SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Recipients of the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys were announced today by The Recording Academy. Joan Baez, Booker T. & The MG's, Maria Callas, Ornette Coleman, the Doors, the Grateful Dead and Bob Wills will receive the lifetime honors.
"This year's group of accomplished honorees are as diverse as they are influential as creators of the most renowned and prominent recordings in the world," said Recording Academy president Neil Portnow. "Their contributions exemplify the highest artistic and technical standards that have positively affected the music industry and music fans."
The Lifetime Achievement Award honors lifelong artistic contributions to the recording medium.
Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees:
Joan Baez — As one of the most accomplished interpretive folk singers of the '60s, Joan Baez has influenced nearly every aspect of popular music in a career that is still going strong after more than 45 years. Possessed of an instantly recognizable soprano, Baez has received eight gold albums, a gold single, six Grammy nominations, and the 2003 Recording Academy San Francisco Chapter Governors Award.
Booker T. & The MG's (Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Al Jackson, Booker T. Jones, and Lewie Steinberg) — As the house band at Stax Records in Memphis, Booker T. & The MG's had tight, impeccable grooves that can be heard on classic hits by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Carla Thomas, to name a few. They also were one of the top instrumental outfits of the rock era, recording classics including "Green Onions," "Time Is Tight," and "Hang 'Em High." As a band that featured two blacks and two whites playing as a cohesive group in the highly-charged south of the '60s, they set an example of how music can transcend social ills.
Maria Callas — Among her contemporaries, Maria Callas had the deepest comprehension of the classical Italian style, the most musical instincts and the most intelligent approach, with exceptional dramatic powers. She had a wide range from high E to the F below the staff, and an innate feel for the style of bel canto roles, but she was most notable for bringing a commitment and intensity to her dramatic portrayals that was unprecedented at the time. Her fame has transcended the usual boundaries of classical music, and she has been the inspiration for several movies, an opera, and a successful Broadway play.
Ornette Coleman — One of the most notable figures in jazz history, American jazz saxophonist and composer Ornette Coleman is considered one of the major innovators of the free jazz movement of the '60s. He has influenced virtually every saxophonist of a modern disposition and nearly every jazz musician of the following generation. Coleman's timbre is one of the most easily recognized in jazz: his keening, crying sound draws heavily on the blues. From the beginning, his music and playing were unorthodox, and his sense of harmony and chord were not as rigid as most swing music or bebop performers and were easily changed and often implied. His growing reputation placed him at the forefront of jazz innovation, and free jazz was soon considered a new genre.
The Doors (John Densmore, Bobby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, and *Jim Morrison) — As one of the most influential and controversial rock bands of the '60s, The Doors' music included socially, psychologically and politically influenced lyrics. The band formed in 1965 — when Morrison and Manzarek were film students at UCLA — with a sound that was dominated by Manzarek's electric organ and Morrison's deep, sonorous voice with which he sang his highly poetic lyrics. Blending blues, classical, Eastern music, and pop into sinister but beguiling melodies, the band sounded like no other. The group's first album, The Doors, featuring the hit "Light My Fire," was a massive success, and endures as one of the most exciting, groundbreaking recordings of the psychedelic era. The Doors' music and Morrison's legend continue to fascinate succeeding generations of rock fans.
The Grateful Dead (Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir) — The Grateful Dead were the psychedelic era's most beloved musical ambassadors as well as its most enduring survivors, spreading their message of peace, love and harmony across the globe for more than four decades. The ultimate cult band, the Dead were known for their unique and eclectic songwriting style, fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, country, jazz, psychedelia, and gospel, and for live performances, featuring long jams. The band released more than 50 albums, and was music's top-grossing live act year after year. As strong and passionate supporters of numerous educational and humanitarian charities, they established the Rex Foundation. Today, more than 10 years after Jerry Garcia's death, the legions of fans — called Dead Heads —have only grown larger and stronger.
Bob Wills — Bob Wills' name will forever be associated with Western swing. He is credited with popularizing the genre and changing its rules. Wills' band, The Texas Playboys, combined dance music, blues, jazz, pop, and country into a uniquely popular form. The band gained fame playing for eight years on a Tulsa, Okla., radio station and ultimately influenced generations of country and pop artists with its iconoclastic approach and individual sound.