Perhaps a sign of the Academy’s continued attempt to clean up its image with a diversity push, the 2021 Lifetime Achievement honorees include icons from a range of genres. Talking Heads, Selena, and Salt-N-Pepa will all receive the Special Merit gramophones, as will Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, opera singer Marilyn Horne, and late jazz great Lionel Hampton.
The Talking Heads’ accolade is particularly noteworthy, as the legendary alt-rock group never received a Grammy during their existence. Their lone nomination came in 1984 for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group for “Burning Down the House”.
Meanwhile, Trustees Awards, which recognize “significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording,” will go to producer/songwriter Kenny “Babyface” Edwards, engineer Ed Cherney, and composer/arranger Benny Golson (who worked closely with Hampton). This year’s Technical Grammy will go to jazz drummer Daniel Weiss.
The 2021 Grammy Awards are set to take place Sunday, January 31st with Trevor Noah of The Daily Show as host. It’s not yet known exactly how the ceremony will be held, with a statement announcing the Special Merit Awards noting, “Given the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, more details about the special award presentation event will be announced at a later date.”
While The Weeknd was snubbed from the nominations (perhaps due to his contract to play the Super Bowl halftime show), many others will be vying for trophies at the 63rd annual Grammys. Beyoncé leads the pack with nine nominations, including one alongside her daughter, Blue Ivy, for the “Brown Skinned Girl” music video. BTS also received their first music-related nom for “Dynamite”, while Best Rock Performance features all female-led nominees (Fiona Apple, Big Thief, Phoebe Bridgers, HAIM, Brittany Howard, and Grace Potter) for the first time ever.
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