Each year, a select group of people are nominated to receive the Special Merit Awards at the Grammys. On Wednesday, January 13, the Recording Academy announced the 2016 Special Merit Awards recipients, including those who are to receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.
According to the Grammy Awards official website, this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are Ruth Brown, Celia Cruz, Earth, Wind & Fire, Herbie Hancock, Jefferson Airplane, Linda Ronstadt, and Run DMC.
“Each year, The Academy has the distinct privilege of honoring those who have greatly contributed to our industry and cultural heritage, and this year we have a gifted and brilliant group of honorees,” Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy said in a statement on Wednesday. “Their exceptional accomplishments, contributions, and artistry will continue to influence and inspire generations to come.”
Run DMC will be the first rappers to receive the award. On Wednesday, after hearing the announcement, Joseph “Reverend Run” Simmons took to Twitter to share his excitement.
“I just got a call from the Grammys!! They shocked me!!” Simmons tweeted. “We’re the first rappers to get this award!! Shocked! Grateful!. God is good!!! I’m so honored to be a #GRAMMYs Lifetime Achievement Award recipient this year. Thank you to the Recording Academy!”
Simmons formed the group in 1982 with Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. According to their website, Run DMC was the first rap group to have an album certified Gold with their self-titled album in 1984. They were the first rap act to appear on MTV with their video for “Rock Box,” and were the first to earn a gold album for King of Rock in 1985, which eventually went platinum in 1997. Since Run DMC formed in the early 80s, they have sold over 200 millions albums worldwide. Simmons and McDaniels are the only two remaining members of the group as Mizell was shot and killed in 2002.
According to the Grammy’s website, the Lifetime Achievement Award “is presented by vote of The Recording Academy’s National Trustees to performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording.”
The other Special Merit Awards are the Trustees Award and the Technical Grammy Award. John Cage, Fred Foster, and Chris Strachwitz will be presented with the Trustees Award, while EMT and Dr. Harvey Fletcher will be awarded with the Technical Grammy Award. Ruth Brown, Celia Cruz, Earth, Wind & Fire, Herbie Hancock, Jefferson Airplane, and Linda Ronstadt will also be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The ceremony will take place on the day before the Grammy Awards ceremony.
“We are honored to be selected as Lifetime Achievement Award recipients for the 2016 Grammy Awards,” Earth, Wind & Fire wrote on their Facebook page following the announcement.
Last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipients were the late classical composer Pierre Boulez and The Bee Gees.
The 58th Annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast live on CBS on Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
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