Grammy Hall of Fame, Special Merit Awards Are Taking a One-Year Hiatus: Exclusive

The Recording Academy is pausing its two flagship honorary awards programs, the Grammy Hall of Fame and its special merit awards, for one year.

9/20/2021 7:26:00 PM

Exclusive: The Recording Academy is pausing its two flagship honorary awards programs, the Grammy Hall of Fame and its special merit awards, for one year.

The Recording Academy is pausing its two flagship honorary awards programs, the Grammy Hall of Fame and its special merit awards, for one year.

DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty ImagesGrammy trophies sit in the press room during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards on January 28, 2018, in New York.The Academy plans to relaunch the Grammy Hall of Fame next year and to have a display for the inductees at the Grammy Museum.

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The Recording Academy is pausing its two flagship honorary awards programs, the GrammyHall of Fameand its special merit awards, for one year.The Academy won’t announce a new class of Hall of Fame inductions this year because it is rethinking the entire process. It plans to relaunch it next year and to have a significant display for the Hall inductees at the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. The 2021 inductions, including a pair of Linda Ronstadt albums, were announced on Dec. 21.

The Academy won’t announce a new class of special merit award recipients this year because it has yet to properly acknowledge the recipients who were announced last year. The COVID-19 pandemic made an in-person celebration problematic.Artist Mentioned

Harvey Mason Jr. on Recording Academy's Future: 'We Needed to Improve and We Needed to Evolve'The Academy plans to have an in-person Grammy week event to honor the 2021 Special Merit Award recipients, who were announced on Dec. 22, 2020. It will take place on the eve of the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, which are set for Jan. 30, 2022.

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Lionel Hampton, Marilyn Horne, Salt-N-Pepa, Selena, and Talking Heads are the 2021 lifetime achievement award winners; Ed Cherney, Benny Golson and Kenny"Babyface" Edmonds are trustees award honorees; Daniel Weiss is the technical Grammy award recipient.

These 2021 special merit honorees were acknowledged briefly on the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards telecast on March 14, but there was noGrammy Salute to Music Legendsspecial on PBS to honor them, as there has been in recent years. And there was no in-person gathering -- as there was for many years before the PBS deal materialized -- at the venerable Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles.

Regarding the Grammy Hall of Fame inductions, Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. tells Billboard, “We are working with the Grammy Museum and making sure that these recordings are really getting the recognition and a home they deserve. [We] took a little bit of a break, which we had to do to really organize the process and make sure we had the structure around it. But now I think it’s a new, reinvented, reimagined Grammy Hall of Fame.”

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Recordings by Linda Ronstadt, A Tribe Called Quest & the Village People Inducted Into Grammy Hall of FameThis marks the first time since the Hall of Fame inducted its first recordings in 1974 that it has skipped a year, and is the first time since 1988 that the Academy will present no special merit awards.

The Grammy Hall of Fame was created in 1973 with the intent of honoring recordings that were released before the advent of the Grammy Awards in 1958. The Hall is now open to any recording that is at least 25 years old. Read more: billboard »

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