The Recording Academy has announced the honorees of its 2020 Special Merit Awards, and the list is legendary. Chicago, Roberta Flack, Isaac Hayes, Iggy Pop, John Prine, Public Enemy, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe are this year's Lifetime Achievement Award recipients. They will be honored at a special ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 9.
Tharpe was a pioneering singer and guitarist who made her name during the early days of the civil rights movement. She developed her own brand of gospel-inspired rock 'n' roll that attracted fans across racial lines. Her death in 1973 at the age of 36 caused an international sensation.
Flack was a beloved singer who scored several hits in the 1970s with songs like "Feel Like Singing," "Look On Your Life," and "Have A Good Day." She also wrote some of her songs herself, including the Grammy-winning "You've Changed" by David Bowie. Flack had two number one albums in the U.S. and she won three Grammy Awards. In 2016, she was given a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
Hayes was a bassist and vocalist who helped define the sound of funk with bands like Blood Sweat & Tears and Poco. He was also a prominent activist in support of civil rights and human rights causes. He died in April 2018 at the age of 71 after being diagnosed with cancer two years earlier.
The National Academy of Music Arts and Sciences of the United States bestows the Grammy Award for Album of the Year to "celebrate artistic achievement, technical skill, and overall excellence in the recording business, without regard to album sales, chart position, or critical reaction." It is one of the highest honors that can be given to an artist. The award was first given out in 1975, and has been awarded every year since then with the exception of 1976 when no awards were given because only 14 albums were nominated.
The winning record is selected by members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NAIRS). They vote on their favorites from among the nominations submitted by musicians, engineers, producers, etc. An award-winning record must meet several criteria: it must have been released as a full-length album; it must be an original work; and it must be available for purchase through a mainstream retail outlet. NAIRS also votes on more subjective categories like Best New Artist and Best Engineered Album, which are not bound by any rules other than what the judges decide is worthy of recognition.
It should be noted that sales figures play a role in some of the category winners. For example, the most successful album of 2012 was Lady Gaga's Born This Way, which sold over 1 million copies worldwide. However, it wasn't eligible for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year because it was not released in the United States.
There are actors, sportsmen, late-night comedians, previous presidents, and even cartoon characters who have won Grammys for audiobooks and comedy albums. So, without further ado, here are the most unexpected Grammy winners in history.
George Harrison - Best Solo Vocal Performance, The Concert For Bangladesh (1973)
Although he was only 49 years old when he died in 2001, George Harrison's career was still going strong when he performed at Bangladesh's famous cricket ground. In fact, he went on to win a Grammy for this performance too! After graduating from Liverpool College of Music with honors, Harrison started his professional career as the guitarist for the legendary rock band The Beatles. He then released several successful solo albums before passing away.
Elvis Presley - Best Spoken Word Album for Children (1992)
This award goes to Elvis Presley who released an album of children's stories called "I Love You Because" in 1992. It contains ten songs based on the characters in the books that young listeners can relate to. Each story is told by one of Presley's famous voice actors and each song is sung by Elvis himself.
Barbra Streisand - Best Comedy Album (1990)
Each year, the Grammy Awards are the most prestigious music awards presentation. The Recording Academy presents the Grammy Awards, which honor performers of all ages and genres. As with other major music awards, winners are selected by an independent committee based on votes received from their peers.
Grammy Awards have been presented since 1958 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NAIRS). They are commonly referred to as the Grammys after the first annual award show that was held in Los Angeles, California. The presentation of these awards has been shown on television since 1959 and is known as the longest-running musical television series in U.S. history. In 2017, the ceremony will be held on February 15th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
In addition to the main Grammy Awards, the academy also presents several other awards. These include the Grammy Legend Award, which can be awarded for an artist's lasting influence on the music industry; the GRAMMY Foundation Award, which honors individuals or organizations that have contributed innovative ways to improve education through music; and the GRAMMY Honors, which are presented to artists at various stages of their career for achievements over the past three years.
The first Grammy Awards were given out in 1958.
Dolly Parton was named MusiCares Person of the Year on February 8, 2019, two days before the Grammy Awards. With eight nominations, Kendrick Lamar earned the most. With four victories each, Childish Gambino and Kacey Musgraves matched for the most of the night. It was the first time that someone other than a performer won all four awards presented.
The Grammy Awards are awarded by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence in music recording. The annual ceremony features performances by prominent artists and bands, with awards being given out for different categories of achievement. The most prestigious award is called the Grammys Legend because it is given to individuals who have been influenced by the greats who came before them. Winners are selected by their peers using voting polls conducted by NARAS.
The 69th Annual Grammy Awards were held on January 26, 2019, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Dolly Parton hosted the event for the first time. Katy Perry became the first female artist to win the Best Pop Vocal Album category six times. Prince became the first male artist to win the Best Rock Album category five times. John Lennon is now the only musician to have winning albums in every genre except jazz where Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong are the only performers to have done so.