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News Archive: 2008

Gene Autry Recipient of the Grammy's
Lifetime Achievement Award

Posted December 22, 2008

The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences announced that Gene Autry is one of this year's recipients of The Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award. This award honors individuals or groups who have made creative contributions of outstanding artist significance to the field of recording.

As you can imagine, everyone at Gene Autry Entertainment is excited that Gene Autry is being honored with this prestigious award by the Grammys! Watch the 51st Grammy Awards February 8, 2009 et/pt on CBS. Visit the Grammy website at

Past recipients include Irving Berlin, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Woody Guthrie, Paul McCartney and Elvis Presley. View a list of past Lifetime Achievement Award recipients on the Grammy's website here.

Gene Autry, The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Four Tops, Hank Jones, Brenda Lee, Dean Martin, and Tom Paxton Honored With the Recording Aacademy® Lifetime Achievement Award

George Avakian, Elliott Carter, and Allen Toussaint Honored With Trustees Award

Clarence "Leo" Fender and Universal Audio to Receive Technical Grammy® Award

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Dec. 22, 2008) – The Recording Academy® has named Gene Autry, the Blind Boys Of Alabama, the Four Tops, Hank Jones, Brenda Lee, Dean Martin, and Tom Paxton as recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award. George Avakian, Elliott Carter, and Allen Toussaint are honored with the Trustees Award. Clarence "Leo" Fender and Universal Audio will receive the Technical GRAMMY® Award. The special invitation-only ceremony will be held during GRAMMY Week on Saturday, Feb. 7, and a formal acknowledgment will be made during the 51st Annual GRAMMY Awards telecast, which will be held at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009, and broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CBS Television Network.

"This year's recipients are a prestigious group of legendary performers, creative architects and technical visionaries who have made lasting contributions to the music and global communities," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "Their outstanding accomplishments, legendary passion and artistry have positively affected our culture and will continue to influence and inspire generations to come."

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors lifelong artistic contributions to the recording medium while the Trustees Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the industry in a non-performing capacity. Both awards are determined by vote of The Recording Academy's National Board of Trustees. Technical GRAMMY Award recipients are determined by vote of The Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing Advisory Council and Chapter Committees as well as The Academy's Trustees. The award is presented to individuals and companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording field.

About the Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees:

With more than 300 recordings, 90 films and a groundbreaking radio program, Gene Autry* remains country music's first genuine "multimedia" star, earning five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (one each for radio, television, film, recording and live theatre). His recordings have sold more than 100 million copies, receiving more than a dozen gold and platinum records. Additionally, he has been recognized with numerous honors and awards. Autry's timeless classics include "Back In The Saddle Again," "Ghost Riders In The Sky," "Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)," "Peter Cottontail," and "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer."

GRAMMY winners the Blind Boys Of Alabama (Clarence Fountain, George Scott*, Johnny Fields, Jimmy Carter, Eric "Ricky" McKinney, and Joey Williams) have spread the spirit and soul of traditional and contemporary Gospel music for more than seven decades. Originally formed at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939, the Blind Boys have recorded more than 60 albums, performed in numerous churches, auditoriums, and stadiums across the country, and received various awards throughout their illustrious career. They have recorded or performed with such artists as Peter Gabriel, Ben Harper, John Legend, k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt, and Kanye West.

Motown's consistent hit-makers, The Four Tops (Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson*, Levi Stubbs*, and Lawrence Payton*) were among a number of groups who helped define the Motown Sound of the 1960s. Recording for more than four decades with all original band members, the Four Tops' repertoire (lead by the deep-voiced Levi Stubbs) included doo-wop, jazz, soul, R&B, disco, adult contemporary, and showtunes. The band's best known recordings include "Reach Out (I'll Be There)," "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)," "Standing In The Shadows of Love," "Bernadette," and "Baby I Need Your Loving."

Hank Jones is an American jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer who throughout his illustrious career has recorded more than 60 albums under his own name and countless others as a guest. His accessible playing style has embodied the essence of mainstream jazz, making him one of the most sought after and recorded jazz pianists throughout history. He has recorded with or accompanied such jazz greats as Cannonball Adderley, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and Lester Young.

Brenda Lee began her music career as a rockabilly singer and soon became one of the biggest pop stars of the late 1950s through the mid-1960s, selling more than 90 million records and charting more hits than any other female artist of her time. In 1996, Lee celebrated her 40th anniversary as a recording artist and a year later she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. She continues to record and perform to sold-out audiences all over the world.

With a career that spans across all ages, Dean Martin* enjoyed great success in music, film, television and the stage. With his smooth vocals, Martin became one the best-known musical artists, recording such hits as "Memories Are Made Of This," "That's Amore," "Everybody Loves Somebody," "Mambo Italiano,"and "Ain't That A Kick In the Head." His timeless appeal continues to transcend generations as his recent collection was certified platinum and hit the Top 5 on Apple's iTunes music store album chart.

An influential singer/songwriter who emerged from the Greenwich Village folk revival scene of the early '60s,

Tom Paxton became a voice of his generation addressing issues of injustice and inhumanity. His songs have been recorded by Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte, Judy Collins, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Doc Watson and many more. Recording for more than 40 years, Paxton has performed thousands of concerts around the world and has received numerous awards and honors, including an official Parliamentary tribute at the British House of Commons.

About the Trustees Award Honorees:

George Avakian is a renowned jazz record producer, industry executive, and a founding member of The Recording Academy. Known as an innovator, Avakian is credited with helping to establish the long-playing record, which many view as the most important single contribution to the record industry during the 20th century. His work with such accomplished artists as Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, and Miles Davis has lead to some of jazz music's legendary recordings.

With a career as a producer, songwriter, arranger, session pianist, and solo artist, Allen Toussaint has become a legend within the recording industry. As a founder of Sansu Enterprises and the Sea-Saint Recording Studio, he has worked with such notable artists as the Band, Paul Simon, Boz Scaggs, Bonnie Raitt and Patti LaBelle. His consistent hit songs and compositions have become one of music's most extensive catalogs, consistently mined for cover material and commercial use. In 1998, Toussaint was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Elliott Carter is an American composer whose compositions, including orchestral, chamber, solo instrumental and vocal works, have been performed all over the world. Although known for his neoclassical contributions, in 1950 he began to write atonal and rhythmically complex music known as "metric modulation," which described the frequent, precise tempo changes found in his work. In 1960 and 1973, he won the Pulitizer Prize for Music for two of his string quartets, and his vocal music is often tied to the works of contemporary American poets such as Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery, and Robert Lowell. Carter turned 100 years old in December 2008.

About the Technical GRAMMY Award Honorees:

Clarence "Leo" Fender* founded the Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company in 1946 and later founded MusicMan and G&L Musical Products (G&L Guitars). Often cited as one of the influential figures in the development of electric instruments of the 20th century, Fender designed the first commercially successful solidbody guitar, the Telecaster, the modern electric bass, and introduced one of the most famed of all electric guitars – the Stratocaster. Fender guitars and amps are powerful cultural icons recognized in every corner of the world, and today they continue to dominate popular music.

Universal Audio, founded by Bill Putnam Sr. in the 1950s, was responsible for many innovations in the recording and sound reinforcement industry. Recognized as the leader of vintage audio digital signed processing modeling and true analog classics, Universal Audio designs and manufactures audio signal processing hardware and software aimed at the home and professional recording studio as well as the live sound and broadcasting fields.

*Denotes posthumous.

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards – the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music – The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit

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