The Recording Academy Announces 2014 Special Merit Awards
The Recording Academy® announced its Special Merit Awards recipients today, and this year's honorees are: the Beatles, Armando Manzanero, Clifton Chenier, the Isley Brothers, Kraftwerk, Kris Kristofferson, and Maud Powell as Lifetime Achievement Award recipients; Rick Hall, Jim Marshall and Ennio Morricone as Trustees Award honorees; and Emile Berliner and Lexicon as Technical GRAMMY® Award recipients. A special invitation-only ceremony will be held during GRAMMY Week on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, and a formal acknowledgment will be made during the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards® telecast, which will be held at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 and broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CBS Television Network. For GRAMMY® coverage, updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.
"It is a great privilege to recognize such an exceptional group of honorees and celebrate their accomplishments and contributions to the recording industry," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "This astoundingly unique and gifted group have created some of the most distinguished and influential work in our musical history. Their legacies are timeless and legendary, and their creativity will continue to influence and inspire future generations."
The Lifetime Achievement Award honors performers who have made contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording while the Trustees Award recognizes such contributions in areas other than performance. Both awards are determined by vote of The Recording Academy's National Board of Trustees. Technical GRAMMY Award recipients are determined by vote of The Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing® Advisory Council and Chapter Committees, as well as The Academy's Trustees. The award is presented to individuals and companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording field.
About the Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees:
Regarded as one of the most influential groups in music history, George Harrison*, John Lennon*, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr formed the Beatles in Liverpool in 1960. Rooted in 1950s rock and roll, the seven-time GRAMMY-winning band later broadened their musical palette, ranging from pop ballads to
psychedelic rock, often incorporating classical elements in innovative ways. As a group, they have 15 recordings inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame®, including Abbey Road, A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles (White Album), Meet The Beatles!, Revolver, Rubber Soul, and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. As composers, songwriters, musicians, singers, and performers the Beatles revolutionized the music industry and continue to influence future generations.
Mexican-born singer, songwriter and pianist Armando Manzanero has been contributing to the world of Latin music for five decades. Known for his smooth romantic ballads, he has recorded more than 30 albums, composed
more than 400 songs, and has performed all over the world. His 2001 album, Duetos, won a Latin GRAMMY® for Best Pop Album By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, and his music has been performed by artists such as Christina Aguilera, Andrea Bocelli, Alejandro Fernández, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra. In 2010, Manzanero received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Latin Recording Academy®, and the following year he became President of the Sociedad de Autores y Compositores in Mexico, where he had served as vice president since 1982. His efforts in defense copyright laws have garnered the organization international acclaim.
Hailed as the "King of Zydeco," and a Blues Hall of Fame inductee, Clifton Chenier* is recognized as one of the most influential Creole musicians of his time. Best known for his signature blues melodies that he played on accordion, he took a mix of genres and invented a new sound called zydeco in the mid-'50s. Throughout his lifetime, Chenier stayed prolific with groups such as the Zydeco Ramblers and the Red Hot Louisiana Band. His 1983 album, I'm Here, earned a GRAMMY Award for Best Ethnic Or Traditional Folk Recording.
The Isley Brothers have enjoyed one of the longest, most diverse, and most influential legacies in pop music. The group's esteemed history spans two generations of siblings and significant cultural shifts in music. Born and raised in Cincinnati, the brothers got their professional start in New York with their first hit single "Shout - Part 1," which has gone on to become a frequently covered classic. Throughout their career, they never stopped reinventing themselves, scoring hits in R&B, Motown soul, funk, disco, and rock. Their 1969 single, "It's Your Thing," earned a GRAMMY for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group, and in 1992 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Brothers Ronald and Ernie Isley have continued to perform together.
Commonly noted as the pioneers of electronic music, Kraftwerk became the only band of their kind when they released their unique self-titled album in 1971. Clearly ahead of their time, the group experimented with everyday industrial sounds and arranged them into minimalistic robotic pop melodies. Not only were their machine-precision tunes revolutionary, they also pushed the limits of music technology by customizing their own instruments and sounds. The German group is considered to be one of the most prominent bands in pop history having influenced acts such as Björk, Blondie, David Bowie, Daft Punk, Depeche Mode, and Gary Numan.
Kris Kristofferson is a three-time GRAMMY winner and one of the most accomplished country stars of the late 20th century. This legendary artist rose to fame when numerous country singers began to cover his music. The Texas-born singer, songwriter, musician, and actor dominated the country music scene during the early '70s with hits such as "Help Me Make It Through The Night," "Me And Bobby McGee," and "Lover Please." While balancing his music and acting career, Kristofferson went on to form the country supergroup The Highwaymen, which included Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Kristofferson also has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Classical musician Maud Powell* was internationally recognized as one of the greatest violinist in the world. Starting from a young age, she received the best musical education in the United States and Europe, where she was instructed by talented classical teachers. One of the few popular female musicians of her time, she made her debut in 1885 with the Berlin Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic Society. By the 20th century, it was evident that she had become the best violin player of her generation. The classical violinist's legacy continues through the Maud Powell String Quartet and the Maud Powell Society for Music and Education.
About the Trustees Award Honorees:
Producer, songwriter and music publisher Rick Hall rocked the music industry when he opened the renowned Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., in 1961. A unique story, Hall grew up in a working class family and quit his day-labor jobs to dedicate his time to music. Hall gathered an array of talented songwriters, musicians and producers, and with his own meticulous approach to producing and arranging, created a unique blend of music known as the "Muscle Shoals Sound." Hall has produced hit records across an array of genres including blues, country, pop, and soul, and many legendary artists have recorded at Fame Studios throughout its illustrious history, including Aretha Franklin, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Little Richard, and Otis Redding. The studio continues operation today, and was recently the subject of the critically acclaimed documentary Muscle Shoals.
Jim Marshall* has captured some of rock and roll's most unforgettable moments through his photography, including Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival and Johnny Cash performing at Folsom State Prison and San Quentin State Prison. Marshall was the only photographer who was given backstage access to the Beatles' final concert in 1966, and was chief photographer at Woodstock. He was also known in the music industry for his exceptional portraits of famous musicians. Aside from winning many photography awards, Marshall had a way of building great personal relationships with the musicians he photographed. He continued working until his death in 2010.
GRAMMY-winning Italian composer, orchestrator, and conductor Ennio Morricone is a unique figure in the history of film music. His career includes a wide range of genres, making him one of the world's most versatile, prolific and influential film composers of all time. He has written music for more than 450 films and gained worldwide recognition for his work on Sergio Leone's Westerns: A Fistful Of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, Once Upon A Time In The West, and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - with the soundtrack for the latter film inducted in to the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2009. In 1987 he won a GRAMMY Award for his work on Brian De Palma's film, The Untouchables, and was awarded an honorary Academy Award® in 2007 for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.
About the Technical GRAMMY Award Recipients:
Emile Berliner*, a pioneer in audio technology, was best known as the inventor of the gramophone. The German-born inventor came to the United States in 1870 and eventually found a passion for sound and electricity. His first major contribution came with the invention of an improved telephone transmitter that later became the basis of the first-ever microphone. Although a method for recording music on a disc had already been invented, he focused his efforts on reinventing the way music was played and recorded. In 1887 Berliner introduced the gramophone to the world and marketed his invention himself. Some of the first gramophone discs ever recorded featured artists such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Cal Stewart and Len Spencer. Berliner's gramophone - later renamed the phonograph - set the course for shellac and vinyl records that followed.
Established in 1971, Lexicon is a manufacturer of high-performance electronics. More than 40 years ago, Lexicon released its first product, the Delta T-101 delay line, the first commercially available professional digital audio product and the introduction of digital audio itself. In 1973 Lexicon targeted the professional audio market, and scored a breakthrough with the development of the Lexicon 224, one of the first commercially viable digital reverb systems. The 224 remained an industry standard until the introduction of its successor, the legendary 480L and LARC controller in 1986. Along the way, digital delay processors such as the Prime Time II and PCM 42, as well as the Tiled Room preset program from the PCM 70 were all heavily used. In 2008 the new processor platform, the PCM96, received praise from top engineers, producers and post-production mixers. Lexicon continues to be a leading innovator and in-demand manufacturer of digital audio products.
Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards - the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music - The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit www.grammy.com. For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @TheGRAMMYs on Twitter, like "The GRAMMYs" on Facebook, and join The GRAMMYs' social communities on Foursquare, GetGlue, Google +, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube.