Tonight, in collaboration with the Recording Academy™, the PBS series Great Performances proudly presents Grammy Salute To Music Legends™, the second annual all-star concert saluting the Academy’s 2017 Special Merit Awards recipients. The show features rare performances by the honorees and renditions by those they have inspired. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honorees are Shirley Caesar, Ahmad Jamal, Charley Pride, Jimmie Rodgers, Nina Simone, Sly Stone and the Velvet Underground.
Additional Special Merit Awards honorees celebrated include Trustees Awards recipients: producer, arranger and songwriter Thom Bell; record executive Mo Ostin, recording exec, A&R rep and music publisher Ralph S. Peer and audio inventor Alan Dower Blumlein, who is the Technical Grammy Award recipient. Another honoree is Keith Hancock, this year’s recipient of the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum®’s Music Educator Award™.
Along with never-before-seen video packages, the event features performances by Lifetime Achievement Award honorees John Cale and Maureen “Moe” Tucker of the Velvet Underground, Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Shirley Caesar, Stanley Cowell, Andra Day, Kirk Franklin, Le’Andria Johnson, Neal McCoy, Randy Newman, Living Colour founder & songwriter Vernon Reid, Catherine Russell, Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Charley Pride, Valerie Simpson, Russell Thompkins Jr. of the Stylistics, Dionne Warwick, Charlie Wilson, and Dwight Yoakam. There is also a special appearance by Whoopi Goldberg, who accepts for the late Nina Simone.
The celebration, led by musical director Paul Shaffer, was recorded in July at New York’s Beacon Theatre and will air tonight from 9-11 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.) Historically held during Grammy® Week, this is the second time the Recording Academy has celebrated the Special Merit Awards with a standalone event and musical tribute.