Recording Academy announces 2020 Special Merit Award PBS special | The Music Universe

Annual awards and tribute concert takes place on new virtual format

The Recording Academy will honor its 2020 Special Merit Awards recipients with Great Performances: GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends, an awards ceremony and tribute concert hosted by Jimmy Jam on Friday, October 16th at 9 pm ET on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org and the PBS Video app. The 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award honorees are Chicago, Roberta Flack, Isaac Hayes, Iggy Pop, John Prine, Public Enemy, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Ken Ehrlich, Philip Glass and Frank Walker received Trustees Award honors, and George Augspurger was recognized with the Technical GRAMMY Award. Mickey Smith Jr. will also accept the Music Educator Award as this year’s recipient.

Performers include Laurie Anderson, Philip Bailey, Brandi Carlile, Cynthia Erivo, Chris Isaak, Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, Cyndi Lauper, Sam Moore, Leslie Odom, Jr., and Yola. Presenters include Rhiannon Giddens, Joe Mantegna, John Legend, LL COOL J, Greg Phillinganes, Henry Rollins, and Don Was.

This is the fifth year the Recording Academy has celebrated the Special Merit Awards with a stand-alone TV event and musical tribute, but the first year that it has been produced without an audience and in different locations due to COVID-19’s impact on live events. In addition to the tribute concert, the special will feature archival video packages celebrating each of the honorees’ contributions to the music industry and its cultural heritage.

A production of Thirteen Productions for WNET, Great Performances: GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends was written by David Wild and directed for television by David Horn, with Mitch Owgang as producer and David Horn and Branden Chapman as executive producers. Terry Lickona and Chantel Sausedo are co-producers.

The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording, while the Trustees Award honors such contributions in areas other than performance. The Recording Academy’s National Board of Trustees determines the honorees of both awards. Technical GRAMMY Award recipients are voted on by the Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing Advisory Council and Chapter Committees, and are ratified by the Academy’s Trustees. The award is presented to individuals who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording industry. Presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum®, the Music Educator Award recognizes current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education. The recipient is approved by the Board of Trustees.