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EIGHT INCREDIBLE BUT TRUE FACTS ABOUT THIS YEAR’S GRAMMY LIFETIME RECIPIENTS

If you’re going to be in L.A. this weekend, you should try to finagle a ticket to the third annual Grammy Salute to Music Legends, which tapes on Saturday night at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood (for later airing on PBS). This is where the Recording Academy dispenses its Lifetime Achievement Awards, Trustees Awards and Technical Grammy Awards.

Here are eight facts about this year’s recipients that are frankly hard to believe but certifiably true.

Queen never won a Grammy, and received just four noms. Their masterwork, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” was nominated in two categories in 1976, but lost ’em both. The band lost Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus to Chicago’s feathery “If You Leave Me Now,” and it lost Best Arrangement for Voices (Duo, Group or Chorus) to Starland Vocal Band’s cornball “Afternoon Delight.” “If You Leave Me Now” was Chicago’s first #1 hit, and acquired some significance for that reason. “Afternoon Delight” was widely seen as a trifle even at the time.

Hal Blaine played drums on an astounding six consecutive singles that won the Grammy for Record of the Year: Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass’ “A Taste of Honey,” Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night,” the 5th Dimension’s “Up, Up and Away,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson,” the 5th Dimension’s “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” and S&G’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Blaine was a member of the fabled Wrecking Crew, which played on countless hits that came out of Los Angeles in the ’60s and ’70s. (It’s curious that he’s being singled out rather than the entire ensemble being honored. In 2004, the Funk Brothers, who played on a comparable number of Motown hits, were honored as an ensemble.)

Neil Diamond has written and recorded dozens of hits, but he won his only Grammy for his score to the widely panned film Jonathan Livingston Seagull. It took the 1973 award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a TV Special. Why were Billy Joel and Paul Simon showered with Grammys, while Diamond was routinely passed over? Discuss amongst yourselves.

With Emmylou Harris receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, all three of the artists who recorded the best-selling 1987 album Trio have been so honored. Dolly Parton received the award in 2011; Linda Ronstadt got it two years ago. Trio was nominated for Album of the Year, but lost to U2’s The Joshua Tree.

In 1984, Tina Turner became only the second artist to receive Grammy nominations for pop, rock and R&B performances in the same year. Michael Jackson was the first, the previous year—the year of Thriller. Jackson won in all three categories. Turner won the pop and rock awards, but lost the R&B prize to Chaka Khan, whose fiery version of Prince’s “I Feel for You” was too hot to overcome.

Seymour Stein receives a Trustees Award seven years after The Ramones, whom he signed to his Sire Records in 1975, won a Lifetime Achievement Award. Two of Stein’s discoveries were nominated for Grammys for Best New Artist; neither won. The Pretenders lost to Christopher Cross, while Seal lost to Marc Cohn.

John Williams has amassed 24 Grammys, all but one of them for his film scores. The sole exception is “Olympic Fanfare & Theme,” which he wrote for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Three of this year’s awards are being given posthumously—to R&B pioneer Louis Jordan, legendary concert promoter Bill Graham and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Jordan died in 1975; Graham and Mercury died within a month of each other in 1991.

This year’s other award recipients are funk band The Meters and Tony Agnello and Richard Factor, principals in the audio company Eventide.

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