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N.W.A, Gladys Knight, Donna Summer to Receive Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards

Late country legend Tammy Wynette and avant-garde darling Laurie Anderson are also among the honorees.

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The Recording Academy released the names of its Lifetime Achievement Honorees for the 2024 Grammy Awards on Jan. 5, with N.W.A, Donna Summer and Gladys Knight among the marquee honorees.

Other Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include the late country legend Tammy Wynette, gospel group the Clark Sisters, and experimental musician Laurie Anderson. Trustees Awards will also be given to hip-hop pioneer DJ Kool Herc, veteran producer and musician Peter Asher (who was famously head of A&R for the Beatles’ Apple Records), and executive dealmaker Joel Katz.

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N.W.A's Eazy-E and MC Ren during the group's heyday.

The Grammys’ Special Merit honors will be awarded at a ceremony at Los Angeles’ Wilshire Ebell Theater on Feb. 3, one week before the Grammy Awards. The ceremony will also honor Somalian rapper K’naan, along with songwriter Steve McEwan and producer Jarvis Church, for his song “Refugee,” which will be the second recipient of the Grammys’ new Best Song for Social Change award.

“The Academy is honored to pay tribute to this year’s Special Merit Award recipients — a remarkable group of creators and industry professionals whose impact resonates with generations worldwide,” said Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. in a statement. “Their contributions to music span genres, backgrounds and crafts, reflecting the rich diversity that fuels our creative community.”

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donna summer
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The late Donna Summer won five Grammys in four different genre categories: dance, rock, R&B and gospel.

The Lifetime Achievement award for N.W.A is notable because the groundbreaking, controversial hip-hop group was never nominated for a Grammy during its period of activity in the 1980s and early '90s. Indeed, the Grammys still did not have a single rap category when N.W.A’s seminal Straight Outta Compton was released. (The album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016, the same year N.W.A was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.)

Three members of N.W.A went on to forge hugely successful solo careers — Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and the late Eazy-E — but only Dre is a previous Grammy winner, having picked up seven statuettes for his solo and production work, including the Producer of the Year award in 2002.

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Gladys Knight won 10 Grammys out of 22 nominations, both as a solo artist and a member of the Pips.

Summer, who died in 2012, won five Grammys in four different genre categories: dance, R&B, rock and gospel. Knight has won 10 Grammys out of 22 nominations, while the Clark Sisters have three, Wynette two, and Anderson one.

The Grammy Awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 4, with Trevor Noah hosting. SZA, Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo and Boygenius are among the leading nominees.


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