Foundation names rocker Person of the Year

Neil Young, a pioneering influence on movements ranging from folk rock to grunge, has been designated the 2010 MusiCares Person of the Year, according to Neil Portnow, president/CEO of the Recording Academy and the MusiCares Foundation.

The honor, which recognizes exceptional artistic accomplishment as well as philanthropic work, will be celebrated at a gala dinner and concert — traditionally one of the centerpieces of Grammy week — at the L.A. Convention Center on Jan. 29, two days prior to the 52nd annual Grammy Awards.

“Neil has set a standard of artistic integrity and iconoclastic creativity for more than four decades, and his achievements have been matched by his unwavering humanitarianism,” said Portnow in a statement.

One of the hotter tickets among the Grammy festivities, the gala begins with a silent auction usually comprised of pop/rock memorabilia, luxury items and celebrity art, followed by a dinner, the awards presentation and a tribute concert — usually capped by a performance by the honoree. Proceeds from the event go to MusiCares, which provides support to musicians and other industry veterans in times of need, whether financial, medical or personal. No word yet from the Academy on who might perform.

Young was one of the original founders, with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp, of Farm Aid in 1985, but his best known charity work involves the Bridge School Concerts (organized with wife Pegi), which benefit children with severe speech and physical impairments. These annual events, which date back to 1986, have drawn some of the biggest names in pop, including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty and Pearl Jam.

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