Neil Diamond to Be Honored as 2009 MusiCares(R) Person of the Year


Neil Diamond to Be Honored as 2009 MusiCares(R) Person of the Year
Tuesday October 21, 4:30 pm ET
The 19th Annual Gala Benefiting the MusiCares Foundation(R) Will Be Held Feb. 6, 2009, During GRAMMY(R) Week

SANTA MONICA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–GRAMMY®-winning recording artist Neil Diamond will be honored as the 2009 MusiCares® Person of the Year, it was announced today by Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the MusiCares Foundation® and The Recording Academy®, and John Branca, Board Chair of the MusiCares Foundation. Proceeds from the annual GRAMMY Week gala dinner and concert honoring Diamond — to be held in Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 6, 2009, two days prior to the 51st Annual GRAMMY Awards — will provide essential support for MusiCares, which ensures that music people have a place to turn to in times of financial, medical and personal need.
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The legendary singer, songwriter and performer is being honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year in recognition of his exceptional artistic achievements as well as his philanthropic work, which has included many generous charitable donations over the years. Most recently, Diamond has been donating 100 percent of merchandise sales from his October concerts in Houston, Dallas and Oklahoma City to the hurricane relief efforts in Texas for areas ravaged by Hurricane Ike.

“As we enter the next 50 years for The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Awards, and approach the 20th anniversary of our MusiCares Foundation, it is fitting that we honor a most enduring artist and songwriter whose musical influence is truly unmatched — the extraordinary Neil Diamond,” said Portnow.

“Neil’s exceptionally versatile and rich body of work, combined with his magnetic performances, are a hallmark of his artistic career,” added Branca. “And we look forward to paying tribute to him during GRAMMY Week.”

The 2009 MusiCares Person of the Year gala will begin with a special reception and silent auction that will offer an exclusive and unparalleled selection of luxury items, VIP experiences and one-of-a-kind celebrity memorabilia for bidding guests. The reception will also feature a special online auction presented by Julien’s Auctions and will broadcast live worldwide on Auction Network with real-time interactive bidding technology. The auction will be followed by a gala dinner, an award presentation and a star-studded tribute concert. The MusiCares Person of the Year tribute ceremony, chaired by Irving Azoff and Marshall Gelfand, is one of the most prestigious events held during GRAMMY Week. The celebration culminates with the 51st Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. The telecast will be broadcast live on the CBS Television Network at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

With a career spanning four decades that has seen more than 125 million records sold, 36 Top 40 hits and thousands of sold-out shows all over the globe, Neil Diamond remains one of the most vital and innovative forces in modern music. The 2009 MusiCares Person of the Year honor is just the latest of many notable awards the singer has earned, including a GRAMMY, 12 GRAMMY nominations, a Golden Globe and a No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 chart for his latest album Home Before Dark. Diamond has also been inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, and is the recipient of that organization’s prestigious Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award.

Diamond’s career took off in the late 1960s with a series of hits that began with “Solitary Man” — a song that would forever define him as a singular figure in music. As an American solo artist during a time when British groups were the rage, he paved the way for the 1970s singer/songwriter movement to come. Diamond’s next hit “Cherry, Cherry” was an infectious blast of joyful pop rock that suggested this was an artist of considerable range. Diamond found himself in great demand as an artist and a songwriter, especially after the Monkees had No. 1 and No. 2 hits, respectively, with his compositions “I’m A Believer” and “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You.”

Over the next five years, Diamond would further demonstrate his musical range as he recorded some of his most beloved compositions, including “Brooklyn Roads,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show,” “Cracklin’ Rose,” “I Am…I Said,” and “Song Sung Blue.” In the summer of 1972, Diamond had played 10 sold-out nights at the famed Greek Theatre in Los Angeles that were captured on the multi-platinum Hot August Night, a double-record set that demonstrated Diamond’s growing status as a superstar concert sensation. In 1973, Diamond released one of his most unusual, yet highly successful, albums — an introspective soundtrack to the film version of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, for which he won a GRAMMY Award.

Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, he became increasingly popular as a live performer, breaking numerous attendance records in America and abroad, and winning honors as the top solo performing artist of the ’90s. He also remained productive as a recording artist, releasing everything from the forward-thinking Headed For The Future, and the retrospective Up On The Roof — Song From The Brill Building, to Hot August Night II and two popular Christmas albums. In 1996 he released Tennessee Moon, an album celebrating his country roots, as well as an extremely successful boxed set In My Lifetime. This same period found Diamond’s past work being rediscovered by a new generation of fans through hit versions of his past classics, including UB40’s global smash version of “Red, Red Wine” and Urge Overkill’s faithful, yet edgy, rendition of “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon” from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

In 2001 after a number of years collaborating as a songwriter and even covering the songs of other writers, Diamond marked a new century with Three Chord Opera — a powerful album that was the first collection of songs he had written by himself in a quarter century. 12 Songs followed in 2005, entering the charts at No. 4 and marking his first collaboration with famed six-time GRAMMY-winning producer Rick Rubin. Home Before Dark, Diamond’s latest project, found him working once more with Rubin, and debuted at No. 1 — the singer’s first chart-topping debut.

With these albums, Diamond has earned another new generation of listeners for whom his timeless songs speak as loudly as his newest creations. As Diamond approaches his second half-century as a songwriter, he has almost become a genre in his own right. Reflecting on this, he pointed out, “There’s probably a little category called ‘Neil Diamond’ which is a broad spectrum of rock and roll, mixed in with theatrical music, mixed in with country music, mixed in with Latin music, mixed in with Jewish melodies, throw a little dash of Afro-Cuban music in with some ballroom dancing too.”

Established in 1989 by The Recording Academy, MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. MusiCares’ services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies, and each case is treated with integrity and confidentiality. MusiCares also focuses the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues that directly impact the health and welfare of the music community. For more information, please visit www.musicares.com.

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. In its 50th year, The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit www.grammy.com.

With expertise specializing in entertainment memorabilia, Julien’s Auctions has quickly established themselves as the premier auction house in high-profile celebrity and entertainment auctions. Julien’s Auctions presents exciting, professionally managed and extremely successful auctions with full-color high-quality auction catalogs unlike any other auction company. Previous auctions include the collections of Cher, Madonna, U2, Barbra Streisand, Muhammad Ali, Debbie Reynolds, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, and the estate of Marilyn Monroe to name a few.

Based in Tulsa, Okla., Auction Network is the first 24/7 multimedia network solely dedicated to auction. Auction Network’s executive team combines strong cable network backgrounds from years at TV Guide, Disney, Fox, Liberty Media and CNN with substantial auction experience at the helm of Williams & Williams Worldwide Real Estate Auction (www.williamsauction.com). The network launched on Oct. 28, 2007, at www.auctionnetwork.com.

For information on purchasing tables and tickets to the event, please contact Dana Tomarken at MusiCares, 310.392.3777.

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