Honorees will be awarded in May 2019
The Recording Academy has announced its Special Merit Awards recipients. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honorees are Black Sabbath, George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic, Billy Eckstine, Donny Hathaway, Julio Iglesias, Sam & Dave, and Dionne Warwick. Lou Adler, Ashford & Simpson, and Johnny Mandel are Trustees Award honorees; and Saul Walker is the Technical GRAMMY Award recipient. A special award presentation ceremony and concert celebrating the honorees will be held on May 11th in Los Angeles. Additional details regarding the ceremony will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Each year, the Recording Academy has the distinct privilege of celebrating music industry giants who have greatly contributed to our cultural heritage,” states Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “This year, we have a gifted and brilliant group of honorees and their exceptional accomplishments, contributions, and artistry will continue to influence and inspire generations to come.”
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 & 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.
From their power riffs to their dark, gothic imagery, Black Sabbath arguably invented the heavy metal signposts and influenced every heavy rock band that followed.
Among the most sampled acts of the funk/R&B era, George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic’s spacey and masterfully played funk has laid the foundation for countless hip-hop hits.
Singer Billy Eckstine helped break ground for African-American artists in the ’40s and ’50s as a distinctive jazz singer and bandleader who crossed over to an equally dazzling career in pop. He will be awarded posthumously.
Donny Hathaway was a versatile soul stylist who built his legend singing both urban protest songs as well as smooth, signature duets with the likes of Roberta Flack, despite his far-too-short career. He will also be awarded posthumously.
Perhaps the most successful Latin crossover artist of his time, Julio Iglesias became an enduring star on the world stage and Latin music’s most popular ambassador of his era.
Soul duo Sam & Dave (Sam Moore and Dave Prater) were one of the primary chart stars at the Stax and Atlantic labels in the ’60s, bringing the passion of gospel to their wailing soul sides. Prater will be honored posthumously.
Singing the songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David in the ’60s, and then scoring hits that bridged pop and R&B in the ’70s and ’80s, Dionne Warwick has carved out a unique and stellar career among pop/soul singers.
From the Monterey Pop Festival to L.A.’s iconic Roxy Theatre to the careers of the Mamas And The Papas, Carole King, and Cheech & Chong, among others, Lou Adler is one of music’s most noted impresarios.
Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson were among the elite songwriting teams at Motown Records, penning modern classics such as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “You’re All I Need To Get By.” Ashford will receive the accolade posthumously.
A versatile composer, arranger, and jazz musician, Johnny Mandel’s credits include playing in the bands of Jimmy Dorsey and Count Basie and composing immortal movie and television music such as the M*A*S*H theme “Suicide Is Painless.”
Saul Walker was a career-long audio innovator, teacher, and mentor. From his early work in rocket telemetry to founding API in 1969, his designs continue to influence the music recording industry. Walker’s award will be given posthumously.