According to latimes.com, late rapper Tupac Shakur is among the group of six inductees into theRock and Roll Hall of Fame. Along with Shakur, folk singer Joan Baez, British progressive rock band Yes, Seattle grunge band Pearl Jam, English pop-rock group Electric Light Orchestra and pop-rock band Journey were chosen to join the institution for 2017.
In addition, Nile Rodgers, Chic founding member, producer and guitarist, will be inducted as an honoree for the hall’s award for musical excellence.
April 7, 2017 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn will be where the annual induction ceremony to induct new Hall members is held. Tickets available to the public will go on sale in January. The induction speeches and musical performances will be filmed for a highlights special scheduled to run on HBO after the event.
According to billboard.com, the late Marvin Gaye and Chic principles Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards (who died in 1996) are among the artists chosen to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 9 in New York City. Joining them will be Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, and 1960s hitmaker Chip Taylor.
The new inductees wrote such iconic songs as “What’s Going On,” “Mercy Mercy Me,” “Le Freak,” “Good Times,” “Wild Thing,” “American Girl,” “Everyday I Write The Book,” and many, many more.
“The 2016 roster of Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees is a beautiful mosaic of the best of late 20th Century popular music. With creators of Rock & Roll, Soul/R&B, Country and Funk/Dance represented, we are looking forward to an unforgettable and extremely exciting event and evening at the Marriott Marquis on June 9th,” said co-chairs Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff, who are serving their first year in that role.
The hall’s 47th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner will take place at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Gaye and Edwards will be inducted posthumously.
Maurice White, co-founder and leader of the groundbreaking ensemble Earth, Wind & Fire, died Thursday at his Los Angeles home. He was 74. His brother and bandmate, Verdine White, confirmed the news with the Associated Press.
The source for a wealth of euphoric hits in the 1970s and early ’80s, including “Shining Star,” “September” “Reasons” and “Boogie Wonderland,” Earth, Wind & Fire borrowed elements from funk, soul, gospel and pop for a distinctive sound that yielded six double-platinum albums and six Grammy Awards.
The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and although White had ceased touring with the group since a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in the ’90s, he remained behind the scenes as the act continued to tour, including a run of sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl in 2013.
“[Maurice White’s] unerring instincts as a musician and showman helped propel the band to international stardom, influencing countless fellow musicians in the process,” Recording Academy President Neil Portnow wrote in a statement. Earth, Wind & Fire are slated to receive lifetime achievement honors from the Grammys this year.
Born in Memphis, Tenn. on Dec. 19, 1941, Maurice White sang in his church’s gospel choir at an early age, but his interest quickly gravitated to the drums. He earned his first gig backing Booker T. Jones before the organist founded the MGs. He moved to Chicago in the early ’60s and studied composition at the Chicago Conservatory of Music and eventually found work as a session drummer for the Chess and OKeh labels, where he played behind Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.
“That’s where I learned about the roots of music,” White told the Chicago Tribune in 1990. “I learned about playing with feeling.”
After also backing jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis in the ’60s, White moved to Los Angeles in 1969 with a band called the Salty Peppers. The group failed to gain much traction, and White changed the group’s name in 1971 to Earth, Wind and Fire, a name rooted in astrology that reflected White’s spiritual approach to music.
“In the beginning,” White told the Tribune in 1988, “My message was basically trying to relate to the community. From that it grew into more of a universal consciousness; the idea was to give the people something that was useful.”
The group’s lineup evolved through the ’70s and eventually included vocalist Phillip Bailey and White’s brother Verdine, both of whom toured with the band into this decade. The band’s reach extended into movies as well in recording the soundtrack album for Melvin Van Peebles’ landmark 1971 film “Sweet Sweetback’s Badasss Song” and appearing in the 1978 film “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which yielded the band’s hit cover of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life.”
White’s hits with Earth, Wind & Fire spanned a particularly influential space between R&B, rock and disco that remains current. His music with Earth, Wind & Fire was prominently sampled by scores of hip-hop and pop acts in recent years, including Jay-Z and 2Pac. His mix of incandescent soulfulness and suave, funky arrangements informed recent bestselling albums by Daft Punk and Kendrick Lamar.
Remembrances of White came from all corners of the music world. On Twitter, Nile Rodgers, the Chic founder and record producer who was White’s peer in the ‘70s disco scene, wrote “RIP my soulful brother — You’re one of the most amazing innovators of all time.” Bootsy Collins, bassist of the funk mainstays Parliament-Funkadelic, wrote that White was a “legend, pioneer life long friend.”
Nile Rodgers, the songwriter and producer behind Chic’s “Le Freak,” David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” and Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” will be honored by the Recording Academy’s Producers and Engineers Wing at a special tribute on February 3. As part of the official roster of Grammy week events, the evening will include appearances by nine-time Grammy nominee Ledisi, six-time Grammy winner Al Jarreau, and Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin.
Rodgers co-founded the legendary band Chic with Bernard Edwards in the late ‘70s, and capitalized on disco’s popularity with a string of hits including “Good Times” and “I Want Your Love.” Rodgers also produced for top artists such as Madonna and Diana Ross, and won the Grammy for Record of the Year for Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” along with Pharrell Williams in 2014.
Rodgers will also be awarded the Vanguard Award at this year’s MojaMoja Pre-Grammy Brunch, an annual event hosted by KCRW’s Garth Trinidad. In March, Chic will release a new album entitled It’s About Time.
Although he easily could have been remembered solely for his avant garde Vivienne Westwood hat this Grammy year, Pharrell Williams‘ musical forays trumped his sartorial whims last night, garnering him Producer of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance honors. Williams also has partial claim to the Album of the Year award, which electronic duo Daft Punk won for Random Access Memories (featuring two Pharrell collaborations.) Other notable winners were Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis, (Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album), Alicia Keys (Best R&B Album), Bruno Mars (Best Pop Vocal Album), Ziggy Marley (Best Reggae Album) and Jay Z and Justin Timberlake, who won Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Holy Grail.”
Beyoncé and Jay Z opened the show with the steamy, risqué “Drunk in Love,” kicking off a night filled with larger-than-life performances including Pink‘s literal and vocal acrobatics on “Try” and “Just Give Me A Reason,” Katy Perry‘s witchy snap vibe on “Dark Horse” with Juicy J , Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons‘ brilliant, burning mash up of “m.A.A.d City” and “Radioactive,” and Pharrell, Nile Rodgers and Daft Punk with Stevie Wonder on a version of “Get Lucky” that flawlessly blended in Chic’s “Le Freak” and Wonder’s “Another Star.”
One of the biggest, funnest surprises of the evening came late in the show when Queen Latifah introduced Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert and Trombone Shorty‘s performance of “Same Love.” Midway through the song, Latifah re-appeared to officiate a wedding ceremony for thirty-three couples – heterosexual and homosexual – in the aisles of the Los Angeles Staples Center. As they said their “I dos”, Madonna strolled out in a white suit, hat and cane, melding the chorus of “Open Your Heart” into “Same Love.”
A full list of the Grammy winners follows below:
Album of the Year: “Random Access Memories,” Daft Punk
Record of the Year: “Get Lucky,” Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams
Song of the Year: “Royals,” Joel Little, Ella Yelich O’Connor (Lorde)
Best Country Album: “Same Trailer, Different Park,” Kacey Musgraves
Best Pop Vocal Album: “Unorthodox Jukebox,” Bruno Mars
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: “Holy Grail,” Jay Z and Justin Timberlake
Best Pop Solo Performance: Lorde
Best Rock Song: “Cut Me Some Slack,” Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: “Get Lucky,” Daft Punk