Death Permeates Lifetime Grammy Awards
Music greats such as Joan Baez, the Doors and the Grateful Dead won lifetime Grammy achievement awards yesterday (Feb. 10), although many of those honored did not live long enough to receive them. "ThMusic greats such as Joan Baez, the Doors and the Grateful Dead won lifetime Grammy achievement awards yesterday (Feb. 10), although many of those honored did not live long enough to receive them.
"The thing about a lifetime achievement award is being here. We made it and we're alive," said the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart, who stood with co-drummer Bill Kreutzmann to receive the honor on behalf of the group. "I wish the rest of my brothers in the band could be here," said Kreutzmann.
Jerry Garcia, the band's frontman and most famous member, died in 1995. The Grateful Dead suffered several other deaths over the years.
Doors guitarist Robby Krieger was the sole member to appear at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles, although family members of late singer Jim Morrison were on hand. John Densmore, the band's drummer, thanked the academy in a videotaped message, during which he recited Morrison's "American Prayer" poem.
Krieger said Morrison would have been proud. "People think he was anti-establishment, but in reality he wanted to be bigger than the Beatles. He would be very honored," Krieger said.
Opera legend Maria Callas was also honored posthumously, while jazz innovator Ornette Coleman, who received a standing ovation, mused about the meaning of life and death for several minutes. "How do we kill death since it kills everything?" said Coleman. "You don't have to die to kill and you don't have to kill to die."
Booker T. & the MG's, who epitomized the Memphis soul sound as the house band at Stax Records, also won the lifetime achievement award. "I thank my family for keeping me alive all these years. It's been a difficult thing to do," Booker T. Jones said. He and other members made reference to bandmember Al Jackson, who died from a gunshot in 1975.
Estelle Axton, who co-founded Stax, was also honored posthumously with a Trustees Award.
The bittersweet night wrapped up on a high note with Joan Baez, a singing and guitar-playing icon of the anti-war movement of the 1960s, who said she has been enjoying a resurgence due to President Bush.
"President Bush is the best publicity agent I've ever had," Baez said. "People always ask me to compare then versus now," she said. "It's very much like a re-run but there is much different ... The point is if artists are figuring out how to deal, I think they are rising to the occasion."
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