Some good news about the Grammy Awards and their ilk: I’m hearing the new annual Grammy salute concert for Lifetime Achievement will be in Los Angeles this year on July 14th.
Being honored are Neil Diamond, Tina Turner, Queen, Emmylou Harris, the Meters and industry heavyweights like Sire Records’ founder Seymour Stein, composer John Williams, and the late great Bill Graham of Fillmore West and East fame.
The main thing is, Hal Blaine is getting a special honor. Hal Blaine is the most important drummer of the classic pop era, having played on hundreds– maybe thousands– of hits as part of the Wrecking Crew, the Phil Spector group that provided instrumentation for everyone from the Beach Boys to Ike and Tina Turner, the Fifth Dimension. When you hear that drum downbeat opening on “Be My Baby,” that’s Hal Blaine. Rolling Stone named him the 5th best drummer of all time. I’d put him right behind Ringo and Keith Moon on my all time list.
And think of it– Hal Blaine played on Neil Diamond records, Monkees records (Micky Dolenz) that Neil wrote, Herb Alpert and Tina Turner. There’s a lot of crossover.
Some of the performers being talked about for the show are Micky Dolenz, Herb Alpert, Emmylou Harris, and Ledisi with more name coming. The show will be taped for airing on PBS this fall. Last year’s show in New York was so spectacular I expect this one will be just as good if not better.
The Grammys are probably thinking of who should be in the next class of Special Merit recipients. A couple of names I’d like to see: Sam Moore of Sam & Dave; and the Fifth Dimension, certainly.