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Bowie, Cream, Johnson get special Grammys

The Weavers, Richard Pryor also to be honored
/ Source: The Associated Press

David Bowie, blues pioneer Robert Johnson and late comedian Richard Pryor are among the recording artists who will receive lifetime achievement honors during next month’s Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy said Tuesday.

Rockers Cream, country singer-songwriter Merle Haggard, opera vocalist Jessye Norman and ’50s folk quartet the Weavers, are also due to be honored.

The awards are meant to recognize artistic contributions in the recording medium over a lifetime.

“This year’s honorees are a prestigious group of diverse and influential creators who have contributed some of the most distinguished and influential recordings,” Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said in a statement.

Pryor, who died of a heart attack last month, was the lone non-musician being honored this year. He recorded several comedy albums, picking up five Grammys along the way.

Norman made her debut in 1968 in Berlin and received four Grammys. Haggard has collected two. Bowie, often heralded for his ability to transcend musical genres and fads, previously received one Grammy for best short form video in 1984.

The other lifetime honorees — Johnson, the Weavers and Cream — have never been Grammy winners, although Cream guitarist Eric Clapton has collected 16 to date.

The Recording Academy also selected Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, country music producer Owen Bradley and recording engineer Al Schmitt to receive the organization’s Trustees Award, which lauds non-performers in the recording industry.

Veteran recording engineer Tom Dowd and Bell Labs and Western Electric — now units of Lucent Technologies — were singled out for technical award honors.

Several of Bell Labs’ inventions are credited with improving audio recording, including the transistor. Western Electric developed the condenser microphone in 1916, among other innovations.

The awards are scheduled to be presented on Feb. 7. The 48th Annual Grammy Awards show is scheduled Feb. 8 at Staples Center.