Atkinson merits Recording Acad kudos

Musician, A&R man signed artists like Abba, Hornsby

Longtime A&R exec and former Zombies guitarist Paul Atkinson will receive the President’s Merit Award from the Recording Academy at a dinner and benefit concert Jan. 27 at the House of Blues.

With nearly four decades in the record business, Atkinson has headed A&R departments at CBS, RCA and MCA and signed artists such as Abba, Bruce Hornsby, Mr. Mister and Michael Penn. Most recently he was consultant to Warner Strategic Marketing and the estate of Frank Sinatra and producer of a Nat King Cole boxed set for Capitol Records.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Atkinson Family Trust to assist with Atkinson’s medical care. He has had two liver transplants, undergoes regular dialysis due to kidney failure and is awaiting another transplant. He was recently diagnosed with biliary cancer.

Performers scheduled include Bruce Hornsby, Richard Page of Mr. Mister, Michael Penn, Patty Smyth, Mickey Thomas of Starship and Brian Wilson. Atkinson will also join his former bandmates Rod Argent, Colin Blunstone, Hugh Grundy and Chris White in performing Zombies classics. Radio personality Shadoe Stevens will host the evening’s entertainment.

Concert will also benefit the Gift of Life Foundation, which promotes organ donor awareness, and United Network for Organ Sharing.

Among the past recipients of the President’s Merit Award are Doug Morris, Mstislav Rostropovich, Warren Zevon, Berry Gordy, Bob Geldof, Carlos Santana, Willie Nelson and Prince.

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