The Recording Academy today announced its class of 2016 Special Merit Awards recipients. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are Ruth Brown, Celia Cruz, Earth, Wind & Fire, Herbie Hancock, Jefferson Airplane, Linda Ronstadt, and Run-D.M.C.; the Trustees Award honorees are John Cage, Fred Foster and Chris Strachwitz; and EMT and Dr. Harvey Fletcher are Technical GRAMMY Award recipients.


”Each year, The Academy has the distinct privilege of honoring those who have greatly contributed to our industry and cultural heritage, and this year we have a gifted and brilliant group of honorees,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy.” Their exceptional accomplishments, contributions, and artistry will continue to influence and inspire generations to come.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors performers who have made contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording, while the Trustees Award recognizes contributions in areas other than performance. Both awards are determined by vote of The Recording Academy’s National Board of Trustees. 

Marty Balin, Jack Casady, Spencer Dryden*, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, and Grace Slick comprised Jefferson Airplane, pioneers of counterculture-era psychedelic rock. Emerging from the San Francisco scene to achieve international mainstream success, performing at the three most famous American rock festivals of the 1960s — Monterey (1967), Woodstock (1969), and Altamont (1969). Their 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow is regarded as one of the key recordings of the “Summer of Love.” Two hits from that album, “Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit,” are among Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”


A special ceremony and concert celebrating the honorees will be held in the spring. Additional details regarding the ceremony will be announced in the coming weeks.