, Steve McEwan; (Bottom Row, L-R): Peter Asher, Tom Kobayashi, DJ Kool Herc, K'naan

Photo Credits: Derek Blanks; Mel Elder, Jr.; Michael Ochs Archives; Stephanie Diani; Kim Virdi; TiVo; photo courtesy of SMPTE; Copyright Brian Leatart; Gittings; Steve McEwan; Henry Diltz; Kobayashi Family; Johnny Nunez/WireImage; Nabil Elderkin

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The Recording Academy Announces 2024 Special Merit Award & Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees: N.W.A, Gladys Knight, Donna Summer, DJ Kool Herc & Many More

The 2024 Special Merit Awards honorees include Lifetime Achievement Award recipients Tammy Wynette, the Clark Sisters, and many others. The Special Merit Awards will return to the Wilshire Ebell Theater on Saturday, Feb.3, during GRAMMY Week 2024.

GRAMMYs/Jan 5, 2024 - 01:55 pm

Ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs, the Recording Academy has announced the 2024 Special Merit Awards honorees.

Laurie Anderson, the Clark Sisters, Gladys Knight, N.W.A, Donna Summer, and Tammy Wynette are the 2024 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award honorees; Peter Asher, DJ Kool Herc and Joel Katz are the Trustees Award recipients; Tom Kobayashi and Tom Scott are the Technical GRAMMY Award honorees; and “Refugee,” written by K’naan, Steve McEwan, and Gerald Eaton (a.k.a. Jarvis Church), is being honored with the Best Song For Social Change Award

The Recording Academy’s Special Merit Awards Ceremony celebrating the 2023 Special Merit Award recipients will return to the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles on Saturday, Feb. 3. 

“The Academy is honored to pay tribute to this year’s Special Merit Award recipients — a remarkable group of creators and industry professionals whose impact resonates with generations worldwide,” said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “Their contributions to music span genres, backgrounds and crafts, reflecting the rich diversity that fuels our creative community. We look forward to honoring these music industry trailblazers next month as part of our week-long celebration leading up to Music’s Biggest Night.”

Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees

This Special Merit Award is presented by vote of the Recording Academy’s National Trustees to performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording (through 1972, recipients included non-performers).

Laurie Anderson is a writer, director, composer, visual artist, musician, and vocalist who has created groundbreaking works that span the worlds of art, theater, experimental music, and technology. As a performer and musician, she has collaborated with many people including Brian Eno, Jean-Michel Jarre, William S. Burroughs, Peter Gabriel, Robert Wilson, Christian McBride, and Philip Glass. In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA which culminated in her 2004 touring solo performance, The End of the Moon. She has been nominated for six GRAMMY Awards throughout her recording career and received a GRAMMY for the release Landfall in collaboration with the Kronos Quartet at the 61st GRAMMYs. 

The Clark Sisters, an American gospel vocal group initially consisting of five sisters: Jacky, Denise, Elbernita, Dorinda, and Karen – have been taking the world by storm since the early 1980s. Credited for helping to bring gospel music to the mainstream, the Clark Sisters are considered pioneers of contemporary gospel. Their biggest crossover hits include: “Is My Living in Vain?,” “Hallelujah,” “He Gave Me Nothing to Lose,” “Endow Me,” their hit song “Jesus Is A Love Song,” “Pure Gold,” “Miracle,” and their largest, mainstream crossover gold-certified, “You Brought The Sunshine.” The Clark Sisters (Jacky, Elbernita, Dorinda, and Karen) have won three GRAMMYs (two awarded to the group, and one to Karen as a songwriter for “Blessed and Highly Favored”), and with 16 albums to their credit and millions in sales, they are the highest-selling female gospel group in history.

Gladys Knight is a seven-time GRAMMY Award winner who has enjoyed No. 1 hits in pop, gospel, R&B, and adult contemporary, and has triumphed in film, television and live performance. Knight has recorded more than 38 albums over the years including four solo albums. She appeared on ABC’s 14th season of “Dancing With The Stars” in 2012, and in 2019, she competed on the inaugural season of “The Masked Singer.” Knight has sung the National Anthem at several major sporting events, including at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta in 2019, and at the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. She was a National Endowment for the Arts 2021 National Medal of Arts Recipient and received a Kennedy Center Honor for Lifetime Artistic Achievements in 2022.

N.W.A was a rap group from the Compton district in Los Angeles who are credited by many with inventing gangsta rap. The group, consisting of Eazy-E^, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, and MC-Ren, developed a new sound, which brought in many of the loud, extreme sonic innovations of Public Enemy while adopting a self-consciously violent and dangerous lyrical stance. In 1988, N.W.A released their album, Straight Outta Compton, a brutally intense record that became an underground hit without any support from radio or MTV. This negative attention worked in their favor as it brought the album to multiplatinum status. Although the group was short-lived, gangsta rap established itself as the most popular form of hip-hop during the mid-1990s.

Donna Summer^ rocketed to international superstardom with her groundbreaking merger of R&B, soul, pop, funk, rock, disco, and avant-garde electronica, catapulting underground dance music out of the clubs of Europe and bringing it to the world. Summer holds the record with three consecutive double albums to hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts (the only solo artist to ever accomplish this), and first female artist to have four No. 1 singles in a 12-month period on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. A five-time GRAMMY winner and 18-time GRAMMY nominee, Summer was the first artist to win the GRAMMY for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female (1979, “Hot Stuff”) as well as the first-ever recipient of the new GRAMMY Category for Best Dance Recording (1997, “Carry On”). Summer was the first female artist to win GRAMMY Awards in four different genres: dance, gospel, rock, and R&B.

Tammy Wynette^ first hit the musical scene in 1966 with “Apartment #9” after moving to Nashville and teaming up with record producer Billy Sherrill. Together, the duo wrote songs that reflected the yearnings and the things Wynette felt were important in her life. In 1968, Wynette released “Stand By Your Man,” which sold more than five million singles and became the largest-selling single ever recorded by a female artist. By 1970, she racked up five No. 1 country hits, was named the Country Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year three times, and won two GRAMMYs. Wynette was the first female country music singer to sell over one million albums and has sold more than 30 million records grossing more than $100 million, earning her the title “The First Lady of Country Music.”

Read More: GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Awards | The Complete List

Trustees Award Honorees

This Special Merit Award is presented by vote of the Recording Academy’s National Trustees to individuals who, during their careers in music, have made significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording (through 1983, recipients included performers).

Peter Asher’s career began in 1964 as one-half of Peter & Gordon, whose “A World Without Love” topped the charts worldwide. Nine more Top 20 hits followed before Asher became head of A&R for the Beatles’ Apple Records in 1968, and discovered, produced and managed James Taylor; later adding Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond, 10,000 Maniacs, Cher, Diana Ross, Kenny Loggins, Bonnie Raitt, Robin Williams, Stevie Nicks, Lyle Lovett, Morrissey, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, Ed Sheeran, and more to his roster. Asher won the GRAMMY for Producer Of The Year in both 1977 and 1989. He hosts a hit radio show “From Me To You” on Sirius XM and is much in demand not only in the studio but as a performer, speaker and author.

The legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee DJ Kool Herc is consistently credited as the founder of hip-hop. His mastery at the turntables is known worldwide, as are his positive contributions to the evolution of hip-hop culture. Herc’s popularity rose by playing long sets of assorted rhythm breaks strung together. Unlike any of his DJ counterparts, Herc is not a rapid rapper who keeps your head spinning with a patter, but he is a musical innovator to the turntables. He first introduced using two turntables to make the beats last longer, creating the illusion of one long break for the B-Boys to show off their skills. Herc has received a great deal of recognition during his lifetime, including his induction into the 2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and recognition from the New York Landmarks Conservancy as a 2023 Living Landmark. 

Joel Katz has played a profound role in shaping the entertainment industry through his work in facilitating entertainment-related corporate acquisitions and mergers and consulting multi-national and multi-media entertainment companies. Katz was ranked Billboard magazine’s No. 1 entertainment attorney in its “Power 100” list of most powerful executives in the music business and has been called “the dealmaker who thinks outside the box.” At Kennesaw State University, Katz endowed and began a commercial music program – one of the largest music education programs in America with over 500 students. He has authored and co-authored many articles and commentary on topics concerning entertainment law. In honor of his work, the University of Tennessee College of Law dedicated its library in his name, the Joel A. Katz Law Library.

Read More: GRAMMY Trustees Awards | The Complete List

Technical GRAMMY Award Honorees

This Special Merit Award is presented by vote of the Producers & Engineers Wing Advisory Council and Chapter Committees and ratification by the Recording Academy's National Trustees to individuals and/or companies/organizations/institutions who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording field. 

Tom Kobayashi^ and Tom Scott met at Lucasfilm’s Skywalker Sound in 1985, when the duo joined the company and completed the building of the Skywalker post-production facilities in both Northern and Southern California. Together, Kobayashi and Scott launched the Entertainment Digital Network, also known as “EDnet,” which employed fiber-optic networks to send high-quality video and audio great distances. Its then-revolutionary technology enabled the industry to link together talent, executives and production facilities at great cost savings. For 25 years, that company connected hundreds of recording studios worldwide in the days before the Internet could handle high-quality audio. EDnet became a part of Onstream Media, and over the decades, tens of thousands of long-distance collaboration sessions were facilitated for the music, advertising, TV, and cinema businesses. 

Best Song For Social Change Award Honorees

This Special Merit Award honors songwriter(s) of message-driven music that speaks to the social issues of our time and has demonstrated and inspired positive global impact. The finalists and recipient(s) are selected annually by a Blue-Ribbon Committee composed of a community of peers dedicated to artistic expression, the craft of songwriting and the power of songs to effect social change. See past recipients here.

In June 2023, singer-songwriter K’naan released the inspiring single and accompanying video “Refugee,” co-written by GRAMMY Award-winning songwriter Steve McEwan and GRAMMY-nominated producer Gerald Eaton (also known by his stage name, Jarvis Church). “Refugee” stands out as a distinctive musical endeavor, skillfully interweaving personal and political narratives, and serving as a tribute to refugees around the world. With the single, K’naan drew inspiration from his personal experiences, aiming to redefine the traditional perception of the term “refugee” into a symbol of resilience and strength. The song was written with the hopes of encouraging individuals to embrace the word “refugee” proudly and to give those made homeless by conflict a song that felt like home.

Read More: GRAMMY Technical Awards | The Complete List

^Denotes posthumous honoree.

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

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New Music Friday: Listen To New Music From Norah Jones & Dave Grohl, Mr. Eazi, RIIXE and more

As we hurtle into spooky season, listen to these spooky tracks from Mr. Eazi, RIIZE, Norah Jones & Dave Grohol and more.

GRAMMYs/Oct 27, 2023 - 02:35 pm

As Halloween approaches, this New Music Friday offers a potion of nostalgia, emotions,  and fresh sounds.

From RIIZE — K-pop's rising stars, who are mesmerizing listeners with their pop hit “Talk Saxy” — to Norah Jones & Dave Grohl uniting for an unexpected collaboration with “Razor,” many different genres are being represented today.

Keeping old times alive, Taylor Swift released her highly-anticipated Taylor’s Version of 1989, and Duck Sauce is bringing back their 2011 “Barbra Streisand” sound with their new dance single, “LALALA.”

Listen to these seven new tracks that will gear you up for spooky season 2023.

RIIZE - “Talk Saxy”

Kpop’s rising stars, RIIZE, are making a vibrant musical return with their new single, “Talk Saxy,” a hypnotic dance track that adds a level of depth to their sound even including a catchy saxophone riff. The lyrics focus on attraction to a stranger, and wanting to get their attention. 

“Talk to me exactly what you feel / Hide nothing, show me all and everything / It’s okay, let your heart do what it wants / Get it straight to the point / Talk Saxy,” RIIZE croons on the chorus. 

This track follows their debut single “Get a Guitar,” which launched their announcement to signing with RCA Records. RIIZE is the first boy band group to hail from SM Entertainment since Kpop group NCT. RIIZE members, Shotaro and Sungchan, are notably from NCT, and departed from the K-pop group this year.

Norah Jones & Dave Grohl, "Razor"

Dave Grohl, the frontman of Foo Fighters, graced jazz-pop singer Norah Jones’ podcast with special musical performances, including a cover of “Razor,” a rare gem from the Foo Fighters 2005 In Your Honor album.

The track features a calm beat with a tranquil melody and guitar strings and piano, blending their strengths seamlessly. This track follows their collaboration on the In Your Honor track “'Virginia Moon.”

During this podcast, Jones announced the release of a Black Friday Exclusive LP Record dropping on Nov. 24. Featuring a collection of podcast episodes with fellow musicians, this looks to be a real treat for fans of Jones and/or her estimable guests.

Jacob Collier feat. Michael McDonald and Lawrence - "Wherever I Go"

Jazz musician Jacob Collier has dropped the song “Wherever I Go,” a look into his forthcoming album, Djesse Vol. 4. A track inspired by idols from his childhood including the Doobie Brothers, Stevie Wonder and more, he’s made a standout collaboration with Michael McDonald and Lawrence to craft a memorable record. 

The two-minute track, which includes a strong bassline and soulful vocals, paints an illustration of loneliness from their lover. 

**The four-part journey of Djesse has gained him five GRAMMY awards and 11 nominations. With Djesse Vol. 4, collaborations such as “Little Blue” with Brandi Carlile to Ty Dolla $ign and Kirk Franklin are showcasing Collier’s versatility and knack for genre syntheses.. He also announced a 2024 North American tour with musicians Kemba and Emily King, celebrating the release of this album.** 

Mr Eazi's - The Evil Genius

Afrobeat sensation Mr. Eazi has unveiled his debut album The Evil Genius. The 16-track record shows Eazi’s ability to blend his rhythms from his hometown Nigeria, with hypnotic grooves from Ghana where he spent most of his years.

The Evil Genius takes listeners through his roots, family, love and loneliness in three acts. His skill in blending different styles of music like Gospel and Ghanian styles, makes him the global phenomenon he is. Eazi chose 13 African artists from eight countries to collaborate on this album, bringing together different parts of Africa.

Enhancing the music album, he has introduced a global art exhibition in Ghana, which features work from young artists across Africa.

Tiësto with Tears for Fears, NIIKO X SWAE, GUDFELLA - "Rule The World (Everybody)"