‘Grammy Salute’ To Honour Nina Simone, The Velvet Underground

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Nina Simone photo by David Redfern and Redferns
Photo: David Redfern/Redferns

Great Performances, presenting ‘Grammy Salute To Music Legends’ – the second all-star concert offering a primetime spotlight for the Academy’s 2017 Special Merit Award recipients – is set to air on US television network PBS on Friday, 13 October 2017. It will be broadcast from 9 to 11pm and this year’s honourees include Nina Simone and The Velvet Underground.

The celebration, led by Grammy-winning industry icon Paul Shaffer as musical director, was recorded in July 2017 at New York’s Beacon Theatre. Historically held during Grammy Week, this is the second time the Recording Academy has celebrated the Special Merit Awards with a stand-alone event and musical tribute.

Aside from The Velvet Underground and Sly Stone, this Year’s Lifetime Achievement honourees are Shirley Caesar, Ahmad Jamal, Charley Pride, Jimmie Rodgers and Sly Stone.

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Along with never-before-seen video packages celebrating each of the honourees’ contributions to the music industry and heartfelt testimonials from the presenters, the star-studded event will feature performances by honourees Caesar, Pride and The Velvet Underground’s John Cale and Maureen ‘Moe’ Tucker.

In addition, there will be contributions from artists such as Stanley Cowell, Randy Newman, Valerie Simpson, Andra Day, Kirk Franklin, Living Colour’s Vernon Reid, Neal McCoy, Catherine Russell, Russell Thompkins Jr, Dionne Warwick and Dwight Yoakam. There will also be a special appearance by Grammy-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg, who accepts the award on behalf of the late Nina Simone.

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Additional Special Merit Awards honourees celebrated include Trustees Awards recipients: producer, arranger, and songwriter Thom Bell; record executive Mo Ostin; and recording executive, A&R man, and music publisher Ralph S. Peer; and audio inventor Alan Dower Blumlein, who is the Technical Grammy Award recipient. Also due for honour is Keith Hancock, this year’s recipient of the Recording Academy and the Grammy Museum’s Music Educator Award.  The Trustees Award recognizes contributions within the music industry in areas other than performance.

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