Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lightnin' Hopkins, Temptations, Carole King, Ravi Shankar to Receive Grammy Special Merit Awards

The Recording Academy has announced the recipients of their 2013 Special Merit Awards.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Glenn Gould, Charlie Haden, Lightnin' Hopkins, Carole King, Patti Page, the Temptations and Ravi Shankar, who passed away yesterday at the age of 92. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors performers who have made contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording.

The Trustees Award will go to composers Marilyn and Alan Bergman, record executives Leonard and Phil Chess and Alan Livingston, the man who signed the Beatles to Capitol Records. The award recognizes contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording in areas other than performance.

The Technical Grammy Award will go to Ikutaro Kakehashi, founder of Roland Corporation and Dave Smith, president of Sequential Circuits, for their work in developing MIDI and Royer Labs who developed the new generation of ribbon microphones.

"Each year, The Academy has the distinct privilege of honoring those who have greatly contributed to our industry and cultural heritage, and this year we have a gifted and brilliant group of honorees," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "Their exceptional accomplishments, contributions and artistry will continue to influence and inspire generations to come."

A special invitation-only ceremony will be held during GRAMMY Week on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, and a formal acknowledgment will be made during the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards® telecast, which will be held at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, and broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CBS Television Network.

Biographies of all of the recipients from the Academy press release are after the cut.

A prodigy and four-time GRAMMY winner, Glenn Gould* became one of the best known and most celebrated classical pianists of his time with a style of playing that was deeply expressive and rhythmically precise. In 1956 he earned international recognition with his first Columbia release, Bach's Goldberg Variations, but his repertoire went on to include such works by Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Schoenberg, and Strauss. Gould, who was also a composer, conductor, broadcaster and writer, often offered original, deeply personal and shocking musical interpretations filled with extreme tempos, odd dynamics and finicky phrasing that made him a unique talent.

A three-time GRAMMY winner Charlie Haden is an all-American jazz musician best known for his signature lyrical bass lines and his ability to liberate the bassist from an accompanying role. In addition to his groundbreaking work as an original member of the Ornette Coleman Quartet, he has collaborated with such jazz artists as Chet Baker, Ed Blackwell, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Billy Higgins, Art Pepper, and Archie Shepp. Throughout his five decade career, Haden has revolutionized the harmonic concept of bass playing and has covered such genres as free jazz, Portuguese fado and vintage country.

Lightnin' Hopkins* was a Texas country/blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist whose career spanned more than six decades. He recorded approximately 1,000 songs, including such hits as "T-Model Blues," "Tim Moore's Farm" and "Mojo Hand." Hopkins gained recognition with his intense mournful style and his distinctive fingerstyle playing, earning him a spot on Rolling Stone's list of 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

Carole King is one of the most significant and talented singer/songwriters in the modern era. King, along with songwriting partner Gerry Goffin, was honored with a Recording Academy Trustees Award in 2004 for having written such prolific hits as "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," "The Loco-Motion," "Chains," and "I'm Into Something Good." In 1971 King released Tapestry, which included the songs "I Feel The Earth Move," "It's Too Late," and "You've Got A Friend." The album garnered four GRAMMY Awards including Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year, and was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame® in 1998. In 2010, King joined friend and fellow singer/songwriter James Taylor during the successful "Troubadour Reunion" tour. In 2012, she released her New York Times best-selling autobiography A Natural Woman.

Throughout her seven-decade career, Patti Page has recorded a number of hits, including "(How Much Is That) Doggie In The Window" and "I Went To Your Wedding." Her unique and smooth vocal style seamlessly blended country and pop music. Page's version of "Tennessee Waltz" was a best-selling single, and landed her concurrently on the top of the pop, country, and R&B charts. Her Live At Carnegie Hall — The 50th Anniversary Concert album garnered her a GRAMMY in 1998 for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance. In 2009, Page published This Is My Song: A Memoir.

As one of the world's most renowned sitar players, three-time GRAMMY winner Ravi Shankar* is a true ambassador for international music. As a performer, composer, teacher and writer, he is considered a pioneer in bringing Indian music to the West. With a performance career spanning more than 80 years, he has influenced a variety of musicians, including the Beatles, John Coltrane, Philip Glass and his daughters, Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar. A humanitarian and philanthropist, in 1971 Shankar, along with George Harrison, organized the Concert for Bangladesh, which paved the way for many other fundraising charity concerts.

Recognized for their slick choreography, distinct harmonies and flashy attire, the Temptations are one of the most influential R&B acts in music. A Motown staple, the Temptations pioneered their sound by focusing on songs that reflected social change, politics, love and a strong connection to their audience. In 1968, the group earned a GRAMMY Award for their performance of the hit "Cloud Nine." Additionally; their hits "My Girl" and "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone" have been inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame, with the latter recording garnering two GRAMMYs in 1972.

Songwriters Marilyn &Alan Bergman are two of the world's most distinguished lyricists. Among their songs are such pop culture signatures as "Nice 'N' Easy," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," "The Windmills Of Your Mind," GRAMMY Song Of The Year winner "The Way We Were," and the themes for TV shows such as "Maude" and "Good Times," among others. They have collaborated with many renowned composers, Michel Legrand, Marvin Hamlisch, Cy Coleman, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mandel, John Williams, and Quincy Jones. The pair has won three Academy Awards® and two GRAMMY Awards and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1980, among other honors. The Bergmans have also been active within the music industry and supported charitable organizations. Marilyn served as president and chair of ASCAP for 15 years and in 2002, she was appointed the first chair of the Library of Congress' National Sound Recording Preservation Board. Alan serves as a board member for the Johnny Mercer Foundation and the Artists' Rights Foundation.

Through their Chess Records label, Chess Records founders Leonard* & Phil Chess played a pivotal role in bringing wider attention to Chicago blues and legendary artists such as Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. But equally important, they were instrumental in the birth of rock and roll. Signing and recording rock legend Chuck Berry alone ranks the Chess brothers with Sun Records founder Sam Phillips as the industry's most visionary rock and roll leaders, but they also recorded what many critics argue was the first rock and roll record: "Rocket '88'" by Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats. Ultimately, Chess and its affiliates would sign other influential giants, including Bo Diddley, Willie Dixon, Little Walter, and Etta James, among others. Nine Chess recordings have been inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame to date.

There's only one industry leader who can be credited with bringing Bozo the Clown, Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and the Beach Boys under one roof: former Capitol Records executive Alan Livingston*. Charged with forming a children's division for Capitol in the '40s, Livingston created the Bozo character, which remained popular into the '60s. After rising to an executive position at the label in the '50s, he helped revive Sinatra's career, and in the '60s he was instrumental in bringing the Beatles to the United States, as well as leading Capitol into the rock era with such signings as the Band and Steve Miller. Later, after joining 20th Century Fox Records, he co-produced The Story Of Star Wars with George Lucas.

In 1983, Ikutaro Kakehashi, founder of Roland Corporation, and Dave Smith, president of Sequential Circuits, unveiled MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface). Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of MIDI, a standard that motivated the cooperation of an entire industry and helped move music technology into a new era. In a nearly unprecedented collaboration between competing manufacturers, what would soon prove an inescapable new technology was born when two competing manufacturers' electronic keyboards were connected, enabling them to "talk" to one another using a new communication standard. The announcement ultimately revolutionized the music world. Today, MIDI is ubiquitous in the musical equipment industry, and is the de facto standard feature on virtually every electronic music product made by every manufacturer.

Royer Labs' line of ribbon microphones has made a profound difference in the way engineers record music. The company's ribbon technology is extremely natural sounding and brings a more realistic, analog sound and feel to digital recordings and live sound reproduction. In the '90s, Royer Labs single-handedly brought ribbon microphones into mainstream recording. Older ribbon microphone designs had fallen out of use in the '60s due to low output and because they were heavy and fragile. Royer designed a radically different line of ribbon microphones — small, lightweight, durable, and achieving incredible sound — which were revolutionary and moved the art of recording forward. Royer's innovations continue to win the praise of artists, producers and engineers today.

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