Led Zeppelin and country crooner Eddy Arnold may be two of the most beloved and best-selling acts in the history of recorded music, yet neither has ever won a Grammy. Neither did Janis Joplin, country trailblazers the Carter Family, soul vocal group the Staple Singers, or jazz founding figure Jelly Roll Morton. The Recording Academy will belatedly remedy those omissions with Lifetime Achievement Awards at this year’s Grammy ceremony on Feb. 13. Those artists, along with their fellow honorees — rock pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis, jazz drummer and bandleader Art Blakey, premier blues pianist Pinetop Perkins, and composer/conductor Morton Gould — will also be feted at a new ”elite” Grammy ceremony the day before.
Of this year’s Lifetime Achievement honorees, only Blakey, Gould, and Lewis have won Grammys before (one each), and Lewis’ wasn’t for his music but for his contribution to a spoken-word album that recounted the history of Memphis’ legendary Sun Studios. Of course, many of the honorees are deceased, including Joplin, the Carters, Morton, Blakey, Gould, Zep drummer John Bonham, and Staple vocalist Roebuck ”Pops” Staples.
Also to be honored at both ceremonies are some influential non-performers. Trustees Awards will go to the late pop composer Hoagy Carmichael (”Georgia on My Mind,” ”Stardust”); Alfred Lion, the late founder of jazz record label Blue Note; Soul Train impresario Don Cornelius; and jazz educator Billy Taylor. Technical Grammy Awards are going to veteran rock record producer Phil Ramone and JBL Professional, manufacturer of the loudspeakers many performers use in concert.