Thom Bell, Mo Ostin And Ralph S. Peer To Be Honored With Trustees Award
Alan Dower Blumlein To Receive Technical Grammy® Award
The Recording Academy® has announced its 2017 Special Merit Awards recipients. The Lifetime Achievement Award honorees are Shirley Caesar, Ahmad Jamal, Charley Pride, Jimmie Rodgers, Nina Simone, Sly Stone, and the Velvet Underground. Thom Bell, Mo Ostin and Ralph S. Peer are the Trustees Award honorees; Alan Dower Blumlein is the Technical GRAMMY®Award recipient.
“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,” 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 respective crafts 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 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 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/or companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording industry.
Additionally, 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. Among those who have written tributes in the book are 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. The tributes were originally commissioned for the annual GRAMMY Awards program book and never published widely until now. A GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends will be in stores early January.
A deeply spiritual and affecting gospel singer, Shirley Caesar‘s emotive vocal talents were discovered in a church choir when she was 10 years old. She is arguably best known for her eight-year tenure with the Chicago-based gospel group the Caravans, whom she joined after appealing to Albertina Walker to sing a solo with the group. Electing to pursue a solo career in 1966 alongside her own choir, the Caesar Singers, she subsequently carved out a profile that earned her the title of First Lady of Gospel Music. Caesar’s roll call of achievements includes 11 GRAMMY Awards®, 14 Stellar awards, 15 Dove awards, a NAACP Image Award, a Soul Train Music Award, and two current 59th GRAMMY nominations.
A prodigy who began playing piano at age 3, Ahmad Jamal started performing professionally at 14 and was signed to Okeh Records by age 21. Trained in both traditional jazz and European classical piano styles, Jamal has been labeled as a jazz innovator who helped pioneer “cool jazz,” which had a significant influence on Miles Davis, among others. With a catalogue spanning seven decades, he is known for wonderful renditions of pieces such as “Poinciana” and “Dolphin Dance,” original compositions such as “Ahmad’s Blues,” the fantastic compilation Complete Live At The Spotlight Club 1958, and his most well-known album, 1958’s At The Pershing: But Not For Me.
Three-time GRAMMY winner Charley Pride taught himself to play guitar in his early teens, but he dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player. After playing in the Negro American League, he was signed by RCA Victor and in 1967 he became the first African-American singer to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. (Later, in 1993, Pride became the Grande Ole Opry’s first African-American member.) “Just Between You And Me” launched Pride to stardom, earning him his first GRAMMY nomination for 1966. In 1969 Pride scored his first No. 1 country hit with “All I Have To Offer You (Is Me).” The recognition led to a long and auspicious career for Pride, who is considered the first African-American superstar in country music. Continue reading