Clive Davis & Recording Academy To Present Annual Pre-GRAMMY Gala 2/11

Clive Davis & Recording Academy To Present Annual Pre-GRAMMY Gala 2/11

For the fourth consecutive year, Clive Davis and The Recording Academy® will present the annual Pre-GRAMMY®Gala on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012, at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., the evening before the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards®( Sponsored by Harman, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hyundai, and MasterCard Worldwide, this exclusive, star-studded celebration will feature special musical performances and will be attended by the world's most renowned artists and top industry VIPs in music, film, television and new media. For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook:,

As part of the evening's celebration, the 2012 GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons® will honor Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson. The Recording Academy will present Branson with the President's Merit Award in recognition of his significant contributions to the music industry and the impact his efforts have had on music and the business of music. Past recipients of the GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons President's Merit Award include Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, Clive Davis, Ahmet Ertegun, David Geffen, Berry Gordy, Doug Morris, and Mo Ostin.

"The Pre-GRAMMY Gala is a special night, with the legendary Clive Davis hosting an exclusive evening of music, memorable performances and stories — the perfect precursor to Music's Biggest Night®," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "This year we are thrilled to honor extraordinary entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, whose contributions to the music industry began with a record store in London and grew into a global empire. His iconic Virgin brand is synonymous with excellence and continues to draw consumers on numerous platforms from around the world."

Sir Richard Branson is the founder of Virgin Group. Born in England, Branson entered the music industry when he opened a record shop in London called Virgin Records and Tapes, and thus the Virgin brand was born. Soon after, he founded Virgin Records with Nik Powell. The label garnered unprecedented acclaim with its first release: multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield's progressive rock album Tubular Bells. Other artists signed to the label over the next 20 years would include Culture Club, Devo, Genesis, Janet Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, Roy Orbison, the Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, the Smashing Pumpkins, and many more. In 1992, Branson sold Virgin Records to EMI Music, but later re-entered the music industry with V2 Records in 1996, which he later sold to Universal Music Group in 2007.

With locations spanning the United States and Europe, the Virgin Megastores chain of record stores drove the music retailing business for many years across the globe. Other entrepreneurial ventures under the Virgin Group umbrella include Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia and Virgin America airlines, and telecommunications company Virgin Mobile. Branson was on the forefront of live music festivals, founding England's V Festival, and Virgin Mobile Freefest, a free U.S. music festival that raises money for RE*Generation, a Virgin Mobile initiative combating youth homelessness.