BILL GRAHAM, SEYMOUR STEIN, AND JOHN WILLIAMS TO BE HONORED WITH TRUSTEES AWARD; TONY AGNELLO and RICHARD FACTOR TO RECEIVE TECHNICAL GRAMMY® AWARD
Santa Monica, CAlif. (JAN. 9, 2018) — The Recording Academy™ announced its Special Merit Awards recipients today, and this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honorees are Hal Blaine, Neil Diamond, Emmylou Harris, Louis Jordan, the Meters, Queen, and Tina Turner. Bill Graham, Seymour Stein, and John Williams are Trustees Award honorees; and Tony Agnello and Richard Factor are the Technical GRAMMY® Award recipients. A special award presentation ceremony and concert celebrating the honorees will be held in summer 2018. Additional details regarding the ceremony will be announced in the coming weeks.
“This year’s Special Merit Awards recipients are a prestigious group of diverse and influential creators who have crafted or contributed to some of the most distinctive recordings in music history,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “These exceptionally inspiring figures are being honored as legendary performers, creative architects, and technical visionaries. Their outstanding accomplishments and passion for their craft have created a timeless legacy.”
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 Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing® Advisory Council and Chapter Committees, and are ratified by the Academy’s Trustees. The award is presented to individuals and companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording industry.
About the Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees:
Starting his career in the 1950s, Hal Blaine is best known as the lead drummer and founder of the legendary Wrecking Crew. He has recorded with iconic artists such as Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, and many more. He lent his artistry to Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” productions, creating one of rock and roll’s most recognizable beats. However, Blaine’s talent does not stop at the conventional drum kit. Some of his best-known songs include him drumming on Sparkletts water jugs for the Beach Boys’ “Caroline, No” and dragging tire chains across a concrete floor for Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” During his impressive career, Blaine has worked on nearly 6,000 tracks; of those, 350 have been Top 10 hits, and 40 have been No. 1s (including fellow honoree Neil Diamond’s “Song Sung Blue”), and worked on six consecutive Record Of The Year GRAMMY-winning tracks between 1965 and 1970.
Throughout an illustrious and wide-ranging musical career, Neil Diamond has sold more than 130 million albums worldwide and has dominated the charts for more than five decades with 37 Top 40 singles and 16 Top 10 albums. Before becoming one of the most noted and successful recording artists in the world, Diamond’s early recognition came as a songwriter. His recorded songs have become a part of the fabric of America’s songbook with a wide range of international hits that include “Solitary Man,” “Cherry, Cherry,” “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon,” “Holly Holy,” ‘Thank The Lord For The Night Time,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Kentucky Woman,” “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show,” “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “I Am…I Said,” “Song Sung Blue,” “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” (with Barbra Streisand), “September Morn,” and “Heartlight,” among many others. Diamond has won a GRAMMY Award, a Golden Globe Award, the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Kennedy Center Honor, and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame. In 2009, he was honored as MusiCares® Person Of The Year.
Emmylou Harris’ career has been evolving since the 1970s, encompassing pop, folk, country, and now, alternative. She has recorded with myriad artists such as Gram Parsons, Beck, Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Roy Orbison, to name a few, as well as with Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton as part of supergroup Trio. Harris’ distinctive voice has allowed her to cross musical boundaries and made her one of the most influential and admired women in contemporary country music. Few in pop or country music have achieved such honesty or revealed such maturity in their writing. Forty years into her career, Harris, a 13-time GRAMMY winner, keeps proving that she never stops looking ahead.
Louis Jordan* enjoyed his greatest popularity from the late 1930s to the early 1950s as the King of the Jukebox. The American musician, songwriter, and bandleader helped pioneer the sound of rock and was dubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the Father of Rhythm & Blues and the Grandfather of Rock and Roll. Jordan’s talent, combined with his comedic flair, helped him shatter race barriers, achieving popularity with both black and white audiences. Throughout his lifetime, he was able to duet with some of the biggest artists of his day, including Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong.
The Meters—Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste, Art Neville, Cyril Neville, Leo Nocentelli, and George Porter Jr.—are considered by many to be the founding fathers of funk and, for more than 50 years, they have grooved their way around the globe. They have toured and performed with such artists as the Rolling Stones, Dr. John, Robert Palmer, Labelle, Earl King, Allen Toussaint, and Lee Dorsey. Their trademark sound of syncopated layered percussion intertwined with gritty grooves on guitar, bass, and organ, blends funk, blues, and dance grooves with a New Orleans vibe that is regarded as one of the most influential in music history. The Meters’ unique place as a touchstone for countless artists across many genres and as one of the most sampled groups in all of hip-hop and pop music, have kept them relevant to contemporary audiences in a way that few groups can claim.
In a career spanning more than 40 years, Queen has amassed a staggering list of sales, awards, and hall of fame inductions that is second to none. Their impressive string of No. 1 albums and top-charting singles continue to put Queen in the Top 10 of all-time iTunes sales. The band has received multiple Ivor Novello Awards, an MTV Global Icon Award, and two recordings enshrined in the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame®—”Bohemeian Rhapsody” and “We Will Rock You”/“We Are The Champions,” which also remain popular songs at sports events and arenas around the world. Recently, Queen became the first artist ever to sell more than 6 million copies of an album in the U.K. with their Greatest Hits album. Even with the tragic loss of their uniquely talented frontman Freddie Mercury*, Queen remain one of the most revered bands in rock and pop history, able to claim one of the most enduring song catalogs of all time. With their sterling song craft, virtuoso musicality, and colossal spectacle of their live performances, Queen—John Deacon, Brian May, Mercury, and Roger Taylor—captured hearts and conquered charts like no other band in history, a legacy that continues to live through the ongoing work and concert performances fronted by May and Taylor, presently joined for concert performances by the extraordinary American vocalist Adam Lambert.
Tina Turner has been the Queen of Rock and Roll since she started her musical career in the 1950s. She is well-known for her extravagant live performances and impressive raw voice. Globally, her concert ticket sales have broken records for every tour. Turner’s albums have all consistently charted on the Billboard 200 and have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. Her grandeur has been admired by many other prominent figures, including Beyoncé, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, and David Bowie. Her determination and sheer talent has crystallized her as a household name around the globe.
About the Trustees Award Honorees:
At the Fillmore Auditorium, Fillmore West, Winterland, and Fillmore East, Bill Graham* created the modern rock concert. He discovered and managed artists such as Santana, and organized national tours for Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, and George Harrison. Having arrived in America as a 10-year-old Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany with not much more than the clothes on his back, Graham raised millions of dollars for charitable causes by staging Live Aid as well as many other benefit tours.
Seymour Stein’s cutting-edge consciousness for the next wave in music can be traced all the way back to the late 1960s, when he began his career at Billboard magazine at the age of 15. Having founded Sire Records with producer Richard Gottehrer in 1966, Stein’s eccentric taste in music combined with his knack for predicting what the next big thing in music will be, has continuously proven to be prosperous. His talent has earned him the title of Vice President of Warner Bros. Records along with being co-founder of Sire Records, a sub-division of Warner Music Group, and inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Some of Stein’s most notable discoveries include Ramones, the Pretenders, Talking Heads, k.d. Lang, Barenaked Ladies, Echo & the Bunnymen, the Cult, the Cure, Tom Tom Club, Spacehog, Primal Scream, Seal, Madness, Madonna, Depeche Mode, the Smiths, Ice-T, and the Undertones.
John Williams is one of the most prolific and celebrated film composers of all time. He has won 23 GRAMMY Awards spanning the last 50 years, with various honors for composing/scoring, performance, and arranging. In addition to his GRAMMY Awards, Williams has won five Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, seven British Academy Film Awards, and four Emmys. His 1977 soundtrack to Star Wars was an Album Of The Year nominee and was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2007. Some of Williams’ most notable scores include Jaws, the Star Wars series, Superman: The Movie, the Indiana Jones series, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Home Alone, Hook, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, the first three Harry Potter films, Catch Me If You Can, Memoirs of a Geisha, War Horse, and Lincoln.
ABOUT THE TECHNICAL GRAMMY AWARD HONOREE:
Tony Agnello and Richard Factor, through their company Eventide, have influenced the way we make records for nearly 50 years, inventing and producing a wide variety of original audio effects devices, creating the first rack-mounted special effect processors for studio use, and making sophisticated studio processors available to musicians. Founded in 1971 in the basement of Sound Exchange studio on West 54th St. in New York City, Eventide invented the first tape machine autolocator for the Ampex MM1000 multitrack recorder, allowing the operator to precisely and automatically rewind the tape to a specific location at the press of a button—a feature soon standard equipment on every professional machine. Since then, they’ve created myriad products that have forever changed the recording industry, including the landmark H910 Harmonizer® effects processor, whose underlying technology forms the basis of all pitch-shifting and pitch-correction devices today. It allowed the use of delay and pitch effects separately and in combination, impacting the sound of records such as David Bowie’s Low, Kraftwerk’s Computer World, AC/DC’s Back In Black, and Parliament-Funkadelic’s “Aqua Boogie.”
*Denotes posthumous award honoree.
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