The singer, who died in 2003, has had a resurgence in pop culture in the last couple years, with three different biopics about her life being released, including the Oscar-nominated, Liz Garbus-helmed “What Happened, Miss Simone.”
Other musical artists set to receive the Academy’s Lifetime Achievement recognition are Ahmad Jamal, The Velvet Underground, Shirley Caesar, Sly Stone, Charley Pride, and Jimmie Rodgers.
“This year’s Special Merit Awards recipients comprise a prestigious group of diverse and influential creators who have crafted or contributed to some of the most distinctive recordings in music history,” said Neil Portnow, President and CEO of The Recording Academy. “These exceptionally inspiring figures are being honored as legendary performers, creative architects, and technical visionaries. Their outstanding accomplishments and passion for their respective crafts have created a timeless legacy.”
Lifetime Achievement Awards are given to individuals who have made a significant impact in the recording industry. All recipients were selected by The Recording Academy’s National Board of Trustees. Additionally, Thom Bell, Mo Ostin, and Ralph Peer will be honored with Trustees Award, and electronics engineer Alan Dower Blumlein will posthumously receive the Technical Grammy Award.
The Recording Academy and Hal Leonard Books will also publish “A Grammy Salute To Music Legends,” a collection of tributes written by artists to the Special Merit Awards honorees. Performers who have contributed to the book include Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Carly Simon, Patty Smith and Yo-Yo Ma, among others. The anthology will be available early next year.
Read about the Lifetime Achievement Award recipients below:
Gospel singer Shirley Caesar‘s list of accomplishments include 11 Grammy Awards, 14 Stellar awards, 15 Dove awards, a NAACP Image Award and a Soul Train Music Award. She is well-known for her time with the Chicago-based gospel group The Caravans, before deciding to pursue a solo career in 1966.
Pianist Ahmad Jamal‘s career spans over 50 years. He is known for his interpretations on such pieces as “Poinciana” and “Dolphin Dance,” as well as his own original compositions, including “Ahmad’s Blues.”
Singer/guitarist Charley Pride was the first African-American singer to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in 1967, and later became the Grande Ole Opry’s first African-American member almost 30 years later. His expansive song catalog includes “Just Between You And Me” and “All I Have To Offer You (Is Me),” among many others.
Country singer Jimmie Rodgers became one of the first three people inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961. He currently has three recordings in the Grammy Hall Of Fame — “Blue Yodel (T For Texas),” “In The Jailhouse Now,” and “Blue Yodel #9 (Standing On The Corner).”
Jazz singer-songwriter Nina Simone is one of the most acclaimed singers of all time. She recorded over 40 albums over 5 decades and is known for her interpretations of “I Loves You, Porgy,” “Feeling Good” and “Sinnerman.” In 2000, she was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame. Zoe Saldana portrayed Simone in the 2016 biopic, “Nina.”
Sly Stone is perhaps best known as the leading figure of the funk-rock band Sly & The Family Stone. Stone wrote a myriad of songs throughout his career, including “Dance To The Music,” “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” “Everyday People” and “There’s A Riot Going On.”
The Velvet Underground, comprising of Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen “Moe” Tucker, was known for their avant-garde approach to rock music. Their 1967 debut album, “The Velvet Underground & Nico,” was produced by famed artist Andy Warhol and was eventually inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2008.
Biographies of the Trustee Award recipients and complete list of winners can be read here.