Music legends earn Lifetime Awards

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter
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LOS ANGELES, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- The Recording Academy announced Tuesday that it has chosen Count Basie, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Al Green and Joni Mitchell to receive its 2002 Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Producer-recording engineer Tom Dowd and pioneering rock 'n' roll deejay Alan Freed will receive Trustees Awards.


All of the honors will be presented in conjunction with the 44th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony on Feb. 27 in Los Angeles.

"The recipients of these awards are in a rarified league all their own," said Recording Academy president/CEO Michael Greene. "They are a prestigious group of diverse and influential creators who have given us some of the most distinctive and seminal recordings of the last century. Their work exemplifies the highest creative and technical standards by which we all measure our own personal and professional contributions."


Past winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award include Louis Armstrong, Fred Astaire, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Patsy Cline, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, barbara Streisand and Stevie Wonder.

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors "lifelong artistic contributions to the recording medium." The Trustees Award recognizes "outstanding contributions to the industry in a non-performing capacity."

Count Basie was a leading bandleader of the swing era, and continued to please audiences into the 1970s with a sound that alternated between the hard-swinging big band and the understated elegance of his uncomplicated piano work. His band's recording of the "One O'clock Jump" became the band's theme song and a big band jazz standard. It's in the Grammy Hall of Fame, along with two other Basie records, "April in Paris" and "Everyday (I Have the Blues)".

Basie won nine Grammy Awards, including two at the 1st Annual Grammys in 1959.

Como was one of America's best-selling recording artists during the post-World War II era, racking up hits such as "Til the End of Time," "Catch a Falling Star," "Dream Along With Me," and "Surrender."


His performance of "Catch A Falling Star" earned him the Grammy for best vocal performance by a male at the 1st Annual Grammy Awards. "Til the End of Time" is in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Clooney -- who has never won a Grammy -- has ranked among the top jazz-based singers in American music since signing as a recording artist with Columbia Records in 1950.

Her 1951 recording of "Come On-a My House" began a string of hits that included "You're Just In Love," "Beautiful Brown Eyes," "Hey There," "This Ole House" and "If Teardrops Were Pennies." "Hey There" is in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Al Green, one of the most influential R&B singers of the 1970s, has earned nine Grammys for hits including "Tired of Being Alone" and "Let's Stay Together," the latter of which is in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

Five-time Grammy winner Joni Mitchell is one of the most influential singer/songwriters of her generation. Mitchell was a regular on the New York folk circuit in 1967 when she signed to record her first album, "Joni Mitchell," for Reprise.

She scored hits with songs like, "Both Sides Now," "Help Me," "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Woodstock," and went on to embrace pop, rock, jazz and world music. Her album, "Blue," is in the Grammy Hall of Fame.


Dowd has worked with such recording artists as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Diana Ross, John Coltrane, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers. From 1942 to 1946, he worked on the Manhattan Project at Columbia University while also training as a musician.

In 1947, he applied his knowledge of physics to disc recording, and went on to build the first stereo and eight-track recording consoles at Atlantic Records in 1954, revolutionizing the way that music was recorded.

Freed pioneered rock 'n' roll airplay on mainstream radio stations in the 1950s. His show was the first rock 'n' roll program broadcast live on network radio when CBS radio aired it in 1956.

In 1959, WABC in New York asked Freed to sign a statement confirming that he had never accepted payola -- payment for playing certain records. He refused and was subsequently fired and charged with commercial bribery.

Freed paid a fine and received a suspended sentence, but his career was ruined -- even though he insisted he never played a record he didn't like.

Before Freed's indictment, payola was not illegal, although commercial bribery was. After his case, anti-payola statutes were enacted in the United States.


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