Against a backdrop of Grammy memorabilia, from statuettes and original membership applications (including those of Beyonce and Frank Sinatra) to clothing from a new fashion line, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, producer Quincy Jones and singer Joss Stone unveiled plans for the Academy’s yearlong celebration of the 50th annual Grammy Awards.
Kicking off with today’s (May 8) press conference at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, the celebration will include a host of special events and projects through 2008. Chief among them will be the 50th Grammy Awards telecast, taking place Sunday, Feb. 10 at the Staples Center. Preceding that will be the nominations announcement press conference on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007.
In other events leading up to the telecast, Jones — also named as the Recording Academy’s official 50th anniversary ambassador — will receive the Grammy Foundation Leadership Award at the organization’s Starry Night benefit concert on July 28, and Aretha Franklin will be honored Feb. 8, 2008, as the MusiCares person of the year.
Special commemorative projects include the 30,000-square foot Grammy Museum, which will be housed in AEG’s new L.A. Live venue across from the Staples Center and opening in September 2008; a retrospective coffee table book that will be sold at Borders starting in October; and Grammy Brand lifestyle clothing under the tag line, “Music makes me…”
A portion of the proceeds from the fashion line, available at select retailers in the fall, will benefit the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares, Also unveiled were the new 50th anniversary Grammy logo and official artwork for the 2008 awards program book and poster: a handcrafted mosaic by artist Roy Feinson consisting of hundreds of images from various Grammy telecasts.
Portnow tells Billboard.com he began thinking about this celebration four years ago after becoming the Academy’s president. “It’s been a long process getting to this and it’s definitely a milestone,” he acknowledges. “But we’re just getting started.”