Chicago Leads List of 2020 Grammy Lifetime Honorees

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The Recording Academy has announced its 2020 Special Merit Awards recipients. The Lifetime Achievement Award honorees are Chicago, Roberta Flack, Isaac Hayes, Iggy Pop, John Prine, Public Enemy and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Ken Ehrlich, Philip Glass and Frank Walker are Trustees Award honorees, and George Augspurger is the Technical Grammy Award recipient. A special award presentation ceremony and concert celebrating the honorees will be held on April 18 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Additional details regarding the ceremony will be announced shortly. 

The Academy supplied the following mini-bios of the artists receiving awards:

Chicago was among the first acts to bring big jazz band-style horns into rock music. Following their 1969 debut album, Chicago Transit Authority, which was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame, they have released five #1 albums and nearly three dozen Top 40 hits.

Related: Chicago have a busy 2020

Roberta Flack is a true testament of what music education can do if you foster talent from an early age. Classically trained since age 15, she has garnered four Grammys, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an everlasting musical legacy with songs such as “Where Is the Love” and “Killing Me Softly With His Song.”

Related: Flack’s collaboration with… Clint Eastwood

A soul music pioneer, Isaac Hayes* was an in-house songwriter/producer at the legendary Stax Records, where he wrote such hits as “Soul Man” and “B-A-B-Y.” He also had a successful solo career, releasing the Grammy-winning “Theme From Shaft” in 1971.

Godfather of Punk Iggy Pop was the lead singer of influential proto-punk band the Stooges and has released more than 15 albums as a solo artist. With rebellious and sometimes dangerous stage antics, he has influenced countless acts, including Sid Vicious and the Clash.

John Prine’s witty approach to storytelling has made him one of the most revered country and folk singer/songwriters since his emergence in the ’70s. He has garnered two Grammys and his classic eponymous debut album was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame.

Related: Prine has scheduled an extensive tour

Public Enemy was one of the architects of hip-hop, bursting on the scene in 1986, with a sonic firestorm of hard-hitting political, cultural rhymes. They’ve since released 13 acclaimed LPs including their classic album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. In 2018, their song “Fight The Power” was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame.

Related: 10 Grammy Album of the Year Hits and Misses

Sister Rosetta Tharpe*’s combination of gospel and blues, and her renowned technique on electric guitar, has influenced countless musicians, from Little Richard to Bob Dylan. The Godmother of Rock and Roll’s 1945 hit, “Strange Things Happening Every Day,” has been credited as the first gospel song to cross over to the R&B charts, becoming an early model for rock and roll.

The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording, while the Trustees Award honors such contributions in areas other than performance. The Recording Academy’s National Board of Trustees determines the honorees of both awards. Technical Grammy Award recipients are voted on by the Academy’s Producers and Engineers Wing Advisory Council and Chapter Committees, and are ratified by the Academy’s Trustees. The award is presented to individuals and companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording industry.

*Denotes posthumous honoree

Related: Listings for 100s of classic rock tours

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