Jazz diva Nina Simone, R&B sensation Sly Stone and New York art rock Velvet Underground are among the artists set to receive Special Merit Awards at next year’s Grammy Awards. All three will be granted a Lifetime Achievement Award alongside gospel singer Shirley Caesar, jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal, guitarist Charley Pride and country music legend Jimmie Rodgers.
In addition, soul music producer/arranger/songwriter Thom Bell, record company executive Mo Ostin - who helmed Frank Sinatra's Reprise Records before moving to Warner Bros. Records where he worked for 32 years, 25 of them as chief executive officer - and independent music publisher Ralph Peer are recipients of the Trustees Award. Audio specialist Alan Dower Blumlein will receive the Technical Grammy Award.
The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording, while the Trustees Award honours contributions in areas other than performance. The recipients are determined by vote of The Recording Academy's National Board of Trustees. Technical Grammy Award recipients are voted for by The Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing Advisory Council and Chapter Committees, and are ratified by The Academy's Trustees.
"This year's Special Merit Awards recipients comprise a prestigious group of diverse and influential creators who have crafted or contributed to some of the most distinctive recordings in music history," commented 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 respective crafts have created a timeless legacy."
The Recording Academy and Hal Leonard Books will publish A Grammy Salute To Music Legends, a hardcover book that collects two decades of artist-written tributes to The Academy’s annual Special Merit Awards honorees, including Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, Whoopi Goldberg, Ice Cube, Miranda Lambert, Queen guitarist Brian May, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, Patti Smith, and Yo-Yo Ma. A Grammy Salute To Music Legends will be available in early January.
The 59th Grammy Awards take place on February 12.